As a man of few words, with a soft-spoken voice and a determined attitude, owner-operator Jim Goad has his nose to the grindstone.
“I’d consider myself more of an old school driver — I keep my feet off the dash, work hard and I’m not in truck stops all the time. I try to be efficient,” said Goad, who has trucked on and off for 20 years.
The 45-year-old trucker drives a 2003 Peterbilt 379, and is leased on to Brady Trucking out of Normal, Illinois. He runs typically a Midwest and Eastern route, generally three weeks at a time, hauling plastic pellets. Whether an owner-operator or company driver, which he’s done in the past, hauling specialty freight is key to a bigger paycheck, said Goad.
“Go with something that’s like a specialty, not just normal freight, like I’m doing with the dry bulk — it’s something special,” he said. “[You’ll] make more money as an owner-operator or a specialty driver. I paid my truck off in a year and bought a second.”
This multi-truck owner doesn’t have any secrets or get-rich-quick tips. It’s simply a matter of money management.
“[When] I started September 5 of last year, I had no money in the bank, was completely broke, and bought a truck. And in a year, I paid it off. And I put new tires on it, redid the front end. I guess you could say money management” is key, he said. “I go home, I don’t spend a lot of money and when I’m out here, I don’t just go buy, I do buy some dumb stuff, but I don’t get wild with it.”
Though his second truck, a 2011 Peterbilt 389, is currently at his home “collecting dust,” he plans to hire a driver for it.
Goad said he got into trucking for the money and the lack of available career opportunities near him. He lives in Marion County, just outside of the northeast town of Jefferson, Texas, with a population of a little more than 2,000 people.
“Where I’m at we don’t even have a store,” Goad said.
After so many years in the industry, it’s easy to look at what’s become of the industry and society with a critical eye.
“Four-wheelers have no respect for trucks,” he said. “They ignore turn signals, always have to try and stay in front of you, always getting in your safe distance.”
One of the worst things about other motorists, he said, is not reading road signs when one lane is ending. “Cars and semi’s get in the wrong lane to get ahead and it causes a long back up.”
And, he added, “We can’t leave out drivers that get fuel and block fuel pumps while they grocery shop and take breaks or whatever they do.”
Furthermore, he said electronic logging devices or ELDs need to stay out of trucks.
“They say it’s going to be healthier for a truck driver; how is it going to be healthier to sit in a truck stop for 16 hours?” he wanted to know.
Amid the darkness in the industry that often stems from a lack of “respect,” Goad said there are bright moments in the day, like children doing the “arm pull” and support from the public.
“I guess another cool thing is when people pass you and give the thumbs up,” he said. “I try to keep my truck clean and classy looking. It’s my own truck and I’m proud of it. I like when it catches an eye.”
Goad, who has one grown daughter and two grandchildren, likes to relax while home in Texas, typically five days at a time.
“I usually hang out with my buddy. We cook out and drink beer. He’s Mexican, so we usually have beer and tacos,” he said. “Or we may get in the boat, ride around the lake.”
Trucking may have been a career born out of necessity for Goad, but it’s one that has made him successful.
“I have goals of just to keep pushing and make my way and hopefully get out of a truck one day,” he said. 8