We recently caught up with Georgia-based owner operator/entrepreneur Larry Cothran to get his take on what 2022 has been like for owner operators. For the last two years, Larry has been leased on to a small company that works directly with shippers. He currently is transporting dry van hazmat loads for the company and, like many owner ops and carriers right now, is hyper-focused on keeping his operating expenses as low as possible with diesel prices at all-time highs. Larry is certainly staying busy these days as he owns and runs a social media consulting business, Social Media Solutions Pro, in addition to his owner operator business.
Check out these highlights from our conversation with Larry.
2022 in Review
“This year has been great for me,” Larry shared. “As an owner operator, one of the reasons it’s been a great year is that I look for evergreen freight. I know a lot of people say there’s no evergreen freight, but there is. For me, it’s hazmat. You have to find out what an industry needs. With hazmat, if the load isn’t delivered on time, the customer gets fined. It’s better for them to pay you to get that load there on time than it is to get a fine from the government. The stuff that I haul has to be transported from these 10-day yards. I may have to deadhead a little bit more to go get the freight, but it’s well worth the payout.”
Larry has heard from a lot of his fellow drivers that it’s been a tough year in trucking. Fuel prices, lower freight volumes and truck prices all have impacted profits for many in 2022. According to Larry, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, as equipment prices have started to decline in recent weeks. He also told us that since diesel fuel prices have hit historic highs, he’s become more focused on fuel efficiency to keep his expenses as low as possible.
“One of the things I do to make sure that I’m getting the most out of my truck is I try to optimize my fuel mileage.”
“One of the things I do to make sure that I’m getting the most out of my truck is I try to optimize my fuel mileage,” Larry said. “I’m not out here speeding and letting my truck run when I’m not in it. When it comes to purchasing fuel, I like to just stay with one company because I know we get discounts on the back end. The company that I’m with has a fuel surcharge, which really helps out.”
Keys To Success in 2023
Larry’s strategy for 2023 is to continue on the path that he’s been on over the last two years. He plans to keep focusing on relationship building and using technology that helps him save time on the road, including the Trucker Tools driver app.
“I know people are saying the market is going to bottom out in 2023, but I choose not to believe that,” said Larry. “I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and keep on building relationships. Relationship-building puts you in rooms and in places that open doors. I’ve met plenty of people at truck stops and started a relationship with them that way and they end up having a load for me.”
According to Larry, he plans to continue growing his social media presence in 2023, as well. He was excited to report that he’d gotten 45 million views on his social media accounts over the previous 28 days.
To learn more about Larry Cothran, follow him on TikTok.
Read our previous interview with Larry, “Celebrating Diversity: Larry Cothran, Driver and Mentor.”