How Would You Run Your Fleet if You Were in Charge and Money Wasn’t An Issue?

by Katy de Vries

NAPANEE, Ont. – Many drivers have their own ideas about how a company should be run, but often don’t have a channel for voicing their opinions. More often than not the drivers’ ideas make sense – as they are the ones behind the wheel.

That said, things change so quickly in the trucking industry that keeping up with all of the regulations and issues isn’t easy. The frustration and confusion drivers experience daily, coupled with their passion for the career, and the limited time they have to come up with solutions while waiting for a load or killing time at a truck stop, can make for some emotionally charged answers to this month’s Truck Stop Question.

Truck News visited the Flying J Travel Plaza in Napanee, Ont. to talk to drivers about whether or not they have ever fantasized about running their own fleet and if they were given a blank cheque, what they would like to change, add or take away from they way things currently run.

For company driver Doug Miller, who drives for Doubil Inc. of Woodstock, Ont., a blank cheque would mean retirement.

“If I was given a blank cheque, I would never look at another truck again! I’d hire people to do all of it,” said Miller, who was an independent owner/operator until four years ago.

“The rates would have to go up to match the costs and expenses, which have all risen in the past 15 to 20 years. What’s actually happened is the rates have gone down,” said Wade French, an O/O who drives for Portage Cartage of Winnipeg, Man.

“If they pay me $1.10 per mile, well, 20 years ago, I got $1.25 per mile and everything was much cheaper so it is pretty sad.”

French says that to work in this day and age to barely make a truck payment isn’t worth it.

“The people who are trying to get into this business don’t really know what they are getting into until they get their first paycheque. It’s only after the payments come out of it that they realize what it’s like,” he said.

If given a blank cheque, Brian Hymers, an O/O based in Listowel, Ont., said after he paid off his bills, he might be able to make money.

“As far as changing the world, we have to get the rates up, and it’s tough to say how we can do that, I think education is the secret. Maybe we can educate the public on what we are trying to achieve and of our costs and why we are struggling, and it may have a trickledown effect, it might be the solution to help everybody, not just me,” he said.

Gemco Transport driver, Erik Thornton, said there are so many things to change within the trucking industry and so many ways to make companies more efficient, that he didn’t know where to begin.

“If I had a fleet to run, I would make sure I had trucks that the drivers liked and I’d allow them to make their own decisions instead of being told what to do,” said Oakwood, Ont. owner/operator, Simon Atton, a driver for six years. n

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