We recently had the good fortune to catch up with Jacinda Duran, known as Jacinda Lady Truck’n to her social media followers. We first interviewed Jacinda more than two years ago and a lot has changed for her since then. When we spoke with Jacinda back in 2020, Jacinda was a company driver hauling high-end cars with Plycar Automotive Logistics. Since then, Jacinda has done flatbed, step deck and Conestoga. Just this month, she began running as an owner operator for the first time under the authority of a trucking company based out of Chattanooga, Tenn. When we spoke with Jacinda most recently, we asked her about what it was like to buy her first truck and about her experience of transitioning from company driver to owner operator, all of which we share with you here.

A Two-Month Truck-Buy

When we spoke with Jacinda, she hadjust gotten a new truck two weeks previous. Buying her truck took two months, which meant she was out of work during that time. She’d originally planned to buy a Freightliner classic that she had previously driven from Arizona to Kentucky. However, when she arrived in Kentucky and saw the truck in person, she didn’t think it was right for her. Picking out and getting a different truck took another month. In the meantime, she stayed in Kentucky living in a hotel, waiting for the paperwork to be finalized.

“It was definitely trying,” Jacinda shared. “I’ll be honest. I’m pretty bubbly, but there were times where I thought, ‘Where’s my life going? What happened? Who am I?’ Eventually, I got the truck I wanted. God is good because I made it through that whole time without working, which was the biggest thing for me. I was buying a truck and I didn’t have much revenue coming back in so that was pretty overwhelming. By the time I got the truck I was grateful, but the excitement wasn’t there anymore because I just wanted to get working. From there, I partnered and leased on with TRC Freight. They asked me to partner with them to help them grow their social media and produce videos. I’m working with them on orientation and instructional videos and also doing some recruiting for them. I’m really honored. They take a very minimal percentage as a lease operator and I produce their social media. I love talking, so my motto is why not get paid for talking?”

“It was definitely trying,” Jacinda shared. “I’ll be honest. I’m pretty bubbly, but there were times where I thought, ‘Where’s my life going? What happened? Who am I?’ Eventually, I got the truck I wanted. God is good because I made it through that whole time without working, which was the biggest thing for me. I was buying a truck and I didn’t have much revenue coming back in so that was pretty overwhelming. By the time I got the truck I was grateful, but the excitement wasn’t there anymore because I just wanted to get working. From there, I partnered and leased on with TRC Freight. They asked me to partner with them to help them grow their social media and produce videos. I’m working with them on orientation and instructional videos and also doing some recruiting for them. I’m really honored. They take a very minimal percentage as a lease operator and I produce their social media. I love talking, so my motto is why not get paid for talking?”

When Jacinda struck out on her first run as an owner op, things did not go as planned. First, her AC stopped working. By the time she got to Florida three days later, her truck was derating because the diesel exhaust system was clogged. She later found out that she also had a fuel line leak. Thankfully, an online acquaintance offered to help Jacinda out and she was able to get a loaner truck while her truck is being repaired. 

“It was an emotional first week,” said Jacinda. “I got the gist of what it’s like to be an owner operator within my first week. I’m trying to make money and I’m paying out twice as much as I’m profiting already in the first week. I love challenges and with my faith and determination, I know this, too, shall pass. I don’t wish for things like that to happen, but they do. You just never know when, so you’ve got to accept help, get things fixed and know you’re probably going to return that favor somewhere down the road. Now that I’ve had this experience and know what it’s like, I can help somebody else.”

An Owner Op Dream Realized and Valuable Lessons Learned

“It was always my goal as I developed myself, my trucking and my social media to buy my own truck and then continue purchasing trucks,” Jacinda shared. “My first goal was to buy my truck, which I’ve done. In a year, I plan on getting another one because a lot of my lady trucker friends want to come drive with me but don’t want all that overhead and responsibility. I’m getting into a position where I can do that and bring them on. I’ve been very truthful through this whole process and people want to come where I am. I think they think if I’m here, then it must be good. I want to have other people work here and enjoy the freedom of driving and working independently.”

“It was always my goal as I developed myself, my trucking and my social media to buy my own truck and then continue purchasing trucks,” Jacinda shared. “My first goal was to buy my truck, which I’ve done. In a year, I plan on getting another one because a lot of my lady trucker friends want to come drive with me but don’t want all that overhead and responsibility. I’m getting into a position where I can do that and bring them on. I’ve been very truthful through this whole process and people want to come where I am. I think they think if I’m here, then it must be good. I want to have other people work here and enjoy the freedom of driving and working independently.”

As an owner operator, Jacinda has learned how important it is to stay where the money is. For her, getting the best rates means doing shorter hauls. Jacinda also pays a lot of attention to deadheading. When considering loads, she looks at how far away the pickup is and what her net profit will be. This is especially important with diesel fuel prices being so high. She factors in the cost of parking, food and other expenses, too. Jacinda sees trip-planning as a key part of being successful as an owner operator, as well.

“It’s a complete chess game,” said Jacinda. “Before you make one move, you need to make sure you know how it’s going to affect you on the other side.”

When it comes to buying a truck, Jacinda recommends that you expect the unexpected, whether you’re buying new or used. Her truck worked fine when she left Kentucky and everything looked great. Not long after, she started having mechanical problems. If you’re considering buying a new truck, Jacinda recommends having a strategy because the truck buying process can be overwhelming. While she found buying her first truck to be a stressful experience, she says it was a valuable one that she learned from.

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

Stay tuned to Trucker Tools’ blog for part two of our interview with Jacinda, coming soon!

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