Friday, November 24, 2017

4 Things To Consider Before Switching Owner Operator Trucking Companies

It appears like there's a never-ending look for the very best owner operator trucking company When you check out the posts, the story is usually the very same, so-and-so went over to this carrier and they claim they're simply doing so better or you know someone over here is doing this over at this carrier.

owner operator trucking companies
The question is, Is the grass really greener on the other side? In some cases when you go on Facebook or an online forum you see a long thread, specifically owner operators talking about changing carriers, and the same thing is applicable whether you're an owner operator or a company driver. Well there's a couple things that you need to consider before you jump ship and go to another carrier.

Expenses Related To Changing Carriers

With some exceptions, you are going to find truly bad and very good owner operator trucking companies out there, however, actually that's just the 10% on top and 10% at the bottom. The other 80% in the middle is going to have the very same issues whether you are with carrier A, B, or C. It does not matter since they're all doing the exact same job they're all going to have the similar situations.

If you’ve been an owner operator for a few years, you know it's an expense to go to another carrier. You're going to forego your owner operator pay for a couple of weeks due to the fact that when you quit one carrier you're going to have to go through orientation at the next one.

They might pay you a little bit in orientation however it's not going to be much. If you're actually sure that you want to change owner operator jobs, you need to have about a month's worth of expenditures in the bank prior to you even consider it since you're going to go at least 2 to 3 weeks without a check.

Moving Up The Ladder And Not Just Sideways

If you're simply moving laterally, a lot of times there is no factor to go to another carrier. You're going to have the exact same problems over there.

All trucking companies operate in the very same market for the exact same clients. Cancellations, sluggish freight seasons, low seasons, that's all part of the game. That's another thing to think about prior to switching owner operator trucking jobs.

Every Time You Switch Owner Operator Trucking Jobs You Have To Start All Over Again

Another thing to think about is you need to begin all over again. We're not just talking about perks, but also access to special programs like direct lanes, and building rapport with your dispatcher. A lot of carriers work the exact same method, there is constantly a learning curve on new owner operator jobs on how to submit a bill of lading, safety department requirements, talking to your dispatcher, in general learning how the new owner operator trucking company runs.

The typical driver they're going to make about 40k to 50k a year. Then the typical driver has actually been around for a while makes you understand 50k to 60k a year, and you get a few of the higher end companies where you can make 70k to 75k a year. To get there you have actually got to remain there a while and kind of pay your dues before you get to that.

If you stick with one owner operator trucking company for awhile you know you can resolve whatever issues and what have you and make a good living.

Owner Operator Trucking Company Track Record vs Owner Operator Reputation

It’s true that there's some companies out there that work on their procedures, but there’s also owner operators who develop a "boomerang" reputation. These drivers switch owner operator jobs every few months thinking they'll get much better loads at a different company when in reality is a low season for everybody. They go over a prolonged and costly procedure just to come back to their initial carrier.

You cannot simply keep bouncing. Eventually, you’ll recognize, OK I'm having the very same problems no matter where I go, perhaps the issue is me. Perhaps I have to adjust the things I'm doing.

At this moment you have to stop and think about if switching carriers is the best call if the move is going to allow you not just with your short-term objectives, but likewise on the long term, or if it's perhaps you who has to change what you are doing. The latter is the hardest thing to do, however, an excellent mindset and good interaction can go a long way. One way you'll identify the best owner operator companies is by the way they interact with their owner operators and their willingness to listen to them and work out a situation.

How Can You Find The Best Owner Operator Companies?

If after thinking about the last 2 points you are still thinking about changing carriers, then the procedure is relatively easy. But first there’s something you need to know, and that is that the best owner operator trucking jobs might vary for each driver.  This is why you need to search for the highest paying owner operator jobs instead of best owner operator companies because that will vary depending on the person.

highest paying owner operator jobsTry to talk to other owner operators who are currently working for the company, however, do not rely exclusively on other individuals' opinions. Use your critical thinking and do your own research.  

Make sure you are prepared to make the move. No matter where you go the very first 2 or 3 weeks are going to be the hardest ones, so be financially prepared for it.  More than not the first weeks you’ll incur multiple expenses like having to pay for insurance, plates, maybe some truck maintenance depending on your rig, etc.  Typically, it takes around 90 days to really evaluate if an owner operator trucking company is a good fit.  Anything less than that is not enough time to have an informed opinion about a company.  Don’t go out thinking the company is not doing its job.

To get recommendations and pointers on how to prosper as an owner operator or to find out more about Status Transportation please sign up for our blog.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Owner Operator Trucking Expenses

At Status Transportation, we want you to succeed in your goal of becoming an owner operator.  For this reason, we think is important for you to consider the following expenses associated with the process of being your own boss.

When you go from company driver to owner operator trucking, whether it be leasing or just flat-out buying a truck, there are going to be some expenses that you may have not even thought about as a company driver.  

If you have ever been to the Great American Trucking Show or follow some of the speakers from the show you are probably already familiar with Kevin Rutherford.  He is a great advocate educating yourself as an owner operator in order to be more successful.  Part of that education is to learn how to calculate your cost to run your truck per mile.  That way you’ll be able to identify where your money is going and control the costs of running your business. Having a clear understanding of these topics will be of great benefit in planning for the future so you can achieve your both your personal and professional goals in owner operator trucking.

Not to oversimplify the equation, but calculating your cost per mile is subtracting your costs from your income and dividing it by the number of miles you ran during a particular period.  Experts recommend doing this by the month.

COST PER MILE = (Income - Costs)/Miles

But in order to get a clear idea of what your cost per mile is, first you have to identify what your expenses are.  The following is a list of the most common owner operator expenses, the list is divided into fixed costs and variable costs.

Fixed Costs

  • Truck Payment
  • Trailer Payment
  • Liability Insurance
  • Bobtail Insurance
  • Cargo Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Licenses
  • Permits
  • Accounting
  • Cell Phone Service

Variable Costs

  • Fuel
  • Tractor/Trailer Tires
  • Maintenance
  • Repair
  • Truck Wash
  • Telephone
  • Lodging
  • Meals
  • Tolls
  • Taxes
  • Miscellaneous Expenses

Owner Operator Tags, Permits, Taxes, and Insurance.

When you become an owner operator, you are going to be paying not only for your truck, but owning a truck means that you're also going to be paying for bobtail insurance, tractor insurance, and possibly trailer insurance if have your own trailer or if you are renting a trailer. You'll also be buying base plates or license plates, and paying your 2290, which is a heavy road use tax.  Your 2290 will be around $550 a year per vehicle.

As an owner operator truck driver you will have to start paying a fuel tax. That can be offset by buying fuel in the states that you travel through.  If you buy fuel in just about every state you go through you usually don't have to pay a whole lot of taxes, it can be just a few dollars depending on how you run.   

Now there are some owner operator jobs where they pay for such things as your base plates or your permits. Each company is different so you're going to have to ask a lot of questions if you're interested in hiring on to the company.

Owner Operator Trucking Qualcomm and E-Log Fees

In some cases depending on the company you lease on to you may have to pay for a Qualcomm, which is where you e-logs are on.  There could be a satellite fee also associated with that.  Although nowadays you can use e-logs apps directly on your phone.  

Payment Card Fees

If the company you lease to uses comdata, there is going to be comdata fees. There's going to be fees whenever you take money off the comdata card.  Whenever the owner operator trucking company loads money onto your comdata card, they may charge you what's called a wire fee for putting money on your card. There are several fees associated with Comdata and probably also with the other payment cards that are out there.

If you use Transflo or TripPak services to send in your bills or scan them in you'll be paying for that TripPak or Transflo now because you're an owner operator.  This is another fee that you have to pay for not to mention such things as scale tickets if you weigh your loads, you are going to be paying for those now and the company does not have to reimburse you anymore.  

Keeping Track of Expenses while on the Road

Handling receipts in owner operator trucking can be a daunting task if you don’t have a strategy. Using a 21 pocket expanding folder and labeling it can help you to keep track of all those fuel, toll, and scale receipts.  You can get the folder at Walmart, Office Depot or any major office supply store. The next step is to label each one of the pockets with the expense categories listed above.  

Every time you get a receipt file it in the correct category and make sure to keep the white copy.  White copies usually last longer than any other type and only one copy of each receipt.  You’ll easily be able to keep a year’s worth of paperwork that will make it easier for you to file your taxes at the end of the year.  Your accountant will love you for it.

Also, very important, don’t forget to write down your odometer reading at the beginning of the month.  Send yourself a reminder, or set an alarm on your phone so you won’t forget.  This way you’ll be able to calculate your cost per mile during the month and at the end of the year.  

As you can see owner operator trucking jobs require more than just to hop on the truck and start driving.  You need to be on top of your game by being organized and keeping track not only of your owner operator pay but also tracking your expenses.  The flipside of doing this is that you will have better control of your money and reap the benefits of doing so.

For more tips on how to succeed in owner operator trucking and everything related to owner operator jobs, subscribe to the Status Transportation blog today!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Owner Operator Trucking: Qualities You Must Have To Be Successful

The owner operator trucking business is a gratifying endeavor, but managing a trucking business is not an easy deal.  There are many things to do and not everyone can handle them but if you do then you will be well-rewarded.  Years of working with owner operators at Status Transportation allow us to identify the traits and qualities that successful truckers possess.  Do you have these qualities?

Top-notch communication skills

If you want to be successful in being an owner operator trucking, then you need to have top of the line communication skills. If you can’t communicate well, then you will have a very hard time making this work for you. You will have to deal with dispatchers and other stakeholders frequently, therefore, you need to learn how to communicate with them. Do you have trouble making it on time to your appointment? Do you have enough hours to make the delivery?

These are the kind of situations you will have to face and handle every now and then, and hence, you need to be ready to communicate effectively so you can plan an alternative course of action. This will help you to create strong bonds with your dispatcher and everyone in your team. Needless to say, this is pure gold for the success of your trucking business.

Successful owner operators have great focus

If you want to make it big in an owner operator job, then you need to learn how to focus. And in this competitive business, it is crucial to your success. That’s why you need to set goals, and more importantly, have a plan that you can follow. Regarding this part, just like an accountant will help you with your finances, you can hire a business coach or consultant to help you craft a suitable business plan.

Drivers with the highest paying owner operator jobs are the ones who don’t allow shiny things on the road to distract them from achieving their goals. If you want to make your business big and important, then you need to be the owner of a great focus.

Commitment to your business

This industry can be quite competitive, but it’s also very profitable. Although, if you want to make your business big, then you need to be committed to it and invest your time as much as needed. The first 18 months of your business are critical to your success, and yes, they will require plenty of time. In order to make this sail, you will have to be in the game and committed with your business, your dispatcher, and your leasing company.

You need to commit to building great relationships and be always willing to walk the extra mile. Launching your own trucking business is not easy, but if you get totally dedicated to it, then the odds will turn in your favor.

The Best Owner Operator Truckers Are Disciplined

Like we mentioned before, owner operator trucking can be very rewarding and provide opportunities to grow. One quality that will help you to make it in this business is discipline.

Being an owner operator will give you more freedom, but it’s a double-edged sword. Because if you don’t commit to your business and have the discipline to follow through, then you won’t be able to manage your business properly.

You already have the driving skills, which is one of the most important elements in owner operator trucking, yet there are certain qualities that can make a huge difference between failure and success. Now you know what they are. Do you have them? If so, then congratulations, chances are your trucking business will grow non-stop! You don’t have them? No problem, start working on your weaknesses and integrate these necessary qualities to your life.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Essential Safety Tips for Independent Truck Drivers

At Status Transportation we would like our owner operator truck drivers to stay safe and sound while they're out driving so they can return home to their family. Usually, an owner operator truck driver drives 101,000 miles each year. Even with all that hauling, owner operator truckers represent less mishaps than any other sector of the transportation community.

No distractions while running

In accordance with the Status Transportation compliance department, owner operator truckers can prevent numerous offenses and mishaps by adhering to these four recommendations:
Independent truckers at Status need to remain in continuous interaction with dispatchers. This is not a reason for texting. Operating an electronic gadget can distract you from the road. The FMCSA forbids truckers from texting, e-mail, messaging or using the internet while driving. Mishaps can occur in a flash and owner operator jobs require the motorist's complete focus. Furthermore, a tidy record can assist you breeze through the procedure when requesting owner operator jobs in Ga or anywhere else.

Get appropriate sleep

The only treatment for sleepiness is appropriate rest. As an independent owner operator trucker you need to factor in downtime while planning a trip. Correct rest will assist you to remain alert and decrease the threat of making errors while behind the wheel. Often a 20-minute shuteye will assist you remain revitalized. So if it's time to take a break, eliminate any interruptions and try to relax.

Ramp speeds are tailored for automobiles, not semi-trucks. Decrease your speed when taking a ramp to lower the danger of a rollover mishap. Keep in mind to lower your speed prior to and not throughout a turn. So remain within the speed limitations, practice protective driving and anticipate the unforeseen.

So how are you expected to utilize a smartphone and also comply with the law you ask? You can utilize an earpiece, the speakerphone function, or utilize voice-activated directions to respond to or complete calls. Prevent obtaining a citation for approximately $2,750 and lower your danger of a safety-critical occasion. At that expense, texting or inspecting your Facebook updates can absolutely wait.

Adapt your driving to serious weather conditions

Watch out for black ice under freezing temperature levels. Keep an eye out for frosted viaducts and naturally, take care when ice is thawing. Ice ends up being a lot more unsafe when the roadway is damp.

Roadways end up being far more unsafe when snowing, and not just that but also, exposure is much lower. Take additional preventative measures when driving throughout the winter season and utilize your common sense. Keep a safer range, and keep your truck in very top shape, however the very best suggestions we can offer you is to decrease, do not hurry. Examine the weather condition status and consider unfavorable weather on your journey when getting a load. Do not be hazardous because of impractical presumptions.

Regardless of how skilled you are, be ready to adjust to bad weather. Restricted exposure or bad footing can raise the threat of having a mishap, so decrease. Reducing your speed will assist you to respond on time in case you need to stop. Keep a safe range at all times, particularly when it's drizzling or snowing.

Aquaplaning takes place when a layer of water develops in between the truck wheels and the roadway. A semi running at 35 MPH can lose grip and the capability to guide as a result of aquaplaning. Independent truckers can prevent aquaplaning by maintaining their tires appropriately pumped up and by decreasing when it begins to pour.

The status quo in transportation demands truckers to operate at an extremely fast rate. This must not be a reason to overlook security guidelines and policies. Watch for motorists sharing the roadway and do your part in remaining safe so you can return home safe.

Bear in mind blind spots

Think it or not, most of the population are not knowledgeable about truck blind spots. No surprise why there are numerous blind spot traffic mishaps out there.

Given that 1991 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has actually been promoting a project to inform highway users on business automobile "no zones". Signs on the side of trailers reveal motorists when they remain in a trucker's blind spot. As an expert in the transport market, it depends on you to look out for vehicle drivers who do not comprehend these kinds of "no areas."

One more method of lowering blind areas is to position folding side mirrors both on the guest and chauffeur side. Hood mirrors will enable you to spot other chauffeurs and prevent "squeeze play" mishaps. You can set up as numerous mirrors as you require, however they will refrain from doing any excellent unless you examine them. To puts it simply, turn your head when keeping track of vehicles, not simply your eyes.

Drive within the Speed Limit

Essential Safety Hints for Owner Operator Truck Drivers - Drive within the Speed Limit
It's referred to as a speed limitation, not really a goal. The interstate officials establish speed limitations to always keep you and other motorists safe. It is the duty of transport experts to comply with speed limitations, and regard other motorists.

A crammed tractor-trailer having a weight of 80,000 pounds taking a trip at 65 miles per hour needs over five hundred feet to stop; many drivers sharing the road with truckers don’t know that.

Like we said, here at Status Transportation we appreciate our owner operator truck drivers, we value them not just as motorists however likewise as our pals and part of the group. We desire you to be safe out there so please look after yourself and other vehicle drivers sharing the roadway.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Beginning of Happier Days in the Trucking Business

For the last couple of years, the trucking industry in general has been stuck on a plateau. Fortunately, 2017 marked the beginning of a more positive future for the trucking business.  As one of the best owner operator companies, Status Transportation has a finger on the pulse in the owner operator trucking industry and can attest to this.

Owner Operator Trucking Jobs Happier Days
As discussed this year in the annual Trucking Owners Business Roundtable, many factors had been affecting the trucking industry.  Among these factors are diesel costs, new regulations, increased capacity and market fluctuations.  The Industrial Production Index (IPI) had hit a plateau during 2015 and 2016. IPI tracks the amount of output from manufacturing activities. Although GDP has a direct impact on the economy, owner operator trucking jobs have a direct correlation with IPI.  That’s why it’s so important to keep track of this indicator.

A Positive Shift in the Trucking Economy

After two years of gloomy reports on the state of the trucking industry, things are starting to shift.  According to Thom Albrecht, there has never been a 3-year decline in manufacturing and industrial production.  This is good very news for owner operator trucking companies, owner operator jobs, and the trucking industry in general.   

Better Rates, Better Owner Operator Pay

Economic activity during the past two years was moderate, especially during the first two quarters of each year.  Load rates were slowly picking up but still nothing compared to load rates back in 2014.  Fortunately, this year we can see a new perspective.  As of April 2017, there was an IP growth of 1.0% and commodity prices are starting to stabilize which will also increase production.  Owner Operator jobs will see an increment in available loads, and thus an increase in owner operator pay.  

Signs of a Stronger Economy

Consumer Confidence Index
As you can see there are several indicators of a recovering economy. An often overlooked sign of a better economy is consumer sentiment.  Positive thinking does play a very important role in the economy and there is actually an indicator for it.  It's called the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI).  Depending on consumer sentiment people are more likely to spend or reduce their spending habits.  If people perceive the near future as somewhat positive, they are more likely to start or expand businesses.  People's short and mid-term decisions based on a positive perception do have an impact on economic growth.

All in all, owner operator trucking jobs and trucking companies are experiencing a positive upward trend. This improvement is not only the result of a good produce season, but the start of a better and stronger economy for the trucking industry.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Status Transportation: Purchasing vs Leasing a Trailer

How it Started

When Status Transportation started its business (back in 2009), we started offering owner operator jobs to independent truck drivers with one truck and one trailer. Status owned a 12-year-old trailer with a translucent roof obtained in barely working condition. When Status Transportation sent its truck to pick up a load, many shippers rejected the trailer as soon as it arrived at the shipper's facility due to its age, interior condition, unacceptable roof type and a dozen other reasons. Some of these reasons were legitimate and some were prompted due to the overall condition of the trailer. However, the owner operator trucking business was picking up and we needed to find a solution to upgrade our trailer. We had to find a solution to the trailer issue because when we first opened our doors we had also acquired a second trailer in similar conditions.

Status Transportation applied to lease trailers from major semi trailer leasing companies, but the application was immediately rejected because of the company’s short business and credit history. Status had been in business for only 3 months and that did not help. Thanks to a very lucky turn of events, an Illinois-based trailer lease company was about to start operations in Lakeland, FL and they were looking for clientele. Status Transportation, located in Winter Garden, FL came in knocking on their door since the trailer rental place was just 30 miles away.

Just in the first year, Status expanded to 9 owner operators, therefore it leased 8 additional dry vans to keep up with growth. During the second year, 9 additional trucks were added to the company and the need for trailers increased even more. The very first trailer ended its days, nobody remembers exactly where, so as far as trailers there was a total of 18 rented trailers.

Purchased or Leased Trailers?

Leasing trailers was very convenient but after careful calculations, Status discovered there were other factors to consider. First of all, Status Transportation was responsible for the maintenance of leased equipment. When a trailer was turned in, the trailer leasing company inspected it and measured tires and brakes for wear. They would also measure tire tread by 1/32 and compare it to the inspection report made on the day when the trailer left their yard.
Status Transportation: Purchasing vs Leasing a Trailer
Afterward, the receiving person would walk around the trailer to inspect if there were any other deficiencies such as scratches on the sides, missing or broken mud flaps, missing of burned bulbs, broken air lines, and miscellaneous deficiencies. After returning the trailer, Status Transportation would receive a bill outlining all the charges that needed to be paid and pay the invoice at a later time.

Status Trucks realized that trailer rental money would never be paid back and the investment to upkeep trailers would never pay off. For that very obvious reason, we made the decision to buy our own trailers. It is important to notice that at the very beginning of the business operation buying a trailer was not even an option. The company was too young and no bank or financial institution would lend Status the money. Two years later, though, the situation had changed. Status was about to celebrate its 2nd anniversary and around that time applied for financing at two different financial institutions for a loan to purchase 6 new trailers. Each institution approved the loan for enough money to buy 3 trailers.

It was necessary to mark trailer with our logo, website, phone number, etc. Status found a local vinyl sticker vendor located in Orlando, FL. Everything seemed to be very clear and easy, although there was a major problem, we had to pick up the trailers at a plant located in Stoughton, WI. We decided to fly and bring the vinyl stickers in person to the manufacturing plant. Thankfully, a security guard on site allowed the Status personnel to access the storage yard and place the stickers on the newly purchased trailers. Trailer branding was taken care of and now we needed to focus on paying them off and continue growing as a company.

As far as our expectations for these new trailers, we wanted these trailers to become an investment. There are multiple benefits from buying vs leasing, but one of the main advantages was that we would not see our money disappear into thin air since payments toward paying off the trailers were actually turning into company property. As company property, we could also gradually expense these trailers over time as they depreciated. It is important for new businesses to find ways to leverage its assets for maximum efficiency and increase profits.

Owning the trailers also gave Status Trucks the ability to decide how to upkeep the new equipment. Now that the trailers were company property we were in charge of maintaining them but most importantly we could also decide how much and when to invest in maintenance. This was an option we did not have before.

New Trailers vs Older Leased Trailer

Status Transportation observed an important fact when completing the initial trailer purchase. At the beginning of business operations, all leased trailers were around 5 years old. Leased trailers exchanged the hands of independent truck drivers or other owner operator companies many times in their life. The constant exchange created a wide range of problems, which could be determined as a lack of ownership problem. Trailer renters do not want to invest a significant amount of money into equipment that does not belong to them. Therefore, many of those rented trailers would barely be repaired, or repaired only to a point where they pass the return inspection, but then break down again very soon.

Having rental equipment was becoming a big headache for some of the owner operators Status was running. On the other side, the new equipment was a huge relief. The recently acquired equipment was brand new and also had virgin tires and brakes. Practice showed that trailers did not require any serious maintenance for nearly two years, other than tire and brake wear of course. This was a significant saving.

Another benefit of having our own trailers was that it was up to Status to determine to what level, standard and how the equipment was to be maintained. Status was now the owner of the equipment and it was very clear that it was worth investing the money into high standard maintenance. Preventive maintenance extended equipment life, helped to avoid unexpected breakdowns on the side of the road, and also helped in retaining trailer's market value in case we needed to sell any of the units at some point.

Status Transportation Owner Operator Trucking Jobs
It is important to mention that having new trailers reduced previous trailer rejection rate to nearly zero percent for our owner operators. Nobody in their right mind would think about rejecting brand new, food grade dry van.

It was very clear for the Status Trucks team that buying its own trailers to support the owner operator trucking business was a very reasonable decision on so many levels. This understanding led to the future purchase of our own vans, flatbeds and minimized the need for leased equipment that tends to cause a lot of unnecessary expenses.

For more articles and information on owner operator trucking jobs please visit our website at

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Status Transportation Reviews APU Unit Alternatives

At Status Transportation we are continuously reviewing alternatives on how to maximize owner operator pay. One very cost effective option is to invest in technology to help you to lessen diesel consumption like APU Units. For this reason, we have taken the time to review multiple idling alternatives to help you debunk the myths on the cons of investing in an auxiliary power unit.
If you are on the market for an APU, you will be likely to bump into websites that list the advantages or the lack of benefits to buying an auxiliary power unit. Regardless of the information out there the incentives should not be measured only by reduced fuel consumption, which by itself it is a very good benefit that has a direct impact on your bottom line, but also by reduced engine maintenance and reduced CO2 emissions which are good for the environment. That last point by itself should be a very good reason to install an APU unit installed on your truck.

Are APU Studies Reliable?

There are some articles based on studies which may not be very accurate. For example, a 2005 study conducted by the North Carolina Solar Center concluded that there was not a real difference between using a base engine or an APU when idling. How can this be you may ask? Volvo received $350,254 out of the $500,000 awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the NC State University for designing an APU Prep Kit, evaluate the performance of mobile idle reduction technology (MIRT), fuel, maintenance, engine life savings, payback times and user reactions.

The APU Prep-Kit designed by Volvo was not used by field study trucks during the study, although Volvo later in 2008 received 572 new truck orders with the Prep-Kit option selected. There is no denying Volvo did a great job at designing a Pre-Kit that paved the road for standardized mounting locations on semi trucks and better methods for more secure mobile idle-reduction technology installations. As far as the results of the study, the same report does state that the sample of trucks in the study is not a nationally representative sample, and these only represent a portion of those trucks currently on the road. Therefore, we can conclude the results of this study do not have real world application because the sample is skewed.

Idle laws

At this moment, there are an estimated 15.5 million trucks operating in the United States. According to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there was a 76.4% percent change in U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Domestic Freight Transportation from 1990 to 2013. For this reason, many states have adopted commercial vehicle idling regulations. For example, commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 lbs or heavier are not allowed to idle for more than 5 minutes within California's borders. Idling is allowed only when stuck in traffic, when necessary for vehicle inspection or if your truck meets idling emission standards and is not located within 100 feet from a residential area. Fines for violating idling laws start at $300 or can be as high as $1000 per day.

What Options Are There For Cab Comfort?

The safety department at Status Transportation reviews FMCSA rules and regulations to help owner operators to stay compliant. FMCSA's 11-hour rule limits United States drivers to drive a maximum of 11 hours per day in a 14-hour work day. Due to extreme weather conditions in different parts of the country, it is crucial for drivers to idle during their down time, which depending on the weather could mean the engine is on idle for another 10 hours straight. At a rate a gallon per hour on idle multiplied by 10 hours per day, in one month we are talking about close to 300 hours just on idling, but with an increasing number of states adopting no-idle laws, what options do owner operators have for cab comfort? The same state that is known for imposing strict environmental protection laws, which is California, also has some very useful suggestions. For example, the California Environmental Protection Agency recommends using fuel-fired heaters (with some restrictions), truck stop hookups for heating and cooling, or using an auxiliary power unit. Yes, you read that right, the CEPA recommends using APU units and they not only do it because they are environmentally friendly but from experience at Status Transportation we can tell you it is also cost effective. Let's examine the other two options suggested by the California Environmental Protection Agency so you can compare the savings.

Anti-idle Systems

Diesel-fired heaters are useful if you are looking for a quick solution that will help you to preheat your cab and it's easy to install. The downside to these is that they do not offer a cooling option and you need to buy a separate unit to pre-heat your engine.

Truck stop AC hookups are becoming more common and some of these options like idleair even offer movie streaming and internet access. Pilot and Love's truck stops offer it for around $1.50 per hour. At the moment their website only lists 32 locations so although the extras make it a very attractive option it is not very accessible unless you happen to find one on your way. Unlike APU units or diesel-fired heaters, IdleAir is limited to AC and does not have the option to pre-heat your engine.

APU Unit Savings

The convenience of an APU unit is that it goes wherever the driver goes. APU units only consume 0.30 gallons of diesel per hour compared to 1 gallon per hour on idle. This means drivers can have the comfort of staying cool during the summer or warm in the winter only a fraction of the cost compared to idling.

Auxiliary Power Units can be categorized into two types: integrated systems and stand-alone. As the name implies, stand-alone systems are separate from truck components and act as a backup by having their own engine, condenser, generator and power outlets. These systems are typically installed on the side of the truck under the sleeper in a weather resistant enclosure. Integrated APU units take advantage of the trucks resources recirculating the truck's coolant to provide heat inside the cab and for the engine. These units use everything except for the truck's AC compressor. There are hybrid units that tie to some of the truck's resources and also have their own components but the majority of units can be categorized as integrated or stand-alone.

For example, The ACEMCO Auxiliary Power Unit is an integrated non-intrusive unit to the truck's OE systems. ACEMCO APU's have a stand-alone 3-cylinder diesel engine mounted on the side of the truck inside a lightweight fully insulated aluminum enclosure. These units not only solve your AC needs but also help to charge your truck battery when the voltage drops below a given point. Like an integrated APU system, this unit has its own radiator & condenser, HVAC unit, coolant vent tank and an in-cab display module.

As you can see there are multiple idle-reducing technologies available to owner operators who are looking for ways to extend their truck’s engine life and save money on diesel consumption. Although out of the mobile alternatives, auxiliary power units are by far the most convenient and cost-effective in the long run.

Depending on your budget you can find new or refurbished units at a very accessible price. Status Truck & Trailer Repair in Atlanta, GA is an authorized ACEMCO distributor and also sells refurbished auxiliary power units. We ship all over the United States and Canada and have a wide variety of refurbished units from manufacturers like Thermo King, Rigmaster APU, HP 2000, Carrier, Rig Master, Storm power systems, Tripac, Green, and Comfort Master.

Being a 100% owner operator company, Status Transportation reviews different ways to help our owner operators to succeed in the transportation industry. We recommend investing in an APU unit that will help you in reducing operational costs and save your hard earned owner operator pay.
Call us today and let us help you find the APU unit that best meets your needs.

Erik C.
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