In my time with ACT I have been asked by fellow drivers, "David what is it that you do that makes you succeed as a contractor with the price of having your own truck now a days?" Well though it is tougher now than what it may have been back when I started driving with fuel prices and all it can still be done. And I always made it a point to let them know that it has nothing to do with being any smarter than anybody else and that literally anybody can be a success. And usually always follow it up with "it's primarily all about my MPGs". If there is one thing that takes more money out of my pocket than anything else it's fuel cost. The more I do to cut that cost the more money I put in the bank at the end of the week.
Ask any successful contractor how they cut cost and they would probably tell you the same thing I would. Keep your idle time down. Anytime I stop, no matter what the reason, I will always shut the truck off. Though it may only be for a few minutes at a time those few minutes actually add up quite quickly. I also watch how I drive and shift the truck. I found that taking off from a stand still like I was in a race for 1st place could really kill my fuel mileage. I never really gained any time by doing this either. Now I just start at a slower steady pace and always make sure to shift at much lower RPMs. I also like to use my cruise control every time it is possible. I realized that even though I thought that I had my foot applying a steady pressure on the gas pedal I was wrong. I was driving one day on a flatter surface using the pedal and realized that I was actually slightly adjusting my foot on peddle pressure when I looked at my boost gauge and it was jumping up and down. The steadier I can keep that needle on the gauge the less fuel I use so I definitely use that cruise now. I think out of everything that I do to increase the size of my check is taking it easy on what speed I run. I use to be notorious for keeping my truck rolling down the highway as fast as I legally could. That was until I crunched some numbers and found out how much that was costing me. So I decided that it was definitely time to back the cruise off a bit. Yeah at first I was concerned about how much time I would lose by driving a little slower but once I got the discipline to run a slower steady speed I quickly learned that the time lost in a full day of driving was not counted in hours but minutes. And anybody that is concerned about losing a few minutes out of his or her day do what I did. Imagine dropping your running speed by a few miles per hour. Even if it were to increase your fuel mileage by 1 mile per gallon. Now base it on a 2500 mile week. That is approximately $235+ dollars a week or approximately $1100+ a month or even more convincing approximately $13,000+ a year in your pocket. Again anybody can be successful as an OTR contractor. These are not things that I come up with on my own. It's what successful contractors, including myself, have been doing for quite some time now to increase the size of a paycheck. And I am certain that for as long as I continue doing these few simple things I will continue to see my profits remain high.