Our partner of the month for April is Larry Sloan from Sloan Trucking. We caught up with Larry at the beginning of the month to chat with him about how he got started in his trucking business and to find out what keeps him going.
Hi Larry, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Please tell us a little more about yourself and your business. When did you get started?
I learned how to drive a truck in the military. I got out in 1979 and about two years later I started driving. I grew up in Ohio but we would visit my grandmother in West Virginia in the summer. As we were driving I would watch the trucks and like many other little boys, I was fascinated by them and wanted to drive them. So that’s how I then got into it, but it’s a hard business to be in. You need to have dedication and passion.
You will find second and third-generation truck drivers who grew up in this world and understand it and have passion and dedication. They say that if you love what you do you never work a day in your life. When I started out it was rough, but now I really love what I do.
I started out with a friend. He and I had a lot of learning to do even after everything I learned in the military. I had to learn, for example, how to do all my own repairs. I went to school for that and it was worth doing.
What do you enjoy most about what you do for a living?
The freedom. I don’t have regular customers. I’m a two-truck operation. I’ve done it all. I worked for a company, then started my company and had people work for me. I had 21 trucks at one time but then I sold my agency and now I am very happy. Whatever makes you happy is what you should be doing. I get behind the truck maybe 2 – 3 days a week to drive and then I do repairs some days and then I do paperwork one day a week.
Over the years I slowly started cutting out the middleman. Now I get 100% of the revenue. I got fed up with being told what I was going to get paid.
What is most challenging about what you do for a living?
Dealing with the different drivers was tough. Every driver has a different personality and you have to know and manage them all differently.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this business?
There would be two things I’d tell them to do:
First thing is to learn bookkeeping. Before I even bought my first truck, I went to school to learn bookkeeping. Owner-operators need to understand the cost of operating their business and learn how to do the book keeping and accounting. They need to learn how to calculate the set-costs and the variable costs.
I think that the biggest reason why owner operators fail is that they don’t know how to manage the money.
The second thing is that they need to understand the truck. When you know how a truck is functioning, when you have a problem then you can determine yourself what the problem is and no one can overcharge you.
What is your relationship with Pay4Freight?
When I first started I was doing my own billing. I also had to do my own collection and credit checks and I had to wait 45 – 60 days to get paid and chase people down. It got to be too much.
Pay4Freight is a partner.—they are my billing partner. They save me time and aggravation. It’s not worth doing what they do yourself. It’s very cost-efficient for me to use them. I make one call to them and it’s done.
When you have to pay one person to do everything Pay4Freight does it costs you so much more. They are very reliable and very professional and I will be with them until the day I retire. I have companies that contact me every day but I will never switch.
Thank you so much for taking the time and sharing your story and the wisdom of your experience. Pay4Freight is proud to be your partner and we look forward to being that for many years to come.
At Pay4Freight, supporting small carriers all across the country remains our focus and nothing makes us happier than seeing our clients grow and succeed. Congratulations, Larry, on being our Pay4Freight Partner of the month!
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