Not everyone takes the same path in life or in business. That’s why it’s important to stay flexible in order to take advantage of the right opportunity when it arises. A perfect example of this principle is the husband and wife expediting team of Bob and Jessie Hodgson who are signed on with Panther Premium Logistics, a service of ArcBest, as their carrier. Until recently, the Hodgson’s business plan focused on being contract drivers. But hard work and knowledge about ES’s PTO (Path to Ownership) and MBA (Much Better Alternative) to truck finance would soon change their lives and pay dividends as truck owners.
How did you and Bob get started in Transportation?
Bob had driven a truck throughout the seventies and eighties. I was a school bus driver for just over fifteen years. My father owned a semi-truck when I was younger and I’ve been around the transportation industry my whole life. It just seemed to come naturally. Due to budget cut backs in my school bus job, I decided to get my CDL Class A and B. That’s where I met Bob. We began driving a truck together as contract drivers in 2013 and in 2015 we got married.
How did you wind up at Panther as your carrier?
We weren’t very happy where we were driving at the time and I submitted an application to Panther — that was in 2014. Their recruiter called me and we had a very frank and straightforward discussion about our business. We interviewed them just as intensely as they interviewed us. Their directness appealed to us and we decided Panther was our kind of carrier. We’re happy here and it’s been very good for our business. We got even happier and our business got even better after we decided to become truck owners!
Tell us about your Path to Ownership?
Since coming on board with Panther as contract drivers, we spoke with a number of truck owners trying to decide which one we wanted to drive for. Panther even provided us with numbers for each owner to help us decide who we wanted to work with. I had never had that happen before and it was good to be able to have that information in order to make a decision. We decided on an owner and dove right in.
Four years later, Bob and I realized that we had a good handle on our business. A friend of ours at Panther had already become a true truck owner through ES and told us about their PTO and MBA. He encouraged us to look into what ES had to offer. That same friend stepped up and called ES and told them about us and our desire to become owners. We soon got a call from Danny Vernon, Expediter Truck Sales Manager. It’s great to have true friends who look out for you!
Danny explained in detail about the process of buying a truck through ES and found us a sweet 2019 Freightliner Cascadia. It’s a very nice truck with a ThermoKing Tri-Pac APU, which saves on fuel. We also like the large sleeper!
After we settled on our truck, Danny put us in touch with Steve Kochensparger at Expediter Equipment Finance. He took us through the approval process. We submitted our paperwork and the approval was completed quickly. It was so refreshing how ES utilized our work history in getting us financed. Bob and I are extremely hard workers. We’re devoted to our business and each other. We don’t take a lot of time off; we love what we do. Our approach to life and business really paid off when purchasing our truck! I don’t know of any other company that takes your attitude, aptitude and ability into account in order to get financed. ES is truly unique in this respect.
How is your new truck affecting your bottom line? When we decided to become a truck owner, we looked at all of the numbers and realized that we could make a lot more money, still pay for the truck and put money aside for our future — and all of this has come true. Becoming true truck owners was definitely the right path for us.
If you’re thinking about taking the Path to Ownership, you should call ES and discuss your options. Their approach to finance is unlike anything else out there and they really do take your work history into account in helping to get you financed. You can take their Path To Ownership (PTO) and get an MBA (Much Better Alternative) to truck finance, just like we did!
A Woman in Expediting’s Point of View
How are you treated as a woman in the transportation field? Since getting into the business in 2013, I’ve been treated with a great deal of respect. My experience has been good whether dealing with loads, customers or any aspect of the industry. I think if you act as a professional, you’ll be treated like one. Also, I think it’s important to listen to whomever you’re doing business with. There have been many times that I’ve dealt with dispatchers and even terminal managers and been given special treatment because I actually connected with them on a personal level. People really appreciate someone who can understand and empathize with them. I think women are more inclined to take this approach and it truly pays benefits.
Are your tasks different than Bob’s when it comes to running your business?
Absolutely! I drive six to seven hundred miles a night and get more actual miles due to less traffic. Bob drives days. He’s better at backing and I’m better at the mechanicals and paperwork. But we’re a team and you do what you need to do to be successful.
What advice would you give women who want to get into transportation?
Attitude is so important. I believe women (or anyone) who gets into transportation should always try to have a good attitude, keep a smile on your face and take things in stride. It’s just like the old saying: you can catch more flies with sugar than with salt!
Robert Clark is a transportation professional who was raised in the industry. Over the years, he has seen many changes and taken many roads throughout his career. Several of those roads led to lease purchase agreements, that as you’ll see, turned out to be dead ends because they never achieved truck ownership or maximized profitability for his family or his business. But recently, he ventured onto a new path by signing on with Forward Air as his carrier and taking ES’s PTO (Path to Ownership) that led straight to true truck ownership to get his MBA (Much Better Alternative) to truck finance. This is his story.
How did you get started in transportation?
I guess you could say I was born into the trucking business. My father drove for thirty-two years. My mom and I would ride along with him quite a bit, too. I’ve been driving now for seventeen years. It’s something I love and enjoy doing.
Why did you choose Forward Air as your carrier?
I have a friend who has been with the company and told me about how great they are to work with and I should consider them as my carrier. At first I wasn’t too crazy about how their drivers drove mostly at night (in the LTL division), but now I love it and prefer driving this way. I actually like it better than daytime driving. I also like how Forward Air drives from terminal to terminal. They’re really a good company to work with. I’ve been here since January and things are going great.
Tell us about your lease purchase experience?
Over the past five or six years, I’ve tried several lease purchase services. The results were always inconsistent. Either the truck was okay and the lease company was awful or it would be the other way around. And if the truck breaks down on you (which mine did), the lease companies are almost impossible to deal with. Because of these factors, it’s difficult to build a foundation for a business through a lease purchase agreement.
Of course with practically any lease purchase they’re easy to get into with little or no money down, making it seem affordable. But at the end of the day, the payments are high and there’s practically no way to beneficially pay off the lease. Up until ES came along with the PTO and MBA, a lease purchase was just about the only option available to someone like me who wants to be a truck owner. Even when you look at traditional banks, it’s almost impossible getting a loan for a truck through one of them.
Speaking of ES’s PTO & MBA, tell us about your experience with these programs?
Back when I was first looking at Forward Air as my carrier, I discussed several options with them to help me get into a truck. My coordinator told me about ES’s PTO and MBA. At first I thought it was too good to be true. But it sounded like a great opportunity and I wanted to learn more about it. Soon I was in touch with ES Recruiting Manger David Withers. He thoroughly explained the programs to me about how I could drive for Forward Air in one of ES’s trucks in order to see if I had the aptitude, attitude and ability to run my truck and my business successfully. After 93 days, ES evaluated my performance and said I would qualify to own my own truck. It was that straight forward.
Needless to say, I was thrilled with the news! I then hooked up with Danny Vernon, Expediter Truck Sales Manager and told him about the kind of truck I wanted — and he found it: a 2019 Volvo 860. He did a great job finding just what I was looking for. Next, I was in touch with Steve Kochensparger at Expediter Equipment Finance. True to their word, ES looked at my work history (along with my credit), and my approval was final. The entire process was quite easy, actually.
Within a short time after that, I headed down to the ES home headquarters in Southaven, Mississippi and picked up my truck. It’s wonderful! My truck even has a ThermoKing Tri-Pac APU, along with a nice sleeper and other amenities that I enjoy.Everyone at ES has been just great to work with. They’ve all done their part to keep me informed all along the way about the PTO & MBA. Everything they’ve told me as I went through the purchasing process has been true and I was treated with dignity and respect, too. It’s been a great experience all around. I can’t say that for many of the lease purchase companies I’ve dealt with over the years.
Has your new truck made any difference in your business yet?
I’ve only been in the truck for just over three weeks now, but my latest settlement (which covered just over a week) showed a very nice increase. I can already tell that being a true truck owner through ES was a great path to take! It’s true what they say at ES: If you can drive a truck, you can own the truck.
Dennis Stallings is a seasoned transportation professional with twenty-five plus years of over-the-road experience. During that time, he’s seen ups and downs within the industry and managed to maneuver his business through the fluctuations of the market place. Today, he’s signed on with Forward Air as his carrier and he recently took ES’s Path to Ownership (PTO) and got his MBA (Much Better Alternative to truck finance). As a result, he’s now a true truck owner with a fresh perspective on the road ahead.
Spotlight News sat down with Stallings to find out more about his recent career move as we delve into what he calls “the smartest business decision he ever made”. Read on to find out how his decision involved leaving the lease purchase morass to become a more profitable true truck owner.
Tell us some background about your career in transportation?
After graduating college in 1983, and a stint in the Navy, I went to work for a large transportation company as a terminal manager. I learned a lot about the industry during this time. Other opportunities took me away from transportation for a few years, but I wound up back in the business and started my own beverage transportation company. This led me into courier work and in August of 2000 I got my CDL and dove into freight trucking. I worked with a few carriers and as a company driver until I found Forward Air in 2012. I’ve been there ever since.
What brought you and your business to Forward Air?
A friend of mine who worked with me at another company told me about how great Forward Air is to work with. I called them and spoke with a recruiter to find out more. Their way of doing business greatly appealed to me. They truly are a terrific company to work with and I’ve been happy here.
One thing I learned during my initial conversations with the company is that If I had my own truck with them I could earn more. At the time, a lease purchase seemed my only option, so that’s what I did. In hindsight it really wasn’t a very good option.
Tell us about your lease purchase experience?
I wound up leasing three trucks over about a six-year stretch of time. The quality of trucks varied greatly. You never really knew what you were getting and there wasn’t much choice either. I suffered a lot of breakdowns with the first two trucks resulting in lost revenue. On my last LP, things were a little better but it still was a lease purchase. If I had ever gotten to the point where it was “paid off”, I would have paid about four times what it was worth. So, there’s really no beneficial way to pay it off. As you can see, there are a lot of drawbacks to LP’s.
How did you start the Path to Ownership to get your MBA?
When speaking with Ryan Gilliam, VP of Recruiting at Forward Air, he told me about several opportunities and I chose the best one, which was ES. After looking at my track record and how I run my truck, I knew I would fit perfectly with ES’s Path to Ownership (PTO) to get a Much Better Alternative (MBA) to truck finance.It sounded like a great opportunity and I couldn’t pass it up.
It wasn’t long before I got to talk with Steve Kochensparger at Expediter Equipment Finance and he explained in detail how the Path to Ownership worked and that they take my work history, attitude and aptitude into account when it comes to financing a truck. Not long after that I was in touch with Danny Vernon at Expediter Truck Sales. He found a 2019 Freightliner Cascadia that fit my needs to a tee! It’s even equipped with a Tri-Pac APU that saves on fuel. I submitted the paperwork and was approved quickly.
But that’s not all! The ES team invited me to the EGG (ES’s Group Gathering) on April 27 & 28 at the Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi. The EGG was wonderful! I met many other transportation professionals and got some great industry information from their line up of speakers, including Forward Air’s Ryan Gilliam. I even picked up my new truck at the EGG!
I encourage anyone looking to gain knowledge about the industry to attend the EGG. It’s a great way to personally get to know the ES team. The EGG does a great job informing everyone about industry trends and also about the services and support offered by ES. I think they have their next EGG coming up in Lexington, Kentucky on July 2oth. I recommend you call and register today.
You mentioned ES service and support. Can you tell us more?
All throughout the process of financing and purchasing my truck, I was kept in the loop on how the PTO & MBA programs work. Everyone was very professional and keen to answer all of my questions. I was treated with dignity and respect all along the way. They even introduced me to other things offered by ES, like discounts.
Can you tell us more about the discounts you’ve experienced through ES?
The deep fuel discounts through ES are phenomenal! It really saves you money that goes straight to my bottom line. ES also offers great insurance rates that you simply can’t get on your own. They even have national tire pricing. When you add all of this up it’s quite a package of savings.
What’s your bottom line when it comes to taking the Path to Ownership and getting your MBA?
The bottom line is that taking the PTO and getting my MBA was the smartest business decision I’ve ever made! I’m already seeing an increase in the amount of money I earn and get to keep. I plan on having my truck paid off in a couple of years and that gives me true equity in an asset that I can use however I want. Getting away from a lease purchase through ES is smart.
Open to Current & Prospective Qualified Contractors
Considering a Career in Transportation?
Considering Growing Your Business? Transitioning from a Lease Purchase?
Looking for Success in Trucking?
It’s that time of year again: The EGG at the Expo! And ES is once again the title sponsor.
Come enjoy good food and good fellowship. See old friends and make new friends. Wonderful and timely information is shared.Come join this community.
If you are considering entering the transportation industry, growing your business, transitioning from a lease purchase into true truck ownership and looking for Success in Trucking, you’re in the right place. ES understands that your business is making money. And we’re here to help you achieve this goal with business opportunities backed up by support programs that save you money on fuel, financing, insurance and much more, so you Never Stand Alone. Whether you’re a new or experienced Contract Driver, Owner Operator or Fleet Owner, ES offers you the opportunity to maximize your potential at your level of choice. When you join our proven Circle of Success, we help you succeed Your way.
What to Expect at the EGG?
We feel the best way to tailor programs that support you is to get to know each other on a personal level, and that’s what the EGG (ES’s Group Gathering) is all about. We want to build relationships in order to better serve you with programs and offerings that create Opportunities to help your business grow. We hope to see you July 20, 2018 at the Expedite Expo in Lexington, Kentucky. Dinner is Friday 5pm in the Regency Ballroom, Hyatt Regency.
The EGG at the Expedite Expo in Lexington, Kentucky • Dinner is Friday 5pm in the Regency Ballroom, Hyatt Regency
Business Opportunities & Success in Trucking
Truck Sales & Financing • Premium Driving Opportunities • Industry Leading Owner Operator Program
Solo & Team Tractors • Team Straight Trucks
–Limited Space Available– Register Now! It’s FREE to Attend! or call 877-349-9303 for more information
In this week’s Spotlight News we focus on Luis Garcia, a new truck owner, signed on with Forward Air as his carrier. Early in his career, Garcia became entangled in two lease purchase agreements that took a toll on his earnings, his business and his family. With support from his carrier and ES’s Path to Ownership (PTO), he got his MBA (Much Better Alternative to truck finance), and was able to turn his life and his business around as a true truck owner. Read below to see how nothing was able to hold back this intrepid entrepreneur from reaching his goals.
How did you get started in transportation? I decided I wanted to be in this business back in 2012. Transportation looked like a good career path. I went to school and got my CDL and right out of the gate I bought a truck on my own and hit the road. The truck was really used and I began to have quite a lot of problems with it. At that point I knew I had to do something, so I looked into a lease purchase agreement because I thought it was an easy way to get into eventually owning a truck.
Tell us about your lease purchase experience? Like I said, I thought it was going to be easy to get into another truck because of it being a lease purchase —and it was easy to get into, but there’s a hefty cost involved. It didn’t turn out so well because the truck already had a lot of miles on it from previous drivers and I was constantly doing repairs. Also, my situation with the company I was working with at the time wasn’t ideal either because their pay scale just wasn’t very good. Quite honestly, it seemed like a dead end.
I was in that truck for about a year. I didn’t give up on my dream of eventually being an owner so I kept the truck. It wasn’t long before I realized that I needed to make a change and went to another company and unfortunately got into another lease purchase. It turned out the settlements from this company weren’t much better. The pay made me feel like I was basically working for nothing. I drove this truck for about a year-and-a-half and only had eleven months left to pay on the lease purchase and the truck would be mine. I thought once it was paid off I would be home free to take this truck and pursue other opportunities, but that’s not what happened.
One day I got a call from the lease purchase company telling me they were going to take my truck away. To say I was disappointed, hurt and upset would be an understatement. So, as you see, there truly is no way to beneficially pay off your truck through a lease purchase. Those LP’s really held back my business and took a toll on my finances and my family. Fortunately following these two bad experiences, I made two great decisions that turned my life and business around for the better.
Tell us more about the good decisions you made that changed your life? My first good decision was signing on with Forward Air as my carrier. They are a very good company to work with. Their pay scale and the way they do business is top notch. I’ve been happy with them and I look forward to moving my business forward with them.
The second good decision I made was hooking up with ES and taking their Path to Ownership (PTO). When I first got to Forward Air, they told me about several options to help me get a truck. I looked at the lease purchase option, but because of my two prior bad experiences with LP’s, I knew this was off the table (as you’ll see, this actually turned out to be a good thing). My Coordinator then mentioned another opportunity that I should look at and that opportunity was with a company called ES. He told me I could drive one of their trucks and take their Path to Ownership and work my way into owning my own truck. I thought it sounded like a great opportunity, so I contacted them.
Sure enough, ES put me into one of their trucks as a contract driver for four months. I was able to show my true earning potential and I wound up buying a brand new 2019 Freightliner Cascadia with a ThermoKing Tri-pack APU, which helps save on fuel. The sleeper is pretty darned nice, too! I can’t tell you how great it is to truly own your own truck!
Tell us about your truck buying experience with ES? It was easy, actually. They looked at my work history, overall attitude and my aptitude for doing this job. I submitted the paperwork to Steve Kochensparger at Expediter Equipment Finance and It didn’t take long before I was signing the papers. I got my MBA (Much Better Alternative to truck finance) with ES and now I’m earning the kind of money I always expected to earn as a transportation professional. I can already tell a difference in my bottom line after only being in my truck for a couple of months. This has truly been good for my business, my family and myself.
Were there any surprises throughout the PTO, MBA or buying process? Yes, there were pleasant surprises… ES treated me with the respect and dignity a professional driver deserves. Also, at every step of the way, from my meeting with Danny Vernon at Expediter Truck Sales, through my dealing with Expediter Equipment finance and the entire team at ES, they explained their programs so I was up to speed by the time I bought my truck. I appreciate the level of support ES has provided and I know they will be there for me when I need it, so I Never Stand Alone.
What are your future plans? The experience I’ve had with ES has me thinking about purchasing another truck or two (or possibly more), in the near future. My path is now clear and I definitely see a way forward to be able to build my business. There’s nothing holding me back now!