Trucker Tools recently interviewed owner operator Gerald Johnson, known as Trucker G on social media, to learn more about his 28-year career in the trucking industry. Drawing on his previous experience as an owner operator, company diver and trainer, Trucker G offered his perspective on how the industry has changed over the years and where he sees it headed in the future. In our conversation with Trucker G, he also spoke to us about what truckers can do to have long-term success in the industry, from keeping expenses low to finding a way to stay close with loved ones back home. We share Trucker G’s tips for long-term success below.
Do you have advice for fellow truckers on how to make it in trucking, regardless of the ups and downs that occur?
“Trucking is a roller coaster. It always has been and always will be, as far as I see. It’s got its ups and downs. During the ups, get ready for the downs and start saving. Prepare for the downs. We always talk about having emergency funds, just in case. Well, there is no emergency — if you’re prepared for it. It’s just an inconvenience.”
How do you keep your expenses in check when you’re out on the road? Do you have any tips for keeping your expenses low?
“Truck stops will kill you with the impulse buying. Also eating out all the time. That gets really expensive. If you eat out three meals each day at $15-20 for each meal, that’s $60 each day and that adds up quickly. That’s a lot of money. When I was on the road by myself, I only ate once per day. I wasn’t eating very healthy, to be honest. Now that my wife is on the road with me, I’m more conscious about eating more often and being healthier. When I was by myself, I used to stop at every fast food place, grab something to go and I’d roll. But now, we eat pretty good.
We bought a satellite dish. I used to buy DVDs, but that gets expensive, especially when you buy them at a truck stop. I’d spend $200 each week. But with satellite, we don’t need DVDs. We also have Hulu and Netflix subscriptions and that’s saved us a lot of money. Instead of stocking up on supplies at truck stops, we use the Wal-Mart tool on the Trucker Tools driver app and save money that way.”
How have you learned to deal with loneliness on the road and missing family?
“When I first started, we didn’t have cell phones. I kept a pocket full of change and I talked to my family once a day. You were charged by the minute, so you couldn’t talk for very long. When my wife and I first got together, my in-laws gave me some advice and I stick to it to this day. They told me to never go to bed mad. Well, I wasn’t at home, so that turned into never hang up the phone mad at each other. So even if we had to stay on the phone silent because we were arguing, we’d do it if that’s what it took. A marriage isn’t always just about the good times. We’re going to have bad times, too, it’s just how we handle it.
With today’s technology, it’s great. My wife talks to my grandsons on Facetime all day long. My grandsons are ages two and three. We’re able to watch my grandsons grow that way. I feel like I missed out on that with my kids. Man, I wish that technology had been available back when I first was driving truck.”
Read Trucker G Shares 28 Years of Industry Advice with Fellow Truckers, New and Veteran for the rest of our interview with Trucker G. To download Trucker Tools’ free driver app, visit https://www.truckertools.com/carriers/.