The trucking market is changing. Fuel prices are high, and inflation is a significant worry. To get to the bottom of this, I had a chat with Bob Kruz, who runs the @usa_transportation account on Instagram & owns a trucking company. In this article, Bob and I talk about the current state of the trucking market, prevailing rates, and truck owner-operators.
How has the trucking market changed?
“Right now, I feel like the market flipped on its head,” said Bob. For instance, trailers are cheaper now than they used to be. It was harder to find new trailers, but now you can. “Same thing with trucks, “he said. Trucks are cheaper because many people are selling since they are not making money.
Bob bought a few trucks a few months ago (before the market flipped). So I asked him how much he paid?
Bob told me about two trucks that he bought recently. One was a Peterbilt, and he paid $186,000. The other was a Kenworth, for which Bob paid $200,000. “At that time, it was not a bad deal,” he said. “Rates were so good that you could make a lot of that money back quickly.”
What is the average you take per mile currently?
“It depends what area you’re in and what trucks you have,” Bob said. Sometimes he gets a good load, and then he has to take a cheaper backhaul.
What are some of your overhead costs?
“I just got DAT, and that was two hundred bucks a month,” he said. “We use ProTransport TMS, it’s through RTS, and that’s another couple hundred bucks a month.” Fuel is around $1 a mile. So you have insurance, permits, and registration once a year. “Sitting in an office, you have lights to pay for.”
Are you making a good living right now?
“Well, it depends on what,” Bob said. “Sometimes I think if I show my parents what I make off Instagram or social media, they would be surprised.” He said he could not complain and was grateful for what he had. “In trucking, I don’t think people are making money right now,” he said. “They’re waiting out the wave, and once it picks up, that’s when people start to make money.”
What’s the most profit you’ve made in a month from trucking?
Bob said that he could not give me an exact figure. He told me about how he woke up with a negative $16,000 that particular morning. When I asked him why that was, he explained it to me. “So they took out insurance and fuel today,” he said. This happened because he switched bank accounts and not because he had money problems. “People say pay attention to your expenses, but I pay attention to where I can make money.”
Is being an Owner-operator still viable?
“Owner-operators are still okay if the truck’s okay,” said Bob. They do not have many expenses, and they can lease. “If you lease on to a good company, they charge you 10 percent, and you’re still making decent money.” So they can take shorter runs and go home on the weekends. Bob does not advise operators to lease a truck from a company they will drive for. “I feel like that is how many owner-operators get screwed.”
What are your three favorite brokerages?
- Coyote Logistics
- C.H. Robinson
- Uber freight– Bob added that he thinks they should improve their customer service.
What are some of the problems with DAT?
“DAT needs to get their stuff together, too,” said Bob. He spoke about Brokers that are trying to be scammers. He shared a story about a broker who wanted to scam and take his information. “I get it, there are so many different brokers, and it is hard for them to weed anybody out.”
What about grey areas in the logistics industry
“There’s a lot of shady stuff and grey areas in this industry,” Bob said. “It’s not only on the brokers’ side. A lot of shady stuff happens on the carrier side.” What brokers do is that they lie while dispatchers lie, forge documents, cut seals, and double broker loads.
A final word on drivers:
“What we need is the shippers and receivers making better things for drivers when the drivers show up,” said Bob. “Things like bathrooms and clean areas, but the drivers must do their part.” The U.S trucking market is going through challenges, but it will always bounce back.