Aren’t You Kinda Young To Be An Owner Operator?

Housekeeper wanted. Must be willing to travel.
August 7, 2017
Things Are A Lot Clearer Since They Joined Baggett!
August 7, 2017
Eight years ago maybe, but now Joshua Stephens knows trucking like nobody’s business.
In 2007, Joshua Stephens was 28, and burned-out after nine years as a rep for a pool table & juke-box vending business in Tampa. As it happened, his wife Megan was just as fed-up with her job as the Surgery Scheduler for a world-renowned plastic surgeon, also in Tampa.
“My regular hours were nine to five,” says Joshua, “but I was on-call every day until midnight, in case anything we sold and serviced broke.” And when you sell and service equipment used in establishments serving adult beverages, things tend to break. A lot. Megan, on the other hand, enjoyed the actual scheduling part of her job. “She just got tired of all the office politics.” The couple agreed they wanted to work together — and after much discussion, chose Trucking.
Into the deep end. Feet first. No net.
“We talked to a lot of Company Driver companies, and didn’t like what we heard,” Joshua continues, “so we decided we’d be our own bosses from the start.” Which meant, of course, going straight from Never Driven A Rig to buying their own Freightliner Columbia with the money from their joint savings — and launching their trucking careers as Owner Operators.
But first, six months apart
Joshua and Megan leased-on with one of the major package-delivery companies. The company offered them the best earnings potential, but their New Driver rules came with a catch: “We couldn’t both drive in the same truck until one of us had six months experience.” So Megan stayed home, and Joshua started looking for a short-term partner.
As luck would have it, one of Joshua’s good friends was available; he’d recently been laid-off from his driving job with Pepsi, and was glad for the opportunity.
Things changed at the company
Six months later, Joshua was reunited with his permanent partner — and thought he had a permanent company. “We were with them for eight and a half years, and did real well. At one point, we even had drivers working for us in a second truck. We’d still be there today, if they hadn’t changed from a percentage deal to a flat rate.” A change that made it impossible for Joshua and Megan to continue generating earnings anywhere near what they’d been making. “Actually, we were told we could still negotiate percentage loads with them, so that’s what we tried to do.” Problem was, the loads stopped coming.
Their loss. Our gain.
June 1, 2014, after being stuck at a Pilot station for a week and a half, Joshua and Megan decided it was time to find another company. They weren’t alone. “I’ve heard that about 800 other trucks left the company around the same time as we did.”
Fortunately for us, Joshua had an old buddy by the name of Scott Carter who recommended the perfect place for the couple. Since joining Baggett, the Stephenses have made a strong impression around the office with the way they manage their operation. “They really treat their business like a business,” says Gaby McDonald.
Business smart and tech-savvy
Joshua and Megan operate as a corporation, and manage all their business affairs—from income and expenses to payroll—on their MacBook Air laptop. “We only use our accountant once a year, to do our taxes. Otherwise, we do it all ourselves.”
And of course, Joshua and Megan make full use of their smartphones as business tools. Joshua mentions the Trucker Path App as one they regularly use. They also recently found a new app, developed by the armed services, that offers directions to every building on a military base. “Right now, it only has information on one base we visit, but they keep adding new ones.”
Life at Baggett: So far, so good!
Like most drivers, the first thing Joshua mentions about Baggett is the people. “Everyone here is so nice. They’re great to do business with. And whenever we have questions, we can talk to an actual person. With the other company, we’d talk to somebody different every time we called.”
All things considered, Joshua figures Baggett’s the last company he and Megan will ever work with; yet another reason we’re feeling pretty good about the future around here.
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