There’s an old adage that says: “life is a journey”. While this statement is certainly true, the subjects of our latest issue of Spotlight News prove that “business is an adventure”! Pam Powell and Mario Loubriel are a seasoned transportation team whose careers have spanned over three decades of life on and off of the road. We discuss their business and the choices they’ve made over the years (including leaving a lease purchase) to arrive at true truck ownership through ES, as they recently took the PTO (Path to Ownership) to get their MBA (Much Better Alternative) to truck finance to achieve Success in Trucking. So, buckle up as Pam tells their story, as well as her take on Women in Expediting and transportation as a whole.
How did you and Mario get into the transportation business?
I guess you could say transportation is in my blood. My mother was a truck driver, my grandparents were truck drivers and I began my career as a truck driver at age twenty four. I’m now sixty, so I’ve been at it on and off the road over the years. Mario, my business and driving partner has also been in the business for many years. He convinced me to go into business with him as an owner operator about eight years ago. Over that time, we’ve had ups and downs just like any business, but I learned a long time ago, that the right equipment is essential to being successful. The first truck we bought was old and broke down a lot and we began to lose money because of it. We finally sold it and I decided to retire.
What led you into Expediting?
As with many things in life, my retirement didn’t last. Mario came back into the picture and proposed that we sign on with Panther Premium Logistics, a service of ArcBest, because he had heard so many good things about the company. He convinced me that because of their great track record, we could make a lot of money and our business would be successful. I agreed, but with the stipulation that if we didn’t make a certain amount of income within a certain time, I was going back into retirement. He agreed and we began driving with Panther back in 2014, but for another fleet owner. It wasn’t long before we were not only meeting the goals I had set out — we were exceeding them.
What factors made you and Mario want to become owners?
Within a short time, our business was doing well. We had taken on life science credentials to qualify for more profitable loads, helping to increase our revenue even more. It didn’t take long to realize that we could maximize our earnings as an owner. After about six months we were ready to take the next step. But that next step was a doozie, because it was a Lease Purchase agreement!
Tell us about your Lease Purchase experience?
It was easy to get into the lease purchase, but that was the only easy part about it. They put so many restrictions on what you can and can’t do with the truck, such as repair and maintenance and tires. We realized that this just wasn’t going to work for us. On top of that, we were paying much more than the truck was actually worth. We also realized that there was no way to beneficially pay off the truck. Our LP agreement had been going on for about three years. We began to look for a Much Better Alternative — and we found it with ES!
How did you hear about ES and their PTO (Path to Ownership) and MBA (Much Better Alternative) to truck finance?
We told our coordinator at Panther about our desire to become true truck owners because this lease purchase was a terrible arrangement, thing just weren’t working. He told us about several options and we chose ES because their PTO & MBA programs made the most sense for our business. We soon contacted them and that’s where our path began. Panther was very supportive of our choice.
Tell us about the process of starting your Path to Ownership and how it lead to your MBA?
It was easy, actually. We contacted ES and told them about our desire to become true truck owners. Danny Vernon, Expediter Truck Sales Manager, stepped up and began the process to find the right truck for our business and Steve Kochensparger at Expediter Equipment Finance helped us with our paperwork for the loan. ES looked at a number of factors including our work history, work ethic, attitude and aptitude. The process didn’t take long and we were soon approved. Danny at ETS found us a new 2018 Volvo 780 and had it transferred to a local dealership. It was just what we wanted. It features a very nice factory sleeper, a ThermoKing Tri-pack APU and a refrigerator/freezer. We love it and we got a great deal!
Since purchasing our truck we’ve seen an increase in our bottom line and our return on investment as truck owners has been wonderful. Taking the Path to Ownership and getting our MBA was a great choice for us. We’re looking forward to many more years of a profitable business. It really helps to have someone in your corner to support you with industry leading discounts on fuel, insurance, repair and maintenance, as well as programs to support your operations. Having a great motor carrier such as Panther Premium Logistics is also helpful when it comes to being profitable and successful.
As a woman in transportation for over thirty years, what are the changes you’ve seen in the industry?
Everything has changed in transportation over the years. I went from no air ride, no air seats, no power steering, no seat belts or laws to enforce them, no electronic devices, no APU, no refrigerator, a small sleeper you had to climb over, no cab room, a 4×5 twin stick, and many other things — to this beautiful truck that we are calling (The Red Pearl) and it only took 36 years. Their were only a few women drivers back then, I got a lot of attention. Now women are everywhere, I love it!
I applaud ES and the Women in Trucking Association for issuing the 150 Women-Owned Business Challenge. I hope many women take advantage of the program. (Read more about the WIT/ES 150 women-owned business initiative here.)
How do your tasks differ from Mario’s as it relates to your business?
We both drive, but Mario is much more involved with the day-to-day maintenance and workings of the truck. I spend more time with paperwork. But each of our tasks equal out because it truly takes a team effort to be a successful in this business. We’re both looking forward to being even more productive in our new truck.
Today, more than ever, entrepreneurial minded people from all walks of life are looking for an edge in order to gain the best approach and the greatest odds for starting a business and succeeding. In this issue of Spotlight News we shine the light on Mike and Rebecca Tucker, a husband and wife expediting team, signed on with Panther as independent contractors. Their journey into transportation is a case study about seizing upon the opportunities offered by ES as a small business generator — and the drive and determination it takes to become a Success in Trucking.
With help from ES, the Tuckers decided to take the Path to Ownership (PTO), gaining the knowledge, experience and support necessary to get their MBA (Much Better Alternative) to truck finance as they are now on the cusp of purchasing their own truck to further their business goals. We recently caught up with Rebecca to get her insights about their decision to purchase a truck, their future business goals and being a Women in Expediting.
Give us some background on how you and Mike got started in transportation?
Mike and I both worked in furniture factories in North Carolina and there just wasn’t much opportunity available. You’re pretty much stuck doing the same thing all of the time for basically the same pay. This idea is what motivated us to look at starting our own business versus becoming a company driver. We wanted something more and began doing research online. We watched videos on YouTube about couples who had created successful businesses under the ES umbrella of companies. I then saw a Craigslist Ad sponsored by ES offering transportation opportunities and we decided to give them a call. We sent in our application and ES helped us find a carrier that fit in with our business goals. We soon chose Panther Premium Logistics (a service of ArcBest). That was about nine months ago and we’ve been there ever since. They’re a wonderful company and we feel at home there.
What were the driving factors that made you and Mike want to become truck owners?
Mike and I started our business by leasing a truck from Expediter Services. We operated that truck for about nine months and during that time, we’ve learned a lot about the business over all. We also came to terms that to move ahead and make the money we wanted, taking the step into ownership (owning the equipment versus leasing) was a natural progression for our business. We felt strongly that moving into true ownership would take our earning power to the next level with more profits for our business.
Was the decision to buy your own truck frightening in any way?
I think there’s always a bit of fear when it comes to doing something new and taking on new responsibilities. But operating under ES’s umbrella definitely makes the decision easier. As a successful small business generator in the transportation field, ES has the infrastructure, support and track record to help make the transition to ownership much less frightening. As a matter of fact, we’re looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity to make more money by completing ES’s Path to Ownership (PTO)!
What are some other factors impacting your decision to purchase a truck for your business?
It’s a combination of factors, actually. By utilizing a truck through ES’s PTO (Path to Ownership), we were able to prepare ourselves (try it before we buy it) to take advantage of their MBA (Much Better Alternative to truck finance). ES looked at our work history, aptitude and attitude when it came to financing a truck through Expediter Equipment Finance. Expediter Truck Sales is also available to help us find the right truck for our business and how we run. The support ES offers is also a factor because no matter what we do, we Never Stand Alone because ES is always behind us.
You’re now in the process of buying your first truck, where do you see your business taking you?
We can definitely see growing beyond this one truck. Our business goal is to work hard and expand into becoming fleet owners. The opportunity is there and we want to leverage all of the support and services offered by ES to achieve our business objectives. We also feel that by owning our own truck, we have more control over maintenance issues and other things that effect our bottom line. It’s exciting to think about the opportunities ahead!
What is it like being a women in the transportation field?
I much prefer doing what I’m doing now than working in a furniture factory. In that environment you have very little opportunity. You’re working for a fixed wage and that’s pretty much it. In transportation, we can make as much as we want to and there really is no limit to the opportunities. I think it’s a great career for anyone (male of female) who wants to work hard. I’m glad to see ES and the Women in Trucking Association issue the 150-women owned business challenge. It’s important that the door is open to anyone looking to start a business and become a Success in Trucking. (Read more about the WIT/ES 150 women-owned business initiative here.)
Legendary auto racer Bobby Unser once said: Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. Although Unser was speaking about success and opportunity in general terms, he could have easily been talking about ES’s Path to Ownership (PTO) and the Much Better Alternative (MBA) to truck finance. He could also have been referring to John Giddens, a contractor and subject of our latest Spotlight news article who recently took the PTO and got his MBA to become a first-time owner.
Giddens’ foray into transportation began about four years ago when his brother-in-law introduced him to the industry. “I got into trucking because my brother-in-law was a driver. He was doing pretty well for himself and it was a career path that interested me. I started working as a contractor for several companies over the years and have been successful at it. The only thing is, I just always wanted more, but truck ownership seemed like such a long shot because dealing with a bank was just too difficult, ” said Giddens.
About six months ago, Giddens started looking for new business opportunities and the carrier PTL piqued his interest. “I had heard a lot of good things about PTL from a number of drivers, plus I’m familiar with seeing their trucks on the road. I decided to give them a call and now they’re my carrier of choice. They are a terrific company to work with! Once I got up to speed with them, I mentioned that I was interested in becoming an owner operator. Management at PTL said that I should contact ES because they have a true Path to Ownership and even offer a Much Better Alternative to truck finance. As a matter of fact, they made the call to introduce me to Jeff Tacker, ES’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer. He answered a lot of my questions and put me in touch with Danny Vernon, Expediter Truck Sales Manager. Danny asked me what kind of truck I was interested in and immediately went to work. He found me a 2018 Frieghtliner Cascadia at Stoops Freightliner in Fort Wayne, Indiana (Truck Country). It was just what I wanted. The truck features a Thermo King Tri-pack APU and a nice factory sleeper,” said Giddens.
He continues, “I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the buying process was. Once I chose my truck, Steve Kochensparger at Expediter Equipment Finance helped me with my approval. He looked at my work history by talking to the people and companies I had worked with over the years. They all had good things to say about my aptitude, attitude and work ethic. You will NEVER get a regular bank to approve a loan for a truck based on qualifications like that! ES believed in me and my ability to produce and that says a lot about how seriously they take your Success in Trucking.”
Giddens also says he’s benefiting from ES’s programs and support. “The fuel card is great! It’s convenient and saves me money at each fill up. I also like that fact that the ES team is behind me whenever I need help. They’re always friendly and have been there for me no matter what. It’s true what they say, with ES you Never Stand Alone.
As we’ve pointed out in numerous articles, opportunity in the field of transportation has no boundaries. The path to success and ownership is open to anyone with the desire to work hard and take advantage of opportunities such as programs and support from ES. Amy Kain and her husband Wade are business owners who recently took ES’s Path to Ownership (PTO) and Much Better Alternative to truck finance (MBA), in order to say farewell to the lease purchase quagmire to become true truck owners. Amy’s perspective as a woman business owner and a Woman in Expediting tells their story of success.
As a woman in transportation, what made you want to get into the business?
First of all, I want to give a shout out to ES, Panther and WIT for supporting the 150 Women-Owned business challenge. I think it’s important that women have the same opportunities as men when it comes to trucking. (Read more about the WIT/ES 150 women-owned business initiative here.)
Back in the day, I was dating someone who was a driver and it seemed like the transportation industry was a real opportunity to make a good income to support my kids. I still feel that way! If you apply yourself and have good support like you get from ES, you can make a good living, support a family and put money away for retirement.
How did you and Wade get started in transportation together?
My husband started driving for a trucking company quite a few years ago and we’ve been at it ever since with various companies during that time. We decided that we needed a change and chose Expediting as our next career move.
How long have you been in Expediting?
We’ve been in the Expediting for about three years now. Before we made the switch, we did our research to see what it’s all about and what they say is true: expediting has a much better lifestyle, which suits us very well. It’s also a great opportunity to earn a good living. We chose Panther as our carrier and we’re very happy with them. They are a great company!
Tell me about your lease purchase experience?
To be honest, it wasn’t great. It’s basically paying a truck note and with a bunch of extra costs and requirements with virtually no way to really pay the truck off. A lease purchase definitely is not true ownership because at the end of the day, you don’t (and probably never will) own that truck. Before hooking up with ES, we were in a couple of lease purchases. Each one was with different companies, but basically it’s the same story: you pick out your used truck from a lot, which really isn’t much of a choice because you don’t know hardly any history about the truck and you’re stuck with whatever selection they have at the time. Each LP was easy to get into, like falling into a hole. There are many other negative issues you have to deal with in a lease purchase, too.
Can you tell us more about these Lease Purchase issues?
Well, to begin with, there’s the required maintenance escrow. We would pay it every week, but when it came time to have the truck worked on, there were so many strings attached that it was always a hassle trying to get the truck fixed. We had no say so when it came to getting parts for the truck, such as tires and other things. Also, when we left our last lease purchase, the lease company kept our maintenance escrow — that’s money we’ll never see again, that’s for sure! Add to that the fact that there was little to no support from the lease company. They always acted like they were doing us a favor instead of servicing us. It was like we worked for them instead of them working for us. Almost any way you slice it, the entire LP experience is not something I would recommend for anyone looking to actually own a truck and be successful.
What made you decide to take ES’s Path to Ownership?
We’ve had the desire to be truck owners for a long time. We spoke with some other drivers who told us about the good experience they had with ES and we decided to give them a call and the rest as they say is history.
Tell us about the process of choosing a truck and financing?
The whole process was easier than we thought it would be. Danny Vernon, Expediter Truck Sales Manager, was really helpful in locating a new truck for us at a dealership. He made sure the truck was spec’d the way it should be for our business. We wound up purchasing a new 2018 Volvo 780 with a Thermo King Tri-pack APU, which saves us on diesel and idling the engine when we have down time.
The financing was easy, too. Once we submitted our paperwork, Steve Kochensparger at Expediter Equipment Finance looked at our work history with Panther. He got back with us quickly and the deal was done. The whole thing was much easier and straight forward than going to a traditional bank.
As a true owner, can you tell a difference in your bottom line?
We’ve been in this truck for about 4-months. We love it! We’re making more money than we were in our lease purchases because we’re paying less to the bank and putting more money in our pocket. And It’s just a great feeling to know that the truck is actually ours.
As a woman business owner, what are your tasks when it comes to running your business?
Wade and I both drive, but there is work that I do that is more suited to me, such as I might do more paperwork than him, but in reality, we share everything.
Do you feel you’re treated differently being a woman in what is traditionally a male dominated field?
On occasion, I do experience some negative aspects of being a woman, but for the most part, if you act professionally, you’re treated like a professional. You’ve got to stay focused on your goals and not let anything negative get in the way.
What would you tell women who are looking to get into transportation?
I would tell them it’s all about the opportunity. There’s a lot of opportunity for women in the trucking business with ES and Panther. It takes a community like this to be a Success in Trucking.
During last November’s Women in Trucking’s Accelerate! conference in Kansas City, Ellen Voie, WIT’s President and CEO, along with Expediter Services issued a challenge to the trucking industry to create 150 women-owned businesses over the next twelve months. We are excited to announce that the challenge is being met! (Read more about the WIT/ES 150 women-owned business challenge here.)
As you all know, Expediter Services has long been a supporter of Women in Expediting and Women in Trucking. Our efforts over the years have helped lay the groundwork to build a path together with women looking to enter transportation. To support this latest effort, ES has in place the financing, operational support and infrastructure to help women achieve Success in Trucking. “There’s been a tremendous buzz about the challenge,” said Jason Williams, Expediter Services President. “We’ve experienced a marked increase in activity from women wanting to take advantage of these favorable conditions. Now truly is a good time for women to get into the business.”
To date, ES has helped seventeen women create their own business! Throughout the industry, the challenge is also gaining momentum with carriers Panther Premium Logistics and Forward Air joining the effort by committing to provide participants in the program a great freight environment to work within. “The 150 women-owned business challenge is on a roll and we’re well on our way to meeting our goal by the end of the year. We’d like to give a shout out to all of the women who are new business owners. ES looks forward to providing even more opportunities for women throughout 2018 and beyond,” said Williams.
See below a list of sixteen women (totaling 16 trucks purchased) who have accepted the WIT/ES challenge to become business owners. CONGRATULATIONS!
Read all of the Women-Owned Business success stories here.
Sandy Richardson – 1 unit
Karen Wright – 1 unit
Amy Williams – 1 unit (Read her story)
Teresa Travis – 1 unit (Read her story)
Charlotte Ertel – 1 unit
Antoinette Ashford – 1 unit
Julia Wynn – 1 unit
Tonya Johnson – 1 unit (Read her story)
Casandra Taylor – 1 unit
Jalinda Bacarella – 1 unit
Mirian Villena – 1 unit
Amy Cain – 1 unit (Read her story)
Amanda Cox – 1 unit
Pam Powell – 1 unit
Stephanie Jones – 1 unit
Nora Weston – 1 unit
When it comes to finding opportunity in the field of transportation, the path can be quite narrow without the right support. But once you find the right road, that opportunity can be as large as your dreams. Balery and Tonya Johnson are a husband and wife Expediting team who found the right truck and the right path to truck ownership to become a Success in Trucking through Expediter Truck Sales and Expediter Equipment Finance.
“I’ve been in trucking since 1989,” said Balery Johnson. “I was a bit of a slow starter when it came to becoming a truck owner, when I purchased my first truck in 2006. After driving that truck for a long time, I decided to retire in 2017, but I soon realized I missed the road and wanted to find a better way to fund my retirement.”
Balery began to do research and soon became interested in Expediting. “I had been familiar with Expediting and knew about the great lifestyle and opportunity for a good income. I told my wife Tonya, that we need to do this business together and she was all in. After doing some more research, we chose Panther as our carrier and we were off to the races.”
Even though the Johnsons had begun a new career path, Balery still had the desire to own his own truck. “I talked to several traditional banks about getting a loan, but either the down payment was unobtainable or the payments were incredibly high. I even had one banker tell me they just don’t do loans on trucks. To say I was frustrated would be an understatement.” But his persistence would soon pay off after he found the Expediter Truck Sales website. “The moment I spoke with Danny Vernon, Expediter Truck Sales Manager, he started the process of finding us a truck — and getting us financed through Expediter Equipment Finance. The whole process was much easier than I thought. We wound up choosing a low mileage 2014 Freightliner custom dry unit with a 100-inch sleeper right from Expediter Truck Sales’ current inventory. Once we found our truck, Danny put us in touch with Steve Kochensparger at Expediter Equipment Finance. After about two weeks, we got our approval. Not only was I surprised at how quickly we were approved, I was also surprised to learn that Expediter Equipment Finance relied more on my work history than just a credit score. What other company does this? Only Expediter Services. They truly are a Much Better Alternative to truck finance!”
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be in our very own truck, doing what we love! I know a lot of women who would absolutely love to be in my position. That’s why Women in Trucking and ES’s 150 women-owned business challenge is so important. It helps open opportunities for women in transportation,” said Tonya. (Read more about the WIT/ES 150 women-owned business initiative here.)
“I’ve been in the transportation business for a short time and I’ve already learned so much. Not only do I share driving responsibilities, I also manage the paperwork and help with anything else that needs to be done to make our business a success. Being one-half of an Expediting team is truly team effort and we compliment each other well. But there’s so much more I want to talk about,” said Tonya. I want to tell everyone about the excellent treatment that Balery and I have experienced from Expediter Services. When we left Florida to make the trip to pick up our truck at the ES offices in Southaven, Mississippi, the truck was still being prepped and wasn’t ready to take on the road. This left us in a bit of a bind because we were due to be at orientation in Ohio in just a couple of days (the week before Christmas). But ES recognized our situation and secured two plane tickets so we could make our orientation on time. They also arranged for our hotel room while we were there. ES went ABOVE AND BEYOND helping us to become successful. I mean who else would do something like that? Expediter Services, that’s who,” said Tonya!
“Now that we’ve been on the road for several weeks and their support is still just as good. Whenever we have questions, ES is just a phone call away. They truly are a special kind of company, with special people. I never feel uncomfortable asking for their support because I know they will be there. It’s good support with a good attitude to boot.”
The Johnsons are truly living the American dream of plotting their own course and making a success of their business. As for the future, Balery is dreaming of even more opportunities. “I can see being a fleet owner some day. With support from Expediter Services, I believe we can be a success at whatever we do,” said Balery
Since 2006, when people in the transportation industry hear the name Expediter Services, the image of a growing, nimble, can-do company in Southaven, Mississippi, creating capacity and servicing the Expediting industry with the motto Never Stand Alone comes to mind. This image has been well earned as ES has evolved into the largest provider of capacity to the trucking industry’s expedited sector. Now, there’s more to their story as they branch out to begin servicing the general trucking market with the same dynamic mission and purpose under the brand Success in Trucking.
The newly expanded ES Network through SuccessInTrucking.com is focused on the opportunities for truck ownership with a program that offers access to financing at favorable rates and equipment from the leading truck manufacturers in the industry. As the company expands into the general trucking market it broadens its operation with a proven strategy that can assist contractors in their desire for true truck ownership through its Much Better Alternative (MBA) to truck finance and its Path to Ownership (PTO).
ES also teams up with industry motor carriers to support their efforts with programs and discounts designed to maximize capacity, improve stability, efficiency and profitability at all levels. “ES is excited to bring Success in Trucking to the general trucking market. We have a proven track record of success and the infrastructure in place to offer opportunities with strong growth and earning potential for owner operators, as well as participating motor carriers,” said Jason Williams, President of Expediter Services.
In addition to offering unique and effective programs, services and discounts to the general trucking market, ES has teamed up with the Women in Trucking Association, in conjunction with their Women in Expediting initiative to offer a 150 Woman Owned Business Challenge. The challenge is a well-funded and supported effort designed to motivate carriers to provide opportunities for women to create small businesses at every tier throughout the trucking industry. A growing list of motor carriers, including Panther Premium Logistics and Forward Air have already pledged their support for the 150 Women Owned business challenge. (Read more about the WIT/ES 150 women-owned business initiative here.)
Throughout 2018 and into the future, Expediter Services with Success in Trucking will continue to expand offerings to better serve the transportation industry with innovative and distinctive programs, services and financial products designed to make owner operators and participating motor carriers successful.
Starting last fall, ES began implementing their tried-and-true finance program in the marketplace that is a much better alternative than lease purchase agreements. The initiative was designed to offer prospective owners the benefits of true truck ownership compared to the drawbacks of lease purchases. Our goal is to help you achieve Success in Trucking.
As we’ve pointed out in numerous Spotlight articles, lease purchases are drafted to benefit the Lessor, featuring little or low down payment designed to entice the lessee to overlook restrictions and requirements embedded in the lease purchase agreement. The final results of a lease purchase is an extremely high cost of ownership with virtually no beneficial way to pay off a truck. The lack of a true ownership option can make it very frustrating and nearly impossible for entrepreneurial-minded contractors to experience successful true ownership.
But that was then — this is now! Through ES’s Much Better Alternative (MBA) and Path to Ownership (PTO), Success in Trucking is in reach for those seeking and qualifying for true truck ownership. Not only are the MBA & PTO proven to be best option in the market, they are turning the light on for everyone to see the shortcomings for LP’s and helping people avoid making a bad business decision. With ES true truck ownership, you call the shots. With our support, true owners can say goodbye to little-to-no-choice in equipment, maintenance escrow accounts and being at the mercy of an uncaring lease purchase bureaucracy. With ES’s programs and support, you are treated with respect and dignity and truly own your own truck — and control your own destiny.
In 2018, ES will aggressively continue to promote the MBA & PTO as we change the landscape of what truck ownership truly means in the industry. Contractors will be undergirded with ES support programs to help meet your business goals so you Never Stand Alone.
Learn more about our true stories of true truck ownership Proofs of Delivery below:
Overcoming the Heartbreak of a Lease Purchase Agreement
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From Lease Purchase Nightmare to True Truck Ownership Dream
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Making the Right Choice for True Truck Ownership
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Stepping Off the Lease Purchase Merry-Go-Round
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From Lease Purchase to True Truck Ownership
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Breaking the Chains of the Lease Purchase Agreement
click to read
True Ownership Brings Smiles and Profits to New Owners
click to read
True Ownership Has It’s Benefits
click to read
Our Work History Made the Difference Between Owning and Leasing
click to read
ES Moves Opportunity Forward with Forward Air
click to read
The Road to Expediting
“Of all the opportunities available to us in transportation, we chose Expediting and ES for our independent contractor business,” said Randy Kernan. When you think about it, that’s a powerful statement and says a lot about the focus, direction and thought he and his wife/business partner Susan Wicklund, (and soon to be driving partner) put into their future success.
Randy and Susan’s road to Expediting saw them take a few turns along the way. Randy had been a truck driver in the military. In civilian life, he drove for a couple of trucking companies over the past few years. He became interested in Expediting after finding Expediter Services online. “I was looking for a better opportunity that would allow us to grow as a team and I found the ES website. They had lots of good information and I called to find out more. I spoke with Wade Roberts, ES Recruiter, about my desire to be a Contract Driver. He was extremely helpful and answered my questions. Of all the companies I contacted, ES was the most responsive. Wade also told us about motor carrier opportunities available through ES, and we wound up signing on with FedEx, as our carrier,” said Randy.
But that’s just half of the story, because Randy didn’t want to drive with just anyone as his partner, he wanted his wife Susan by his side. “When Randy asked if I’d like to go on the road as a contractor with him, I wasn’t sure because trucking wasn’t my background, as I have been a nurse for thirty years. We have four children and the last one just turned twenty and was leaving home. After I thought about it, being an Expediter sounded like a great way to spend a lot of time with my husband and make a good income. I knew right away, I would need to learn how to drive a truck and get a license,” said Susan.
Becoming a Team
“There were several factors that played in to our decision to go into Expediting,” said Randy. “The great lifestyle and the income were important considerations, but the size of the truck was what sold Susan the most. Since she didn’t have a background in trucking, the shorter straight trucks were much less intimidating.” Susan continues, “When we started on the road seven months ago, I didn’t have a CDL, but I did ride along with Randy and began learning the ropes. We knew that I would be training and working on my CDL as we went along. When we spoke with Wade Roberts about our situation, he and ES were very supportive, explaining that my husband could train me instead of having to go to an expensive driving school. I’m now far along on my way to getting my CDL as I’ve already taken the physical and the written test. I’m now scheduled to take the driving portion of the test in a few weeks and ES is letting us use their truck. I can’t tell you how helpful and supportive they’ve been. I’m extremely excited about getting my license and contributing even more to building our business.”
Working Their Business
“As contractors, we have a lot of independence,” says Randy. “We get to pick where we go. It’s really all about our choices. I think being independent contractors is a great way to make a living and is as close to being an actual owner as you can get without many of the responsibilities of owning your own truck. We’re happy doing what we do and the more we work at our business, the more we make.”
When asked about support while in the road, Randy and Susan were both in agreement. “ES’s support is great! Whenever we’ve had any maintenance issues, help is just a phone call away. When our Qualcomm unit needed repair, ES maintenance support helped us find a place to get it fixed and it was taken care of right away. Their equipment is also really up-to-date, so we’ve had very few issues overall.”
A Woman in Expediting & The Future
“As a woman in Expediting over the past seven months, I’ve learned a lot about the business and the industry,” said Susan. “Even though it’s traditionally been a male-dominated field, my experience has been positive. When it comes to working our business, I act like a professional and I’m treated that way, too. Expediting is such a great opportunity for anyone — even women. There are lots of opportunities for women to grow. You just have to apply yourself, just like anything else in life. And don’t be intimidated by the size of the truck. You can do it!”
We asked Randy about their future plans in Expediting. “At some time in the future, we may consider ES’s Path to Ownership. But right now, we’re focusing on and enjoying what we do. We still have much to learn. One thing is for sure though, whatever we decide to do, we know that ES supports our decision.”
The road to truck ownership is strewn with unfavorable lease purchase agreements. Unfortunately, the lease purchase was just about one of the only options available to Contractors looking to “own” a truck. But thanks to ES’s Much Better Alternative (MBA) and Path to Ownership (PTO), those days are now gone and Success in Trucking is becoming the norm.
As we’ve uncovered in previous Spotlights, Lease purchases are configured to benefit the Lessor, featuring little or low down payments veiled to entice the lessee to overlook restrictions and requirements. The final results are extremely high total cost of ownership and virtually no beneficial way to pay off a truck. The lack of a true ownership option can make it frustrating and nearly impossible for entrepreneurial-minded contractors to experience true ownership. Just ask Michael and Teresa Travis, a husband and wife team, signed on with Panther as their carrier who recently took the MBA and PTO and bought their own truck; a new 2018 Volvo 780 equipped to go the distance. We also speak with Teresa about being a Woman in Expediting (Women in Trucking) business owner and the important role women play in transportation.
Michael, tell us about your background in trucking?
I’ve been in trucking for 25 years now. The last company I was with was for fifteen years. A couple of years ago, our kids left the house and my wife, Teresa, decided she wanted to ride along with me. A trucker friend of ours who teaches drivers trained her and she got her CDL, too. We’ve been a team ever since.
Tell us about moving to Panther and into Expediting?
We were making good money at the company I was with at the time. A different friend of ours, who is in Expedited trucking, told us about the great income potential driving for Panther Premium Logistics. I was a bit skeptical at first, but when he showed me one of his settlements, I soon became a believer. We made the transition to Panther back in February of this year and as they say, the rest is history. Panther is a really good company to work with and we’ve enjoyed it very much.
Tell us about your Lease Purchase experience?
I’ve been in several LP’s over the years. Our last one was with a leasing company soon after coming on board with Panther in February. We felt like leasing a truck would be a good option because we were new to Expediting and Panther and really had no idea of what to expect from an income and expense standpoint. This latest lease was a 2016 truck and it was still under warranty, which protected us somewhat from catastrophic issues and costs. But the cost to run the truck was extremely expensive because of the way the lease is configured (restrictions and requirements). If we had kept the truck for the entire term of the lease, we would have paid about three times what the truck was worth. Even though the truck was under warranty, we still had maintenance issues with tires, costing me about $1,600 out of my own pocket unnecessarily. It was such a hassle dealing with the leasing maintenance folks. We never did get the tire situation straightened out and three of the tires on the truck were the wrong size.
How did you get away from a Lease Purchase and into true ownership?
We were talking to some other Panther drivers who told us about ES’s Much Better Alternative and Path to Ownership. It sounded really good and they had a great experience getting financed through Expediter Equipment Finance. I picked up the phone and called Danny Vernon, Expediter Truck Sales Manager.
What I liked most about the MBA & PTO was that ES used our work history and not just our credit score (even though it is pretty good), to determine our eligibility for a loan. The process was really efficient and we did it all via the phone, email and fax. Everyone I talked to was helpful and answered our questions. Once our paperwork was sent to Steve Kochensparger at Expediter Equipment Finance, we selected a truck and our approval was ready in a short time.
We found a brand new 2018 Volvo 780 at a dealership in Memphis. The truck is absolutely loaded and has a Carrier Comfort Pro APU, a seventy-seven inch factory sleeper and it even has heated leather seats and a whole lot more. We love it! Owning our own truck turned out to be a good business decision on our part, too. We’ve already seen a significant increase in our bottom line profit and we know that ES is standing behind us as we go forward.
What would you tell someone who is considering a lease purchase or looking to get out of one?
With ES’s Much Better Alternative to truck finance & Path to Ownership, there’s never been a better opportunity to own your own truck. I would recommend calling Danny Vernon at Expediter Truck Sales to see what your options are. The fact that ES takes your work history into account when financing your truck is a real game changer and can make the difference when it comes to getting financed. I would also recommend doing business with Panther, a tried-and-true motor carrier who utilizes ES.
A Woman In Expediting (Women in Trucking) Perspective
Give us your take on being a woman business owner in the transportation field?
First of all, I’d like to applaud ES and the Women in Trucking Association for issuing the 150 women-owned business challenge. I think it’s important that women are provided opportunities in this business. (Read more about the WIT/ES 150 women-owned business initiative here.) I would also like to thank Panther for being one of the first motor carriers to accept the challenge and be providing opportunities for women in transportation with ES’s PTO program.
Being a woman business owner has been quite an experience for me. I’m relatively new to the business (Expediting), having been in it for about two years now. I used to just ride along with my husband after our children left home. But as I became more familiar with the driving aspect, as well as how the business works, I decided to get my CDL. For years, we had gone the Lease Purchase route until we discovered the opportunities offered by ES. The LP experience was truly awful. It was like a meat market with no organization and no support. I’m glad we made the move to true truck ownership with the Much Better Alternative to truck finance and the Path to Ownership. It’s already paying off!
What is your role in your business?
Besides driving, I do most of the paperwork as well. There really is quite a lot of things to keep up with when you have a trucking business. Mike manages our truck, while I manage our business. It truly is a team effort and very rewarding when you’ve settled into a rhythm and your business is profitable. That’s why it’s important to understand your business enough to know when to take the step to truck ownership. We knew we were ready and ES helped confirm this by looking at our work history with Panther when getting the loan for our truck.
How are you treated as a woman in a traditionally male dominated field?
Most of the time, I’m treated like everyone else. There have been a few instances where, let’s just say, I wasn’t treated with respect by some people at places like truck stops. However, owning a successful business makes up for those times. Overall, it’s been a good experience.
What would you tell women who want to get into transportation?
I think it’s important to do your homework and learn about the trucking business. It’s also important to have a good partner. I’m fortunate to have a very good business and life partner in Mike. Another thing I would tell women who are already in the business, is to contact ES for support. They can make a difference in helping your business succeed with their programs and discounts. Choose to Never Stand Alone with ES.
Stay tuned for even more true stories of True Truck Ownership in upcoming issues of Spotlight News.