Dry Van vs Flatbed, Choosing What to Pull

As an Owner Operator, you might have reached a stage in your career where you’re debating if it would be better to invest in, a dry van vs flatbed.  If you are at this stage, congratulations! This means that you have earned your way to this point in your career. You have probably taken your Owner Operator business seriously and put in the hard work. Now you are ready to take your business to the next level.

Status Transportation Dry Van Trailer.jpg

This could be a very big decision to make because the choice would affect the amount of physical work you may have to do, the kinds of loads you can pick up and it could have some influence on available loads during different seasons.

Some carriers, like Status Transportation, have lease options that may be right for you to assist in the processes. Either way, making the choice to invest in a dry van vs a flatbed is still a financial decision that should be looked at carefully before you commit.  

In this article we will explore the perks of having a dry van vs flatbed. We will go over the physical aspects and the nuances that can build up over time. There are things that owner operators really enjoy about each, these things will be mentioned because they may be the reason why you choose one over the other.

Let’s look at considerations when investing in a dry van vs flatbed.

Loading Docks

One of the biggest advantages of having a dry van is the ease/usefulness of a loading dock. When you pull into your destination and back into a loading dock, the dock is aligned to the trailer. This leaves the loading/unloading team to easily walk into the trailer or better yet, use a forklift or a pallet jack.

The process of loading and unloading with a loading dock is something some might take for granted until you arrive at a location that does not have one.

With ELD’s and drive times on everyone’s mind, having the ease and quickness of a loading dock can really put you and your load ahead of the game.  

Do you mind strapping down the freight?

The reality of flatbed trucking is that it can be more labor intensive. If you are not physically prepared to go up and down a flatbed to strap a load, it will catch up.

There are certainly more risks of injuring your body while climbing up the flatbed and putting those straps down. In some cases, when guys get injured, it can be from something as simple as picking the wrong spot to stand, or the freight becoming unstable due to a strap they already put down leading to the load falling over.

Flatbed Trailer at Status Transportation OrlandoI may sound like someone who does not want to do that kind of work at the moment, but it only takes one slip up to seriously have a permanent back injury or any injury in general. This may be a gut check for you to see if you would physically be able to handle flatbed.

Some guys that become flatbed truckers take pride in their meticulous perfectly symmetrical strap tying. Does that matter if you have a dry van? Well, in some ways, yes.

One of the advantages of having a dry van is that the shippers are usually loading the product and this gives many owner operators time to sleep. Even though you are not climbing up onto a flatbed, it might be a good idea to take a peak in the back every once and again. You really want to ensure that the product is positioned in a way that it won’t be destroyed when you are going down the highway at 65 mph and hit a pothole.

Wait time, Loading, and Weather

Flatbeds can get loaded and unloaded within minutes. With this speed also comes unpredictable environmental changes. Just because the load time on the flatbed and is pretty quick, it still does not change the fact that it may be 110° out or -10°. There can be times when the shipper will place the load onto the flatbed and move on, leaving you in the rain to tarp and strap. You won’t have to be out there that long but you can count on days that you will be soaked, fridged or drenched in sweat.

CDL 101 has come out with some numbers indicating that flatbed truckers on average make a little more annually than dry van yet, is it worth it? More money is great but, it’s up to you if you want to live that lifestyle.

Status Transportation Dry Vans in the side lot at Orlando location.Most of the additional money acquired is typically developed due to shippers paying more because of variable weather conditions. Meaning that if the weather is terrible the shipper may pay you a couple cents more for you to protect the load. You will need to get out in the grueling weather to start tarping and strapping the load. This is where you would earn that extra money and for a couple cents more, is it worth it?

On the other hand, a dry van can take some time loading up. You are probably not going to touch the load as much. During the loading time, many drivers like to get some rest or some shut eye. If the shipper takes longer than expected you will end up in detention.

With that being said, If you are in detention, you can get paid anywhere from around $20 an hour to sleep while you wait.

Nostalgia of a flatbed?

Being able to see over the trailer when you are backing up isn’t something to harp on, it is more of a perk of driving flatbed. When it comes to the structure of a dry van vs flatbed there are a couple points that come to mind.

The van itself can be pushed around by the wind. So taking it easy in windy situations may affect your time to get to your destination.

Another thing to consider is your how strong you are at backing up. It may sound kind of silly to mention this but on flatbeds, they are typically set up with split axles instead of tandems meaning that there is a 102” between the two rear axles in most cases. This could make them more difficult to back up because you can’t get the trailer to turn on a tighter radius that you may be used to.

If you force a sharp angle you can really do some damage to a slew of random things involving your truck or your trailer from the pressure it creates. You could do some damage to your alignment of the axels, the tires, the parking lot, or all of the above. Just consider that you may have to do more pull-ups to get the angle right.

The plus side of backing up a flatbed is that sometimes you can see over the flatbed which with dry van, that’s not an option.

What does this all mean?

It is really up to you. You probably know in your own head after reading this that one over the other most likely fits your lifestyle.

The big items to really consider is, are you a physical natured person and willing to go up and down the trailer and what kind of loads does your mother carrier typically have. If you live in an area where flatbed is just the way to go and you are a regional driver with some niche that requires you to have a flatbed, obviously, make that choice. If you are someone that wants only to be an over the road operator with ease and typical loads, you probably want to consider dry van.

In all reality, this is your decision and if you change your mind later It will most likely not affect you as much as you originally thought it would. You will still have loads, it is just more of a personal preference.

If you are considering signing on to a carrier that has options for dry van, come and check us out here at Status Transportation. We would be glad to assist you in the process.

Stay safe and happy driving.

References:

https://www.truckingtruth.com/truckers-forum/Topic-1051/Page-1/reefer-vs-flatbed-vs-dry-van

www.youtube.com/user/statustransportation

http://www.prodrivers.com/news/2016/3/40117749/Pros-vs-Cons-What-opportunities-can-flatbed-trucking-offer-commercial-drivers

https://cdl101.com/flatbed-trucking/

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-devices

 

How much do owner operators make per year?

All comes down to money, right? If you are planning to buy your own rig to be an owner operator or maybe you already are one, you want to know how much do owner operators make per year.  You probably have seen some marketing claiming they can make you earn $100K or more a year, and while it is a true possibility, it could be misleading especially if you are new in business with no or less than 5 years’ experience. The real number depends on many variables, but mainly on the contractual agreements you manage to negotiate and how much you run. You can either get paid by percent of the load or the most common by the mileage, but some companies also include some perks.

Every experienced truck driver will tell you that, your income will depend totally on the strategy you have for your business because the gross income matters most. Since you are no longer a steady-paycheck truck driver, but a business owner, and like any other business owner you need to come out with your own plan and tactics that will allow you to have the consistency of income you need to keep going, and not only to get the highest paid jobs.

In order for you to better understand how much do owner operators make per year, we are going to list for you the variables on which your earnings will depend. Then you can decide how much realistic income you want to make.

Hours of Service

It is well known that HOS equals miles and miles equals earnings in truck driving. And now with the ELD federal mandate that makes us comply with the HOS rules that require driving no more than 11 hours per day, within a normal 14-hour workday and then stay Off Duty for 10 uninterrupted hours, where will be better to spend your HOS? Loading and unloading? Remember that the clock does not stop ticking once you change the status to On Duty. Now let’s analyze how much do owner operators make per year if they run at 60 mph, 8 real driving hrs a day, 6 days a week; you get 2,880 miles per week. And you get loads with an average per mile of $1.5, you earn $4,320 for that week, and let’s say you average 10 months like this week, you earn $172,800 a year.

Region of Operation

You might think that your location has nothing to do with how much do owner operators make per year and it does not have to affect the pay, and maybe it really doesn’t vary that much, but be aware that where you live can affect the possibility of you getting hired, because some companies will not hire you if they see that it would be difficult to get you home. But another important reason is that despite the season, there are some regions where they normally have loads the entire year, not only on peak season, like for example; most o the east side of the US and they are also known to have the highest paying trucking jobs. That is something to consider if you want a consistent income. Check the 10 recommended states.

Seasons

In this business, you need to be aware of the season’s behavior avoiding becoming your worst enemy by not considering the worst of times throughout the year. There are at least 4 critical seasons for truck drivers to consider that are critical to answer how much do owner operators make per year; The 1st is from January-March, which it becomes very slow; The 2nd April-July is the High Normal Season, The 3rd is Peak Season on August-October and you need to be prepared to work all you can, here is where the lucky weeks appear, and the sky is the limit. But make sure you are considering saving some money for the beginning of the next year. The last one is from November -Thanksgiving.  Here is where you have to be smart and balance your income throughout the season.

Type of truck and freight

The kind of jobs and contracts opportunities will depend on the type of vehicle you have or the endorsement you license has. Smart Owner Operators make sure their license hold all the endorsement possible; H, N, T, K. Yes they required more ability but increases your chance of getting more jobs. For example, Hazardous Materials, livestock or hauling motor vehicles sometimes get the highest paying rate per mile. Depending on the route and loads like this ones, you can get paid from $1 to $3 bucks per mile, this always impacts how much do owner operators make per year. But if you want to take no risk, flatbed trailers and Dry Vans are regularly the higher steady paying freight jobs. Specially flatbeds, shippers are willing to add extra pay, because they want to ensure more care and safe delivery. Take this information into consideration if you want to specialize in any type of freight.

Experience

As in any other job out there, having more experience is imperative on how much do owner operators make per year. If you have verifiable experience, good reputation with your customer service and a clean record it means you can guarantee the customer will get their load on time. And obviously you will be offered or you can easily negotiate to get paid more. Successful Owner Operators usually decide to take 3 to 5 years as a company driver before taking the plunge to independent driver business, and truck drivers who have been in the business for more than 5 years earn around 30% more than beginners. Also, experience helps you handle better your cash flow. Never forget that having experience means you know what you are doing, and your employer knows you do it well, this could be the contrast between success and failure for your career.

Companies Perks

Companies that have extra benefits help you with your income since you don’t have to get money out of your pocket to pay for them. Companies usually bestow this perks to retain experienced drivers and other just because they really like to improve quality of life for their drivers and improve how much do owner operators make per year. This perks could include; fleet insurance rate, assurance plans for you and your family, fuel programs, tolls reimbursement, permits cost, and more. Get used to this benefits and ask the companies you work for if they have them. The less you used your own cash the better.

We hope that you now you have a better idea of how much do owner operators make per year, and hopefully you now understand that it depends on how savvy you get at running your owner operator business and that you do not need to compare to yourself with statistics or with your fellow truckers, because now you know you can earn what you want.

Winter, Owner Operators Companies Best Season, Are You Prepared?

owner operator companies Status Transportation

The holiday season is upon us and with that comes the highest rate season of the year for owner operator companies. This is one of the greatest paying times of the year, it’s incredible the number of owner operators companies that get caught so ill-prepared for Winter season. These simple to follow winter season suggestions will assist you to take advantage of the Winter and get those high paying rates that come along with it.

Organize A Winter Pack

We must begin by getting a good winter season pack organized. Many owner operators don’t put every single item in a bag, and is not a requirement, but is good to know exactly where you keep each of the following items during an emergency.  Your winter kit can go in the truck in the fall and you can take it out in the spring and it consists of the following:

  • A set of insulated coveralls
  • Winter season boots
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Headscarf
  • A blanket
  • Flashlight
  • Mineral water
  • Energy bars
  • Sweet nut raisins
  • A pack of condensed soup cubes
  • A bag of cat litter
  • A shovel

There’s numerous accidents in the wintertime where owner operators are just not prepared for spending any time in the cold. You could find yourself at a road closure and you really have to prepare for being on our your for at least 24 hours at the bare minimum. So make sure to have warm clothes, blankets and a rechargeable flashlight.

You’re also going to need a source of food, something you can survive on like energy bars and bottled water in plastic jugs that you know will survive a freeze. Candy, nuts, raisins, a package of condensed  soup like bouillon cubes. We’re not going to make a steady diet of this but if it’s going to keep us alive that’s what we need. Also. Throw in a bag of kitty litter which is great for traction in case you get stuck. Kitty litter could come in handy for when you back into a loading dock and you can’t get out.

Some owner operators companies have had the misfortune of ending up stuck on the side of the road for multiple days waiting for the highway to open back up.  That goes back to where our survival bag comes in handy. Make sure that you’re in a position to take care of yourself for at least 24 hours.

Learn To Install Tire Chains

owner operator trucking in winterNow is a good time if you’re going to run in the areas where you have to chain up to figure out how to put on a set of tire chains. Every year there’s a few accidents where drivers get hit while putting on tire chains. So this is a skill we just don’t want to learn at night on the side of a highway in snowy deplorable conditions because of the time you spend down on those drive axles. That’s what law enforcement officers refer to as the kill zone. Most owner operator trucking near death experiences happen on the side of the highway. We all know how the four wheelers drive and we’ve all seen the pictures of the trucks on Facebook, so be prepared. You gotta be prepared! So if you’ve never chained up before, get a hold of a fellow owner operator or if you’ve got a mentor, get together and practice putting on a set of chains so you do it correctly and you know how to do it in case you need it.

Possibly you’ll need to chain up just two times in Twenty Years of driving due to the fact that the majority of the times you just choose not to, regardless this is among the abilities you have to have so you can be prepared to be successful at an owner operator trucking job. If it’s bad enough that even with tire chains on you still do not feel safe, find a great safe location and wait it out. You’re the captain of your ship, keep in mind that when things go south you’re going to go down with your ship.  

Know Your Limitations

We’re talking about driving under bad winter weather conditions here, but to put this into perspective, the safety team at Status Transportation is always looking out for owner operators during hurricane season.  So if you run into some bad weather you gotta have guts to know your limitations.  Your safety is a priority.

As young a new driver in the owner operator trucking industry don’t get caught when older drivers are on the radio and say it’s not that bad. If you really don’t feel comfortable then you know you probably shouldn’t be out there, wait for things to improve. Get on the phone, communicate with dispatch and have the courage to say I don’t feel comfortable, I don’t feel safe and I’m parking until things improve. We can’t stress this enough, communication is key.  

Dispatchers at Status Transportation not only keep a finger on the pulse of the industry for the best rates in order to provide the highest paying owner operator jobs, but also to help you be safe out there.

So a highway to an experienced driver may not seem that bad but to an owner operator trucking rookie it’s just absolutely horrible. No one should get into trouble because someone coerced them into driving when they shouldn’t have been driving or driving beyond their limits. Slow down take a big deep cleansing breaths and stay off of that brake pedal when you start to feel anxious. Take a big breath, relax, ease off the throttle, and slow down. Don’t worry about other drivers trying to bully you into doing things that exceed your comfort level and your skill level.

It’s so much easier to phone a customer and to tell them it’s going to be late than it is to phone the customer and tell them the load it’s upside down and we’re not sure how much we can salvage. And the last thing anybody wants is to be in an accident so know your limits. Communication is the key. And when you make a decision to park for the weather live by your decision and stand by it because nobody can tell you how to drive other than you.

Get A Flu Shot

Owner operator trucking jobs require drivers to be prepared and watch for signs of exhaustion and sickness. The flu shot is a real good idea take the opportunity to make sure that your health is up to speed and you’re in good health. And if you wind up feeling sick or you got a cold. Be very careful what cold medication you take because the last thing you want to do is take an over-the-counter medication that makes you drowsy. It’s darker short daylight hours and you don’t want to be taking a medication that wants to put you to sleep. You have no business being on the road so get lots of sleep. Stay healthy, stay warm and be prepared.

High Visibility Coat

There’s nothing better than a high visibility coat in the wintertime.  That should be your only winter jacket. Get yourself a nice safety parka jacket with lots of reflective material on it and be visible.  Safety departments at owner operator companies recommend using it especially at night because you don’t want to blend into the evening.

Avoid Distractions

You should avoid distractions all year round when driving but specially during the winter time.  If you’re talking on the phone on your headset, or bluetooth or any kind of device and the weather starts to deteriorate, just politely let the person you’ll call them back later.  You need to put your full attention to what you do.  Get off the phone and pay attention to your driving, things go south things go south really quick and we have to be prepared for that.

A safe owner operator doesn’t risk having the opportunity to make that hard panic stop. So that’s why we really stress get off the phone, eyes on the road and call back when is safe to do so.

For this and other useful posts on how to succeed in owner operator trucking subscribe to the Status Transportation blog today!

3 Fundamental tips for a successful owner operator trucking business

Operating any type of kind of company calls for very careful planning as well as prep work and being an owner operator is no different. There is money to be made however you should sharpen your administration abilities in order to do well in the owner operator trucking business. There are numerous drivers who have set out to be their own boss, got the highest paying owner operator jobs and also managed to make near to $300,000 a year, yet either handled their funds the wrong way or significantly overestimated the expense of working. The following 3 suggestions are simple yet essential methods to help you succeed and grow as an owner operator trucker.

Communication is key in owner operator trucking

Among the first things, every skilled driver that came to be an owner operator will say to you is that communication is crucial. An excellent relationship and good communication with your dispatcher will certainly go a long way. Be personable. Truckers spend a great deal of time on their own and have the tendency to forget mannerisms, however exercising basic business manners are very important for being successful.

Your truck is your primary tool, take care of it

Maintaining an open mind and also taking advice from skilled truckers will certainly place you ahead of the pack. Prior to investing in a truck study as well as learn from seasoned owner operators. Purchase or lease a truck you could pay for, as well as ensure to establish some cash away for emergency situations as well as unforeseen repair services.

Truck Repair Shop Status Trucks

You need to be prepared if something happens to your rig or you are in need of additional money for gas. As a company driver you could depend on the company to handle truck repair and maintenance, however taking care of your rig is currently your sole responsibility. Owner operator jobs call for you to use several hats as well as being on top of your truck repairs and maintenance schedule is just one of them. Preventative maintenance, tires, oil changes, greasing it weekly, and so on. It’s all you now. Your truck is your tool and also your top expenditure so you may as well take great of it. Keep a repair and maintenance plan, care for the small things on your own so you can save some money and also get a dependable semi truck repair shop for major repair jobs.

Establish clear objectives as well as manage your costs

Be practical and also think like a real business person. An entrepreneurial mindset will certainly make the difference between efficient owner operator trucking companies or drivers that just own a truck.  You can boost your owner operator pay and profits by managing costs. Remember it’s not how much money you make, but the amount of money you keep. It’s good to establish enthusiastic objectives, yet you can’t start spending based on projected revenue, so budget based upon moderate yearly standards, not the very best of times.

Good spending practices and money management skills will certainly result in highly profitable owner operator jobs. Financial planning can be time-consuming and challenging as well as not what you would like to be doing as a trucker, but as the saying goes “failing to plan is planning to fail”. By writing down on paper your forecasted expenses versus earnings, you’ll have a clear idea of your resources as well as get rid of unforeseen surprises.

In conclusion, be patient and also learn the ropes prior to taking the plunge. Exercise good communication, budgeting and also take good care of your rig. Prepare for a rainy day, save money and also do not head out and get a ton of expensive toys. Evaluate your alternatives and decide what is best for you, your loved ones and your company.

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A driver’s approach to succeed in the owner operator trucking business

At Status Transportation we get a chance to chat with owner operator truck drivers all the time.  They share their experiences out on the road and what they have learned from it.  You see, becoming an owner operator requires you to learn all the business jargon. But there is nothing compared to being out on the road day in and day out.  Driving will give you some knowledge you can’t get anywhere else.

A few days back talking to one of our owner operators, and he shared  “The Owner Operator‘s Success Triad”. It’s a very simple but very powerful concept. We want to save you some time, and hopefully having to go through unnecessary situations by sharing this concept with you.

It’s through experience and sometimes going through a couple of owner operator jobs that drivers learn to identify the three basic elements every owner operator needs to succeed.  This triad consists of having a reliable truck, a good dispatcher, and being the best driver.  It’s a very simple concept don’t you think? Well if it’s that simple, then why are some owner operator truckers struggling out there?

1. Having a good truck.

A new truck will probably give you fewer problems and that might be true to a certain degree. You’ll have less with mechanical issues but what about covering your truck payments.  Each driver’s circumstances are unique and that why we can’t say buying new or used is the best option.  You need to evaluate your own financial situation and decide what will be best for you. Some drivers feel more comfortable buying an older truck and taking care of minor maintenance issues themselves to save some money.  Depending on the place you buy it you could also get some kind of warranty, so that’s always a good thing. Owner operators have told me they like to know then can get under the hood and understand what’s going on in there instead of having to rely on a computer for a diagnosis.

Of course, a newer truck is less likely to breakdown and you have the benefit of a dealership warranty.  That way you can spend more time out on the road and keep making money.  I guess the only downside is the higher truck payments or not being close to a dealer in case of a breakdown. Regardless of how old or new your truck might be, as an owner operator truck driver you need to maintain it properly.

2. Having a good dispatcher

owner operator trucking - status transportationTalking about truck dispatchers, owner operators always come to the same conclusion, communication is key.  Setting clear goals and expectations from the very beginning is very important. If you are about to start working with a new owner operator trucking company, then take some time to sit with your dispatcher and lay down a working strategy. That way your dispatcher will know how you like to run, your expectations as far as downtime, and your owner operator payment goals.  There’s nothing like having a work relationship based on trust. You’ll know your dispatcher will always have your best interest at heart.

Everything starts with good communication, clear expectations, being open to suggestions, and having a good attitude towards the job. There might be a couple of bumps in the road, but the important thing is to solve them through clear communication.

3. Be the best owner operator you can be

You can have the best equipment and the world’s best dispatcher, but if as a driver you are not up to the level things will not work out.  On of the traits you need to have as an owner operator is patience.  Being patient and having a good attitude will go a long way. The trucking business is an ever changing environment. The sooner you understand this, the easier it will be for you to handle different situations and have a good attitude about it.

This concept is like a three legged stool, you need all three legs to be well balanced in order for it to work. I would like you to consider this concept, and I hope it will be useful in helping you to succeed as an owner operator truck driver.

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Three ways to become an owner operator truck driver

 

People from all walks of life have tried it and found owner operator trucking to be a very rewarding career.  Owner operator truck drivers do have more responsibility and it’s not for the faint hearted, but even so, the rewards are worth it. Company drivers who go into owner operator trucking also have more control over their future because they can decide how to run their business.

Ways you can become an owner operator

These are the three most common ways to start your owner operator business. Depending on your aversity to risk, you may feel more comfortable with one option than the other.  Also, you will notice that the level of independence from each of the following options is directly correlated to the level of risks and benefits.  These are the ways you can become an owner operator sorted by risk from lowest to highest.

Owner operator business risk levels

  1. Lease-purchase programs. Lease purchase programs are the least popular among truckers. This first option is probably the easiest way to become an owner operator but not necessarily the most rewarding. These programs lower the barriers to entry for owner operators who do not have a good credit score, but that also comes with some trade-offs.  Truck variety is only limited to what the company has to offer and you can’t take it anywhere unless it’s paid off. The success rate of these programs is very low because it can take many years before you can start making real money.  

Pros: Easy way to get a truck. Lower risk involved if the truck is in good condition.

Cons: Signing a lease for a very expensive equipment could take years to pay it off. Can’t take the truck with you to any other company in case they are not giving you good rates. You could be stuck with a clunker and still be liable for payments.

  1.  Lease to a company.  In this option you buy your truck from a third party and lease on to an owner operator trucking company of your preference.  This way you are running under the company’s authority.

Pros: You call the shots as to what equipment to get since you are buying it on your own. Complete independence to decide which carrier you want to lease onto.  Higher owner operator pay.

Cons: Your truck, your responsibility.  You are committed to the truck loan term and can’t walk away from the deal.

  1. Own authority. This last option has the most risk and probably the most reward but with a very low rate of success. Being an motor carrier requires you to drive your truck, look for your own loads and stay on top of all the paperwork involved in running a trucking business. You are also responsible for maintaining a good safety score, file taxes, invoicing customers, being compliant, etc.

Pros: Highest owner operator pay, more independence.

Cons: Requires wearing multiple hats.  Solely responsible legally and financially.

What’s your motivation for wanting to become an owner operator trucker?

Maybe you have a few years and many miles under your belt as a company driver and are ready for the next challenge.  Or maybe you want to become an owner operator because you want a better paying job.  Whatever the reason might be, this is the best time to take action.  Status Transportation is an owner operator trucking company with enough business cycle experience to recognize how the trucking industry behaves.  According to our experience as one of the best owner operator trucking companies, owner operator pay is in an upward trend and is likely to continue that way.  This applies across the board to regional and OTR owner operator truckers hauling dry vans, reefers, and flatbeds.

If you are seriously thinking about becoming an owner operator truck driver, first talk to five or six owner operators who have succeeded in this industry.  Always use your critical thinking skills and make an informed decision.

For useful information on how to succeed as an owner operator trucker please subscribe to the Status Transportation blog today.

Being prepared as an owner operator trucker for the International Roadcheck 2017

As you already know, this year the CVSA’s International Roadcheck will place unique focus on cargo securement. Last year owner operators needed to pay extra attention to brakes and tires, but this year is all about freight securement regulations.  This is how owner operator trucking companies can prepare for the 2017 blitz.

Owner Operator Trucking CompaniesThe 72-hour security blitz begins tomorrow and they will be examining your freight. From June 6th until the 8th, law enforcement officers will be examining commercial motor vehicles at a level 1 inspection.

This thorough inspection will examine the mechanical fitness of the vehicle as well as inspect driver’s records. Ensure all your documentation is in order and run a careful pre-trip evaluation to make sure your rig is in great shape.

Load securement regulations owner operators must know

When it comes to your cargo, load securement will be closely inspected in the CVSA’s roadside evaluation and you have to be prepared. For that reason, you must know what the guidelines state.

  • For prevention of loss of load, the regulations mention that a company and driver must make sure that the cargo does not leak, spill, blow or fall from the motor vehicle.
  • For prevention against moving of load, the cargo should be contained, immobilized or secured to prevent shifting upon or within the vehicle. This is measured by whether or not the vehicle stability or maneuverability is negatively affected.

If you are transporting any of the following freights you must protect it according to these particular guidelines.  

Logs, Dressed Lumber, Metal Coils, Paper Rolls, Concrete Pipeline, Intermodal Containers, Automobiles, Light Trucks, and Vans, Heavy Vehicles, Equipment and Machinery, Flattened or Crushed Vehicles, Roll-on/Roll-Off and Hook-Lift Containers, and Large Stones.

Non-compliance found at a roadside inspection can elevate CSA scores directly impacting your owner operator pay.  How you might ask? Very simple, maintaining a clean driving record is always helpful when in search for highest paying owner operator jobs.  

Securing general cargoes with indirect tie-downs based on length and weight

The working load limit or WLL is the maximum load that may be applied to a component of a cargo securement system throughout normal service. The working load limitation is important due to the fact that it affects the number of tie-downs you need to protect the cargo. To effectively protect cargo we must consider both weight and length of the cargo.

Securing freight based upon weight

You are required to secure half of the cargo weight with tie-downs. To do this you should ensure that the aggregate working load limit or WLL of tie-downs used to protect freight against motion should be at least one-half times the weight of the cargo. Compare the number of tie-downs required for length and weight and use the higher standard.

Tie-down adequacy

We also need to make sure the adequacy of the tie downs. First is the anchor point, a number of flaws from the tie-down flaws table in the out of service criteria book can render the anchor point or the tie-down out of service. We look for the integrity of the anchor points so no fractures appear. Lastly, we should examine all securement points and tie downs for serviceability.

Status Transportation - Pre-Trip Inspection
Status Transportation – Pre Trip Inspection

At Status Transportation we are committed to safety. Run a truck and trailer inspection making sure everything is in order.  If you have any concerns about your equipment please address that immediately.

We hope that by understanding what the FMCSA is searching for you’ll be better prepared for the 2017 CVSA Roadside Inspection.