Let’s Talk Miles, Pay and Hometime with USA Truck Driver John Keaton

Last week on the Driver Solutions blog, we introduced you to USA Truck driver John Keaton. We've learned about John's history prior to pursuing a truck driving job.  We found out he used to be a golf pro before becoming a restaurant owner and then eventually found his way into trucking.

Usa Truck Driver John Keaton

Today, we'll find out how John's career is going so far in part 2 of our interview. Keep reading to learn about John's miles, home time, and pay with USA Truck after 8 months!

Q:  Let's get down to the basics - how have your miles been?

A: I’m getting more than I thought I would which is awesome. I’ve got a great rapport with my fleet manager. At first it was a little rough though and I did have some setbacks, but I got through it. I finally went to my Fleet Manager about it and he was able to get me in a new truck.  He put me in a new 10-speed Cascadia Freightliner and all has been well since. I’ve run 70,000 miles in 6 months, so they’re running me hard. I’m getting where I’ve gotta go, never been late, 100% on time delivery. Because of that, they trust me with good loads and because I’ve got a good relationship with my FM, before I even stop and get my current load delivered, I’ve already got another lined up going somewhere else.

Having my own business taught me to understand where USA Truck is coming from. They won’t give a rookie a brand new $100,000 + piece of equipment and I understand that. Once I was able to prove myself and show a positive attitude, things started to fall in place. They’re trying to get the last few miles they can with the older trucks and that makes sense. I was a rookie then and had to work my way up to a new truck.

Q: How long do you generally stay out for?

A: Typically, I stay out a month or so then spend 4 or 5 days on home time. I don’t have to be anywhere ever – I‘m just going! My only bill is my phone bill. I decided to do that myself. I got rid of my mortgage, cars and all the crap I owned. I was making a lot of money before but also spending it all on stuff I wanted and had nothing when it was all was said and done. Now, I'm able to actually save way more money because I don't have all of those bills and other things that come with being home...ya know, the things I don't really need.  I love that about this career. I actually spend very little money because of the lifestyle. 

Q: What do you do on your hometime? Visit family?

A: I visit cousins and aunts and uncles and stuff.  I'm actually able to see more family this way...the family that I haven't seen in years.  It really ends up working out to be pretty cool.  For example, this weekend I wasn’t scheduled to go home (I’m going to Virginia next weekend) but I got a random load going 100 miles from my parents house so I could get there Saturday afternoon. So I got to spend a day and a half at home accidentally! That was really cool. I went home, reset my 70 and played some golf with my dad and brother. It was so accidental. Another time, I delivered in Ohio and was right next to my uncle’s farm so I ended up having dinner with them randomly. I have friends and family all over the country that I can see when I’m near.  It's a lot of fun.

Q: How about the pay?  What has the pay been like so far?

A: In the beginning it was tough to get things started, but that's just part of it.  I had planned for that and knew it'd take a bit before the miles started rolling in. Now though things are picking up and the money is coming in as the miles do.  In today’s economy, the pay is pretty good.


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