Trucker Tools is celebrating Black History by highlighting Black voices from across the transportation industry, from brokers and truckers to entrepreneurs and 3PL-owners. One of those voices is Larry Cothran, who started his trucking career in 2007 as a company driver for Swift. Today Larry is an active YouTuber who shares the knowledge he’s gained over the years both as a company driver and owner operator with his fellow truckers. Trucker Tools recently had the good fortune to speak with Larry and learn more about his career in trucking, including his mentorship of new truckers. 

13 Years in Trucking

“I never even thought about being at truck driver until I was laid off from my job thirteen years ago and had to find something to do — and I thought of trucking,” Larry told us. “I’ve always loved to drive and I thought it would be good career for me. I needed the money and tried to learn everything about trucking before I got into the industry.”

In his 13 years as a trucker, Larry told us that he’s run a lot of different kinds of freight, including step-deck and oversized. Larry was a Landstar owner operator for three years and today is getting ready to transition back to being an owner operator. He mostly does runs in the Midwest because they tend to pay the best and calls Cartersville, Ga., his home. Larry also told us that he loves being a truck driver.

“I love the camaraderie and the community in trucking,” said Larry. “I also love to drive. When I’m driving, it’s kind of like my sanctuary. I’m able to think. I have the greatest ideas when I’m driving. It gives me a lot of time to meditate and connect with other people on the phone, as well.”

“I love the camaraderie and the community in trucking,” said Larry. “I also love to drive. When I’m driving, it’s kind of like my sanctuary. I’m able to think. I have the greatest ideas when I’m driving. It gives me a lot of time to meditate and connect with other people on the phone, as well.”

In addition to his trucking career, Larry is a social media consultant and entrepreneur. With his business Social Media Solutions Pro, Larry teaches churches, businesses, politicians and public figures how to use social media. 

Building Industry Knowledge — Then and Now

Larry told us that a successful career in trucking is built on relationships and sharing knowledge. For today’s truckers, he says that there’s lots of information available online and through social media, which makes it easier for people to break into the trucking industry. For Larry, that wasn’t initially the case when he started his career in trucking.

“I built my knowledge of trucking the old school way,” Larry shared. “I got phone numbers and talked to different people. When I would stop at truck stops, I’d talk to people and ask them questions along the way. Once YouTube and social media started to come into play, I started to watch videos online because I wanted to increase my knowledge even more. That’s actually why I started my YouTube channel. I couldn’t find good information out there at the time that I could count on because there were so many people just giving one side of the story or providing shabby information. I wanted to provide information that people could relate to and to help people. I didn’t really have anyone to help me when I first started out.”

Mentoring New Drivers 

“I started mentoring new drivers because I wanted to share my progress and what I was doing, show them my journey and let them know thatevery day isn’t going to be an up day and every day isn’t going to be a down day,”Larry told us. “In trucking, some days you’re going to take losses and some days you’re going to have exceptional gains. I wanted to show people the process. I wanted to put that on YouTube to give people a glimpse of what they can expect if they go into transportation and logistics.”

“I started mentoring new drivers because I wanted to share my progress and what I was doing, show them my journey and let them know thatevery day isn’t going to be an up day and every day isn’t going to be a down day,”Larry told us. “In trucking, some days you’re going to take losses and some days you’re going to have exceptional gains. I wanted to show people the process. I wanted to put that on YouTube to give people a glimpse of what they can expect if they go into transportation and logistics.”

Larry told us that many of the new drivers he mentors see his videos online and reach out to him to ask him questions. He said that he always tells new drivers, “Apprenticeship before ownership.” Larry advises new truckers to learn as much as they can about trucking as company drivers and to get some experience before they become owner operators. 

“I see a lot of people out there who jump in and spend money to get into trucking or spend money to become an owner operator before they have everything they need,” Larry said. “What they end up doing is buying a truck when they could have talked to me and let me coach and mentor them through the process and avoid making a $10,000 mistake.”

To learn more about Larry, visit his YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/fastestfoot. You also can follow Larry on Instagram

Find out how Tamara Brock is making the transition from trucker to 3PL owner by reading Celebrating Diversity: Tamara Brock, Freight Broker and Logistics Entrepreneur. To download the Trucker Tools app, which is free for truckers, visit https://www.truckertools.com/web/carriers/