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!
I also encourage women to take advantage of ES and Panther’s 150 Woman-Owned Business Challenge. It’s a great opportunity to own your own business. (Read more about the 150 Women-Owned Business Challenge).