As an owner-operator for more than 30 years, John Borofka advises truck drivers aspiring to start their own businesses to "start out by driving for somebody at a company and see if it works out." That's exactly what he did before becoming an owner-operator.
An owner-operator for more than 30 years, John Borofka was recently named Dart Transit Company's Contractor of the Year for the Eagan, Minn., operating center.
"As I was growing up, I kind of always had an interest in trucking," he says. His first experience driving a truck was in the military. "I hauled 155-mm Howitzer shells from the ammunition dump to the training field where they practiced shooting."
With his experience driving in the military, it seemed a natural transition for him to begin a trucking career in civilian life. Borofka started out by working for a neighbor. "I rode with a driver for two weeks as training, and when we got back home, he gave me a truck to drive," Borofka recalls.
After about a year of driving for his neighbor, Borofka bought a truck. It was a 1972 Kenworth cabover. Now, more than 3 million miles later, he owns a successful trucking business and was recently named Dart Transit Company's Contractor of the Year for the Eagan, Minn., operating center.
Borofka has operated in Dart's dedicated division for 15 of his 25 years with Dart. He tried nearly every contract option Dart offers, starting with over-the-road and moving into regional before settling in with dedicated.
He says one of the biggest benefits of a dedicated contract is pre-planned freight, "I know what I'm doing and where I'm going." Driving on familiar roads is also a plus, he says. "I know where every bump is in Wisconsin!"
Another benefit of dedicated is driver-friendly freight. "I like the lighter loads because my truck's fuel mileage is higher, the wear and tear on my truck is a lot less and the tires last longer. And I don't have to handle freight. It's all no-touch."
Borofka owns and operates a 2005 International and averages around 7 mpg. Limiting his idle time helps him achieve that fuel economy. "This winter, I idled two times," he says. Both were when the outside temperature dipped to zero degrees. Idling isn't an issue very often because one of his regular customers has electric plug-ins in their lot, so Borofka runs an extension cord from his truck to power a heater inside his truck.
"I like being an owner-operator because it's my vehicle, and if I feel like taking time off, I can," he says. Borofka and his wife Linda have been married 23 years and have four kids and two grandkids.
Borofka grew up one of 14 kids in his house, and his family has a dairy farm in Wisconsin. In fact, some weekends, you might find him on one of his Cockshutt farm tractors competing in tractor pulling contests. He's been entering the Canadian brand tractors in competitions for the past eight years or so. "They are built tougher," he says. "That's what my dad had when I was growing up on the farm."