If someone would chart the number of lease/owner operators in Canada it would look a little like ocean waves… up down up down. Without a doubt things have been going down, and down for a long time. More and more operators are hanging up their keys or having them taken away. However, there is a mild insurgence of new operators taking up the challenge. It appears some drivers who can’t seem to get a company job have been convinced that independence is their only option. Unfortunately they may be right.
If their driving abstract is longer than their arm, temper shorter than their baby toe, their options this last year has been limited indeed. Taking over a lease may be the only way to secure employment.
The result of lower or mid grade drivers becoming operators fall into two categories: successful and dismal failures. The ones who become successful grasped one major philosophy “I am responsible for my own success”. Some lower or mid grade drivers aren’t necessarily bad drivers because of lack of talent. They are often that way because the market allowed it. However, in the last 12-18 months the industry has been picking and choosing, weeding out the bad apples. It is forcing some bad apples to shut up and pull up their socks. Those who have become operators seem to have become responsible over night, and it appears not just in business but in their personal lives as well. It’s both encouraging and amazing to see. Historians will confirm that this happened during the great depression as well.
Newly responsible behavior can be viewed. However, it is not the norm. Under pressure many magnify their irresponsible behavior. When these unemployable drivers get into a truck they become their own worst enemies. Since they no longer have labor boards and easy mobility on their side, they are on their own. When they under perform or continue reckless behavior they are like a drowning man, they will take down whoever is around them. If you can, stay away.
I interviewed one such operator who was investigating incorporation for his new lease. Once he found out that reports to banks would need another level of explanation he stopped the entire process. He didn’t want anything to hinder borrowing money for his “toys”. Even though the incorporation (and using the per deie system) would save him over $700 per month in taxes he refused. In other words he would rather pay an additional $8,000 in taxes every year so that his short term borrowing power would be magnified.
From the study of history and human behavior, slavery has some pretty compelling arguments.