Owner-operator plans to deliver his last load, then park for a while

| 3/28/2008

After OOIDA member Jim Gossett of Chapel Hill, NC, delivers his load on Monday, March 31, he said he’s going to ease his rig back home and park it for a while.

“I’m not hauling cheap freight. I’m just not going to do it, and I’m not doing well because of it,” Gossett told Land Line on Friday, March 28. “If it’s not going to pay the bills, I can just as easy go broke at home.”

Gossett, who has been trucking for more than nine years, delivers boats to marinas and dealers across the country. He has watched his profit margin drop significantly because of rising diesel fuel prices in recent years. His profit margin has dwindled to about 5 percent now.

“Independents don’t have the numbers that the big guys do, but we take care of a lot of business for a lot of people in a lot of places,” he said.

He said he understands everyone in “the business” is out to make a profit, but some brokers are trying to “beat the freight rates to death.” That’s driving some owner-operators out of the industry because they can’t afford to stay in business with the freight rates they are being offered.

“Brokers are not showing the fuel surcharge, and the trucker’s not getting it. That’s a big problem right there,” Gossett said.

Besides taking a financial hit on the front end by having to pay for $4 fuel at the pump, Gossett said he’s also being hit again on the consumer end, as well.

“I’m seeing it at the beginning and at the end,” he said. “I come home to purchase my goods, and I’m being beat up at both ends of the line.”

He said another problem in the industry right now is that large trucking companies have the ability to take loads for cheap rates that owner-operators just can’t afford to take right now because of the cost of diesel and their other operating expenses. Gossett said he needs at least $1.34 right now just to “make the truck move.”

“Some of these big companies just don’t care. They don’t give a flip if the freight gets there or not; they are going to bill somebody for it,” he said. “I have and will continue to offer quality. I want somebody that believes enough in me to hire me to move their ‘whatever’ to know that it will be on time and just like it left.”

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland