Making Your Miles Count PODCAST

Beginning in January 2023 and in association with Over the Road Magazine, Making Your Miles Count will be producing a PODCAST to serve Canadian Truck Drivers and Operators. I have been researching topics and formats for over two years and I’m excited to provide a wide range of detailed topics. What I am offering readers is the opportunity to participate in topic development. If you have input or questions regarding anything on our list of 20+ topics, please feel free to contact me through our website. If you have a story, issue, or concern, we may just read it on the Podcast or even contact you for an interview if we believe the story is worth telling in audio/video format. Below are two of the topics on the list.


The second book in the Making Your Miles Count series was published in 2015. Nearly a third of the book deals with every aspect of fuel costs. One of the first steps in controlling net fuel costs is a clear understanding of Fuel Taxes. Too many operators misunderstand the importance of knowing the impact of fuel taxes. The bottom line is that fuel taxes must be completely removed from the calculations of controllable fuel cost issues. In other words, remove the fuel tax from the pump price to compare the BASE PRICE of fuel you are considering purchasing. If you owned a truck that miraculously consumed zero diesel fuel (a wonderful concept) it would make zero difference on your net fuel tax cost. For some people, playing the fuel tax ‘game’ is very important. However, it is an exercise in futility… it moves cash/liability from one pocket to another but makes no difference to your wealth building. The activity is a complete waste of time. There are many issues surrounding net fuel costs. The first is fuel consumption, then fuel cost issues. Consumption has a greater impact than costs. Typically, carriers make better fuel purchases while operators have better fuel consumption averages. Operators enjoy the freedom of fueling where they desire, which is usually not the most economical. Understanding where fuel is cheapest is not a static science; prices fluctuate seasonally, cyclically, and randomly across the North American markets. It’s a management issue that each Operator must understand and embrace.

Comparing carrier contracts is a science that few Operators have used. The method of choosing a carrier is almost always on the word or observation of a friend. I remember one client who spent four months preparing to leave a carrier on the testimony of a friend. Then after finally making the change, he met his friend at a truck stop only to find out they were no longer at the company he just moved to. He obviously trusted the guy’s word too much and/or he didn’t keep in touch with him. Another client moved to a carrier because he saw an acquaintance purchase a new truck, an SUV and boat. He assumed that the money must be awesome, not considering the probability that their acquaintance was demonstrating a flare for excessive debt.

Charting and comparing carrier contracts are only a part of the research an operator must do to make a sound choice in truck placement. Halfway through my research, I realized that providing a written contract does not mean the carrier will honor it. In fact, from a legal point of view, most contracts are designed to expose and clarify the liability of the Operator and not nearly so much the obligations and responsibilities of the carrier (if at all). After reading hundreds of contracts my estimation is that the average carrier contract focuses 80% on Operator liabilities and obligations and only 20% on carrier responsibilities. With little to no clear obligations and responsibilities, a carrier can ‘legally’ get away with an awful lot of wing clipping. I charted 13 different carriers over a 16-year span in my research. It clearly displayed the highest paying contract with the lowest and all the contracts between them. What the charts DON’T show is the relative corresponding turnover of those contracts. When Operators view the chart, they immediately ask who the highest paying carrier is, thinking that financial remuneration is the primary or only criteria for an educated choice. Then I ask the operator what he thinks the annual turnover is at the highest paying carrier? The assumption is that it is low, but it is more than 80%. I then point out a contract slightly above mid-way through the range and that carrier has an annual turnover of 8-12%. The highest paying carrier is not always the best carrier for two reasons. They may not honor their contract, or the work required is too hard/difficult for the Operator to sustain. Operators usually choose to leave a carrier for reasons unrelated to pay.

The book also deals with many related issues beyond lease operators. It touches on being an Owner Operator (running percentage). The difference between a Lease Operator and Owner Operator is much larger than the gap between a Company Driver and a Lease Operator. To be a successful Owner Operator (running percentage) requires a deep understanding of freight rates, lanes, cycles, and carrier customers. It is easier to move from a percentage operator to owning your own running rights (becoming your own carrier) than a Lease Operator to an Owner Operator. The amount of critical information for success jumps exponentially.

There are several fundamental lessons derived from the 16-year study comparisons. The research answers questions such as: do operators make more money after deregulation became entrenched or before? Do operators make more money than company drivers? If so, how, and where do they make it? 


When Drivers or Operators search me out for financial advice, too often they are looking for some ‘trick’ or ‘loophole’ to gain a financial edge. The ability to generate income from operating a highway tractor is only one part of a person’s life. It may be an important part but certainly not to be considered the only focal point. In fact, if a person wishes to gain and retain after tax wealth, they almost certainly need to first focus on becoming wise and retain an understanding of their craft. Discipline, structure, and prudence are keys to building long-term after-tax wealth.

There are many life mentors available online. In fact, when I began researching for these PODCASTS, I found HUNDREDS of life mentors and ‘experts’. Admittedly, I have found some very helpful in the development of these PODCASTS. I am not interested in selling you books, programs, or courses that “help” you become wealthy. I’m not in this to make a buck. I have no sponsors other than the ‘Making Your Miles Count’ accounting firm. It is this accounting firm that allows me to help the industry with some critical issues. If I can help operators become more successful or save some operators from their false fantasies, I would count my efforts
a success. 

Over thirty years ago I designed my dream job; if I could have a business that provided me enough income so I could study, teach and help people without worrying about money, that would be my dream job. As near as I can tell, I have seen that dream come to life in my book series, articles in Over the Road Magazine and now with these PODCASTS. I cannot help people with everything, but I can provide a proven plan to build enough wealth to retire with dignity and maybe even enough to change your world significantly. You don’t need a Ph.D. or even an MBA to do this. 

25 years ago, I was talking to an office administer at a carrier who told me a story of a driver they had hired several years prior. This driver was not typical; he was not a particularly bright man. He was a loner and probably should have taken one or two more showers a week than he was used to. He was assigned a scheduled run that put him on the road about five and a half days a week. After two years he was called into the office. He was nervous and shy, and the payroll lady was a little sheepish, but she asked him if he had been depositing his pay checks, because according to the payroll account, there was a long list of outstanding, uncashed checks. He smiled a bit and reached into his back pocket and pulled out a thick wallet. From the unfolded leather he pulled a stack of un-deposited checks. He told the clerk that once his cash runs low, he takes out the next check and makes a deposit. Slowly over two years, he had accumulated nearly six months of checks. Payroll had called him in because, after six months, he would not be able to cash the cheques in his wallet as they will become stale dated. Hearing the reasoning of the driver, the clerk gave him some advice. She set him up with auto payments at his bank and had his surplus funds invested in mutual funds. If everything stayed the same, that man is now a very rich truck driver. 

After two years of driving, he had accumulated six months of cheques, so he was able to save 25% of his net pay. That’s impressive. His lifestyle was much lower than his income.

Several years ago, I spoke with two separate clients. The first was a young married couple. They had three very young children and they lived in an apartment complex while her husband drove a truck. We were going over their finances and she made an off-hand comment like “…and of course, we have our personal living expenses.” I asked, “How much do you need?” “$2,500 per month” she replied. I assumed she didn’t know exactly how much she was spending but I was wrong. After going through their finances, I realized that she knew exactly what she was doing; their family expenses were $2,500 per month. I was impressed. Over the years I followed their progress. They grew their family’s net worth step by step until they were able to retire to another country in comfort.

I had another client, a husband and wife only, in their early sixties. They ended up owning two highway tractors because he didn’t like how the first one drove. They were in bad financial shape trying to make two payments, driving the new truck while trying to sell his first. I asked them how much income they personally require each month. He said $10,000. I immediately thought that he misunderstood my question. “Personal not business” I said. Again, I was wrong. They had every kind of debt – all the way down to a hot tub payment. They needed $10,000 per month just to ‘survive’.

Given the right structure an operator can build a great financial future, or with the wrong structure, build a life of perpetual crisis. It’s not just personal financial issues – it’s business too. Building wealth is a combination of personal and business discipline. Being a successful operator requires a clear set of short- and long-term goals and maybe even a sound exit plan. 

 Over the next few months, I will overview a few other topics to be featured on the PODCAST. Our PODCAST is designed for industry information and educational purposes. It is not designed to make me popular or some kind of social influencer. I seek to assist Drivers in building long term financial wealth and stability, outside any dependence on the governments ‘cradle to grave’ standards. Building wealth as a truck driver and/operator is not difficult if the right formula is followed. In fact, ours is probably one of the easiest industries in which to succeed. I know plenty of very wealthy drivers and operators who are well prepared for retirement. You can be too.

About the Author:
Robert D. Scheper is a leading Accountant and Consultant to the Lease/Owner operator industry in Canada. His first book in the Making Your Miles Count series “taxes, taxes, taxes” was released in 2007. His firm exclusively serves Lease/Owner Operators across Canada. His second book “Choosing a Trucking company” is the most in-depth analysis of the operator industry available today. He has a Master’s degree (MBA) in financial management and has been serving the industry since he and his wife came off the road in 1993. His dedication, commitment and strong opinions can be read and heard in many articles and seminars.

You can find him and his books at or 1-877-987-9787. You can also e-mail him at

About Robert Scheper

Robert D Scheper operates an accounting and consulting firm in Steinbach, Manitoba. He has a Masters Degree in Business Administration and is the author of the Book “Making Your Miles Count: taxes, taxes, taxes” (now available on CD). You can find him at and or at 1-877-987-9787. You can e-mail him at: