Owner Operators Are Struggling

May 14, 2008

I just read the Florida Kid's blog Wow, he had a mouthful to say! For the most part he's probably right on target, but I think he missed the point on one issue.

An owner/operator is a business person. I know many are struggling. At the same time many are continuing to operate in a profitable manner, perhaps not as profitable as the would like, but they are able to make ends meet. In our great country there is no guarantee of success – just the guarantee that you can try, which is more than is available in a lot of nations. I think he was pandering to an audience that is unwilling to admit they couldn't make the cut.

I'm reminded of my nephew. He's 19 with a 6'2" frame, a neck as big as a normal thigh and has muscles jumping out of his arms and legs. He's a football player that has spent his youthful life playing and training and he's had some great success in high school. He's now in college and worked his ass off to make the team. I've watched him work out at home dragging 150 pound weights while running 40 yard wind sprints and doing all kinds of exercises to include throwing bales of hay on the wagon that his father drove at breakneck speed through the field. (if you've never thrown a couple of thousand bales on a hay wagon – you're missing a thrill – and a bad back too!)

Anyway after two months of sweat, the coach announced who made the team – he didn't. All that effort, all that sweat, all those dreams – hell, he told me he would be happy to make it, even if he didn't play on Saturday. All disappeared. He'll rebound – he's got too. What good is it to bitch and complain? I remember some episodes in my own life when I should have been selected, but missed the cut. America offers the opportunity to succeed and the freedom to fail as well. I think the point is to answer the question – what are you gonna do now? I read a blog from another O/O trucker that says it's tough, but he's making it and turning a pretty nice profit too!

Speaking about freedom to fail - In that testimony about the TRUCC Act given by Todd Spencer of OOIDA he said a couple of things that were not widely reported. He said that 935 companies with 5 or more trucks had gone out of business this year. If that's true there should be thousands less trucks available to carry goods. He provided a number that exceeded 20,000. He also said that in the year 2000 when a trucking crisis was occurring that over 250,000 trucks were repossessed. Now, I'm not certain as to the accuracy of his numbers, but the one bit which is important is that the weak are leaving, which means that the vacuum needs to be filled by others. Like my nephew that didn't make it – someone else did. His door closed – temporarily, but the door opened for others.

Owner-Operators United is working hard for some necessary changes. Speaking of Dan – it's worth a read to peruse the blog about brokerson his site.

Anyway, I hope the Florida Kiddoesn't get offended by my remarks. I know there are tons of good truckers out there that do all kinds of good things for others as well as for their own families. I wish them the very best and pray for their success – but there are just no guarantees. As much as my nephew deserved to make the cut – he didn't.

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