Look at your cards

It’s funny how age effects your decision making. I recall being advised when I was a young lad that to further invest in the trucking industry by applying for operating authorities at that time would be very risky and the smart minds would not try it. Being young and bullet proof we were oblivious to the risk and we were also full of blind confidence that we could prevail. I like to recall it as one of those moments of truth that come along once and a while we bit the bullet and we ignored the advice of our learned council and accountant and risked it all anyway.

The economic world is even scarier now than it was back then and when I see these new companies that continually pop up in this industry and guessing the type of advice that these budding entrepreneurs likely got I can’t help but admire their spirit. I’d bet the farm that the advice I received all those years ago would sound a lot like it these folks heard today. Comments like, it’s too risky, and these are uncertain times and, wait for a couple years then when times are better you can try it!

Certainly when I look at opportunities that come my way now I look at them with a much different set of criteria than I did all those years ago. I also am cognisant of trying to not let that get in the way when I write this column and try to offer advice that I have collected over years of doing both the right things and the wrong things in this industry. Much of what I encourage folks to follow as a game plan falls on deaf ears and I except that reality, I am quite aware that many folks, especially the younger of us, believe they have a great opportunity that must be taken advantage of NOW, waiting is not an option, and that they can prevail on hard work and determination alone, planning is a secondary distraction.

All this being said I love this Peter Lynch quote “Investing without research is like playing stud poker without looking at the cards” or how about “Human beings, are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others and are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so” a quote by Douglas Adams. There are so many great resources for educating oneself these days on how to be successful, this is not say that there wasn’t some good information back when I started but back then it was in book form and after I drove my days work it was time to hit the rack, reading a couple chapters and absorbing anything of value from a general business self help book was not in the cards and when I got home it was down time, get recharged and then head back out.

Today there is a great wealth of information specifically on being a successful Owner Operator and it is available in the most convenient forms of transmission, downloaded from internet, satellite radio etc. all that can be listened to while you watch the miles go by. If your thinking of purchasing a truck and becoming an owner operator or even starting a small trucking company here are some of the materials that I would suggest that you get a hold of and listen to as a way of formulating a plan to move forward.
I would listen to Trucking Business and Beyond Kevin Rutherford on Sirius XM Radio Channel 106, I would also check out his website at www.letstruck.com Kevin is an old friend of mine and a sea of knowledge on how to become a master Owner Operator. I took Kevin’s Certified Master Contractor course some years ago and it was excellent, well worth the time. I would check out ATBS’s CABS program, it is an American product but it is an excellent resource and except for a few of the references to the IRS it is full of valuable information, in addition it is narrated by Mr. Dan Baker who is the quintessential master of trucking processes and philosophy www.atbsshow.com/knowledge-hub , some good benchmarking information here . I like what I see coming from Robert Scheper at THR Consulting, Robert has been a one man crusader for justice on behalf of Canadian Owner Operator against CCRA, his articles and much more can be found at http://makingyourmilescount.com/, there is a lot of good information to be found at Truck News Learning Center, including a 10 part series I did called Becoming a Successful Owner Operator www.trucknews.com/videos , you can also find the series on YouTube where it has received in excess of 230,000 views . In addition of course there are many good industry publications whose editorial has valuable information that is there for the reading.

The list can go on and on of good information that is there for the listening, much of it is free and the rest is very economical compared to the capital that you are talking about if you’re contemplating making an investment in trucking. So unless you are very good ay playing stud poker without looking at your cards there really is no reason to make an uninformed decision concerning this industry.

If you happen to have a resource that you feel has good information that you might have used in educating yourself on this industry please send it to me so that I can share it with the rest of the folks.

Take good care and safe trucking,

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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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