Howdy, folks. With the exception of a fellow named Bob many of you seemed to enjoy my Ray’s Rules column from a few months ago, so I thought I would run with the idea and set some ground rules for a few specific sectors of the industry. In the near future you might see Ray’s Rules for company owners, company drivers, safety managers, recruiters, dispatchers or whatever seems like a good idea at the time. Oh…and just to keep Bob happy…load brokers. I would also be more than willing to take suggestions from you folks, so send them in and let’s put some order to some of these roles and once again, straighten this thing out!
Before I go on I should clarify that these rules are my satirical view of what I see as being obvious oversights on the parts of some folks. I attempt to throw in some humor in order to get some of you to get off the pot and start acting like you’re in the game and not only survive, but to do the best you can. I also need to point out that the vast majority of, in this case, Owner Operators, run under their own set of rules and do not need any advice from me. That being said, there are always those groups that just don’t get it and I guess that Ray’s Rules is really for those folks; so if you are one of them, please pay attention. We need you to wake up and be part of the team!
Rule Number 1: Expired fuel tax decals are not to be treated in the same manner as old luggage that you never throw out. Take them off your truck. If I was a scale master, I would think to myself, “Wow this guy can’t even be bothered to remove an IFTA decal from 2005…I wonder what the rest of this fool’s paperwork looks like?” Get that crap off there; it might take an extra 10-15 minutes but get a rag with some cleaner and take the old decal goo off and put the new one on straight. Do it and do it right now!
Rule Number 2: Speaking of straight…at least once or twice a week I see an owner operator who has put the logo of the company who they are for crooked on the side of the truck. What is up with that? Are you folk’s blind? A crooked logo on the side of a truck looks like hell. If you are so challenged in this regard, get that crooked thing replaced and have it put on by someone who knows what they are doing. It won’t cost much; you just tell them where you want it and stay away from the project. Get with the program here!
Rule Number 3: I understand that keeping a truck clean is not always easy, but occasionally I see a truck going down the road that hasn’t been washed in months. If this doesn’t bother whoever owns this piece of equipment then I am not sure what else to say, except that I bet this is the same person that you can smell before they ever enter the room. As of today you must leave our little fraternity; it’s not that we don’t like you; it’s just that our senses can no longer tolerate your lack of cleanliness or personal hygiene!
Rule Number 4 (You have heard this rule from me many times before, but for me it has to be on this list): The whiners must go! I’m not talking about the complaints that come from someone with a legitimate beef and attempts to do something about it. I’m talking about the person who lives by the code of “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” and they never stop complaining. You guys make my ears hurt! You too must leave our club and, in addition are also banned from ever owning another CB radio!
Rule Number 5: Using your next and last pay statements as your sole measure as to whether you are getting ahead or not must stop. You bought a truck as a tool to start a small business. Being successful as a small business includes but is not limited to planning, strategizing, budgeting, and cash flow management. If you don’t know what I am talking about here ask around and find a business service provider who can help you and get on with it. If you’re an Owner Operator and not doing this, this is the most important rule in this article for you. As Nike would say… Just Do It!
Rule Number 6: You must know your cost as an Owner Operator and you must work at reducing this cost at all times. In my previous life, one of the ways I would gauge the business savvy of an owner operator, was during a conversation I would ask what the individual’s cost of fuel was. Unfortunately many folks couldn’t answer me, they would try though. I would get answers like 6 MPG or 7.1 MPG which was, of course, an answer to a question I did not ask. If the owner operator gave me an answer that was out to 3 digits or 35.7 cents per mile after fuel surcharge, then I knew I was talking to someone who was watching their business.
Rule Number 7 (copied from my favorite author Larry Winget, check him out at www.larrywinget.com):. “Do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it, the way you said you would do it.” Larry nails it in his #1 rule for life and business, and this should be included on every list. Unless you follow this rule in your own day-to-day life, how can you expect anyone else to come through for you the way you expect them to?
This could go on for pages but I’m running out of space. Please feel free to drop me a note on what should be added to the list or comment on the current content.
Ray J 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. All posts by Ray Haight