Over-the-road driver Chad Fowler answered a few questions about his career on the road in a recent interview with The Trucker.
Q: How long have you been a truck driver?
A: I have been a paid truck driver for 8 years.
Q: Why did you get into trucking?
A: I was a diesel mechanic for several years. I just got burned out on working on broken-down trucks. I grew up with my dad on the road as a driver, so I decided to build myself a truck. So far, I love it.
Q: What do you haul, and where?
A: I do specialized moving — like restaurant fixtures and things like that. I also move people from state to state. I also do anything that has to do with trade shows and car shows.
Q: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever hauled?
A: A spaceship display for a trade show. The company was a private company that was building — or had built — a two-man spacecraft to carry the pilot and one paying customer into space. I wish I remembered the company’s name; but I do remember that I picked it up in California, out in the desert. I also hauled flight simulators for the U.S. Marines; that was pretty cool. I picked them up at Lockheed Martin in Florida.
Q: What do you like most about being a truck driver?
A: Like everyone else, I like the freedom of being my own boss, being able to go home for a month if I want to. I love to see the country, and I love being on the move. You have to have a gypsy soul to do this work.
Q: What are the pros and cons of being an owner-operator?
A: The pros are booking your own loads, knowing what the money is, setting your own rates and, of course, not having to answer to anyone. The cons are the expense of owning a truck and trailer, as well as all the taxes we have to pay. If you’re not rolling, you’re not getting paid.
Q: What do you look for in a company to lease to?
A: Being able to book my own loads with complete freedom. All I need a company to do is sign rate confirmations, check brokers’ credit and answer the phone if I need anything.
Q: What advice do you offer to someone looking to get into the trucking industry?
A: You have to be patient. You will never know everything — and stay away from people that say they do. This industry is ever-changing and evolving. You have to be adaptable, or you will never make it.