Wes Magyar, leased to Knight Transportation
After getting his CDL, Magyar teamed with a relative at a major carrier for a year. He then leased on with the same carrier hauling refrigerated freight for 3½ years. Due to multiple costly repairs with the emissions system of the leased truck, he had some major financial issues. Magyar went to another carrier hauling dry van freight that turned into lack of revenue problems. Last July, he hired on to Knight Transportation as a company driver. Within a couple of months, however, he realized he was not cut out to be an employee driver, so he became a lease operator last September.
Q: What make of truck do you own?
A: I own a 2013 Volvo 670 with a Cummins engine.
Q: Type of freight hauled?
A: Drop and hook dry van.
Q: How are maintenance and minor repairs handled?
A: The carrier I’m leased to has a great maintenance repair program; they charge 7¢ per mile, which covers 100% of all preventive maintenance and 80% of all repairs. All the maintenance and repair work is handled through the carrier’s own shops or the OEM if they’re too booked.
Q: What are three challenges you face with your maintenance/repair program? How do you resolve each?
A: Biggest challenge is that the carrier’s shop is usually overbooked and behind; simple repairs can take from a couple of days to a week. However, they have a relatively inexpensive truck loaner program that keeps me running and generating revenue.
Q: What do you do with maintenance/repairs to minimize downtime?
A: I do my very best to schedule PMs and repairs when I’m taking time off at home, so I’m not paying for the loaner truck. I also try and get even the most minor repairs done when the truck is in the shop at home, so it doesn’t become a major headache on the road.
Q: What are your mileage/time intervals on preventive maintenance?
A: It’s about 28,000 to 32,000 on full preventive maintenance services and 15,000 on greasing the truck.
Q: How do you get good mileage from tires? What brand do you prefer?
A: Tires are rotated at every PM service, and I stay on top of correct inflation. I prefer Michelin tires.
Q: Do you stock any parts for your trucks or purchase as needed?
A: I stock lights, fuses, air lines, and gladhand gaskets.
Q: How do you determine when it’s time to replace a truck or trailer?
A: [I’ll replace] when I can afford the Tesla tractor and they build one with a sleeper cab. Until then, if I need to replace this truck, I would like to have a Volvo 780 glider kit truck.
Q: What is the biggest business challenge with your trucking operation?
A: Generating enough revenue to create a sustainable profit.
Q: If you could change a regulation to trucking, what would it be and why?
A: Get rid of the 14-hour rule. It’s the greatest cause of drivers pushing themselves, either when road conditions say they shouldn’t or when they should be resting. Too many truckers are tossing safety to the wind because of this rule.
Q: What do you enjoy most about trucking and hauling the freight you do?
A: The money is pretty decent. I don’t have to constantly deal with people. I don’t have someone trying to micromanage my every move or constantly look over my shoulder. And mostly, I love to drive.