I’m My Own Boss: How a Transport America Driver and His Son Became Owner-Operators
Are you ready to make the shift? If you’ve ever wondered about becoming an owner-operator, Transport America has the game plan for you.
Transport America offers a lease-to-own program that allows current Transport America drivers, as well as drivers from other companies, to take control of their career and become their own boss. The program includes:
- Informational session to learn about the business aspects of owning your own truck
- Lease-to-own options featuring no money down and affordable payments on both new and used vehicles
- Maintenance account support for owner-operators
- Supplemental medical & dental coverage available
- $1.00 per mile on all miles
And there’s much more. To learn more, call 877-223-1759.
In the meantime, here’s the story of Edel Sarrosa and his son Kin-Roy Acfalle, and what motivated them to make the leap to become owner-operators.
If you’ve ever worked for yourself, you know the truth of “being free” – of being your own boss.
And, you know the risks, as well, of having to find customers, working hard to make sure they’re satisfied, and of unforeseen risks, such as illness or equipment that goes down at the wrong moment.
For years, Edel Sarrosa, a resident of Killeen, Tex., made his living as one of those jack-of-all-trades. He was a carpenter, a plumber, and a welder. He was his own boss. But, if you’ve ever worked in construction, you know that those jobs are not easy on the body. So, Edel began to think about alternatives to construction as he was getting older.
Influenced by several truck driving friends, he decided that becoming a truck driver would be a good choice for the next chapter in his life.
So, after attending truck driving school, Edel hooked up with a major trucking firm, where he learned his first lesson of the trucking industry – there are some trucking companies that don’t keep the promises their recruiters made. Instead of earning 28 cents a mile as promised, he was paid 14 cents and was told that the company needed to recover the costs of their orientation.
Dissatisfied, Edel refused to give up. That’s when he learned about Transport America, for whom he’s been driving for just over a year.
After driving as an OTR driver, Edel noticed Transport America’s lease-to-own program. Inside him, the entrepreneur came out. After all of those years working on his own in construction, the opportunity to own his own truck fueled his passion again.
“I have dreams that I want to accomplish,” says Edel. “I want to pay off my home. I want to create something that I can leave for my kids. I saw an opportunity to help my son, Kin-Roy, begin a career, and pave a path for my other son, who is 15. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.”
“Listen,” Edel adds, “I’m realistic. I know that I’m not going to be a millionaire overnight. But I know that if I manage my business well, I can make more money as an owner-operator and achieve my goals.”
For Edel, starting businesses and creating employment opportunities for others, such as his sons, is his way of paying it forward.
Leveraging a three-year lease-to-own option through Transport America, Edel is running a 2017 Kenworth, which he drives with Kin-Roy, who is 22 years old. Their first goal is to pay off the truck.
“I talked to many owner-operators before I decided on this,” says Edel, “it’s not rocket science. If you want to be successful as an owner-operator, you need to keep your truck moving. If you don’t have the stamina as well as the ambition to keep the wheels turning, then you shouldn’t do it. It’s that simple.”
As a solo OTR company driver, Edel would go home every couple weeks. As an owner-operator, Edel and Kin-Roy stay out for 3 to 4 weeks at a time.
“For the first three years – until the truck is paid off – there will be sacrifice. We’ve made the choice as a family that we will not be home as often as we would like,” says Edel. “But after we own the truck, and we can claim more profit, we can make more time for family.”
Fortunately says Edel, Transport America has been a very good company to drive for.
“We’ve got a good dispatcher who understands our goals, and the company has been giving us plenty of miles,” he says.
As for advice he would share with other drivers who are thinking about becoming owner-operators, Edel offers this:
- Become an expert at fuel costs. “Your fuel costs will make or break you,” says Edel. “To keep my costs down, I stick to Transport America’s fueling routes.”
- Master your paperwork.
- Work hard and keep your focus on running your business well. Be on time. Communicate. Keep the wheels turning. Don’t turn down loads.
Tony Beaver, one of the managers of Transport America’s lease-to-own program, says Edel serves as a great example for other drivers as to what it takes to succeed as an owner-operator.
“At Transport America, we will do everything we can to help make our owner-operators as successful as possible,” says Tony, “What it really boils down to is attitude. Drivers who have an ‘I will’ attitude are the drivers who make for great owner-operators. They want success for themselves and for their families. They’re ready to go the extra mile to serve our customers.”