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Save It For A Rainy Day
Building A Reserve Fund For Unexpected Expenses
By Tom Kelley
Many of the top financial advisers have made their own fortune by telling people to do one simple thing, “Pay yourself first.” Usually, this means taking a small, but consistent, amount off the top of your earnings and putting it into savings or a retirement plan. For those who own and operate a commercial truck, there’s a parallel bit of advice that says, “Pay your truck first.”
While your truck payment should be pretty high on the list, that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about taking some money right off the top of your gross receipts and putting it aside for maintenance and repairs. The necessary amount varies depending on the type of work you’re in and the age of the truck, but somewhere between 5% and 15% will usually do the trick.
If you accumulate this money starting on day one of your trucking operation, and resist the temptation to use it for anything other than the truck, you’ll have the money sitting in the bank to pay for that new axle or engine overhaul when the unexpected repair job inevitably comes up. Another benefit of operating with a cash reserve is the ability to not only take advantage of sale prices on parts, tires, or components, but also negotiate a discount for a cash sale (as opposed to credit card or open account purchases).
You may not need 8 new drive tires right now, but when the local tire dealer has an oversupply of your favorite brand and he’s running just a bit tight on his own cashflow, you’d be surprised at how big a discount you might be able to negotiate. The same goes for filters, oil, gear lube and other consumables related to operating a truck.
Having a well-funded maintenance reserve account will allow you to take advantage of quantity discounts or special sales that may not always correspond with the timing of the truck’s immediate maintenance needs.
The alternative to having a maintenance reserve account is having to borrow money to make a repair, and being at the mercy of market pricing when it comes time to buy the materials for that oil change that absolutely has to be done this weekend.
Which would you rather do, pay interest to the bank for a repair loan, or have the bank pay you interest on your reserve account? This is not to say that you need to keep your reserve in a totally separate bank account, just that you treat it as if it were. Another benefit of maintaining this sort of reserve is that the money may count toward minimum/average balance requirements for no-fee checking or other premium services at your bank.
Just about anything that involves a recurring lump-sum expenditure should be planned for by putting away money for it on a consistent basis. It’s better to put away $50 per month toward your Highway use Tax than to try and come up with it all at once. Does your truck insurer require more than the normal monthly payment amount up-front every year at renewal time?
Similarly, there are any number of things for which you should be building a personal reserve account. If you were hospitalized tomorrow, could you cover the deductible? Do you have enough money put away to cover three months worth of personal expenses such as house or car payments, utility bills or food?
The bottom line is that while you’re building up all of these reserves, you might not be able to afford very many non-essential or impulse purchases, BUT, when an unplanned repair or household emergency does come up, you’ll be able to handle the cost of it with little or no difficulty.
Motorcyclist Owes His Life to a TCA Highway Angel
Mark Randall anticipated the worst — and when it finally happened, his preparation paid off
The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) is pleased to name Mark Randall of Mesquite, Nevada, a professional driver trainer for Werner Enterprises of Omaha, Nebraska, as its latest Highway Angel. Randall is being recognized for taking preventive measures that ultimately saved a life.
On October 24, 2012, around 1:30 p.m., Randall and a student were headed westbound on I-80/680 in Omaha, Nebraska. With only two miles to go before dropping off a load, Randall was at the wheel. He stayed within the speed limit of 60 mph and made a mental note of the considerable traffic all around him.
To his right and up ahead, Randall noticed a motorcyclist who appeared to be following much too close to the car in front of him. He was also traveling about 60 mph. Randall’s safety instincts kicked in, and he began to slow down.
“I always make a big point of being aware of my surroundings when I’m operating these vehicles,” said Randall, who was recently recognized by his company for a million miles of accident-free driving and also received Werner’s Humanitarian Award for his actions that day. “I pay good attention. In fact, I was just about to make my student aware of the possible hazard ahead when the motorcyclist suddenly accelerated and attempted to pass the car. But he was just too close and hit the rear of that vehicle.”
Randall immediately began scanning the lanes for a way to get out of the path of the doomed motorcyclist. Surrounded by traffic, he knew that he could not suddenly switch lanes without putting other vehicles in danger. His only viable option was to stay put and maintain control of the tractor trailer, which was fully loaded with thousands of pounds of tires. As if in slow motion, Randall saw the motorcyclist hit the pavement hard and slide directly into his path. He immediately put on his flashers and continued to brake, finally coming to a controlled stop — within 10 feet of the man on the pavement.
The student got out to render aid, while Randall called 911. The motorcyclist had survived and was miraculously okay. Not only had Randall managed to avoid hitting the man, but he is also credited for using his truck to protect the motorcyclist from being run over by the oncoming traffic hurtling toward him at 60 mph.
At the accident scene, the responding state patrol officer made a joke, saying that the motorcyclist had been incredibly lucky that day and should probably continue that luck by purchasing some lottery tickets. Another officer responded, “How does someone crash a motorcycle in four lanes of traffic doing 60 miles per hour and not get killed or run over?”
Feeling triumphant at what had just happened, Randall turned, pointed to his big blue truck, and said, “Because THAT truck stopped, and he was lucky to fall in front of ME!”
For helping the motorcyclist, Randall was presented with a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate and patch. Werner Enterprises also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.
The Highway Angel program is sponsored for TCA by Internet Truckstop. Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the unusual kindness, courtesy, and courage they have shown others while on the job. TCA has received letters and e-mails from people across North America nominating truck drivers for the program.
To view archival copies of past Highway Angel press releases, visit www.truckload.org/newsroom. To learn more about the program or to nominate a driver, go to www.truckload.org/highway-angel or visit the Angel Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/tcanews. For additional information, contact TCA at (703) 838-1950 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trucking’s Newer Generations
By Dan Baker
Hello again my friends. I got too busy, and had to drop out for a while but am glad to be back again. Hope you missed me!
As you may recall, my essential theme for these Pro Trucker Articles has been the emergence of the younger generations into our more old fashioned, traditional industry. All of a sudden we look up to see a whole new cohort of younger people entering our sacred traditions of hard work, deferred gratification, personal sacrifice and frugality, and we are not certain how to respond.
The younger half of the generational population; namely the Generation X and the Millennial Generation, are coming on board with a whole new set of expectations that the older folks are simply not equipped to handle.
I remember that old story of the farmer trying to hire one of these younger fellows, and after telling the young man what he wanted him to do, the young fellow asks the farmer, “Well, what will you pay me?”
And the farmer says, “I’ll pay you what you’re worth.”
And the young fellow says, “I won’t work for that!”
The younger generations don’t equate value and performance. They feel like they need to be paid what they need, regardless of the value of their productivity. So, today, we find ourselves having to pay equal pay for unpredictable performance. They will often tell you that you need to pay them what they need because they’ve got it coming.
And in an age where it seems like there are more people riding on the wagon than there are people pulling it, we gladly pay the guy pulling the wagon, whether he is pulling well or not.
And so it goes. I spend a lot of my time helping trucking companies deal with these emerging generations, and I find that though these younger folks are often spoiled, impatient and self-centered, they can grow. When they are mentored and nurtured by the older generations, they respond almost miraculously.
And I say all of this to simply say that this generational migration into the trucking business can either be a curse or a godsend. If we will bring them on board with a lot of patience and training; a lot of listening and absorbing and a lot of open willingness to help, they can truly be a blessing.
The other thing I have learned about them is that they are a whole lot smarter than we older guys are. They are quick, high tech, perceptive and have lots of energy, which we can gladly convert to productivity in the driver ranks as well as the operational arena.
More on all this later, but just wanted to re-state my basic theme. We’ll be dealing with the different aspects of trucking’s newer generations each month, and I will welcome any input you want to offer up.
See you next month.
Choosing A Stream Outfit
By Don Kirk, The Interstate Sportsman
During the course of a year, I give fly-fishing seminars all over the country. My specialty, unimpressive as it sounds, is catching little fish from little streams. I never cease to be amazed how many other people want to know how to do this. The most asked question I receive is “What rod and line weight do I need to fish streams for trout and/or bass?” In Kingfish style, I always begin the answer with, “Wells, let me think a minute” as I roll my blood shot eyes skyward as if experiencing a rare moment of frontal lobe activity, then I ask about what size streams they were planning to fish.
Generally, the answer is, “I want to fish small streams in the mountains for trout and fish the streams around here for bass. Tell me one rod I can fish for everything with.” Well, that narrows it down, small streams and mid-size streams, and perhaps even large tailwater rivers. Of course, I have to ask them what types of fishing they planned to do the most and advise them to get the one rod and reel setup that would be best for that type of fishing.
The fact is that modern fly rods may be designed specifically for one type of fishing, but for the most part they are versatile enough to be pressed into service for many tasks. For example, years ago I had a very early Fenwick, 9-foot rod designed to cast a 4 weight line, making it perfect for small stream fishing and using small flies. However, over the years I used it to catch 40 pound Atlantic salmon in New Brunswick on streams, and often used to cast big deer hair bugs for smallmouth and largemouth bass. To my crude casting skills, this old rod cast an 8-weight line as well as a 2-weight, that is at least until I decapitated it when closing the back of my old Bronco.
Ninety percent of the time these days, I recommend an 8-foot rod designed to cast a 4 weight line for stream and bass fishing east of the Mississippi River, and an 8- to 9-foot rod made for 6- to 8-weight lines when fishing western waters. I have fly fished that area for over forty-five years and used rods from 6-feet to 9 1/2 –feet and line sizes from 2- to 12-weight. Each of the rods worked well for the particular situation for which I was using it. Yet, if I had to pick just one to buy, own, and fish with, I would choose an 8-foot, 4-weight, regardless if it were made of graphite, fiberglass or bamboo. This size fly rod has enough length to help me mend my line well but not so long to be a problem on smaller waters. Multi-piece rods are the norm now and make it easier to pack them in to the cab of a truck where they take up about the same amount of space as a thermos bottle.
For drivers who plan to spend most of time on tailwaters, the best choice is a 9-foot, 5-weight rod fills. This is the best-selling rod and line size nationwide. It will drop the smallest midge on the water like a feather and still handle weighted nymphs and streamers. You may prefer a 6-weight if they fish in areas where the wind blows constantly or if their main interest is nymph and streamer fishing.
Those fly fishing drivers who focus mostly on casting to largemouth or smallmouth bass, I recommend fly rods in the 8.5 to 9.5-foot sizes that are designed to cast 6- to 8-weight lines. Bugs, streamers and flies tossed at bass are bigger than most flies used for catching trout. When you are casting large flies such as Clouser Minnows, Deerhair Frogs, cone head-style and lead eye flies, to get the job done you need a fly rod matched to 6- to 8-weight line.
Really good fly rods are available for $70 to $120, and some of the best buys are mid-ranged fly rods priced $130-$150. Of course, if money is no object, you can get better casting fly rods in $300 to $700, but breaking one of these can ruin your day in more ways than one. Fly lines are where to spend an extra dollar or two. Premium fly lines cost a little more, but they can make a $70 fly cast like one costing five times that amount.
For more articles and information designed for the professional driver who loves to hunt and fish, visit Don Kirk’s web site at www.southerntrout.com. He is also on the Interstate Sportsman show on Sirius/XM Open Road channel 106 each morning at 8:00am ET.
California Air Resources Board Verifies First Diesel Particulate Filter with Safety Device Manufactured by Boshart Engineering, Inc.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently announced that Boshart Engineering, Inc. had achieved verification of the BE Econix Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) active metal system with the industry’s first safety device for a DPF. This verification has allowed Boshart to immediately market and install systems with their safety device to support California fleet regulations and air quality improvement efforts.
“We were able to achieve the vision of including a safety device with a DPF through a diligent and dedicated effort of CARB,” said Ken Boshart, CEO. “We were thrilled to meet CARB requirements for our verification, which now allows us to provide the marketplace with BE Econix DPF that now ranks first in safety.”
Initially approved for truck fleets that do not pass temperature cycle requirements, the BE Econix DPF active metal system with a patented safety device provides an added measure of safety that can be retrofit onto a wide range of existing heavy-duty diesel trucks that need an active or passive filter solution. The BE Econix DPF active metal system has the shortest regeneration time in the industry, at less than 10 minutes and without a plug in. In addition, it meets the highest efficiency and retrofit requirements of the California Air Resources Board for vehicles that have the most demanding conditions and duty cycles in the truck fleets.
Since CARB’s approval of the BE Econix DPF active metal system with a safety device, several companies are now using this DPF for their truck fleets and investigating use in off-road vehicles, stationary applications, and even school buses. “Interest in the BE Econix DPF is not only for added safety and protection from the safety device, but also because, when combined with our DPF, the system offers a cost benefit of a significant magnitude over the life of the engine, not previously available,” said Boshart. “Our extensive experience in working with regulatory authorities to get this approval, combined with their heightened interest in assuring optimal safety solutions, makes us confident that we can extend these approvals across multiple industry segments.”
For more information about the BE Econix Diesel Particulate Filter active metal system or to locate an authorized distributor near you, please visit http://www.econixdpf.com.
For further detailed information regarding this CARB verification, please visit: