Is a new truck worth the investment

Is a new truck worth the investment?

When Landstar Business Capacity Owner (BCO) Steve Van Dyke leased on to Landstar 15 years ago, he says his truck’s fuel economy was the last thing on his mind. Van Dyke says he knew he wasn’t getting great gas mileage but he didn’t pay much attention to the numbers and kept on trucking. Continue reading

Kevin Rutherford’s Business Advice for Owner-Operators

Kevin Rutherford, radio host of Trucking Business & Beyond on SiriusXM / Road Dog Trucking, explains to independent owner-operators the importance of investing in new equipment.

Your truck is a tool.  A tool that is instrumental for you to run your business and you can’t run a successful business with an inefficient tool. As an owner-operator, investing in a new truck is something that you may have to do a few times in your career in order to stay competitive with large fleets. Large fleets tend to get rid of trucks once they reach 400,000-600,000 miles. Although you may be able to stretch the life span of your truck longer than that if it’s well manufactured and well maintained, you’ll eventually get to a point where you start pouring more money into your truck than what it’s worth.

Costs of an Older Truck vs. Costs of a Newer Truck

There are four major costs that you need to keep in mind as you’re looking at newer trucks – truck payment, truck insurance, fuel and maintenance costs. It’s simple to compare the new payment and insurance costs to what you’re currently paying but fuel and maintenance costs can be a little difficult to calculate. Look for the most reliable sources, do your research and make your best guess. Understand that this isn’t always going to be an absolute numbers game.

Now, think about these costs on a per-mile basis, then compare it to the costs for your current truck. For example, what is your truck payment per mile with your current truck? What would your truck payment per mile be on a newer truck? If you discover that the new costs are similar to the current costs, it doesn’t make sense not to buy a newer truck.

In fact, you may find that purchasing a new truck would be cheaper than maintaining your current truck especially when it comes to fuel costs. Let’s say you have an older truck getting six or seven miles per gallon and see that a newer truck would get you eight or nine miles per gallon. On average, that one or two mile difference could save you $15,000 per year.

Throughout your research, maybe you’ll discover that a new truck is going to financially cost you more but will save you time. Service intervals are longer on new trucks therefore you would spend less time in the shop. Less time in the shop means more time on the road and more money in your pocket.

Purchasing a newer truck is a long-term investment so you need to look long-term before you make a decision. Maybe your purchase won’t save cash today but it could two years from now. The costs of maintaining an older truck will eventually get more expensive and ultimately, you’ll need to invest in a newer truck.

Trucks Made In 2012 and After

It’s hard to forget the years 2004-2011, otherwise known as “the decade of don’t own those engines.” Trucks that were manufactured during this time period were expensive to maintain, had a lot of emission related problems and constantly had to be serviced. Luckily truck manufacturers learned from the mistakes of previous years and implemented newer emission standards in trucks made in 2012 and after. Owning a truck that has these newer emission standards will even get you into California, which could open up a brand new market for you.

The dreaded decade may make you hesitant to purchase a newer truck but trucks have improved a lot since then and continue to do so each year. Pay attention, look around, talk to other owner-operators and you’ll see that purchasing a truck manufactured in 2012 and after is a good investment.

Upgraded Comfort and Safety Features

Thanks to better manufacturing processes and advancements in technology, newer trucks have safety and comfort features that your older truck probably doesn’t have. Some of the safety features common in newer trucks are lane departure warnings, front looking radars, automatic braking and adaptive cruise control. Having a truck with these features will help you remain competitive with other fleets.

Newer trucks are known for being better designed to support the modern truck driver’s lifestyle. The cab and sleepers are comfier and there’s better electrical outputs to sustain your kitchen appliances, laptops and cell phone chargers. While you’re driving, you can expect better aerodynamics, a smoother ride and a reduction in noise.

Investing In Your Business

We are in the autonomous trucking revolution therefore staying up to speed with other carriers and fleets will be crucial to the future of your business. Old trucks will be phased out before you know it and you’ll eventually have to spend the money on a newer truck. Outdated equipment isn’t going to cut it. If you think it’s time to start shopping around for a new truck, remember to look for one that has overall good value, will help you minimize future costs, is equipped with up-to-date safety features, and will be a smart investment for your business.

Kevin Rutherford is a business trainer, author of national articles on trucking and finance, small fleet owner, tax preparer, and radio host of Trucking Business & Beyond on SiriusXM / Road Dog Trucking. He started his career as an owner-operator 30 years ago, running a one-truck operation. He has authored several books on how to be successful as an owner-operator and has given seminars to thousands of owner-operators, drivers, and fleet executives in the U.S. and Canada. He also has prepared thousands of federal and state tax returns for owner-operators and company drivers. Visit www.letstruck.com for more information on Rutherford’s business and tune into his show, Trucking Business & Beyond, on SiriusXM Channel 146 every weekday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. ET.

Take P.R.I.D.E. in Landstar Trailing Equipment

Landstar’s Trailer Inspection and Repair Initiative

It’s what people notice first – the Landstar® trailer with the blue star logo on the side. BCOs are proud to haul Landstar trailers, moving freight across North America. The Landstar P.R.I.D.E. initiative is one of the ways Landstar reminds and rewards independent contractor truck owner-operators leased to Landstar (or BCOs) to keep Landstar owned or rented equipment up to date on inspections and in good condition.

The P.R.I.D.E. initiative was created as a trailer maintenance incentive to encourage BCOs to keep all Landstar owned or rented trailers inspected and repaired.

Each month, BCOs who take Landstar equipment for the required 120-day inspection are automatically entered into a monthly drawing for a set of steer tires. At the end of each year, P.R.I.D.E. participants are entered into a grand prize drawing for a set of drive tires.

Thank you for helping keep Landstar’s fleet at the highest level of safety and performance through the Landstar P.R.I.D.E. initiative. Since the P.R.I.D.E. program’s inception in October 2014, Landstar® has awarded four sets of drive tires and 48 sets of steer tires.

Watch this video, as Landstar Transportation Logistics’ Vice President of Trailer Management Matt Miller explains P.R.I.D.E.

 

Maximizing Fuel Efficiency

In a world where the price of fuel is consistently trending upward and the average over-the-road truck gets roughly 6.5 miles per gallon (mpg), some owner-operators are going to great lengths to improve their fuel economy.

With a drive to increase efficiency and minimize fuel consumption, Landstar business capacity owners (BCOs), the company’s term for independent truck owner-operators, are no exception. BCOs Alec Costerus and Steve Kron, who each drive older model trucks, have made it their mission to reduce their trucks’ carbon footprints.

“To achieve double-digit fuel economy you have to pay attention to the minutest details in and around your truck,” says Alec Costerus. “Small changes can make a big difference.”

From side skirts, nose cones and trailer tails, to filling air gaps and removing unnecessary objects and emblems from the truck, both BCOs have spent years seeking maximum fuel efficiency.

“Every little detail matters when it comes to aerodynamics. I even go as far as to remove things that don’t need to be on the outside of the truck, like extra door handles and emblems,” says Kron. “Everything is in compliance, the things I remove aren’t necessary. When it comes down to details, the items take away from the aerodynamics of the truck.”

In addition to the tools available to improve aerodynamics on their trucks, advancements in wind speed, tire pressure and cargo weight monitoring technologies make the return on their fuel-saving investments clear.

“All of the technologies out there make it so much easier to track everything – and a lot of it is mobile app-based and free for owner-operators to use,” says Kron. “I wish these technologies were around when I started down this path 10 years ago – data on weight, wind and tire pressure helps me run my businesses better.”

Kron, a Million Mile Safe Driver who leased to Landstar in 1992, drives a 2001 International IHC 9400, achieving a steady 10 mpg fuel economy that he says pumps up his revenue.

“On average I can achieve double-digit efficiency,” says Kron. “The time I invest is worth the payback. It’s something I think every BCO should be doing no matter how old the truck. All the money I save on fuel, goes right back into the truck and to other modifications to improve efficiency.”

Costerus, who leased to Landstar in 2013, runs a 2011 Volvo VNL tractor. After years of updates to his truck, he reports running at more than 9 mpg on average.

“You can achieve great fuel economy in an older truck and run as efficiently as some newer models,” says Costerus. “There is so much more to fuel economy than engine horsepower, torque ratings and rear-end ratios. If the winds are right, trailer axel raised, conditions are perfect and everything is aligned properly, my truck will sometimes exceed 11 mpg,” says Costerus.

Both Costerus and Kron have transformed their trucks into fuel saving machines, proving fuel efficiency beyond the national average is possible with the right technology and know-how.

“It is so much better to work smarter, not harder and nowhere is that more applicable than for the hardworking professional truck driver,” says Costerus. “It is important. You are improving your bottom line while preserving the environment.”

All modifications made to Costerus’ and Kron’s trucks are within federal guidelines of the FMCSA and are in compliance with Landstar’s standards.

September 2018 Star of Quality Recipients

Each month deserving business capacity owners (BCOs), operators and agents earn Landstar’s Star of Quality Award. The award, for members of the Landstar family who go above and beyond the call of duty, recognizes those extra efforts and dedication to service.

The outstanding efforts by these professional men and women throughout September earned them a Landstar Star of Quality Award. Our thanks and praise to the following Landstar owner-operators and agents who represent the best in the freight transportation industry.

Gold:

Marlaina Gayle Betnaza, Dustin Jones*, Gregory M. Kinch, Derrick Wayne Preston, Zenoviu “Tavi” O. Sirbu, Clyde Thompson

*Going Beyond the Gold – recipients have received multiple Gold Star awards.

Silver:

Todd E. Day, Brian E. Jordan, Kendall Scott Rosenberg, Zenoviu “Tavi” O. Sirbu, Heather E. Wogomon, Kenneth R. Wogomon

Bronze:

Phillip Wayne Cain, Randy Allen Cecil, Michael R. Cole, Jose Cruz, Thomas Davis, Keith Dodge, Kim Lloyd Dye, Randy G. Garr, Jason A. Hansen, Herbert Lee Hill, Jeffrey Johns, Joseph S. Knauff, Joseph Lotuk Longoli, Barry N. McLarty, Jose O. Mejicano, Robert L. Pinkston, John D. Rhodes Christopher Dewayne Scott, Jorge Ricardo Valdez, Gary Wire, Michael Wommack, Raul Edenilson Zelaya

If you would like to nominate a Landstar agent or owner-operator for a Star of Quality Award, email: StarQ@Landstar.com

 

 

#ThankYouBCOs

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 

Each year during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW), industry professionals across America take time to honor the country’s 3.5 million professional truck drivers. To thank these professional men and women for their service and commitment, this year’s NTDAW celebration is set for September 9-15.

During NTDAW, Landstar shows business capacity owners (BCOs) – Landstar’s term for independent contractor truck owner-operators with exclusive lease agreements – some extra gratitude by providing free lunches throughout the week and, this year, our BCO Appreciation Days event in Rockford, Illinois.

Landstar BCOs are invited to any of Landstar’s orientation centers for free lunches and a chance to win Landstar prizes Monday, Sept. 10 through Friday, Sept. 14. Lunch will be served at 12 p.m. local time at each of these Landstar orientation centers:

  • Fort Worth, Texas
  • Jefferson, Georgia
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Reedsville, Pennsylvania
  • Sparks, Nevada
  • Rockford, Illinois

Landstar’s NTDAW celebration also includes the final BCO Appreciation Days event and truck giveaway of the year. Join us in Rockford, Illinois, Sept. 12-13. The Landstar Deliver to Win Truck Giveaway powered by Comdata will be held during the event on Sept. 12.

#ThankYouBCOs

We’ll also be celebrating BCOs on social media throughout the week, as well as posting opportunities to win Landstar prizes. Be sure to follow the Landstar Owner-Operator (BCO) Facebook page,
and @LandstarSystem on Twitter.
Participate in Landstar’s NTDAW social media conversation by following and using Landstar’s #ThankYouBCOs hashtag in your own posts.

May Star of Quality Awards

When members of the Landstar family go above and beyond the call of duty, their extra efforts are recognized with Landstar’s Star of Quality Award. Deserving business capacity owners (BCOs) and agents receive bronze, silver, gold or platinum lapel pins recognizing their dedication to the best in transportation services.

Our thanks to the following Landstar owner-operators and agents who represent the best in the freight transportation industry.

Star of Quality Award Winners of May 2018:

Platinum:

Shanon Chardlee Stark

A platinum star is awarded in exceptional circumstances such as those faced with a life or death situation.

Gold:

Bill Ater Jr.*, Allan Biedowicz, Jonathan E. Damm*, Daniel Gensch* Linda Kennedy, Murray Kennedy, Lloyd Edward Lampman*, Samuel P. McVea*, Thomas Moody*, Leslie Osborn*, Jeanette Simpson*, Sandy Lee Smith, Robyn Eve Taylor*, William Asher Taylor*, Dennis Wimberley

*Going Beyond the Gold – recipients have received multiple Gold Star awards.

Silver:

Carlos Alvarez, Kenneth E. Armes, David Arnold, Maurice Jerrell Jones, Antonio C. Mercado, John A. O’Brien, Ricky Lamar Patterson II, David Milton Pearce, Michael Sage, Jeannetta Louise Warner, Gary White, Glen R. White, Dallas D. Wood, Pamela Kay Wood

Bronze:

J.William Anderson, James Brian Andrews, Keith J. Belt, Desmond Rodrequis Bennett, Emilio M. Coe, Leroy I. Elzy, Tamra E. Fredendall, Edith Giacomo, Kody Giacomo, Gary Lynn Hoyer, Robert Andrew Kampras, Brad Everette Keller, Donald W. Knuth, Michael Joseph Kruzel, Debra Anne LaBree, James R. Lawson, Andrew Paul Martin, Darci Jane Martin, Sammy Alan McMurtury, Osvaldo Medina, Raul Medina Jr., Donald Mezzapella, Anthony A. Payne, Teddy Kollek Pounds, Donnie K. Raby, Mark William Rosian, David Adam Smith, Michael A. Stewart, Rodney Stewart, Anthony Allen Taggart, Billy Earl Tannehill, Gavin Edward Tookey, Tammy Darnell Tookey, Jeffrey W. Zerblis.

If you would like to nominate a Landstar BCO or agent to receive a Star of Quality Award, send an email to StarQ@Landstar.com

Landstar on iTruck Radio

Landstar Transportation Logistics Vice President of Capacity Development Scott Ray recently sat down with iTruckRadio host Daniel Johnson to talk about Landstar.

During an hour-long, live interview, Ray explained the Landstar system to listeners – from the advantages of leasing to Landstar to the requirements for becoming an independent owner-operator leased to Landstar.

 

Listen to Scott Ray’s interview by clicking here.

January Star of Quality Awards

When members of the Landstar family go above and beyond the call of duty, their extra efforts are recognized with Landstar’s Star of Quality Award. Deserving business capacity owners (BCOs) and agents receive bronze, silver, gold or platinum lapel pins recognizing their dedication to the best in transportation services.

Our thanks to the following Landstar owner-operators and agents who represent the best in the freight transportation industry.

Star of Quality Award Winners of January 2018:

Gold:

George McGregor, Jason Lloyd Mollett, Gene Douglas Tunney, Kenneth Wiley, Billie Williams, Kaye B. Williams

Silver:

Eugene Vincent Antinori, Paul D. Burrows, Sharon Kay Burros, Jason A. Daniels, Marqueeta Gshame Daniels, David Kent Faulkner, Gary V. Godfrey, Rena B. Godfrey, Edward Gonzalez, Charles J. Herron, David Eddison Lewis Jr., James Leslie McLimore, Andrea E. Perry, Calvin V. Whaley Sr., Larry S. Wheeler, Darlene L. Wright-Recchioni

Bronze:

Cynthia Marie Alexander, Russell Howard Alexander II, Bakthakumar Bagavatsingham, Jeffrey Harold Brantley, Stephen J. Campbell, Richard Gary Farmer, Francis Johanny Giusti, Lewis Felipe Giusti, James Lee Gorby, Lenwood Phillip Hampton, Joy Misley-Hinshaw, Ricardo Keith Kelly, Eddy L. Maddox, Muniram Deandre Mahadeo, Ewa Masajada, Paul K. McElfresh, William Mesidor, Maria R. Morgan, Stephen S. Morgan, Franklin R. Prue, Michael D. Slagle, Sam A. Speicher, Willard Harvey Sullins, Puneet Verma Jr., Gertrudes C. Vervoort, Luis B. Wilmoth IV, Gerald L. Wong, Susan H. Wong

If you would like to nominate a Landstar BCO or agent to receive a Star of Quality Award, send an email to StarQ@Landstar.com

Maximize Revenue Opportunities

Landstar independent owner-operators can save time and maximize revenue opportunities with the Landstar Maximizer™ mobile app, now available for Android or iPhone.

With one click of the app’s Ask Max™ button, owner-operators can start planning multiple loads – all at the same time. The Landstar-exclusive technology is a robust search engine that puts together the best combinations of back-to-back loads, creating multi-leg, full-week runs from which to choose.

Watch this video about how the Landstar Maximizer mobile app gets Landstar BCOs where they want to be:

The app is available to BCOs with a current LandstarOnline.com username and password. Download it today for Android or iPhone smartphones.