Q: What techniques do you use to trim costs while on the road?

by Matthew Sylvain

ENFIELD, N.S. – There is no hiding it: trucking is an expensive occupation.

However, the crafty trucker can take steps to keep costs under control as any veteran driver will explain.

For those who may not have been playing the game quite as long, Truck News polled drivers on their techniques for trimming expenses associated with life on the road.

The site of this month’s Truck Stop Question is the Enfield, N.S. Irving Big Stop, which is north of Halifax along Hwy. 102.

Driver Bill Ruggles drives a 1997 Western Star for Elmsdale, N.S.-based Tomahawk Transport. Driving for the fleet makes life a lot easier when it comes to budgeting for expenses, Ruggles explains, because the challenge of keeping costs down falls on the shoulders of somebody else. Fueling up on a run of wood chips, Ruggles adds he knows the pain that unexpected expenses can cause, because he once drove with his long-hauling brother in the U.S.

“I carry a cooler, I eat most of my meals out of the cooler,” explains Blair Reilly, who has just dropped a multi-million dollar load of two shelter units at Canadian Forces Base Shearwater.

The Kemptville, Ont.-based driver of a flatbed for Tibbs Transport, and who is a smoker, notes that another good trick is to stock up on necessities when you can. “Anytime you go to the States, you buy your cigarettes at the duty-free. Anything you can to cut down,” expenses, he says.

With 20 years under his belt, Regina-based owner/operator Darcy Heman acknowledges that failure to properly manage costs can be a career-ending challenge.

“You use better lubricants because it cuts down on the cost of lubricating things. Little things like accountants fees and things like that. Office expenses are another thing that people don’t even think about,” says Heman, who runs flatbed for On-Deck Transport of Emerald Park, Sask.

Moncton, N.B. driver David Black drives a 1997 International for Armour Transport, out of Moncton.

“Have a cold lunch pretty much every day. You could go through 30 bucks a day if you ate every meal on the road, if you stopped for coffee and so on, it cuts into things pretty fast,” says Black, who was running a reefer of fish he picked up in Lunenburg, N.S.

Back behind the wheel after years spent as a mechanic, Jeff Scarlett is on his first run down east for a broker who also happens to be a family member.

The Mississauga, Ont. driver of an International Eagle owned by Brookville Transport, Scarlett pegs the key costs out of hand as speed and fuel economy.

“But as far as personal expenses and that, pretty much eat out of a cooler breakfast, lunch and supper, depending on if you’re stopping or going through that night,” Scarlett says as his girlfriend, along for the ride, climbs down from the cab. n

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