Hi Brett, man you are going to hear horror story after horror story of all the reasons you shouldn't get your own truck. I would be willing to bet that an extremely high percentage of those stories were from people that either didn't do their research and/or take the good solid advice from the successful o/o's. The drivers you see going down the road in nice trucks with nice trailers are the drivers you want to get to know. They are driving that nice equipment usually for one of two reasons; they are in debt up to their eyeballs, or more likely they are successful at being an o/o and have paid their dues.
I am not trying to discourage you at all, but whatever you do make sure you have at the very minimum a $10,000 emergency fund saved up. $20,000 would be best, but there is no way I would start without at least $10,000. The worse your credit is, the bigger your emergency fund should be. Without access to credit, you are going to need the ability to get your hands on cash when the crap hits the fan. This may not apply to you, but If your credit is real bad and you don't have any credit cards, you should consider using $1000 to get a secured credit card in order to start building your credit back up and use it for emergencies and maintenance only. Also pay the bill on it like the experts suggest in order to build your credit back as fast as possible. Just make sure to do your homework on researching secured credit cards. Usually, credit unions seem to have really good ones that won't eat you up with fees.
You wouldn't believe how fast repair shops can eat up an emergency fund. I have an extended warranty on the engine, trans, drive line, water pump, injectors, and turbo. Would you believe that I have put over $19,000 in this truck since I bought it in May and I have yet to have one single thing that is covered under warranty go out? Everything has come right out of my emergency fund. Right now it has spent the past 6 days in the shop for trans problems.
It seems like every time I have to put it in the shop (scheduled or not), I am told it will take 2-3 days to get it in and then it ends up taking 4-5 days total to get it back. So, not only are you out of the money for parts, labor, and shipping of parts (if they don't have them and you have to express ship them), but you have also lost revenue for your downtime and possibly hotels or transportation back home if it's bad enough. And if you are like most o/o's out here, you still have money going out although no money is coming in. Truck payments, insurance, 2290 taxes; it all adds up pretty quick when the wheels aren't turning.
Here's something else you need to consider, too. Once you buy a truck, you are going to have to pay the state you title the truck in a pretty good chunk of money, you are going to need to pay for insurance up front, and you are going to have to pay the IRS your 2290 taxes (up to $550 for the year). You absolutely have to have that 2290 form stamped by the IRS before anyone will let you lease your truck on with them. I would highly suggest you do this in person because other methods can delay you getting that stamped form in a timely manner.
You are also going to have to have your truck inspected by the leasing company, orientation, getting your placards (decals) made and put on your truck, etc., etc., etc. You wouldn't believe how much time and money it takes just to get the truck rolling and pulling your first load. You will quickly see how SLOW people get at their jobs when you are trying to quickly put your truck on with a company and start making money; even if it's the same company you are with.
You are also going to have to find a bookkeeping solution, a tax preparation person, a GOOD local mechanic for maintenance and repairs, and make sure you have a safe place to park your truck. I would also highly recommend having a decent set of tools to carry with you on the road to do everything your skills will allow you to do. Every time you get home for time off you should set some time aside to crawl all over your truck and look for things that need, or are going to need, fixing. DO NOT rely on shops to do the job right!! If you have something done at a shop, make sure you go over their work with a fine tooth comb. I recently had the S-Cams removed and cleaned on my steer axle because they were starting to seize up due to the fact that Freightliner and their infinite wisdom didn't see the need to install grease fittings. While they were in there, I also had them install front shocks. Anyway, once I got the truck back and got home (60 miles away) I found the right shock was just hanging there. They forgot to tighten the mounting bolts and I lost the bottom nut, bolt, and washer. I called them and they told me to take it to another shop, which I did. I got it back again and this time the shop left one of my lug nuts loose. I literally took it off with my hand. Nobody is going to care for your truck the way you will.
Again, I can't stress enough that you do not want to get your own truck unless you have a good emergency fund that you religiously contribute to each week. You will need to, depending on the age of the truck, start putting aside anywhere from .05 - .12 cpm for your emergency fund. You will also need to open a separate checking account for your business and start having your money direct deposited in there. Make sure you just get a normal free checking account and not a business checking account. The banks usually charge you for those and you don't need it. What my wife and I did was to come up with a budget for the house. Every single thing that we spend went onto that budget. Then, from the trucking account each week, that is what we pay ourselves. Everything else stays in the trucking account and I don't put a set amount into my truck emergency fund because what is left over from paying myself and my truck bills is normally way more than the .12 cpm I would normally have put in there.
Also, just as you need an emergency fund for your business, you should also have a 3-6 month emergency fund for your household. You do not want to have down time due to sickness, injury, or breakdown and find yourself having to pull money from your truck emergency fund. That is a VERY bad thing to do! It is the greatest feeling in the world to have something happen either at home or with the truck and not have to worry about it because you have a fully funded emergency fund in place. It's funny how much strain can be put on a marriage when a stove or refrigerator goes out unexpectedly and there is no money for a replacement. On the other hand, it's also funny how that same scenario plays out when you have an emergency fund in place and how much happier a marriage is when your spouse isn't sitting at home and stressing about bills and how to feed the little ones.
Have you ran your company truck like it was yours to see how you do on the fuel mileage and stuff? If not, that is something you should do. Start keeping track of every single fuel stop and figure out your fuel mileage on paper and not using the readout from the dash. Also, the last thing you want to do is get your truck and start running it balls to the wall while your profits go out the stacks. If you normally run your company truck at 65 or 70 mph, start cutting your speed down 1 MPH per week until you are use to running 59-60 MPH. The fuel saving is well worth the lower speed and regardless of what people say, you are not going to lose money by going slower. Your revenue might be slightly lower, but your net profit will be higher.
Make sure you get in the habit of doing VERY good pre and post trip inspections. It WILL save you money!! I know it gets old looking at the same stuff every single day, but there will be that one time that you peep around the drives and see that little puddle of gear oil running down the side wall and see that your brakes haven't been saturated yet. Trust me, I know.
Anyway, I apologize for such a long response. Believe me, I could go on and on until your head exploded, but I will bring it to a close with this last paragraph. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor and even though there is a lot to being an o/o and it seems as though it can eat up a lot of free time and cash in a hurry, it is VERY rewarding and if you take your time and the advice of SUCCESSFUL o/o's, then you will do fine. Just build you up a network of the successful o/o's to surround yourself with and stay away from the...well, you know.