If you’re a regular reader of the Trucker Tools blog, you know that we love talking to truckers from all across the United States and Canada! We recently caught up with Jacinda Duran, a third-generation trucker and former high-end car hauler. Jacinda began her trucking career driving for FedEx and went on to run as a company driver for several years. Most recently, Jacinda realized her life-long dream of becoming an owner operator and bought her first truck. She currently is leased on with a trucking company based out of Chattanooga, Tenn., in addition to working as a recruiter and social media consultant for the company. As a newly minted owner op, Jacinda told us she’s already adopted a few strategies for dealing with high operating costs and issues such as finding parking.

Check out these time and money-saving tips from Jacinda below.

1. Establish Relationships for Consistent Freight, Keep Deadheading to a Minimum

When it comes to finding loads to haul, Jacinda uses a combination of technology and word of mouth to find and book loads, including the load finding tool in Trucker Tools’ free driver app. Her immediate goal is to establish her own customers. On her first load as an owner operator, Jacinda hauled carpet from Georgia to Florida. Afterward, the shipper asked her if she would haul for the company regularly. Jacinda sees maintaining positive relationships with shippers and brokers as an essential part of running efficiently. If she establishes relationships, she won’t need to search load boards to find loads, which saves time.

“As an owner operator, you also can’t be impulsive,” Jacinda said. “For me personally, I can’t just go where I want to galivant to anymore. It’s changed tremendously for me. You have to stay where the money is. I’m trying to stay with shorter distances with the best rates I can find. Fuel is a killer. I’ve definitely been paying a lot more attention to deadhead because you can see a good decent rate or per mile that’s high, but then you have to really be aware of the deadhead. When you go back and divide the mileage by the pay, it can drop quite a bit. You need to thoroughly plan ahead to make sure you’re going to get a decent paying load coming out of where you just delivered.”

“As an owner operator, you also can’t be impulsive,” Jacinda said. “For me personally, I can’t just go where I want to galivant to anymore. It’s changed tremendously for me. You have to stay where the money is. I’m trying to stay with shorter distances with the best rates I can find. Fuel is a killer. I’ve definitely been paying a lot more attention to deadhead because you can see a good decent rate or per mile that’s high, but then you have to really be aware of the deadhead. When you go back and divide the mileage by the pay, it can drop quite a bit. You need to thoroughly plan ahead to make sure you’re going to get a decent paying load coming out of where you just delivered.”

2. Use Trucker Tools’ App To Find Truck Parking

It’s no secret that lack of parking for big rigs is a big problem for truckers. According to OOIDA and the ATA, there are about 3.5 million truckers and only 313,000 truck parking spaces in the United States. In fact, 98 percent of truckers say they regularly experience problems finding safe places to park. When we spoke with Jacinda, she shared some of her strategies around finding truck parking.

“I use the Trucker Tools’ driver app to find parking,” said Jacinda. “Planning your trips is everything. I think sometimes it can be more difficult to find parking in certain areas. For example, truck stops in Florida fill up in the afternoon and there isn’t much parking in Florida compared to if you went to North Carolina, where you have a lot of rest areas and truck stops. Today I even called my receiver and asked if they have overnight parking for us. Unfortunately, they don’t. I was told there is a truck stop nearby, but it’s only got 16 spots, so I know there won’t be any left by the time I get there. In this case, I’m thinking that I’ll just stop somewhere on the way down so I can take my reset, but still arrive at my appointment on time tomorrow. When I was a company driver, I could just go anywhere and I would pay for parking and get food. It was a lot freer and I didn’t have to be so strategic. If you pay for parking and then a shower, that can quickly add up to $30/night.”

3. Consider a Meal Service To Keep Food Expenses in Check

Since becoming an owner op, Jacinda also has changed her approach to food. Instead of grocery shopping and cooking on her truck all the time, she’s started using a weekly meal delivery service to save time and ensure she continues to eat healthily.

“I came across this company on social media back in April called Factor,” Jacinda shared. “They make healthy, prepared foods and meals that are delivered. They’re never frozen. I jumped on it because you can do eight, 10 or 12 meals each week that are delivered to where you are going to be. I change my address all the time because I’m always moving and I live on my truck. It works really well. You can do 10 meals for $140 a week. That’s still almost half the amount of money you would spend to eat out every day.”

I came across this company on social media back in April called Factor,” Jacinda shared. “They make healthy, prepared foods and meals that are delivered. They’re never frozen. I jumped on it because you can do eight, 10 or 12 meals each week that are delivered to where you are going to be. I change my address all the time because I’m always moving and I live on my truck. It works really well. You can do 10 meals for $140 a week. That’s still almost half the amount of money you would spend to eat out every day.

4. Running: No Gym Membership Required

To relieve stress and get some exercise, Jacinda has started running at the end of each day. She takes her dog with her on her runs and can take a shower and wind down in her cab at the end of the day.

“I was talking to my mom earlier and she was asking me what I was going to do after I was done for the day,” Jacinda said. “I told her that I’m going to get my exercise in and go for a run. I’m a big runner. I love running. It’s such a natural high. I have my dog, so if I run once I get positioned and am loading, then I can stop and take a shower on the way to my next stop. Then when I actually park at night when I’m at a rest area or something and it doesn’t have facilities, I can just relax and go to bed because I did everything I like to do and got everything done for the day.”

To learn more about Jacinda, visit https://www.facebook.com/jacindaladytruckn.

For more of our conversation with Jacinda, read “Jacinda Duran Talks Truck-Buying and Becoming an Owner Operator.”

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