By Timothy Brady
“Spotlight on an American Trucker “ is a monthly feature that aims to bring American Trucker’s readership to life by putting names and faces alongside successes.
Road Runner Truck Driving Academy/Road Runner Shipping
Richard Milam, Owner
Founded 2006 in Sharon, TN
The primary emphasis of Road Runner Driving Academy is to provide top-quality, hands-on training through small, personalized classes. Our philosophy is to respect you as an individual and challenge you to perform to your maximum potential as a leader in tomorrow’s transportation industry.
Do you consider yourself a trucking company or one that uses trucks in the course of conducting business?
Actually, both. As a truck driving school, we use trucks in the course of training new truckers. We own four tractor-trailers in our training facility that students use daily in their endeavors. Road Runner Shipping is our small trucking company that operates OTR.
Do you have regularly scheduled routes or on-demand delivery?
We have both. Many of our loads are dedicated runs; however, sometimes we need to go wherever the load takes us. We operate regionally, east of the Mississippi River.
How is maintenance handled? Your own shop or jobbed out?
We use local mechanics. We feel using local mechanics is a contribution to our community and keeps costs down. There are three shops in Weakley County, TN, that we try to use when addressing our maintenance needs. These same shops handle any major repairs.
What three challenges do you face with maintenance? How do you resolve these?
Having maintenance completed in a timely fashion is one concern. Any time a truck’s down, wages are lost. Repair shops must know this. It sometimes requires us to be quite assertive when dealing with OTR shops to get necessary repairs and maintenance done in the shortest time at a reasonable cost. Finding a shop in another state and getting fair results can be an issue. We have a service we use for advice about these dilemmas in making an educated decision. On the other hand, the cost of using local shops must be fairly priced for this to work.
How do you handle maintenance on trucks/trailers to minimize downtime? What are your mileage/time intervals on preventive maintenance?
Preventive maintenance is done every 5,000 to 10,000 mi. to keep our trucks running in top condition. When the truck is in for driver home time, we schedule maintenance at that time. This prevents loss of wages for the drivers and revenue for the owners.
How do you ensure good mileage from tires?
Proper tire inflation is key in getting the optimum amount of fuel mileage and reducing tire wear. Keeping trucks serviced properly is also a help.
How do you determine when it’s time to replace a truck or trailer?
Age and miles determine when to invest in a new truck. When the cost of maintenance is higher than money spent on a newer, more reliable truck, it’s time to change.
What are your specs for your trucks?
We purchase good low-mileage, used trucks. Buying a brand-new truck and having it customized isn’t cost-effective for our company’s business model.