ST: What made you decide to come to the trucking industry?
Roxanne: After my father retired from the Navy he still had five kids to support so he became a driver for a charter bus. I also had an Uncle who was an Owner Operator of a fleet and another Uncle who was an Owner Operator of his own truck. So there’s a tradition of driving throughout my family. When I was a little girl, every time they would come to visit I would just get so excited. To be able to climb up into their trucks and see all this big equipment was amazing!
ST: What did you do before that?
Roxanne: Before I went to truck driving school and started my trucking career I worked three jobs. I was a kitchen manager at a small corner store in my hometown, I worked at Mcdonald’s part-time, and I was also a school bus driver. So even back then I was driving but with a Class B license. Before starting a trucking career I was working three jobs and I was still struggling to pay all my bills, so I was like – something has to give. All my children are grown and I’m older now, so it’s time to spread my wings.
ST: What has kept you in the trucking industry all this time?
Roxanne: There’s been a lot of stress but honestly, it’s the sum of the people you work with and just the freedom of being over the road. Every day has been a new adventure for me and no two days are ever the same. I say that all the time while looking out at the world from my windows with my dogs, my dogs also keep me going. That’s what keeps me over the road and rolling, that and the money haha! You can really make money in trucking.
ST: What tips can you give a new driver when working with their dispatcher?
Roxanne: If you’re at a reputable trucking company you have to trust your dispatcher and trust that they know what they’re doing. Give them time and build a relationship with them. If it’s not working and your personalities clash then there’s no harm in asking for a new one. But do your best to work it out.
ST: What do you think are the most important things for an Owner Operator to consider when accepting the load?
Roxanne: The definitely number one thing is the price of the load. How you make money in trucking is making sure your load covers your essentials. It has to cover your fuel, it has to cover your time, and it has to cover the maintenance on your truck. You get those by your averages, so the main thing for me is to keep track of my averages.
ST: What is the most important thing that leads to success in this industry?
Roxanne: Patience, I really think patience. It’s the number one path to success in starting a trucking career and without patience, you’re going to constantly stress out over everything. With a little bit of patience, guidance, prayer, and a good team you’ll be able to work through anything.
ST: What was your first driving job?
Roxanne: I went through Roadmaster Driving School and I filled out an application and eventually was picked up by one of the country’s larger companies. It was exciting and frightening, I recall every first maneuver that I had to do as a driver. Like the first time I had to pass another truck, the first time I went over a bridge, the first time going through a tunnel, and even the first time having to back up the truck. It was very exciting and frightening at the same time!
ST: How long did it take for you to be comfortable on the road when you first started?
Roxanne: Starting a trucking career and driving over the road came fairly naturally. I’ve never let the grass grow under my feet for too long. I’ve always been on the road, driving cross country, or visiting family who live way out on the west coast. Throughout the years I’ve always driven and it’s never been a problem.
As for being comfortable driving the big trucks it took a good six months to a year I think. Near the beginning, you feel so high above and on top of the world then you begin to settle in and it becomes second nature.
ST: How did you decide to buy your own truck and become an Owner Operator?
Roxanne: I knew there was more money out there to make in trucking. When you come into the trucking industry you expect to make a crazy amount of money, everybody has the image that Owner Operators make an exceptional amount of money.
I said to myself if I net as an Owner Operator what I’m making gross as a company driver then I’ll be okay with that. I’ll be able to make money in trucking, save some money, pay off bills, and so on and so forth. It just progressed from there but eventually wasn’t good enough and I had to find a better company.
ST: What advice would you give to someone who wants to become an Owner Operator for the first time?
Roxanne: Do your research. I would also suggest having 6-12 months’ worth of income to cover your bills in the bank before you purchase a truck. You will make money in trucking but in the beginning the truck will drain your bank account, it really depends on how well you maintain your truck, there are also unexpected things that can happen.
I would say come to Status, you got to find a reputable trucking company and I found one. I’ve been here a year and I love it. My stress has been drastically reduced!
ST: Any tips or tricks that new drivers should know?
Roxanne: Get plenty of rest when you’re out on the road. Don’t feel like you have to be out here and be Superman right away. Be sure to enjoy the ride. Yes, that’s what I said, sit back, and enjoy the ride. Don’t only be focused on getting to the load, those shippers and receivers will be there when you get there. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan or be late, always try to be an hour early to your appointment. But don’t just rush to be there, enjoy the ride. That kind of gets into the patience thing a little bit too. Making money in trucking can be stressful. Be patient, plan and enjoy the ride, don’t stress, stress does not help.
ST: What was the most memorable experience on the road that you remember?
Roxanne: My most memorable experience after starting a trucking career, is being able to travel all over the country. Being able to pass by family and visit is nice. I remember my first year driving a truck, I was able to visit my family, all my siblings, my parents, my children, my grandchildren. Traveling as an Owner Operator and seeing them is always a blast.
ST: How long do you stay out on the road at a time?
Roxanne: I’d like to say two or three weeks but it’s more like two or three months haha! To make money in trucking you need to stay out. Occasionally I might be able to swing home for a quick thirty-four-hour restart. But while I’m on the road it’s just me and the dogs. I have my boyfriend to visit back home but he’s got his life and I have mine. When I get home we meet up in the middle, he handles business while I’m gone, and we’re just being patient as we wait for retirement.
ST: What regions do you run and why?
Roxanne: I run all forty-eight states, I like to try and stay east of the Rockies. I love traveling and seeing new places. Being able to experience all the back roads of a place is much better than the highways. That way you get to travel through small towns and witness a lot of history.
ST: What is the average of miles under your belt at this point?
Roxanne: I would say that I am close to a million since starting a trucking career. Before I left the major company I was with I was at 450,000 miles and now over the past three years, I’ve probably picked up another 300,000.
ST: How did you go about deciding on the truck you now own?
Roxanne: I financed it from the first company I was with. I knew I wanted a Kenworth because that’s what I trained with. I knew it had to have an APU on it, there was one available that checked all the boxes and that’s how I purchased my Kenworth. I was preparing to become an Owner Operator but I didn’t have all those funds in my account. So financing was the best option for me.
ST: Are you planning to buy additional trucks and become a fleet owner in the near future?
Roxanne: Yes, I do! As soon as I can build my savings account back up, I plan on buying at least two more trucks so I can start generating some income and try to find a driver to take over this truck.
ST: Any situations while being in the trucking industry that have made you wiser or better as an owner-operator?
Roxanne: A lot actually, but I think the number one thing is talking with veteran Owner Operators. I’m always watching other Owner Operators seeing how they make money in trucking, how they maneuver their own vehicle. Sometimes you think you might get yourself stuck in a pickle, but then you see someone else do it and it makes you comfortable knowing it’s possible to handle. So I would say it’s mostly talking to veteran drivers.