Bulldog Truck Sales, Atlanta, GA
678-212-1302 678-212-1302
Bulldog Truck & Equipment Sales is a BBB Accredited Truck Dealer in Cumming, GA
Bulldog Truck Sales, Atlanta, GA
678-212-1302 678-212-1302
Bulldog Truck & Equipment Sales is a BBB Accredited Truck Dealer in Cumming, GA

Should You Lease a Tractor-Trailer to Become an Owner-Operator

Lease / Owner Operator

If you ask 100 truckers that question, you will likely get 85 to 90 sob stories about why you shouldn’t.

The fact is that many of those professional drivers got into a lease operator agreement with their employer. They had no idea about the legal entrapments written into the contract, and even some that weren’t. They soon wound up as what most would consider an indentured slave to the trucking firm they trusted to help them own their first truck.

And sometimes, the truck they get from the trucking firm is not the truck they were driving. They get a mechanical mess the firm wanted to get rid of because the maintenance costs were more than the truck could earn if still in active service.

There Is a World of Difference Between Leasing a Truck & Being a Leased Truck Operator for a Trucking Firm

Once you take the lease from the company and become a leased truck operator, you’re not really an owner-operator. But you’ll no longer get the choice hauls from the firm.

They might tell you nothing changes, but why would they give you the best paying loads as a lease operator over a company driver? They won’t, plain and simple.

A Credible Alternative from Bulldog Truck Sales

First, you’ll have your choice of great trucks. This option can make all the difference in the world. You want a truck that will be your home while you’re on the road, so the truck’s sleeper is as essential as its maintenance record.

Second, Bulldog knows most truckers cannot afford to lease a new truck with a significant down payment that will stretch their finances. They also know a truck with upcoming repairs is out of the question. That’s why they keep a large selection of well-maintained used trucks with sleepers that will keep you comfortable while taking your breaks and sleep time.

If you want to become a real owner-operator, talk to Bulldog Truck Sales about a high-quality used truck to lease or buy.

Posted on behalf of Bulldog Truck Sales

Keeping Your Rig Clean

Keeping Your Rig Clean

Whether you have leased your truck or bought it, the best way to ensure that you get the most out of your investment is by taking care of it. There is absolutely no reason to carve out so much money for something if you will let it go to pieces and become a wasted investment. The best way to keep your rig clean is to wash it thoroughly and regularly. While, admittedly, this is a big job, when you think of the time and money you are investing in your career – it’s worth it. So get over the excuses, and get to work. At least the weather is now nice here in Georgia, so your excuses will fall on deaf ears!

There are very few things you need to keep your rig clean and in top shape. Here’s the list of necessities:

  • Quality Automotive Soap – Rather than reaching for the dish soap that’s underneath your kitchen sink, a good quality automotive soap will be easier on the paint and do a better job of removing dirt and grime that collects from long hours on the roads.
  • Soft Natural Fiber Wash Mitt – This wash mitt will allow you to clean the nooks and crannies all over your rig. You can put your hand into pretty tight spaces with a mitt on, so you can clean even the hardest to reach spots.
  • An Extended Brush – These brushes with extended handles are great for reaching high spots on your truck.
  • A Ladder – Speaking of reaching high spots, the use of a ladder will benefit you greatly.
  • Soft Chamois Cloth – While it may seem like a lot of work, drying your truck by hand will not only help your truck to look better, but it will help to ensure that excess water does not remain in places where you don’t want it.
  • Wax – Spending just a little bit extra on a higher quality wax will go a long way in protecting your rig’s paint. Hot weather, beating sun, ice, snow, and salt on the roadways can really take their toll on your paint job. A good coat of wax will go a long way to protect your investment.
  • Elbow Grease – You’ll need to put forth some effort for good results.

Keeping your rig looking good not only safeguards your investment and makes you look good, but it may also help you slide through the occasional DOT inspection. Just sayin’. Your rig is a huge investment that is meant to bring in money. With a bit of work and elbow grease every so often, you can keep your rig clean and look like a professional.

Posted on behalf of Bulldog Truck Sales

Preparing for Roadcheck 2021

CVSA RoadCheck

International Roadcheck is a CVSA program with participation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada, and Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation and its National Guard.

Running from May 4-6, 2021, this year’s International Roadcheck will focus on the top vehicle maintenance and driver violations from 2020. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will deploy inspectors across North America to conduct inspections on commercial motor vehicles and drivers to ensure they meet vehicle maintenance and driver readiness standards as part of the annual inspection program.

In the fiscal year 2020, vehicle lighting and hours-of-service compliance were the top violations. Although inspectors will inspect the entire vehicle, there will be a focus on lighting and hours-of-service during Roadcheck 2021. Each year, CVSA chooses a focus for capturing and reporting data on a specific category of violations. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2020, inoperable lamps was the No. 1 violation, accounting for 12% of all vehicle violations. Knowing this, truckers need to put intentionality into making sure their lamps are operating at full capacity and that you have a backup in case something goes wrong.

As part of the Roadcheck, inspectors will also look at:
  • Vehicle’s brake systems
  • Cargo securement
  • Coupling devices
  • Driveline/driveshaft components
  • Driver’s seat
  • Exhaust systems
  • Frames
  • Fuel systems
  • Lighting devices
  • Steering mechanisms
  • Suspensions
  • Tires
  • Van and open-top trailer bodies
  • Wheels
  • Rims
  • Hubs
  • Windshield wipers

If violations are found outlined in the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria, the vehicle will be placed out of service. This means that the vehicle cannot be operated until all identified out-of-service conditions have been corrected. Vehicles that pass a Level I or Level V inspection during the Roadcheck blitz will receive a CVSA decal.

With April here, you are just weeks away from being stopped in the Roadcheck Blitz of 2021. Take the time now to ensure that your rig is safe, operational, and compliant with the CVSA program’s standards.

Posted on behalf of Bulldog Truck Sales

How to Stay Alert On the Road

Stay Alert

Being on the road for long hours day after day can be rough. Staring straight ahead, listening to the humming sound of your tires, and sitting for long stretches are enough to make anyone want to doze off. If you’re driving long hauls, much of the scenery is the same, so there’s often not enough interest to help you stay alert. Road fatigue is a serious concern among truckers. Below are tips to help you stay alert while on the road to help you avoid a serious accident and consequences.

  • Eat a healthy diet. One of the biggest pitfalls for people who are on the road is that convenience often trumps healthy. The fat, sugar, and salt content of pre-packed snacks and fast food will make you tired. Your body may wake up while you’re eating, but you will crash soon after.
  • Prepare before you head out. Get yourself a cooler and keep it stocked with fresh fruit and veggies and healthy snacks that are ready to eat. Having snacks that consist of complex carbohydrates, protein, and whole grains will help you stay awake – and keep off those unwanted trucker pounds.
  • Power-nap when you can. Take a nap before you hit the road, and pull over for a short snooze whenever you need it. Studies show that even if you sleep for less than an hour, your body will receive crucial rest to help you stay awake. Pull over for a 20-minute power-nap while en route when you need it.
  • Take your vitamins. The typical American diet does not consist of the vitamins and nutrients necessary for health. A good vitamin supplement with vitamins A, B12, C, D, and Niacin are important for energy and mental clarity. Make sure you stay away from vitamins that contain sugar to avoid the sugar crash, and make sure you take your vitamins with a meal for your body to absorb the vitamins and get their full benefits.
  • Move your body. Sitting can be boring, and when you’re bored, you are more likely to get sleepy. Pull over and stretch your legs. Take a 15-30 minute walk to get your blood flowing. A brisk 30-minute walk will wake up tired muscles and clear your head.
  • Get some good audiobooks. A great story will keep your mind occupied and help you stay awake.
  • Crank up the volume. Music affects your mood, and your mood affects your energy level. Put on some lively tunes that will wake you up and encourage you to sing. Who cares if you can’t carry a tune since it’s just you in your rig!
  • Stay hydrated. Yes, drinking lots of water may cause you to stop more for bathroom breaks – but, hey. Not only does water supply your entire body with fatigue-fighting hydration, but you can use those short potty breaks to move your body and pump energy to your muscles.
  • Roll down the windows. If you are warm and toasty in your cab, you are likely to feel drowsy. Roll your windows down and let the oxygen flow in. Cool air can give your body the jolt it needs to wake up.

All of these tips are easy to implement to keep you alert. Stay safe out there!

Posted on behalf of Bulldog Truck Sales

There’s Freedom in Trucking, but Only if You Manage it Well

Management

As with all things in life, there’s an upside and a downside. You start working out to become healthier, and you find that you are hungrier because your metabolism kicks into a higher gear. You move into a bigger, nicer home with your family, and your mortgage and bills increase. Life seems to be about managing the blessings and the curses that come with almost every decision in life.

Well, what about trucking? By choosing a trucker’s life, you are choosing the “freedom of the road,” as they say. You have unlimited miles ahead of you, and the freedom associated with trucking is often viewed as a huge benefit to the profession. However, freedom comes with quite a bit of personal responsibility. Most people have never experienced the level of freedom that comes with a trucking profession, and there is an adjustment that can be challenging for most people.

Trucking can basically be summed up like this:

  • You are given a start date and time.
  • You are given a delivery date.

Start. End. Sounds simple, right? Well, it all depends on how you manage that time in the middle. On many trucking routes, there is a whole lot of space between the start and end date. Other than e-logs, there is little in the way of accountability during those times between when you start and when you are expected to end. Freedom can actually be one of the more daunting reality-checks you face as a new trucker.

Here are tips to Manage Your Freedom:

  1. Time Management – Getting lost, wrong turns, entering on the wrong side of the store, turning around in the customer parking lot, multiple PTA’s during the day, and individual vendor backhaul procedures can eat away precious time. You need to compile a list of the issues you face, how much time they cost you, and move to step two.
  2. Adjust – With your “issues list” in hand, focus on one or two of your issues and figure out how to improve those specific areas. The most obvious starting place should be to do a better job of trip-planning. Review each store’s dock area using Google Maps as your first priority.
  3. Take Notes – GPS is a wonderful tool, but it is not 100% accurate for a trucker’s needs. Take notes of problem areas where your GPS places you on the wrong side of the store or road so it won’t happen again.
  4. Plan Ahead – Google Maps can help you prepare. Focus on the store parking lot by expanding the view to include entry and exit spots and the surrounding route. Knowing what to expect will help you get in and out quicker.

Planning for freedom sounds a little contradictory. Yet, without a plan to manage your freedom on the road, it will cost you. YOU must be your own advocate by taking a hard look at your performance. It’s up to you to make the adjustments you need to handle the freedom that comes with the open road.

Posted on behalf of Bulldog Truck Sales

Start off the New Year in the Right Gear

Flexibility

Whenever a new year rolls around, most of us feel a bit nostalgic and gung-ho to make the next year even better. Of course, it probably won’t be too difficult to make any year better than 2020.

Looking back over the previous year and gauging what worked and what didn’t is a great way to start a new year in the right gear. Without identifying what didn’t go well, you are destined to repeat it. Below is a list of New Year’s resolution suggestions to start 2021 off well.

  • Make healthy eating choices. With the holidays finished, it’s time to say goodbye to the cookies, cakes, pies, and other treats that wrecked your diet. Make sure your healthy diet includes whole grains, protein, and plenty of water. It is fine to eat dessert every so often, but the key is moderation. Make it your goal to eat dessert once a week to keep you on track.
  • Move daily. It is easy for truckers to pack on the pounds because of how much you sit all day. It is even easier to put on a lot of weight if you aren’t following a healthy diet. Make a commitment to exercise regularly. Keep a set of weights in your cab to use for 15 minutes each day, go for a walk, or find a YouTube workout video to follow. Moving your body keeps it healthy and strong.
  • Improve your mental health. 2020 did a number on many people’s mental health, and it is important that you don’t neglect yours. Find positive ways to de-stress and stay connected with friends and family while you’re on the road. Set boundaries that will help you take care of yourself.
  • Prioritize safety. While safety is always important, a new year can bring perspective. Take the time to look at your truck and inspect it closely. Go through a full inspection checklist to ensure that your truck is in shape for the long road ahead.
  • Speak up. Most people try to avoid “rocking the boat” because they don’t want to stir up trouble. However, if you see something suspicious at a truck stop – speak up and say something. Truck stops and rest areas can only be safe places when you and your fellow truckers work together to make them safe. A good rule of thumb is to imagine your wife or daughter in a situation. Would you want them there? Would they feel safe? Teaming up with Truckers Against Trafficking can help fight the crime of human trafficking.

Remember, a New Year is a great opportunity to start off in the right gear. What are your 2021 goals or resolutions?

Posted on behalf of Bulldog Truck Sales

Prepping For a Winter on the Road

Flexibility

The life of a trucker is never boring. While winters are relatively moderate here in Georgia, truckers know that they can be driving comfortably in 75-degree weather one day and end up plowing their way through a blizzard the very next day. Earning a living out on the highway is a life full of constant adaptation. Most truckers travel between 1,500 – 3,000 miles over the course of one week. This mileage can take a single truck from Atlanta, Georgia, to Boston, Massachusetts, in a round-trip. Or, this mileage can have a single truck driving across the nation one week and driving all the way back the following week. Covering this many miles can put truckers in every weather situation possible within a single week.

It is important to have your truck prepped and ready for all types of winter conditions. A little preparation will go a long way if you find yourself sitting in the middle of a snowstorm outside of Boston. It is also why some common-sense precautions can make driving in bad weather safer for you, your truck, and those around you.

Here is a list of things you can do to make sure you’re ready for winter weather:

  1. Follow weather maps to know the weather and road conditions ahead of you.
  2. Install fresh wiper blades.
  3. Lubricate your fifth wheel.
  4. Carry WD-40 or similar spray lubricant with you to defrost frozen locks.
  5. Use MotorKote to prevent door seals from freezing shut.
  6. Always carry spare fluids and an air hose on hand to adjust to how elevation and temperature changes affect fluid levels and air pressures.
  7. Prevent your fuel from freezing.
  8. Keep an emergency kit with you that includes a flashlight, hand warmers, warm gloves, extra layers of clothing, snacks, bottles of water, a box stove, a battery bank, medicine, and important documents.
  9. Always have a list of safe parking areas where you can stop and wait out nasty weather.

Whether you’re an experienced driver or this will be your first winter on the road, you always want to be prepared. Pack more than you think you’ll need when you’re prepping for winter on the road. You may not use everything, but you’ll be glad you have it. Also, you may have the opportunity to help other stranded drivers.

Posted on behalf of Bulldog Truck Sales

Flexibility is Key in the Trucking Industry

Flexibility

Many people will tell you that flexibility is important in many areas of life. You need to be flexible with your family, your schedule, your expectations, and your time. Well, going into the trucking industry, flexibility is going to be one of the key factors that will make or break your success. You will need to be flexible due to traffic, holiday schedules, and the amount of time waiting at customers. Another area that will require extreme flexibility in the trucking industry is with sleep.

Newbies often have this utopian idea that they will pick up a load, drive, take a break, drive, drop off the load, sleep 8 – 10 hours, and then do it all again. This is an unrealistic expectation. There is a huge misunderstanding about the demands of trucking and sleep patterns. It is important to gain a realistic expectation of how much – or how little – sleep you will actually get some days (or weeks) while out on the road.

The human body was designed with the ability to set a rhythm. Habits, patterns, and surrounding environments help set a healthy rhythm for the body. However, when it comes to trucking, those rhythms are often quite different than what is considered to be “normal.” For many truckers, it is an ongoing struggle to create a healthy wake/sleep rhythm. The trucking industry is 24/7/365. Hours vary depending on routes, and unexpected events can wreck the best-laid plans.

Truckers know that when they have a “10-hour break,” that time will demand much more than just getting rest. You will need time to eat, shower, do laundry, buy groceries, use the restroom, wind down, and get some sleep. Those 10 hours can quickly dwindle to where you only have 5 – 6 hours to get some good shut-eye.

Flexibility is key in the trucking industry. If you have a realistic expectation of getting sleep while you can, making the most of your time, and being disciplined enough to set priorities, you will most likely succeed in the industry. The demands of trucking are high, but with the right mindset and ability to adapt, you can have a career that works for you.

Posted on behalf of Bulldog Truck Sales

Keeping Yourself Safe on the Road

Truck Safety

Let’s get straight to the point here: things are crazy in many of America’s largest cities. With no political bias, we can all see that there are rioters, looters, and those set on destruction. It is crazy, and it can be scary for truckers. Now, this isn’t to say that truckers are wimps, but the fact is that your cargo and your personal safety can be at risk when you are traveling on the road.

First things first: The bad news.

If you own a firearm, your state-issued conceal permit is only valid in the state of issue. When you are traveling from state to state, it will be impossible to meet every state’s requirement. Each state has different rules for carrying a gun unloaded. It is also vital to know that most companies have a policy against carrying a gun in your truck. Lastly, most shippers/receivers have large signs saying, “No Firearms Allowed on Property.” So, carrying a gun would violate the terms of you being on the property.

What to do to keep yourself safe:

There is more than one way to protect yourself. Just because you can’t carry a gun in your truck while you are traveling for business does not mean that you can’t protect yourself.

  • The most important tool you have to keep yourself safe is your brain. Use it.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings.
  • Carry yourself with confidence, don’t make yourself look out of place, and listen to your gut.
  • Trip plan. If you know you need to travel near certain areas, like Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, or New York, trip plan so that you don’t have to stop in those locations. Unless you are dropping a load in those specific cities right now, avoid them.
  • If you need to travel to cities considered dangerous, make your stops during the day when other truckers are out and about. Don’t set yourself up for a 3 am ambush when you’d be all alone.

It truly comes down to not making yourself easy prey. Use your head, and use that tire knocker you keep behind your seat if necessary.

Posted on behalf of Bulldog Truck Sales

Does an Automatic Transmission Make You Less of a Trucker?

Truck Driving

In years past, most trucks on the roads had manual transmissions. The ability to shift gears was seen as a masculine trait, and only pansies relied on an automatic transmission. In 2020, things look a lot different (in more ways than one). For the trucking industry, our lives have been turned upside down with the stress of COVID-19. Worrying about whether an automatic transmission makes you less of a trucker should sound ridiculous – but the truth is, many truckers still wonder about it.

If we’re being honest, most people consider shifting gears to be a real skill only because they have such a hard time getting the hang of it. Many truckers see conquering the ability to drive a shift stick as an accomplishment, but truly it isn’t. Just because something is difficult to master or seems “cool” does not qualify it as a skill that you need. If you learned to drive your rig as an automatic, stick with an automatic. You are not missing out on anything in regard to manual versus automatic.

“But what about having the automatic restriction on my CDL,” you ask? Don’t be overly concerned about it. It truly isn’t that important in today’s age. Almost everywhere, trucking companies are changing their fleets to auto-shift transmissions. In fact, trucking companies that want manual transmissions have to put in special requests because automatic transmissions are considered the new normal. With the advent of the modern auto-shift transmission, trucking companies have found a way to shave off a little of their operating expenses. Remember, trucking is a commodities business. Every bit of money savings decision can mean more money in your pocket.

Let the thrill of the road and driving a huge truck be where you get your kicks. Driving a rig with an automatic transmission does not make you any less of a trucker. Get out there, put miles on your tires, and enjoy the ride.

Posted on behalf of Bulldog Truck Sales