“This has been a great company for me,” says Richard, a driver with Great Plains Transport, Inc. located in Mapleton, ND.
When he bought his truck, his friend and wife were brokering freight and decided to get out of the business. At that time, Richard explains that he was in a lease/purchase situation with another company and, according to him was “losing my butt”. If the company that he was with could get him at least 2500 miles per week, then he would’ve been making good money, but that didn’t happen.
When Richard started running his own business, he quickly realized that there was a lot more to it than he thought. Everything from paperwork, licensing, taxes, fuel costs etc. Factoring accounts receivable had to be considered. A factoring company takes about 10% off the top and that impacts your bottom line when you’re starting a business, and, in most cases, small business owners can’t go without this service.
Three or four weeks into owning the trailer, Richard suffered almost $6-7K worth of expenses fixing the unit. Richard had to finally take out credit cards to finance his business.
At the end of the day, having a company that provides a fuel card, takes care of maintenance on the truck and trailer, manages loads, etc. is a major advantage for a lot of drivers.
There were several times that Richard recalls where he almost lost everything. When you grasp the concept of losing everything, the stress is crippling.
So, Richard spoke to a few guys at Great Plains Transport (Refrigerated) and CMT Transportation (Flatbed and Heavy Haul) and they had good things to say.
After that, Richard met with the president of the company. The president of the company went over all the details of the job. CMT paid off the truck and arranged for Richard to pay the company back. Once Richard’s truck went into the shop for DOT inspection, the mechanics found a few major issues with his truck that would’ve put him out of business due to the expense of having to fix those issues. Not only that, there could’ve been a major accident on the road had the GPT/CMT shop not inspected his truck in time.
One of the major issues was a universal joint was shot. The truck needed tie rods, Centramatics, and a few other items to get safely down the road. They also installed the crossfires.
Those are just a few things that the company did and didn’t bill him right away so that he could get on his feet and get his business on track.
Richard expresses the importance of communication with dispatchers and the company so that everyone is on the same page. Attitude is such a big aspect of this career and it’s important for drivers to work with the team and come up with solutions in tough situations.
Overall, in 3-4 months after his initial hire, Richard ran up quite a bill with the company but made strides in paying everything off, including his truck! Richard mentions how nice it is to get work done on his truck in-house so that he’s not spending retail rates on labor in the shop.
The fuel discount is another aspect of the company that Richard talks about. On his settlements, he can see how much he’s saving per fueling. Richard calculates that every three months, he’s able to make a truck payment with his fuel savings.
The national account for tires is another benefit. Richard used to get recaps on his drive tires because that was all that he could afford. Recently, three tires went out so he went to a Loves and put a nice set of tires on his truck knowing that he’s not going to have to pay all out at once. In the long run, Richard saves money and has peace of mind.
There was yet another instance where Richard had suffered some damage to the hood of his truck and at the same time, his father was getting really close to the end of his life. At that time, Richard had a decision to make: he desperately needed to get to California to see his father before he passed but his truck was at a shop needing thousands of dollars’ worth of work. When he called the president of the company, he simply said, “Go see your father, we’ll take care of your truck.” So, Richard went to see his father and upon returning, his truck was all paid for and ready to go. The company asked what he was comfortable paying and back on the road he went.
Now that Richard’s truck has over 1 million miles, there’s a plan in place if he doesn’t have a truck or if something catastrophic happens the company is going to help him and there’s no reason for him to worry about not having an income.
Great Plains Transport and CMT Transportation will work with you as long as you work with them. Respect and understanding go a long way.
Anyone who wants to talk to Richard about his unique experience, feel free to reach out!