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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.
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.
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:
Early in my career, I learned the best business tip ever offered: “You have two eyes, two ears and one mouth, use them in proportion.”
It’s amazing how much one can learn when one isn’t talking. During a bit over a year at one of my first jobs working as a parts driver for an independent truck repair shop, I learned as much or more about business as I did about the inner workings of trucks and trailers, just by keeping my eyes and ears open. That’s not to say that I was doing an impersonation of a mute, but when I did talk, it was usually to ask questions, not to convince others of what I thought I knew.
The repair tip you hear about at the fuel island today, might mean the difference between spending the night on the side of a lonely road or getting back to your route. Listening is as much of an attitude as a business skill. Being ready to learn requires the belief that one doesn’t already know it all.
How Do You Handle Pressure?
By Gary Serago
Gen. 39:10 – She kept putting pressure on him day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible. (NLT Bible)
There are a lot of different types of pressures we can find ourselves in everyday. In our text today, Joseph, who was a slave in Egypt, found himself in the sexual temptation pressure cooker. He was a handsome young man and his boss’ wife wanted to have a sexual relationship with him, but Joseph would not be seduced. There is no doubt when you find yourself facing sexual temptation pressure you need to have a plan to get out of it.
So how do you handle pressure? Joseph’s way of handling it was to avoid this woman and the situation as best as possible. One day when he wasn’t able to avoid her and she grabbed him, he ran. He did exactly what the apostle Paul says to do in I Corin. 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality.”
Tony La Russa, who has won 3 World Series (1 with the Oakland A’s and 2 with the St. Louis Cardinals), gave a locker room speech that goes something like this: Pressure comes when someone calls upon you to do a task for which you are not prepared. If you have to take an important test and haven’t studied, you feel pressure grind as you trudge off to class. However, if you have cracked your books, you are disappointed when you learn the professor has cancelled the exam.
The key to staying pressure free is being prepared for the situation that you are about to face. It is evident that Joseph had been prepared to say No to sexual immorality and this is exactly what he did.
What situations are you finding yourself in on a daily or weekly basis that keeps putting pressure on you? I agree with Tony that pressure comes when you are unprepared. So prepare yourself to overcome any and all pressure situations. What task is God trying to prepare you for today? What is causing some pressure in your life? Is God allowing these situations to come your way so that you will prepare yourself to meet them? There is no greater feeling than when you have prepared yourself for a victory and then won.
The word “prepare” is used 95 times in the Bible. In John 14:2-3 Jesus says, He was going to prepare a place for us. If Jesus were going to prepare a place for us then the least we can do is be prepared to go and be with Him. Did you hear that God wants to meet you? God has prepared a place for the two of you to meet. Don’t miss out on meeting the One who has created you.
As Rooster Cogburn said to Ned Pepper and his men in True Grit, “Be prepared to meet your Maker.”
I hope you are preparing yourself to meet your Maker.
Think on this:
No man ever reached to excellence in any one art or profession without having passed through the slow and painful process of study and preparation.
By Tom Kelley
The truly wise among us are always thinking ahead. Consider this tale of a lead-footed grandmother that has made the rounds on the web for several years.
After clocking an elderly grandmother doing 70 MPH in a 35 MPH zone, a police officer pulls her over and the following conversation takes place.
Grandmother: Is there a problem, Officer?
Officer: Ma’am, you were speeding.
Grandmother: Oh, I see.
Officer: Can I see your license please?
Grandmother: I’d give it to you but I don’t have one.
Officer: Don’t have one?
Grandmother: Lost it, 4 years ago for drunk driving.
Officer: I see…Can I see your vehicle registration papers please.
Grandmother: I can’t do that.
Officer: Why not?
Grandmother: I stole this car.
Officer: Stole it?
Grandmother: Yes, then I killed and hacked up the owner.
Officer: You what?
Grandmother: His body parts are in plastic bags in the trunk if you want to see.
The officer looks at the woman and slowly backs away to his car and calls for back up. Within minutes five police cruisers circle the woman’s car. A senior officer slowly approaches the car, clasping his half-drawn gun.
Officer #2: Ma’am, could you step out of your vehicle please!
Grandmother: Is there a problem sir?
Officer #2: One of my officers told me that you have stolen this car and murdered the owner.
Grandmother: Murdered the owner?
Officer #2: Yes, could you please open the trunk of your car, please.
The woman opens the trunk, revealing nothing but an empty trunk.
Officer #2: Is this your car, Ma’am?
Grandmother: Yes, here are the registration papers. The officer is quite stunned.
Officer #2: One of my officers claims that you do not have a drivers license.
The woman digs into her handbag, pulls out license and hands it to the officer.
The officer examines the license. He looks quite puzzled.
Officer #2: Thank you Ma’am, one of my officers told me you didn’t have a license, that you stole this car, and that you murdered and hacked up the owner.
Grandmother: I bet the liar told you I was going 70 in a 35, too.
Rediscovering the Minnow
by Don Kirk, The Interstate Sportsman
Except for a few salad eaters like mullet and grass carp, just about all fish make a living eating fish that are smaller than they are. Of course, this is a relative statement if your quarry is a 400 pound tuna where one needs five-pounds of bait to get its attention. However, for most of us who qualify as fishermen, bait the fish are after comes in a size we collectively refer to as “minnows.”
Webster’s Dictionary defines them as follows: minnow n.pl.minnow or min·nows; 1.Any of a large group of small freshwater fishes of the family Cyprinidae, widely used as live bait. 2. Any of various other small, often silver-colored fishes. Related to Old English myne minnow; compare Old High German muniwa fish. So, with that aside please allow me to add that when I catch wild shiners, darters, chubs and dace for baitfish, upon catch they become “minnow” as they thereafter confined to my minnow bucket and their destiny is to be spiked on a hook to attract the attention of a hungry fish, which not incidentally is a fish I am hungry to catch, fry and eat.
Minnows occupy a position on the lower end of the aquatic food chain and are relished meals for all freshwater game fish from bass and trout, to pike and catfish. The fact of the matter is, a bait shop is not a bait shop if does not boast bubbling tanks teeming with minnows such as tuffies, Baltimores, shiners, rosy reds, or fatheads. Sold by the dozen and toted away in todays modern plastic minnow buckets, about a million trillion of these baitfish are offered up annually by anglers from coast to coast. And if you don’t want to fool with live minnows, you can get minnow inspired lures made of everything from hard plastic and wood, to metal and jelly plastic.
Live minnows have a long standing popularity with fishermen not because they are cute or fun to catch with your hand in cold water prior to impaling them on a barbed hook. Many anglers know that nothing is more effective at catching most fish most of the time than is a live minnow. Surely you do not believe that a high dollar fishing tournament for bass and walleye prohibit the use of live minnows merely as the bequest of the lure maker mafia. They do it because if a group of competitive fishermen at a lake allowed to use live minnows, they might very well catch every fish living there in a single day–well, maybe.
Successful use of minnows follows a pretty strict formula. It is always better to have a minnow that most closely resembles the size and species of the baitfish your targeted quarry is eating. In a lake where crappie depend on shad for most of their meals, silvery minnows like the fathead or tuffie that measure about 2-inches long work best. If you are fishing for river dwelling smallmouth bass where chubs are dietary cornerstones, then brown minnows in the 3- to 4-inch size works best. If you are fishing for nest largemouth bass in Florida this time of year, a 9-inch shiner is your ticket.
The second rule is keeping your bait lively. I have caught fish when I used a dead or nearly dead minnow, but 95 percent of the time I do best when I have a fresh, lively minnow. Keep your minnows alive and lively in your minnow bucket until you are ready to use them. This usually means frequently changing out the water and keeping them from overheating in direct sunlight. You take care of your minnows, and your minnows will take care of you.
Many anglers make the mistake of needlessly killing minnows when they put them on a hook. Using hooks that are larger than necessary means you punch a bigger hole in your minnow than is needed for the task at hand. The easiest way to secure a minnow to a hook is to drive the hook squarely through the center of its skull. This really will hold the minnow–dead fast, sure, but do not do this. Either lightly lip-hook your minnow (this is where thin wire hooks are useful), or spike a minnow near its tail. Neither way enhances the chances of a minnow seeing the next sunrise, but they will stay lively and attractive to bass and trout, which is why you got them in the first place.
If your fishing luck is lacking, them minnow up next time you have a break from the road to go fishing. 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.
Comdata Corporation, a leader in payment innovation, announces the continued expansion of its cardless fuel solution. These transactions can now process through its Smart Solutions point-of-sale (POS) platform.
The Davis Travel Center in Stony Creek, Va. is processing cardless transactions and was the first to do so using Comdata’s Smart Solutions. This location is one of two Davis Travel Center sites to implement the SmartQ cardless fueling technology with the Smart Solutions POS. Smart Solutions is a consolidated POS platform designed to manage all profit centers. With this new capability, it also provides a way for convenience store and truck stop locations to easily offer cardless fueling to support their fleet customers.
The Comdata cardless solution, which began processing live transactions in August, automates the fueling process and data entry requirements with the use of a cost-effective RFID tag. This benefits both the fleet and the merchant by reducing the risk of fraudulent transactions, automatically shutting off the pump when the truck pulls away. In addition to the network of independent merchants that are installing the SmartQ cardless fueling technology, Love’s Travel Stops is near completion of enabling more than 235 travel stops to accept cardless transactions. Travel Centers of America (TA) is also in the process of equipping their locations to accept cardless transactions.
“Comdata strives to continually bring innovation to the transportation industry,” said Steve Stevenson, president of Comdata. “This expansion in our cardless fueling capabilities is the next step in delivering solutions that can make the fuel transaction easier, faster and more secure for both merchants and fleets.”
About Comdata Corporation
Comdata Corporation is a leading business-to-business provider of innovative electronic payment solutions. As an issuer and a processor, the company provides fleet, corporate payment, virtual card, and prepaid solutions to over 25,000 customers, enabling more than $31 billion in transactions annually. Comdata captures and reports detailed transaction data, giving customers unprecedented control over their expenses. In 2012, Comdata joined forces with Stored Value Solutions (SVS) to offer an expanded suite of prepaid gift card and loyalty solutions. Annually, the combined company enables $42 billion in payments volume and produces 580 million cards. Founded in 1969 and headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee with more than 1,200 employees in the United States and Canada, Comdata and SVS are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Ceridian Corporation. www.comdata.com
Truck Driver Frees Children from Crunched Minivan
Jason Harte’s medical training came in handy at the scene of a bad accident
Professional truck driver Jason Harte of Rogers, Ark., has been named a Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) Highway Angel. Harte is a lease purchase operator for Sammons Trucking of Missoula, Mont.
On July 16, 2012, just after lunch time, Harte was traveling on I-80 just east of Wamsutter, Wyo., when he saw a cloud of dust in the distance. As he approached the area, he saw that a pickup truck (later estimated to be going 75-80 mph) had pushed a minivan off the road and then hit a car, pushing it into the median.
Since bystanders were already helping the car victims, Harte turned his attention to the minivan, which was massively crumpled. A man and a woman holding a 6-month old baby were frantically trying to get something out of the vehicle. Harte grabbed a first aid kit and medical gloves and went to help. It turned out that three children were still trapped inside. The third row seat had been pushed up to the second row seat, which was in turn pushed up to the front row seat where the parents had been.
Harte, who is a first responder and a former paramedic and EMT, heard a bystander using her cell phone to dial 911. He asked to speak to the operator and described the severity of the situation based on his medical expertise. He then extracted the most accessible child, a 5-year old boy who was in the second row. He directed some of the bystanders to lay him on the ground, following basic spinal injury precautions.
Next, as emergency personnel began to arrive and assist, he asked the four strongest bystanders to help him reach the two girls trapped in the third row seats. At Harte’s suggestion, the men opened the minivan’s back hatch for better accessibility, allowing Harte to perform first aid on one of the girls. After someone removed a second row seat, he was able to slide her out.
By then, an off-duty EMT showed up. While the EMT followed spinal injury precautions, Harte held the child’s body and car seat. Firefighters pulled apart seats and cut seatbelts until there was enough space to extract the child.
“I have been a firefighter/first responder since 1989, including four years as an EMT, and what I encountered that day was the worst motor vehicle accident I’ve ever seen,” said Harte, noting that the injuries ranged from a broken pelvis, to broken legs, hips, arms and jaws, to fractured skulls and internal bleeding. He noted that only two ambulances were available to transport the eight victims of both the car and the minivan, so he spent much time attending to the injuries while waiting for the ambulances to make return trips.
For his efforts that day, Harte has received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch. Sammons Trucking 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.
Late one night, a Highway Patrol officer pulled over a car for speeding on the Interstate. When the officer asked the driver why he was speeding, the driver answered that he was a magician and a juggler and he was on his way to “Make A Wish” event and didn’t want to be late.
The officer explained to the driver he was fascinated by juggling, and if the driver would do a little juggling for him that he wouldn’t give him a ticket. The driver told the officer that he had already sent all of his equipment ahead, so he didn’t have anything to juggle.
Not deterred, the officer said that he had some flares in the trunk of his patrol car and asked if he could juggle them. The driver said that would be fine, so the officer got three flares, lit them and handed them to the driver.
Meanwhile, the bars had just closed in the nearest town, and a somewhat over-served patron was heading down the Interstate on his way home.
Witnessing the roadside juggling performance, the bar patron pulled off the road and parked carefully behind the patrol car. After watching the juggler for a moment, the tipsy bar patron then went over to the patrol car, opened the rear door and got in.
Observing this, the officer went over to the patrol car, opened the door and asked the man what he thought he was doing. The drunk driver replied, “You might as well just take me to jail, cause there’s no way in hell I can pass that test.”