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Dear Ray

I probably receive five to six calls or e-mails per month from drivers and O/Os wanting advice on one issue or another, and I quite enjoy talking to folks. Some want to just pick my brain on issues of the day, and are looking for direction because of an issue with profitability, or are having a conflict with their carrier. I thought I would share the nature of a few of those calls with you. Maybe some of you are having the same issues or are looking for similar direction and can benefit from these conversations. The names will be changed to protect the innocent, the guilty, and myself from any unwanted unscrupulous time wasting repercussions.

E-mail from Johnny Wannabe (JW) in Alberta.

This well-spoken young fella has given it a ton of thought and is determined to become an owner/operator.  His question: What do I do first? I want to do my homework before I go buy a truck.

I love enthusiasm and this young man is full of it, so I sent young JW some of my past articles on the subject. I also sent a link to a set of videos that I did that have received over 100,000 hits on YouTube, I suggested that he go online and look up Kevin Rutherford’s Web site “Let’s Truck”  that I love. I also have been referring folks to Robert Scheper from the Peg, to help set up their business and keep the books straight. Robert also writes for OTR, believe me though, it is not for that reason that I recommend his service, means nothing to me, that’s who I would have doing my stuff if I were still an O/O. I also sent some additional info that was at my disposal. Best of luck JW I think you’ll be fine.

Phone call from Lost in the Dark (LITD) in Eastern Canada.

He operates a couple trucks and doesn’t know if he is as profitable as he should be.

This was a great call; this fellow had his stuff together for the most part. After a number of probing questions from me, this experienced driver and small businessman seemed to have it together. Operating two trucks with his own authority, great gross revenue, paying his second driver a decent salary, knew his numbers when asked. I was quite impressed. That is until he revealed that he had not filed his 2014 tax return, that opened up a gaping hole in the conversation. How can you seem to have your act together but overlook this little dandy, it has to be done so why not do it on time? I speak from experience here, there is no sense spending money on late payments and interest charges that are not necessary, it’s a part of the business that has to be taken care of, hate it as we may. LITD informed me that his wife had no interest or skills necessary to perform this function, so once more He’ll be fine; he just needs a little guidance.

Phone call from The Victim (TM)in Ontario.

This call was an exercise in patience for me I have to say, it was from the O/O’s girlfriend and co-driver.

This couple was in the midst of being worked over by the carrier that the truck and boyfriend were contracted to. As they described it, there had been friction and bad manners displayed from both parties that had been going on for quite a while. Boy, does this conversation bring back some nasty flashbacks. So after a barrage of words I finally got a chance to ask a couple questions, like, so when the very first issue occurred did anyone from your side ask for a sit down to find resolution to whatever caused the problem? Answer – no. So when things went bad the second time what did you folks do? Well, much the same thing. So when were things supposed to get better? Before I get any nasty e-mails folks, I’m not saying that the carrier doesn’t share in this O/O’s issue because they clearly do. My advice is to be proactive in these situations. Let’s be honest: you have done everything in perfect sequence to put yourself in the situation that you’re in today, good, or bad. That is step one. Take responsibility and ownership, once you learn that critical lesson and understand it, you have to act when things go wrong, if you don’t it’s just laziness. I won’t go on any longer on this one, I gave TM some advice on how to efficiently cut the cord with their company, hopefully they’ll be alright, but I do have concerns.

Phone call from someone I’ll call The Constructive Critic (TCC) not sure where he was from.

The connection was very poor but I got enough of it to understand the sentiment. TCC was sharing his observation, in a very respectful way I will add, that it appeared to him that I had began leaning more and more in my writings towards a company bias and against drivers and O/Os. I have to admit that this took me aback a little. So I asked TCC if he had any specific examples that he could share with me of my indiscretion. He didn’t offer any specifics but did share some of his frustrations as a driver with dealing with border crossings waiting at customers, etc. Thanks for the call TCC, much appreciated you got my wheels turning man.

Folks, I drove for 10 years and have done over a million miles of safe driving all over North America. I proudly expose this wherever possible; most recently I was also the president of small, medium and large sized carriers for the next couple decades. Do I have a bias towards companies? You bet I do. Do I also have complete bias, empathy and understanding of what it’s like to live on the road? Ya, buddy, I do. Hopefully what I write comes across in a balanced way, I hope so anyway.

Something eatin’ on ya? Got a comment or observation you want shared? Drop me a line at

Safe trucking and thanks much.

Ray Haight

Ray Haight

Mr. Ray Haight has enjoyed a successful career in transportation starting as a company driver and Owner Operator logging over one million accident free miles prior to starting his own company. After stepping down from a successful career managing one of Canada’s 50 largest trucking companies, Ray focused on industry involvement including terms as Chairman of each of the following, the Truckload Carriers Association, Professional Truck Drivers Institute, North American Training and Management Institute and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities voluntary apprenticeship of Tractor Trailer Commercial Driver, along with many other business interests, he enjoys a successful consulting business, also sitting on various Boards of both industry associations a private motor carriers. He is also Co-Founder of StakUp O/A TCAinGauge an online bench marking service designed to assist trucking companies throughout North America focus on efficiency and profitability within their operations.
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