August 2018

Overdrive Magazine | Trucking Business News & Owner Operator Info

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Voices 10 | Overdrive | August 2018 There's no doubt many owner-operators are making bank in today's strong market. As is often the case, though, the range of earnings by segment shows a remarkably wide range above and below the averages. Among all clientele of financial services provider ATBS, recent years have seen average annual net income hover around $60,000. Data from Over- drive's 2018 compensation survey show some wide variations from that aver- age point. Among major categories of haulers in Overdrive's survey, flatbedder respon- dents reported the smallest share of income above that $60,000 average. ATBS data, though, shows that segment has been seeing tremendous gains in earn- ings since 2017. Among combined leased and independent owner-operator respon- dents, the largest shares of income divergence are rep- resented by those who se- lected $70,000-plus or less than or equal to $40,000. Big equipment investments incurred in a single year – and the increasingly high cost and big-ticket annual depreciation deductions for those investments – might account for some of the lower-end respondents. A larger share (22 percent) of leased respon- dents reported income below $40K. That could be due in part to their being more apt to offload business responsibility onto a third-party part- ner and perhaps less apt to take profitability risks than independents. Among independents with authority, that share was just 17 percent, with six in 10 reporting income above $50K. Even with the strength of the freight market this year, nearly a quarter of respondents said they were doing worse this year than last year. – Todd Dills NET INCOME IN 2017 FOR LEASED/ INDEPENDENT OWNER-OPS Overdrive's 2018 compensation survey More than $70K 34% $60,001- $70K 10% $50,001-$60K 16% $40,001- $50K 17% $40K or less 23% The feast or famine of owner-operator income Dry van: 37% Reefer: 36% Flatbed: 30% Tanker: 80% PERCENTAGES OF OWNER-OPS REPORTING ABOVE-AVERAGE ($60K+) INCOME IN 2017, BY TRAILER TYPE Overdrive's 2018 compensation survey From an income perspective, where are owner-operators most able to take advan- tage of the feast dynamics of today's market? Our compensation survey shows those hauling dry- or liquid-bulk tankers most consistently report income above the rough average of recent years among the entire population — around $60,000. It was during an independent study a young Finn Murphy was engaged in during his junior year at Colby Col- lege that he was completely seduced by the trucking life. It began while Murphy was doing an analysis of, and lumping for, one Willie Joyce as a cross-country mover's helper. Murphy's study concluded that a long-haul mover, circa 1980, was knocking down at least $2,000 a week net income. Joyce, another suburban kid with an acute case of wanderlust who lived near Murphy in Connecti- cut, had come to loom in the young Murphy's imagination as a revolu- tionary figure. Joyce once had a girlfriend named Diana who Murphy met during an earlier day trip. She was a college music major with the sultry voice of Joey Heatherton. Murphy recounts her sitting cross-legged in the sleeper, singing 16th century madrigals in a "come to bed with me" voice while crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tun- nel. Folks, it doesn't get much more Freudian than this. Moving-van own- er-op Joyce was toting his personal Homeric Siren, and there was no Circe onboard to save young Finn. Now that's recruiting, people! It was Diana's stated mission in life to christen every state in the lower 48 with the consummation of her bohe- mian betrothal to Willie. Before they finally called it off, Diana and Willie had snapped 46 states off their list. Within six months, Murphy had his own rig leased with a local outfit, riding for the North American brand, looking for a Diana of his own. Murphy's account of the six-week odyssey with Joyce, who would later become CEO of the high-end bou- tique Joyce Van Lines, where Murphy hauls today, is nothing short of epic. – Paul Marhoefer A new take on recruiting Find more from Overdrive Extra contributor and long-hauler Paul Marhoefer's interview with high-end HHG hauler Finn Murphy (pic- tured) about his acclaimed memoir "The Long Haul" via the July 16 post on Overdrive Extra: OverdriveOnline.com/Overdrive-Extra. It's part of Marhoefer's ongoing "Faces of the Road" series of operator profiles.

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