I woke up this morning in my new truck as a company driver. By 9am I was released and became an independent contractor leased to Swift. Being leased to Swift is the key, for me anyway. Swift looks at their O/Os not just as contractors, but business partners.
Unlike many O/Os out there who run under their own authority, I do not. I run under Swift's authority, which means I can only pull their freight. However, there are other perks to that as well. Swift pays for my base plates and IFTA sticker. I pay for my single state registration though which is $250 a year. (I have a shiny new Arizona plate)
Since Swift looks at us as a business partner, they are there every step of the way to assist and ensure we are successful. Swift has partnered with ATBS out of Denver, Colorado and they are the largest business services company in the U.S. working with over 40,000 Owner-Operators. I have 60 days to complete a Pre Course of Advanced Business Standards (CABS) course, which scratches the surface on getting started. They also offer a full blown CABS course online that is optional, but I will take it when complete.
ATBS will cost me $15 a week, but to me it is a small price to pay for what they do. I will be assigned a business consultant to help with any questions I may have. They also manage my receipts, accounting, and prepare my taxes. Basically all I need to do is send them my receipts at the end of the month. Everything else they need, they get from Swift. Once they are done doing what they do, they send it back in a neat package with a cover sheet explaining everything. They will also help me set up a budget and so much more..
One thing I learned today is that contracts are a lot like trying to figure out women….. They are both impossible to understand. I will say though that I have read all 62 pages three times now and I think I may just have a clue, about the contract anyway. Not sure I will ever understand women. 🙂
The major hiccup today came when I went to get issued my flat bed equipment. They didn't have any new headache racks in. All they had is what they take off company trucks. That meant either I had to pay for the rack up front, or settle for a used one. Wanna take a guess at what I did? I called my DM at Gary to let her know. I made that call fully knowing there is currently a trailer full of brand new headache racks for O/Os sitting in the flat bed area. So, I asked if they could get me a van load out of here and issue me everything up there. She asked Ed, the flat bed division manager, and he said not a problem. Apparently it is a liability issue to issue an O/O used gear so I will have to buy all new chains, binder, straps, edge protectors, tarps, etc.
However, being the crafty bastard I am have "acquired" some gear in the past few months. Mainly straps, which means the 16 brand new straps I was issued are now in my new truck along with a few portable winches and some other things that tend to come in handy. :). I haven't decided if I will buy more or not. It's going to cost me right around $1,200 for the gear and another $1,000 for the headache rack. Not sure what 16 straps cost, but it would be a little less I would have to spend.
I really need to take advantage of the next 8 weeks though as I have 8 weeks without a truck payment due to the holiday promotion. That will be the perfect time to get a little cushion in the business account. One thing I need to do yet is figure out what to pay myself, so I don't use the business account for personal items.
Well, I guess I better go grab some grub before the Jake Break closes and NCIS comes on. I realize I didn't touch on everything, but don't hesitate to ask questions.
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