After working tirelessly for several years on RUNINOut, I had come to an impasse. All the restaurants in the DC metro area were overloaded with marketing and the return of investment of hosting events started to diminish. There was still plenty of work building websites but I just got tired updating menus, raising prices every quarter and eventually my bountiful “desserts” turned into barren “deserts”.
In order for my startup to grow, I had to add more restaurants – that meant getting outside this blessed Beltway and exploring the highways and byways into small town suburbia.
But what was the best way to do that without costing me gas and lodging running my Subaru Baja to the ground. Even better perhaps I could get paid to do it – a wild dream considering restaurant profit margins are slimmer than the mac minis and like everything Apple, getting slimmer.
So I embarked on a several month hands-on-the-wheel training in Middletown, VA (90 minutes from DC) to become a truck driver. It took me longer than I had expected. The bitter winter plus failing my CDL-A Driver’s exam thrice had a lot to do with why this dumb dream for a while seemed out of reach.
Eventually with a CDL license on hand, I set off working with a handful of companies, only to be sadly disappointed. One claimed I couldn’t shift. Another claimed I couldn’t back. The third fired me for going 67 on a downhill. Finally I said enough is enough – perhaps I wasn’t cut out for this job after all. Well if I can’t drive for them, perhaps I can beat them.
I visited my Beltway International dealership and plunked down some change for a 2012 Prostar. It had a Maxxforce 12 liter engine and it was notorious for breaking down. I then enrolled in a 10-month diesel mechanic course in Catonsville, MD, just outside Baltimore city, just in case in did.
And in 2019, I set forth as an owner operator of my own DOT compliant semi truck looking for loads to stay afloat and searching for restaurants whenever I had time.
Would I survive? Would I stay profitable? Were all those overly-managed company naysayers right in the first place?
This is my story…