Looking For A Mid-size To Small Company

Topic 21630 | Page 2

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PJ's Comment
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Your very spot on with all the points. You've been there and done it. I'm in a bit if a unique situation. We are a production company with trucks. We move only our own stuff. Very little has any time lines on it. Of course they want the product moved as soon as possible, but if it sits for a week or two it's not that big a deal. We have alot of wiggle room. My average work week is 4 days. Some more some less so it averages out to be 4. You would probably never find the way we operate at a actual trucking company. We have a couple small companies in town and they operate differently than we do. They make money hauling and we make the bulk of our money selling the product. We also only do backhauls if we are in an area with something of ours to pickup, I.E. blocks of granite from a quarry. The boss allows us to do a backhaul if we want to. We set it up and do it and set the rate we are willing to do it for. He will split it 50/50 with us. We just have to make sure it doesn't hold up the trailer from getting reloaded at our plant the next week.

G-Town's Comment
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PJ,...that's a nice gig you got there.

I think there are good "local" opportunities, but yours is probably an exception on the "better" side of the spectrum.

Gotta look closer and assess risk if the company is really small. Buyer beware...be your own advocate, etc.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I'm in a bit if a unique situation. We are a production company with trucks. We move only our own stuff.

Oh man, that's fantastic. That's a completely different and much better scenario than if you were just driving for a very small, independent trucking company. You have the finances of the entire company behind you. That's excellent. You're still going to run into some of the small company concerns we talked about like the national accounts issue you helped them with and the lack of influence they'll have and a few other things. But their finances will hopefully be much more stable than if they were just a tiny trucking company. So that's great news.

Many people don't understand just how incredibly difficult it is to turn a profit as a trucking company. The best I can relate it to is farming, another commodity business like trucking. Family farms really can't make money nowadays because the big corporations have moved in and cut the profit margins to near zero.

Same with trucking. In a commodity business where the profit margins are razor thin you really need scale to be financially stable and weather the storms. When you're only making a tiny bit of profit per unit and you only have a few units you're simply never going to have strong, stable finances behind you. You're always teetering on the brink of disaster.

Hopefully the company you're driving for is on stable ground financially. If so you should be in good shape, as long as someone doesn't convince them to outsource their trucking needs. Again, I can offer something with this scenario too.

I once drove a dump truck for a construction landfill. We started with five trucks. I would haul slag from a steel plant down the road to shore up our dirt roads when it rained. When it was sunny we did some grading and hauling work and I would haul for that, or I would run the big compacting machines in the landfill.

Well our dump truck fleet dwindled from five trucks, to three, to one. I was the only driver. About two months later they sold that truck too. They said financially it didn't make sense to own and maintain their own trucks when a huge dump truck company down the road could do the work cheap. That cut out the ownership expenses, including insurance and maintenance and all that. I decided to go back to OTR driving after they sold the last truck.

Now I'm not talking about anyone here in this conversation but many times over the years I've been accused of supporting the large carriers because I'm manipulating people or I'm trying to make a buck that way. The reality is I've worked for several small companies over the years and it always turned out to be a mess. They just don't have the finances behind them or the business model to be sustainable over the long term. Things change very quickly at small companies and change can mean outsourcing, a drastic shift in the type of hauling their doing, or bankruptcy, all of which I've experienced first hand.

That's why as my career went on and I had experience in all different types of trucking jobs, like you guys are doing now early in your careers, I gravitated back to the largest carriers. They have the strongest finances, the best equipment, the most perks, the largest variety of opportunities, and they're more stable. But even that isn't always the case. I drove for TRL and Great Coastal, both of which were large carriers that were bought out by other larger carriers. But they didn't go belly up, they just changed colors and put a new name on the side of the truck.

Stability is very hard to come by in this industry.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Thanks G and Brett, yeah these guys are very stable and expanding. Unless the current owner sells out we won't be outsourcing. Our customers are very spoiled. We do outsource when needed and the customers do not like it. We go the extra mile for them with unloading. We have cranes on the trailers and do it ourselves and put it where they want it. Trucking companies don't have the ability to do that. We also go too the customers regulary and setup a relationship with them. Prove ourselves to them and it makes life so much easier for both of us. It is very difficult to find drivers in our area that are willing to do it. It's not real easy, but it's not all that hard either. Customers are very tight and takes alot to get in and out sometimes but its doable.

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

Hey Carlos,

I work for a 500ish truck company that I really like - Pride Transport out of Salt Lake City. They hire out of Washington for sure.

This company size is a good compromise between the huge 2500 unit companies and the small companies. At Pride, all the managers and others that regularly deal with all drivers make an effort to know each driver on sight by name. Equipment is top notch, maintenance is great, miles are great, compensation is competitive. They offer a choice of national OTR , western regional , local in some areas, dedicated semi-local in some areas. For example, I was recently offered a dedicated SLC-Vegas run because their computer told them that I live in Vegas. I don't actually live anywhere and don't want a dedicated anything, so I said thanks but no thanks, just leave me in OTR, please. But it gives you an idea of possibilities. Pride has multiple customers in Washington so I would think that they could get you home in the truck. But give their head of recruiting Steve Schelin a call at 1-800-GO-PRIDE and talk with him or one of the other recruiters to get your questions answered.

If you want to know anything more about Pride from a driver's standpoint, feel free to post your questions to me here....I'll subscribe to this thread so I'll see your response.

Hi everyone: I am currently working for a very large trucking company and I think I would like a smaller company, but I'm not sure who to contact. What size of fleet is considered mid size or small for a trucking company? Does anyone work for a midsize or small company that they like and would recommend? I am in the state of Washington.

thanks! Carlos

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar

You are making a lot of assumptions Brett and white washing with a broad brush with your statements. The companies that struggle grow too fast and on borrowed money. Run the cheaper and older trucks until you have the fleet size to support the costs of newer trucks.

They break down more, bull excrement. Over the last year I have replaced the air governor, kingpins and 3 u-joints. All done on my time at my bidding except the governor. I did that in the parking lot.

Your 3% claim is an average. You never mention anymore that either. That average also comes from the larger carriers that have to report earnings for shareholders.

You want the truth, put it all out there not just the truth that supports the position of your advertisers.

I will leave it at that and wish you all well.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Pat, what are you getting so upset about? I'm simply laying out the realities of running a commodity business and quoting well known statistics. Nothing more.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Well folks, here we go again. It's amazing how these guys always react when I speak the truth about truck ownership, isn't it? They give me the finger, they deny the reality, accuse me of lying, and storm off never to be heard from again.

Pat, for those who don't know, just bought himself a couple of old clunkers and started his own company so now he's super sensitive about my opinions toward truck ownership and small companies.

You can be damn sure that every last one of these people would give anything to become successful owner operators and then come back here to rub my nose it in. But in all these years not one time has that ever happened, and it won't this time either. It never does.

Ya know, I find it rather disappointing that people lash out at me when I talk about how risky it is running a trucking business. I'm especially disappointed this time. Pat, I really thought you were a bigger man than that. I thought you were the type that would say, "Thanks Brett. I appreciate that you take so much of your time to share your 25 years of trucking experience and 14 years of business ownership with me. I'm still wet behind the ears. I could really use the help. I'll consider what you've said."

I didn't expect you to lash out like an angry child whose mom told him he couldn't have a cookie.

Learning how to navigate safely in a risky and complex environment takes a special kind of person. Someone who is going to give you the finger, accuse you of lying, and question your integrity when all you've done is share your experiences with them and talk about the realities of the challenges they face are not the type of people I expect are going to find much in the way of success.

I tell people the truth about matters based on facts and experience but the reality is..........

You want to hear what you want to hear because apparently you can't handle the truth.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Oh, I forgot to mention. I wrote my book Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Trucking (free to read online) back in 2006 before this website even existed. In that book I touted all of the advantages of working for the large carriers and I told people not to buy or lease trucks. I didn't have any advertisers back then did I Pat?

So are my opinions to satisfy advertisers or are they the opinions I've always had?

Shame on you man. I thought you were better than that.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

Not to play devils advocate, but one view point that has changed for you, Brett, is company vs private school. In your book, you are heavily biased towards Private School. Currently you extol on the virtues of Company paid training. Just something I noticed.

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