200: From Military Service to Owner-Operator: Ben Huminski’s Journey of Trucking, Family, and Financial Discipline

This week on the Oakley Podcast, hosts Jeremy Kellett and Megan Cummings chat with Ben Huminski, an Owner/Operator here at Oakley Trucking. During the episode, Ben recounts his transition from military service to trucking, emphasizing the role of his family’s support, particularly his wife’s, and the influence of his sister, who is also in the industry. He discusses the challenges of being an owner-operator, the necessity of financial discipline, and the mentorship he received in his journey. The group delves into the intricacies of trucking life, financial management, balancing work and family dynamics, the importance of the relationship with dispatchers, and more. 

Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • Ben’s military background and journey in trucking (1:39)
  • The decision to move to Arkansas (10:10)
  • The importance of spousal support (13:52)
  • Challenges of being an owner-operator (17:07)
  • Ben’s sister and her work in trucking (18:05)
  • The first steps into the trucking world (21:20)
  • Support and partnership in trucking (22:14)
  • Benefits and challenges at Oakley Trucking (23:43)
  • What’s next for Ben in the future? (32:59)
  • Financial discipline as an owner-operator (35:36)
  • Final thoughts and takeaways (42:28)

Oakley Trucking is a family-owned and operated trucking company headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information, check out our show website: podcast.bruce oakley.com.


Ben Huminski  00:12

When I first least on the first thing that somebody said to me was, man, I’m sorry, you got that dispatcher? And I said, Okay. And then I said, You know what? I’m going to make my relationship with my dispatcher what it is, just because somebody had a difference of opinion or bad vein doesn’t make my opinion. I love Mondays. One of the things that I’ve learned is, don’t let somebody else’s experience drive your own. Have your own experience, live life, as it is, you know, and I try to teach that to my kids. I try to share that with people. My experience may be different than yours. You know, it’s okay. You know, live yours.

Jeremy Kellett  00:47

Welcome to the Oakley podcast, trucking, business, and family. This show is brought to you by Oakley Trucking, headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The purpose of this podcast is to communicate with Oakley owner-operators and their families by giving them up-to-date information concerning Oakley Trucking and the trucking industry. From business advice to safety updates to success stories. Also to give an inside to outside truck drivers that might be interested in joining the Oakley family. Hi this is Jeremy Kellett director of recruiting at Oakley trucking and I’m your host for this podcast. This is the Oakley podcast, trucking, business and family. Welcome to another episode. Here we are in the studio in North Little Rock Arkansas recording this one and got my co host Miss Megan to come and sit in with me. What’s going on? Ronnie? What do you know today?

Megan Cummings  01:32

Nothing good. Not yet. We haven’t talked to Ben yet. So yeah,

Jeremy Kellett  01:35

Maybe it’ll be good. We’ll be there. We’re gonna hear some good stories from Ben. So once again, we’re bringing one of our owner operators to you, being Ben Huminski. He is from Arkansas, and lives in Arkansas. Now I want to hear his story about where he came from. But we always try to give you these owner operator stories that are here so you can see what this place is about. And you know, sometimes I forget Megan, I’ve always concentrated on that. Only truck drivers listen to this podcast. But you know, that’s not the case. A lot of us have a lot of employees at Bruce Oakley, who listen to the podcast and like to give them information too. So, you know, my wife listens to it as she’s walking. So I’m like, Who knew? But I think it’s, I get focused on, you know, talking to truck drivers and our owner operators and stuff. But, you know, I think we have to consider our other listeners that are out there. I mean, just a lot of different people that did, I mean, look at all the people that came up with the truck show how you listen to the podcast. I mean, nothing to do with us. You know, big wigs are pretty interesting. It’s really cool. It is so maybe get a new sponsor to get out of that. Absolutely. Yeah. But yeah, talk to the people about that. But it’s just, you know, I think what we try to do is give just a variety of stuff to people, you know, to listen to. We’ve had products, we’ve had owner operators. We’ve had Arrow Truck Sales president, we’ve had all kinds of different things, and I think you’d use a variety that helps increase our listeners and gives them a little something to look forward to now. You as my co host, giving them a little something different salutely No, they’ve got to be tired of me.

Megan Cummings  03:34

Give it a couple episodes before they’re saying the same thing. Yeah.

Jeremy Kellett  03:38

It gets you doing a solo. That’s what we’ll get done. A huge

Arrow Truck Sales Commercial  03:42

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Jeremy Kellett  04:28

Today’s episode, folks, I mean, we’re sitting now Ben Huminski one of our owner operators given his story to you so you can actually, you know, hear what it’s like, from what our owner operators do and Oakley what they like about it, what they don’t and how they got here, and I think it’s good. So Ben, welcome to the Oakley podcast. I appreciate you sitting down with us. Thanks. Thanks for having me. Tell me about who Minsky wears. How did he come from first for family hobbies?

Ben Huminski  04:56

So, born in Connecticut, raised in Florida. I joined the military when I was 21. And which branch were you in? Are we ending up in Alaska? I got to Alaska in 2004. kind of stayed until 2020 When we moved to Arkansas.

Jeremy Kellett  05:15

Well, that wait a minute,

Megan Cummings  05:16

That’s a big job.

Jeremy Kellett  05:17

Yeah, a little more information.

Ben Huminski  05:19

My wife has family in Wisconsin, and I’m from Florida and kind of we’re looking at a map and our console is right there. Kind of halfway.

Megan Cummings  05:30

When you were stationed in Alaska. Yeah. Okay. So I’ve heard from a few different people that when you visit Alaska, it’s just you either love it or you hate it. And a lot of people love it and just ended up moving there. Is that what the?

Ben Huminski  05:43

Yeah, I Well, I want to know why you went to Alaska. So sorry, my first duty station was in Fort Riley, Kansas. And when it snowed and got icy, they shut the roads down. Nobody did any work. And so I was in Iraq, re-enlisting and I was like, Alaska has snow and ice a lot of time, we’re not going to work. So I re-enlisted. I mean, you know, in lo and behold, we run until it’s 25 below zero. So I’ve kind of learned my lesson, and I loved it.

Megan Cummings  06:19

Did you retire from the military? Or was it medically? Okay, and then you just stayed in Alaska? Yeah. Wow.

Ben Huminski  06:29

When I was getting out, I knew a guy who owned trucks. And I was like, I want to be a truck. And he’s like, Oh, you do? I’ll give you a job. And I thought, Man, how awesome is that? And well, the first day, I showed up. I think I’m going to learn how to drive a truck so I can go get my CDL and he hands me a broom.

Megan Cummings  06:54

Yeah, start somewhere.

Ben Huminski  06:55

I learned how to work on trucks. I learned from a lot of old school guys who, you know, built this industry on their blood, sweat and tears. And that was one of the things that drew me to Oakley was a lot of the Oakley guys I came I ran into was running down here, where a lot of older school mentality, give you the shirt off their back, if it gets you going down the road again, you know, but we’ll also sit down and share stories and lessons and you know, if you can keep your mouth closed long enough and ears open, learn a thing or two. And that was one of the first things that I encountered with some of these guys was Oakley. And that’s what made me want to when I decided I wanted to give up my authority in finding a place to find a home. That’s one of the first things that I started doing. Do you remember any of those people that you spoke with? The initial ones? No, because like it was, you know, you see him at a truck stop and you just share some information. It’s like, okay, I’ll put that in the back of my mind. And, you know, you run into another guy, but it was just the matter of fact that it was very consistent what their experience was. And it was very, it was like, Hey, man, like, Hey, if you come here, you know, look for my truck. I’ll help you whatever way I can, you know, and then I met some other folks along the way that really kind of as I was getting ready to come over here. All of McTaggart is one of them. He, he still I’ll call them with a question, you know, about anything, you know, and he answers whether he’s Homerton and I’m like, it’s your home. And he’s like, and that’s kind of the same thing I do with guys until I give you my number. I don’t care if you know, I want to see other people be successful. You know that it’s a good feeling. And to see them come over here and have that success. Have you found

Megan Cummings  08:51

that everything you were told before you least on pretty much rings true?

Ben Huminski  08:56

For the most part, you know, when I first least on the first thing that somebody said to me was, man, I’m sorry, you got that dispatcher? And I said, Okay. And then I said, You know what, I’m going to make my relationship with my dispatcher what it is, just because somebody had a difference of opinion or a bad pain doesn’t make my opinion. I love my dispatcher. I absolutely do. I hope he has a good vacation. Like, um, you know, it’s just, and then it’s weird

Jeremy Kellett  09:30

hug people. I mean, people just fit together differently. I mean, the chemistry is different with some of them. So I mean, one person can have a bad experience and the next person can love.

Ben Huminski  09:41

And that’s one of the things that I’ve learned is, don’t let somebody else’s experience drive your own. Have your own experience, live life as it is, you know, and I try to teach that to my kids. I try to share that with people. It’s like, my experience may be different from yours. You know, it’s okay. You know, live yours.

Jeremy Kellett  09:58

So take me by Add to the timeline there. Alaska. You were in Alaska? Yeah. Then you went. You came here? Yeah. I got my so how long have you been here?

Ben Huminski  10:12

We moved to Arkansas and won a 21. Okay. So before that you’ve been in Alaska Driving a truck running heavy equipment. enjoying the great outdoors?

Jeremy Kellett  10:27

I mean, it’s, is it like it, they show it on their TV show? As far as driving knows for sure. Bird and last. Oh,

Megan Cummings  10:35

so you’re watching those? Yeah. Or is it?

Jeremy Kellett  10:39

Yeah, or it’s dark, although,

Ben Huminski  10:41

it’s not that. Summer times are more fun. I mean, wintertime. It’s great. There’s tons to do outside in the wintertime. But I absolutely love the summertime. You can have barbecues with friends. And next thing, you know, three o’clock in the morning, the sun’s, you know, like dusk out and then the sun starts rising again. For I go to Belize. I used to golf all night. Really? Oh, yeah. Some of the best golf I’ve ever done was up there. Oh,

Megan Cummings  11:07

don’t tell Roger Carson. Don’t think of golf in Alaska. Me neither. I just think of snow in that one vampire movie where they’re trapped on the island. Just like about

Jeremy Kellett  11:18

cutting wood all the time.

Ben Huminski  11:19

I mean, there’s a lot

Megan Cummings  11:20

of it. But the Northern Lights, did you see that? Oh, yeah.

Ben Huminski  11:24

I mean, the wintertime is great for that. It’s some of the most amazing things. I mean, one of the jobs I had up there was working in the Prudhoe Bay oil field, and met some really great people there. And I mean, it’s a great company job. But I got bored, you know, sitting around a truck all the time, and not really doing a whole lot, you know, from time to time. And then when COVID happened, it kind of killed the oil field for a little bit. And that’s when I decided, now’s the time to buy a truck. And my wife looked at me like I was, you know, off my rocker. And then she said, Okay, that’s what you want to do. I fully support you. And she has been supportive at every turn.

Jeremy Kellett  12:08

And then you said we’re moving to Arkansas. We talked

Ben Huminski  12:11

about it, because I started trucking slowed down when, you know, all the freight kind of everything kind of cyclical. And it was I was doing more trucking down here. And I parked the truck and flew back to Alaska. And she’s like, Well, why, you know, things are cheaper down there. And, you know, they definitely were from Alaska and kind of picked a midway point. Bought a House sight unseen. And that’s been an adventure. Are

Megan Cummings  12:37

Are you still in that house? Yeah. That sounds great. Sounds like you love it. Love it.

Ben Huminski  12:43

I love it. Look, I have property. I see my kids, thriving outside, loving, being outside exploring, playing baseball, you know, just all those things. And it’s like, you know, in Alaska, it’s great. You get hot new efficiencies, and then you get winter. But it’s really kind of you’re very limited in what those activities are. And I’ve seen So how old are you kids? Six. I knew this question was coming.

Jeremy Kellett  13:14

Well, I would think that No, I got four. Well, you

Megan Cummings  13:17

Ask you what your wife’s birthday is. You

Ben Huminski  13:19

know that? What is? Yeah, for kids? Oh, seven years? I did that calculation or I made sure I knew he’s no, my oldest is six. I have a four year old, a three year old and a one and a half year

Megan Cummings  13:36

old. Only one who’s going to know if you’re not right. It’s your reason. Yeah. Why no kids, but

Ben Huminski  13:40

so call me on it and not know.

Jeremy Kellett  13:45

So I said your wife said, Okay, if that’s what you want to do with my truck? How important is it to her to support her?

Ben Huminski  13:52

It’s exponentially important. Uh, you know, without her, you know, she takes on the hard role. Like, trucking is hard the day you leave, and the days that I truck around Arkansas, because I just want to be at our home and go see my wife, kid. But once I’m on the road, it’s very task focused. It’s very, this is my job. You know, this is how I provide. So I have hard days. She has the hard day of the day that she finds out when I’m going to be dispatched out and hit the road again. She has the hard days when the kids are sick or the kid or baby’s teeth. Or she doesn’t feel good. You know? She wears all them so it’s exponentially important to be on the same page. You know, for me in my marriage. And I am not one iota. I don’t lose the fact that she has a hard job in this.

Megan Cummings  14:51

Did you purchase the truck with intent to come to Oakley or was it just a coincidence my first truck

Ben Huminski  14:57

No. was a 98 Peter mill 379 that somebody had spray painted, matte black and but it was paid cash. And we were running. And I had some old timers that really mentored me and how to operate a business taught me how to truck and then the same old man, we’re like, this is how you operate a business. It’s all about relationships. It’s all about customer service. It’s the same guys that gave me the broom. Yeah, some of the same ones, you know, before they sent me off to a trucking school up there, because, you know, you still gotta go to school to get a license nowadays. And I mean, I went to truck driving school and had to drive on windy mountain roads in the snow. kind of taught me that you can overcome a lot, LoRa. You know, and, but yeah, it’s just, you know, they say that you treat people, right? You hire a driver, you make sure that driver eats before you do. You know, and it’s the same in any sort of trucking, whether you’re teaching somebody or or having somebody draft for you. There’s just a lot of those very, they feel like they’re antiquated principles. But I just think they’re important and I find a lot of them here at Oakley nuts. That’s what keeps me around even on the hard days.

Jeremy Kellett  16:18

What kind of truck you own now,

Ben Huminski  16:20

oh, I got a 2015 Peterbilt 579 truck I came here with that was a little bit older, Freightliner Coronado. It was a heavy truck I took a lot of weight off of and I was blessed with it. Y’all said I could come over here. I said, I’ll promise I’ll get a lighter truck. And, you know, so you’ve upgraded, I’ve upgraded. Yeah, and probably in the next year, it’ll be time to get something with a warranty. Because I don’t understand these computers and you know how to reset stuff. And, you know, it’s a process and I don’t feel like skipping steps is necessarily always the right thing to do.

Jeremy Kellett  17:03

What’s some of the biggest challenges of being an owner operator, one

Ben Huminski  17:07

The hard thing is, you have really good weeks, and you want to still take the same percentage or the same amount, you know, and you need to put the good weeks away for the not so good weeks. It makes the not so good weeks a whole lot more tolerable. You know, it’s, you know, maintenance, you know, if you get a truck, and it’s constantly breaking, and you have to start looking, either. You just need to upgrade, you know what it’s like, my trucks in the shop now I’m driving my sister’s truck. And, you know, I mean, they’re big bills. The shop labor rates are not cheap. Insurance isn’t cheap for the shops, you know, and if you haven’t put away for it can really put you in a bind real quick.

Megan Cummings  17:54

Yeah, speaking of your lovely sister, as Markita Yeah. Did she? So was it her idea to come over? Did you just nudge her in the right direction?

Ben Huminski  18:04

No. So she drove for me when I had my authority. It had always been her dream to go drive for Walmart. And I could tell that she was bored. And she likes driving back roads and doing Rosie stuff. And

Jeremy Kellett  18:24

so she was driving for Walmart when she was in Alaska?

Ben Huminski  18:28

No, no, she moved to California. And, you know, they couldn’t recruit her out of California. So she now has my address. And she’s over here and, you know, loving it. She, you know, all the things that she gets to do and experience and she’s taught me some, and it’s a really important lesson, no matter how busy her life is, and how chaotic things are. When she talks to you, you’re the center focus over world apps, I can concur. And it is such an amazing tool. Yeah, I wish that I could hold on to that all the time. And I’m like, Wait, why am I messing with something else? I’m talking to somebody you know, it’s

Megan Cummings  19:10

always in a great mood. You know, normally when I talk to people, when they’re going to candidates, sometimes they’re in a good mood, if I catch them at the right part of the day, but anytime I’ve talking, or I’ve spoke to Markita she’s always been in a good mood always had something nice to say. You know, when you are on the phone with someone and you can tell she is smiling, that’s always why she is just a ray of sunshine. She’s

Ben Huminski  19:37

great. She’s an asset to anything she does. Customers. She was just, I called her and she was leaving the Shreveport yard. And she’s one of the plovers and she literally wrote down everyone’s name and something about them to help her remember. And it’s like, Who knows when she’s getting back to Shreveport. But she wants that there. And I mean, that’s such a quality that you don’t find. And I know that she wrote down the people that she reported to everybody that works there that she encountered. Somebody is allergic to something and see, I can know this, right? But it’s like, because she told me everything, but it’s like, I don’t, I got all this other stuff. And I’m like, you know, when you find qualities in people, and you just want to emulate them. That’s one of those qualities that I’m like, I want more of that

Megan Cummings  20:27

What were their drivers in your family before you guys or was it just a happy coincidence that you both like doing the same thing? Yeah. Really.

Ben Huminski  20:36

She? Her side has, um, we kind of, you know, the family history. Make it London. Yeah. But she has some on her side. And, you know, an older sister younger. I mean, she’s older, but she doesn’t act. Yeah, she’s a couple years older, but

Jeremy Kellett  20:58

She doesn’t act. And she pulls that end up with us. Yeah, that’s, you know, that’s always been challenging for a woman. Oh,

Ben Huminski  21:07

I know, I knew it would be a challenge for her. She overcame a phobia, to put a dump trailer in there. I knew that if the way that we mentor people here would not I probably

Jeremy Kellett  21:20

I need to explain why I said that, because y’all get some hate. But being more difficult for a woman because it just is a matter of over the years of my experience, and I’ve leased it to women to do it, and they’ll come back and tell me, let’s do much for me to do, I just can’t do all that. So that’s why I said,

Ben Huminski  21:37

She laughs and giggles about, you know, putting Nose back in. It’s just, it’s amazing. But she had a fear of throwing it in the air. I’ve seen trailers go over, I know they’re gonna go over. And I knew that if she just got in her truck and came here, and I took her out for four or five days, you know, two weeks max or whatever, she probably would not have as much of a chance of success, not because she couldn’t do it. But because sometimes I just knew her well enough to know that she needed that time. So we team drove I think for two or three months. And, you know, her truck was here being used by some guys that were broken down to kind of help sustain their downtime, and she was overly impressive. You know, I mean, just, she’s so detail oriented, like she, you know, it took that time in, you know, she’s taken people out and trained people and it’s like, you know, it’s, that’s a lot. I couldn’t be more proud of her for overcoming that fear. She’s.

Jeremy Kellett  22:47

It’s great. Y’all have business together. You’re in business together. Yes. To truck. You drive one. She drives one over here. So it works out really well. Yeah, she’s,

Ben Huminski  22:56

she brings me back from the edge. When I start overthinking things. I know I could call my wife and my wife supportive. The wife also has a lot of other things going on, or I can call her and she’s like, well, thought of this. Have you looked at it this way? It’s a whole lot easier. Stress wise, I’m not losing as much hair.

Megan Cummings  23:16

Well, when someone’s in the field. You know, they do what you do. They probably know. Probably offer a little advice. Yeah, a little more answer. Yeah. Yeah. She’s

Ben Huminski  23:27

like, I know you well enough to know that. You just need to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others. That’s what she tells me all the time. I’m like, there needs to be oxygen in the tank too. She’s like, No, just listen to me. And I’m like, you know, it’s really helpful.

Jeremy Kellett  23:43

Oakley Trucking is a 100% Owner Operator company. We specialize in Hopper, bottom and dump and pneumatic drivers. We provide the trailer free of charge and you provide the truck. We have a large customer base that reaches the whole United States as well as parts of Canada. Our owner operators live anywhere from Texas to North Carolina to Pennsylvania to Wisconsin and everywhere in between and we get them home weekends. We take it seriously when you join Oakley trucking because we need you to be successful. Oakley offers great benefits and competitive mileage pay so you know that when your wheels are turning, you’re generating money no matter if you’re loaded or empty. We understand that you want to make a good living and that you make our living. We only take on independent contractors and to be honest with you, we are very particular on who we lease on. You must have a good driving record, good work history and a clean dependable truck. So if you’re interested in Oakley trucking or just wants more information, you can go to Oakley trucking.com. Listen to our weekly podcast, the Oakley podcast and subscribe to our YouTube channel. What’s the best and worst things about working it over?

Ben Huminski  24:50

The best is the consistency of knowing that my checks are gonna be there. I don’t have to go chasing money down and I know what I make for Miles like I can. I know what I’m making as the week’s going on. So you know about what your check is gonna be? Yeah. If it’s Thursday, and I’m not happy with the way the week’s coming up, I know I can make a phone call and say, Hey, bud, like, I need a little bit more than this, you know, I get it might be a tight area, you know, understand how freight is. And there have been times I’m like, Look, I’m going to the dead zone, I’m stuck here. What do we need to do? Well, you know, deadhead. Cool. Let’s split the difference. You know, I’m willing to work with my dispatcher. And he works with me. And it’s like, you know, I don’t always have to be winning. I just have to be close to winning. Like, you know, if we break even here, we’re good. And that’s worked out really well. The worst thing, really, is when y’all have me in Arkansas, because I just wanted I mean, really, I mean, it’s getting too close to home. Yeah, I’m like, Man, I realized, you know, sometimes I gotta work around Arkansas, but I’m like, oh, it’s only 150 miles, I’m going home. You know, it’s really hard, you know, to pull into sitting in Memphis or something. And I’m like, I got 10 hours. It’s only three hours the house

Megan Cummings  26:14

Where do you hope for the solar eclipse? I was that was a Russellville was

Ben Huminski  26:17

a hotspot Oh, wasn’t it, though? I mean, it was really nice. Like, I, you know, how sometimes things don’t seem like they should be. And, you know, my truck broke down. I was like, man, and then I got to spend time at home, witnessing a solar eclipse with my kids. She’s I wasn’t planned. It was just a coincidence. Yeah, my truck would just want to go get a pedicure and some other things. And then they figured up so you know, and it’s been awesome. You know, I mean, seeing my kid play baseball and just being around, it makes it even that much harder to want to go back down the road. I’m like, I know, I need to. So you know, I told the dispatcher I said, you know, I’m an Arkansas it’s like, relieving. Go get your load abs. Yeah, yeah. So he’s like, it’ll be in Wisconsin. Like, perfect, you know, but it’s, I like being able to have a personal relationship, you know, you don’t have to be friends, but you can have a polite professional relationship and be, you know, not always just serious in a bad mood.

Jeremy Kellett  27:27

You know, a lot of people, though, that come from or want to be, have their own authority, be their own boss, Father own freight, do all of those people are? Or, what would you tell people about coming to Oakley, that they, you know, a lot of people think, Oh, you gotta I gotta dispatcher. I got to, you know, pull their trailer, I gotta go where they tell me to go, I gotta be clean shaven, and clean cut? And, you know, man, I got all these rules. Yeah, you’ve done a both right,

Ben Huminski  28:03

I have. So that, for me, it wasn’t so much if you got to be clean shaven, you got to do that. I was concerned that there would be, I would get taken advantage of being least on record, because it’s kind of like entering a marriage of sorts. And so I kept my authority, while at least, I said, I told my wife, I said, I’m just gonna pay the insurance for three months. Because I feel like, I just want to make sure it was a week and a half later, I canceled my insurance, and voluntarily revoked my authority. I got tired of chasing money nowadays, like when I was in Alaska, you just had to have money in reserve to pay yourself until your invoices came back. But you come down here, and there’s so much for all that, you know, you get lined up with a factoring company. And I mean, they have their purpose. But like, for me, I didn’t really care about getting my money the next decade about making sure I wasn’t getting taken advantage of by some fly by night broker. And, you know, but you’re given a percentage of money that’s not really there to give away at this, you know, with what the freight markets are doing, especially on the spot market. It’s like, mitt, you know, multiple guys running their own authority or running under somebody, but kind of very similar run under your authority. And it’s like, they’re like, Yeah, I’m giving money away to all these different entities that’s not there. And I’m like, here, I’m like, Look, I’ll go wherever you want me to go. I don’t have to, I don’t have to plan a route. It frees up time in my day, to FaceTime my children when the truck stopped, to rest to just decompress instead of when I have my own authority. When I was home. I was on load boards looking for loads. I was answering every phone call. And so I was never present with my wife and my kids. And you know, it’s like now when I go home, like Iran Oh, I’ll call you don’t worry, you know, and then I don’t have to answer my phone, you know, and it’s free. You know, I can be present, I don’t have to be attached to a computer or my phone or anything, I can put it in a drawer and not worry about

Jeremy Kellett  30:21

that. I mean, that explains it very well, I think because a lot of people just think that they give up the power. You know, and a lot of that, and I think, you know, you explained it just right, because there is a lot that goes into what we do as a company, when we provide all this stuff for you, for our owner operators, whether it’s the trailer, you know, that’s huge in itself, their trailer rent, nothing charging you. And then we’re, you know, I mean, we have to deal with getting paid, right, which we don’t always get paid, you know, the main customers, same way, with a lot of them. So I mean, it is to where, and I say this all the time being, but our goal is to take all that weight off of you, just like you said, it’s freeing, because we need you to concentrate on customer service, and safety. And those two things are, oh, my gosh, I mean, those two things are enough for an owner operator to worry about every day going down the road, just driving most of the traffic and taking care of our customers. And that’s hard enough to do. Those two things are out there. And that’s, I think that’s why our system works really well with people, especially like you, who appreciate and understand. I mean, you don’t.

Ben Huminski  31:39

And there’s something that Markita taught me from Walmart, right? Because you get going down the road and somebody cuts you off, or they take you out or you’re in traffic, there’s lots of things that stretch out. And she says she was taught that every one of them is a customer. I don’t know who that is in that car that sees Oakley that maybe they have they do work with Oakley. Well, now they see yoke, you know, and so it’s really that that brought it back for me. I was like, Oh, I’m gonna take that that’s a customer. That’s not just somebody. Because you never know who your customers are. You never know where your customers are. They’re not always just at the plant. You know, and the load gets there. When it gets there. Like, yeah, I want it to be there on time. But sometimes that just doesn’t happen. And it’s been freeing to be able to make a phone call, Hey, this is where it is, this is where it’s going to be. There’s what time when we get there, and okay, I’ll make the call. I don’t have to call and argue with somebody about it, things that are sometimes outside of the driver’s control. So then, all of it is just like, Alright, you guys have it all. I have an appreciation because I’ve done that. I don’t care to do that again. I want to retire here. That’s it. You know, and which was

Jeremy Kellett  32:55

my next question, what’s the future look like for being humans can retire

Ben Huminski  32:59

here, either as an owner operator, or sweeping floors, and all my kids? You know, I mean, when you have small kids, like, there are those moments where it’s like, Man, I hate being gone. But then at the same time, it’s like, this is how I provide and this is what I’m good at. And so it’s that sacrifice. It’s like, you know, I can give you time, or I can provide, but very rarely do those two intermixes.

Megan Cummings  33:28

And you think you guys will stay in Arkansas? Yeah.

Ben Huminski  33:32

I don’t see why. Unless, unless y’all let me lease on and live in Alaska and fly back and forth. Go

Megan Cummings  33:39

back to Alaska, if you could. You don’t like this seven months of humid summer and mosquitoes.

Ben Huminski  33:47

You see me sweating? No, I miss Alaska. Man, I start looking at what houses cost up there now. And you become poor real quick, you know, I mean, yeah, if I’m up there making some of what the rate wages are, but it all equals out. And life does. Life’s expensive. And I can provide a better life for my kids. Run and truck here for Oakley and living in Arkansas. You know, what they have is they have a good they’re building that foundation and that struck. You know, that when you just transplant somewhere where you have no relatives and no, nobody. It’s tough. But yeah, we’ll branch it out. And you got us.

Megan Cummings  34:32

Yeah, we see you often invite you to the barbecues and then summer.

Ben Huminski  34:40

Well, yeah. So but you know, I mean, just, it’s a family here. It really is. I have not come across an Oakley owner operator. I just was like, Man, do you just go away? No. In life there are those people you’re like, Oh, you take an energy from me that I really could use so

Jeremy Kellett  34:59

less Question or less topic, we don’t have to get to depth. But I know a lot of people wonder how to manage money. You know, and I talked to him about it in orientation about how your fixes aren’t making some money, but you better have a point. Because he can go out the door faster than it’s coming in. And you are going to have problems here, you are going to break down, prepare for it. Yeah, we all know, Christmas is coming. But we don’t save money for Christmas presents, right?

Ben Huminski  35:35

So I’m very structured in, like, my business gets paid, my settlement is not my paycheck. That’s just that, and I know it works for some guys, I got kids and a house payment and car payments, like, I need to, you know, I got truck payment. So I pay my salary. My situation is a little different, because I get some VA money that subsidizes a lot, but I pay myself a percentage up to a cap. And, you know, I always hate the by the mile because then I’m so focused on the mile. But here, you know, without

Jeremy Kellett  36:12

pay yourself a percentage of net check of the net of net

Ben Huminski  36:18

up to a certain cat because I don’t really need more than that to get you. And it’s not that much. But again, I was taught that unless you have $30,000 in reserve sitting there, you need to be saving more, you know, and I’ve had old timers be like, hey, you need 50,000. And I mean now with the cost of labor and stuff and motors. But I mean, kind of one of the bigger things was if you don’t have a savings account, or a line of credit that will fix your truck at the most expensive repair. Plus provide for you during that downtime. Yep, you don’t have enough. So if a

Megan Cummings  36:55

a brand new owner operator says he’s been a company driver for years, just bought a brand new truck, or used a new truck to lease it to Oakley and he says Ben, I don’t know how much I should have, what kind of a nest egg I should have. As far as savings goes? What ballpark do you have? What would you tell them? Well,

Ben Huminski  37:18

in that’s it’s a little bit of a complicated answer. Because like, you could say, Well, you probably won’t have 30 40,000 sitting in savings. But how do you get there? Right? Because the simple answer is a number. But how do you get there? Well, you have to be able to have a budget in your life and understand what your budget is, you know what your bills are and how to live within that budget and now I got a $7,000 net settlement. When I go, put lights on my truck. In China, that’s all nice. But you know, you got to get there and you can’t really skip rungs in the ladder, you know, to get there. So it’s like, Okay, how much does my life cost? Let me add a percentage after that, that I should be putting away for some personal savings, you know, for when a water pipe bursts in your house, and while you’re just ripping up floor while you’re home, because, well, I happen. It’s called discipline. There’s a lot of financial discipline. And I mean, I wasn’t taught it as a kid OSH drug struggled with, you know, oh, I’ll just put it on a credit card, or I’ll just do this. And it’s like, that is a black hole. And so it’s if you’re not financially disciplined then that, you know that, that? Hey, man, I did this. And then I came. My truck broke. I don’t know how I made my truck payment. Well, that’s part of it. And I haven’t always been great. I mean, I’m not sitting here on some hot throne, like, Oh,

Jeremy Kellett  38:47

you made mistakes. I make mistakes daily to

Ben Huminski  38:51

learn from but yeah, and you have to continue to learn and grow from like, alright, you know, it’s like, I was you know, my truck was down, my house flooded. And I’m like, really is this in, you know, it’s like, okay. I got to put something on a credit card, but you know, I have a plan to get that gone. You know, and it’s been beneficial, but you have to plan out how you’re gonna get there. Because if you just look at a big number, you know, but everybody sees a big check coming in and Monaco by ATVs and boats and all this other stuff. And there’s a time and a place, but you have to get there and you can’t skip those steps in between.

Jeremy Kellett  39:40

You got to have a plan. Yeah, and that’s it. I definitely agree with that. And I think there’s great advice to give owner operators, especially new ones coming in. They need that because when there is a set number for a lot of people, you got to that’s a really good point. You gotta get there somehow and it or you’re always gonna be wishing it Alright, I know I need $30,000 in the bank, but I just haven’t been able to get it done, you know, and you can’t have discipline. Yeah.

Ben Huminski  40:08

And don’t buy houses without walking through them either.

Megan Cummings  40:11

Lesson learned.

Ben Huminski  40:15

I remember that movie, The Money Pit, delivered it. My wife and I watched it the other night just cuz she had never seen it. And I was like, Does this make sense? Does it make you feel better about our situation?

Jeremy Kellett  40:30

Oh, my goodness. Thanks for sitting down with us for good information. I mean, you give a lot of good advice to your well educated and you’ve done some good things. And I hope people can learn from what you’ve been telling them here on this podcast. Good. Megan, appreciate you. Thanks for hanging out with us.

Megan Cummings  40:47

I’m here Monday to Friday at five. Just let me know whenever you need me.

Jeremy Kellett  40:51

And we’ll have to get you some recruiting calls being you’re gonna have to

Megan Cummings  40:57

put my number on the front of the screen.

Jeremy Kellett  41:00

Send her a few of your recruits that you are recruiting to let her get in the game a little bit more. Okay, now she’s just kind of dabbling in it there. And she’s good. Make

Megan Cummings  41:10

sure they’re really nice before you send them over.

Jeremy Kellett  41:16

I thank everybody for listening to the Oakley podcast and watching the Oakley podcast on YouTube. If you do, we appreciate everybody, every week and all the information you give us and the feedback you give us. If you want to hear something in particular that you get questions about or you’d like for me to get somebody on, I’ll do my best. Me and Annabelle work hard trying to get her where we can on here to talk about you know, whether it’s products or a company or more owner operators. Those are my favorite. Getting more of our operators here. We’d be glad to do it. Y’all just kind of give us some feedback and let us know. And go back. And I encourage you to go back and listen to some of our old ones. You know, we really got some good episodes in the past that we’ve done and explain a lot of things about Oakley but also just tell a lot of history and a lot of story about Bruce Oakley in general, and there’s some pretty good information. Well, we got some good stuff coming ahead too. In front of you, so we’re gonna have some good stuff this summer coming out. So be sure and check us out every week. Every Wednesday we drop a new one. And we appreciate you listening and we’ll talk to you next week. Thanks. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Oakley podcast: trucking, business, and family. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to rate or review the show on the podcast platform of your choice and share it with a friend. We love hearing from our audience, so if you’ve got a question, comment, or just want to say hello, head over to our website, theoakleypodcast.com, and click the “leave a comment” button. We’ll get you a response soon and may even share some of the best ones here on the show. We’ll be back with a fresh episode very soon. Thanks for listening.