In every business, there comes a point where opportunity meets inspiration — a crossroad where one must make a decision as to which path to take. Lawrence Petty, an independent contract driver and his wife Selena, faced this moment after getting a taste of the benefits of truck ownership while working for a fleet owner and they never backed down. Petty, a cousin of the late rock & roll legend Tom Petty was inspired to put the pedal to the metal to become a true truck owner with help via ES’s MBA (Much Better Alternative to truck finance) and the PTO (Path to Ownership). His story is a full-volume account of the mindset and decisions one makes to become a true truck owner. He’s definitely running down his dream.
How did you get started in transportation?
I started with Panther Premium Logistics, driving for a fleet owner in 2008. Along the way, I pursued other opportunities with another career, and even worked as an engineer for a while and even got married. My wife Selena made the decision she wanted to drive with me as a team, which was nice.
We made our way back to Panther working for another owner. That worked out for a while, but he wanted to go in another direction, so we began working for a new owner (still with Panther). This is when we got a taste of what it was like to be a truck owner. The owner let us get more involved and keep a larger portion of our settlement. That made a big impression on us. It really got us to thinking that we could become owners. We kept that knowledge in the back of our minds until the right opportunity arrived.
Tell us about your opportunity to become a true truck owner?
Back in 2015, we approached Expediter Services about becoming independent contract drivers while still with Panther. They welcomed us and we began driving a new 2016 Cascadia ST with a Bolt 100” Custom Sleeper and a Thermoking Tri-Pac APU . ES has excellent equipment and we drove that truck until it had about 430,000 miles on it. I called ES and told them about our desire to become true truck owners, knowing that ES often sold trucks directly from their fleet to prospective owners. We were able to purchase that same truck we had been driving.
How was your experience purchasing a truck directly from the ES fleet?
I got with Danny Vernon at Expediter Truck Sales and the entire process was easy & fast! Early in 2017, Selena was having a few health issues and I was forced to drive solo for the first part of the year and I knew that could possibly effect my ability to get a loan. Expediter Equipment Fiance looked at our work history, attitude and aptitude and said getting a loan for the truck was no problem. Steve Kochensparger was really helpful with the paperwork. Most of it was done via phone & fax, but I made it a point to visit him in Ohio as I was passing through so I could sign off on the paperwork in person. The entire process was really pretty easy.
I’ve been driving with a new partner since January, but Selena will be back in the truck with me next week. When she rejoins me, we’ll have DOD credentials and the opportunity to make even more money!
Since becoming a true owner, have you seen an increase in your bottom line?
Without a doubt! When you own your own truck, there’s greater risk, but there’s definitely a greater reward. The increased revenue has helped us with Selena’s medical bills and now that she’s on the mend, we can put even more money toward our truck, expenses and even savings.
Can you tell us about the support you’re getting from ES?
As you know, I’ve been running under ES’s umbrella for a number of years as a contract driver. Their support has been tremendous. They have always been there for me whenever I’ve needed them. Bobby Gardner and Patrick Bertrand have just been great! Also, Michael Gatewood has always gone the extra mile to make sure any maintenance issues we have are taken care of. ES brings all the pieces together to support you so you Never Stand Alone.
What are your plans going forward?
I’m glad you asked that. I’m pushing 60-years-old and I’ve come to the realization that in order to keep Selena living in the manner which she’s grown accustomed, I’m going to need to have about four trucks on the road. Right now, our first truck will be paid for in about a year and a half. Once it’s paid off, I plan on purchasing another truck and begin building a fleet until I get at least four trucks. After running the numbers, a fleet of trucks just makes sense for our business goals.
If you are considering entering the transportation industry, growing your business, transitioning from a lease purchase into true truck ownership or looking for Success in Trucking, The Spring EGG 2018 (ES’s Group Gathering) is the place to be.
The EGG is where you can personally meet top transportation leaders and learn about industry trends. Join us, April 27 & 28 at the Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi.
This year’s GRADE A line up of speakers is loaded with fresh information and reaches across the transportation spectrum in order to share knowledge to help keep you informed about the latest issues and trends in Expediting.
GRADE A Speakers. GRADE A Knowledge. FRESH Opportunities.
SPEAKERS AT THE EGG INCLUDE:
President & CEO of the Women In Trucking Association
Founded Women In Trucking in 2007, Voie has championed the effort to create greater opportunities for women within the trucking industry. Behind the wheel and across every job category in the industry, Women In Trucking has helped to promote the growth of women entering and advancing within the trucking industry. The organization has more than 4,000 members worldwide, and Voie began hosting a Women In Trucking Radio Show on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Channel in January.
Managing Director of Stephens, Inc.
Michael Miller is a Managing Director and head of Stephens’ Transportation & Logistics Group. Mr. Miller has worked in Stephens’ investment banking group for the last eighteen years with the last sixteen years being focused on the transportation sector. He has executed a variety of advisory services for transportation clients, including mergers and acquisitions, hostile defense, strategic alternatives reviews, and public and private capital markets transactions. In the last five years, Mr. Miller has completed over twenty transactions for clients in the transportation sector. Mr. Miller received his B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas. He resides in Little Rock with his wife and their three children.
Chief Operating Officer for The National Transportation Institute
Overseeing all business operations within NTI and serving on the Executive Committee, Shaver’s career has been spent supporting long-term growth and expansion of the transportation industry while reinforcing its best resource – professional truck drivers. A frequent speaker known across the trucking industry for her expertise on driver compensation and strategies addressing driver recruiting, retention and development of the driver candidate pool, Shaver, who serves on the board of directors of the Women In Trucking Association, has called 2018, “a very robust year for professional truck drivers, especially owner-operators.”
Director of Recruiting for Panther Premium Logistics, a Service of Arc Best
Has five years transportation experience with ArcBest/Panther, specializing in both sales and operations. He managed Panther’s Inside Sales department who was responsible for lead generation and sales support for the Expedite outside sales force. Nick has held multiple roles in operations including Sr. Manger of Carrier Relations and most recently Director, Owner Operator Recruiting. The Carrier Relations team was responsible for recruiting and onboarding of outside capacity partners to fulfill brokerage shipments for ArcBest. In his current role he’s responsible for the recruiting and growth of Panther’s Owner Operator Network. His previous background includes 15 + years of sales and operations management specializing in leading teams of sales professionals to achieve corporate revenue goals. He graduated from Walsh University in Canton, Ohio with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Management.
Vice President of Recruiting for Forward Air
Ryan, a Chicago Illinois native, started in transportation in 2005 in the nitty gritty Chicago intermodal transportation scene. Over the years Ryan has held the roles of container yard manager, customer service supervisor, dispatcher, regional maintenance director, safety director, and recruiting director. In July of 2017 Ryan, working at Forward Air owned Central States Trucking at the time, accepted an opportunity to move his wife and two dogs to Columbus, OH and enter the role of Vice President of recruiting for Forward Air.
What is The EGG?
The EGG (ES’s Group Gathering) is an event, hosted by ES that affords transportation professionals the opportunity to gather in order to meet others within the industry — and it gives the people at ES the chance to get to know you personally. In addition, the EGG isn’t a “one size fits all” event. Each EGG is different, covering different topics that are important to industry professionals, including: Truck Sales, Financing, Support Services, and any number of services and products offered by ES.
In addition to the above speakers, The EGG features a number of carriers, companies and opportunities represented, including but not limited to:
– Stephens, Inc.
– Women In Trucking
– National Transportation Institute
– Forward Air
– Panther Premium Logistics, a service of ArcBest
– Success In Trucking
Along with a great lineup of GRADE A speakers, ES will feature fresh opportunities for networking, an open house at the newly updated ES offices, a tour of The Hub (our NEW Contractor’s Lounge), and great food and fellowship throughout the weekend! ES management and staff will also be on hand throughout the event to get to know you and answer questions.
Come to The EGG to Bring Home the Bacon, register here — It’s FREE, with food and accommodations provided by ES.
We look forward to seeing you here at the Spring EGG 2018 at the Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi.
To learn even more, check out what happened at last year’s Spring EGG 2017.
Have you or your business ever been in a tough spot where things are so bad that you think there’s no hope and no good options available to remedy the situation? Expediting business partners William and Andrew Giesecke (signed on with XPO as their carrier) found themselves in just this position when the truck they drove under a lease purchase agreement suffered catastrophic engine failure. As you’ll see, their lease purchase was just as big of a catastrophe for their business as their blown engine. Read more below to see how they were able to overcome adversity to become true truck owners with help from ES’s PTO (Path to Ownership) and MBA (Much Better Alternative) to truck finance.
How did you get started in transportation?
Andrew and I were working in a call center together. Our jobs were unfulfilling and we wanted to achieve so much more than this had to offer. Our opportunities were really limited. One day, he mentioned my CDL and asked how hard was it to drive a truck? I told him it was something he could learn and that he should check it out. He went to driving school, got his CDL and that’s how we got started on the transportation career path. That was in 2009 and we’ve been in the business ever since.
What led you to XPO as your motor carrier?
I was working for another company when an owner-operator friend of mine told me about XPO. He introduced me to their management team and we liked what we saw. They truly are a great company and we’ve been operating here for about three years.
Tell us about your lease purchase experience?
It was a nightmare! We got involved with the lease purchase before we came on board with XPO, and we brought that truck with us when we started with them. We drove the truck for about two years and that’s when the trouble started. At just over 300,000 miles, the engine blew up. We went back to our lease purchase company for support and they told us we were on our own. We got no help at all. The only good thing was that the truck was still under warranty, but repairs were still going to cost us a lot of money and down time. We had had enough of the LP game and walked away. We had to find another opportunity to get up and running again quickly.
In hindsight, the lease purchase wasn’t a good thing for our business to begin with. Our payments were high, we didn’t have full control over maintenance and there was virtually way to ever pay off the truck. And we found out the hard way that there was absolutely no support.
What was your next step after losing your engine and walking away from your lease purchase?
There’s no doubt we were in a tough spot. As anyone in this business knows, there aren’t a lot of really good options for people who want to own their own truck. Another driver at XPO mentioned that the company may have some options available to help us purchase a truck. I contacted our recruiter at XPO and he told us about several opportunities available to us. We chose to contact Expediter Services because of their PTO (Path to Ownership) and MBA (much better alternative) to truck finance. And I’m glad we did!
Tell us about your experience with ES?
I contacted ES to ask them about the MBA program and was quickly put in touch with Danny Vernon, Expediter Truck Sales Manager. He started the process off by finding us a brand new 2018 Volvo 860. The truck is loaded and includes a ThermoKing APU. We absolutely LOVE it!
Soon we were in touch with Steve Kochensparger at Expediter Equipment Finance. Since this was the first time to buy a truck, we had a lot of questions about the loan process and he answered all of them, making us feel comfortable with the transaction. It was so EASY! Getting financed with Expediter Equipment Finance was easier than buying a car. ES looked at our aptitude, attitude, work history and work ethic (along with glancing at our credit file) to get approved. We did everything over the phone and it saved a lot of time, which was important to us.
The engine of our lease purchase truck blew up on December 18th. We got into our new truck on January 28th. Our down time was minimal and we were able to get back to work quickly. Our experience with ES was awesome! I can’t tell you how great it feels to be true owners. Also, working with ES’s people has been a real pleasure. Everyone has been so helpful and not adversarial, like dealing with the lease purchase folks. We are looking forward to a long and profitable future with support from ES.
Once again, Spotlight News continues to report stories of contractors who pursued lease purchase agreements in the quest to achieve truck ownership. While easy to get into, lease purchases offer a false hope for true ownership due to their high payments, restrictions and extra fees. Add to this the fact that there’s also virtually no way to beneficially pay off the lease and you have a perfect storm as to why LP’s are considered toxic to most transportation business owners. ES breaks with the lease purchase conundrum and conventional lenders by offering an innovative Path to Ownership (PTO) and a Much Better Alternative (MBA) to truck finance. As you’ll see in this week’s issue, husband and wife driving team Nora and Daren Weston overcame personal challenges to realize their dream of true truck ownership with help from ES.
What led you into transportation?
It was my idea. Our last child graduated from high school and I told Daren that I wanted to do some traveling, but I still wanted to make an income. I enrolled in a trucking school and got my CDL. I also told Daren that one of my greatest desires throughout the process of becoming a driver was to achieve true ownership. I wanted to own my own business and have the freedom that goes along with it. When I decided to go, he jumped in right along with me.
I left my full-time job as a district sales manager with the Clarion Ledger newspaper here in Jackson, Mississippi. That was in 2014. Daren drove as an independent contractor with them. He stayed in that position while I went to trucking school at night.
Tell us about joining Panther Premium Logistics as your motor carrier?
Immediately after graduation from trucking school, we tried a couple of different carriers to see which one would be the best fit for our business goal to become owners. We had heard good things about Panther Premium Logistics and called them. The people at Panther were extremely accommodating and we liked their pay structure, too. We decided to make the switch. They were a great match for us, and a terrific company to work with.
We were on our way to taking our business to the next level, but there was a “problem”. We were involved with a lease purchase agreement that just wasn’t working for us.
Tell us more about your lease purchase problem?
We had been in a lease purchase for about two years and brought that truck with us when we joined Panther. There are just so many drawbacks to an LP. The terms and interest rate on that truck was through the roof, we couldn’t deduct the equipment from our taxes, there’s a maintenance escrow you have to pay and there’s no way to beneficially pay it off. You also have no real control over the full operation of your business, especially when it comes to repair and maintenance.
On top of all this, there was absolutely no support. If something went wrong with our truck, we were on our own. There were also no discounts associated with it. As a business decision, a lease purchases just doesn’t make good sense in the short or long term. But at the time, a lease purchase was just about the only choice we had — or so we thought.
How did you get out of your lease purchase and into true truck ownership?
We had been with Panther for about a year and had heard good things from several other owners about ES and their PTO (Path to Ownership) and MBA (Much Better Alternative) to truck finance. Hearing about these programs was great for us because we had finally had our fill of the lease purchase agreement we were in.
We called ES to learn more. Our first contact was with Danny Vernon, Expediter Truck Sales Manager. We told him about our desire to become owners and gave him details about what we were looking for in a new truck. He started to work right away. We were soon referred to Steve Kochensparger at Expediter Equipment Finance to get paperwork started for our loan approval. He was very helpful and walked us through the entire procedure.
There’s something I want Spotlight readers to know about how ES goes about approving loans. 2017 was a challenging year for us. Back in October, Daren had a heart attack and was unable to drive, so I drove solo. Because of this, our business had taken a hit. We also didn’t have the best credit going into the loan process. ES looked at our work history, work ethic, attitude, aptitude and credit history. It wasn’t long before we were approved. That says a lot about ES as a company and their faith in our ability to earn and run a business. I’m still on the road and Daren is making a full recovery and will be back up and running with me within the next month. Expediter Equipment Finance made a stressful and trying time much easier than we would have imagined.
Tell us about your truck?
Danny really hit it out of the park! I explained to him that I wanted a truck that would allow us to have quality rest time with a large sleeper and a nice kitchen so I could prepare meals, since I eat a mostly plant-based diet while on the road. It also had to be large enough to give us room to relax. He sourced a brand new 2018 Volvo 780 with a Thermoking APU, an automatic transmission and a really large refrigerator (not a dorm sized unit), which I really like. The truck is working wonderfully! I can’t wait for Daren to get back to work with me!
Have you seen a difference in your bottom-line since becoming a true truck owner?
Absolutely! With the ES fuel card and discounts, being an owner definitely makes a difference in how much money you get to keep. Compared to the lease purchase we were in, there’s no comparison — this is MUCH better! I recommend ES’s PTO and MBA programs to anyone looking to be a true owner in order to get away from a lease purchase.
What is it like being a woman business owner in transportation?
For me, it’s great being a woman out here on the road owning my own business. I don’t see any difference in treatment from my male counterparts. I truly love what I do and I wouldn’t want to do anything else. I travel and experience things I’ve always wanted to do, while at the same time earning a really good income. I hope more women seek the opportunities afforded by the ES and Women in Trucking Association’s 150 Women-Owned business challenge. Being a woman business owner is awesome and transportation is a great option for anyone, female or male!
What are the future plans for your business?
I’ve met several different owners who utilized ES’s umbrella of companies to build a fleet. My future goal is to grow my own fleet of between three to five trucks. That will give me the freedom to pursue other opportunities that will filter down to helping not only me, but also my family.
Timing and opportunity are often unforeseen forces that can act upon the best laid business plans. Experience and knowledge can play a key factor when it comes to recognizing a great opportunity and when it’s the right time to act upon it. Zach and Charlotte Ertel are two former contract drivers who knew the timing was right to take the PTO (Path to Ownership) to benefit from ES’s MBA (Much Better Alternative) to truck finance. Charlotte takes us through their journey to become first-time truck owners and how a timely opportunity helped them achieve greater earning power and control of their business.
How did you & Zach get into transportation?
In 2000 Zach went to truck driving school & got his CDL. He & I met in January of 2001, he wasn’t working and I was working a temp job. He asked if I had ever thought about driving a truck. My dad had been a truck driver and I thought that maybe it would be a good thing to try. In April we called one of the big trucking companies and applied for a contractor position and that’s how we got started. We stayed at this company for two years. After that, I drove locally for the next eight years to be closer to my children, while Zach pursued other opportunities.
What made you want to purchase your own truck?
Over the last few years, we drove for a fleet owner who moved us around to several different carriers. The last one was All State Express in Kernersville, North Carolina, which we really liked. After we had been there only about six months, our fleet owner wanted to move us again, but we decided to stay because we were making good money at All State, they’re a great company and we’ve been happy here. Zach and I have talked about owning our own truck for several years when our fleet owner decided to pull out. His decision actually pushed us into taking action and finding a way to become owners.
What brought you to ES?
I called All State’s recruiter, Mike Walker, and told him about our desire to become owners. He said we called at a good time because a low mileage truck had recently been turned back in to Expediter Truck Sales from a former driver at All State, and they can even help us with financing. He gave us the Expediter Truck Sales number and we called Danny Vernon, Expediter Truck Sales Manager about the status of the truck.
Danny told us we could probably be in the truck and back on the road in just a few weeks. He sent us photos and gave us a lot of information about the truck. The previous owner only drove it for about a month and it had only about 22,000 miles on it. It’s a 2017 Western Star with a very nice eighty-two inch sleeper and a ThermoKing Tri-pack APU. We were also pleased that the truck has an automatic transmission and it was white, which is exactly the color we wanted.
Once we settled on the truck, we submitted our paperwork to Steve Kochensparger at Expediter Equipment Finance for approval. The process was smooth and easy. He looked at our work history and our work ethic with All State along with our credit. The approval on this truck was easier than when we bought our house — and this truck cost three times more than our house! And sure enough, after we fulfilled our obligation to our previous fleet owner and signed all of the paperwork, we were able to get into the truck in the time frame that Danny had mentioned. We were able to get on the road and start back to work generating an income.
What are the benefits and advantages of being an owner?
From the time we started working in our new truck last November until the Christmas break, we noticed a very nice increase in our bottom line. As owners, there’s just so much potential to make more money. You just have more control over practically all aspects of your business because you are the owner. It truly is a great feeling and motivates you to want to work even harder to be more successful.
We also appreciate and benefit from the support the staff at ES when we need it, especially Lee Burkhalter. They were helpful as we transitioned from contractors into being owners. We’ve made a few rookie mistakes along the way, but we’re now up to speed and being true owners is really paying off for us. We also like the fuel card. It’s easy to use and saves us money.
Tell us about your experience as a woman in the transportation field?
I mentioned earlier that my dad was a truck driver. When Zach and I first started in the business I fell in love with it immediately. I ran solo for about eight years and I know that the business can be tough for a woman, especially if she’s alone. Also, it’s rare, but sometimes shipping and receiving offices can show bias towards a female driver. But all through the years I’ve been in the business, I’ve never felt scared or intimidated, even at truck stops. I always act professionally and even have done my own off-loading of freight. I want women to know that transportation can be a great career choice. I’m glad to hear about ES & WIT’s 150 Women-Owned Business Challenge. I hope women look into it to see what opportunities are available to them.
What are the different tasks that you and Zach share in your business?
That’s an easy question! I do all of the paperwork (writing up the loads, etc.) and I also manage our finances through a number of mobile apps. I’m also proud to say that I do most of the backing of the truck! I am a much better backer than Zach and he realizes this, so I’m the one who takes care of this task. Zach is responsible for most of the fueling and maintenance and upkeep when it comes to the truck. The thing is, you and your partner have to know your strengths and weaknesses, and do what each of you do best. After all, you are a team and you have to work together to be a Success in Trucking.
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