We steer our business based on nine core values, including ‘operational excellence’ as the primary driver, yet we are always seeking ways to improve our model,” says Gary Martin, executive vice president of administration at Clark & Reid Co., Billerica, MA. “We have some of the same challenges as other moving and storage companies and unique issues we work hard to address.
“From May to September, we have to continually build up our hauling capacity by finding and retaining top-quality drivers,” Martin continues. “That challenge is ongoing, but it’s even more pronounced during the busiest moving season.”
The consequences of not having enough resources to handle loads can go beyond just the loss of revenue for Clark & Reid. “Our primary relationships are with the companies that are paying to relocate their employees,” Martin says. “If the employee is pleased, then the company will be too, creating greater business opportunities.”
Compounding this challenge is the nature of the executive relocation services Clark & Reid provides to Fortune 500 and other corporations. “We can’t hire just anyone,” Martin states. “Our drivers are in homes. In addition to being able to professionally pack and load their belongings, we need them to be trustworthy, considerate, punctual, and have excellent customer relations skills.”
Clark & Reid drivers, mostly independent contractors, are treated like valued partners. “We know every driver by his or her first name,” Martin says, “and we work hard to know them as individuals. We believe that Clark & Reid should be an attractive place to work for people with the right competencies, and who will be equally committed to providing quality service and helping us grow.”
BRING A FRIEND
The company also has a formal method of rewarding drivers who bring in other qualified owner-operators. “Drivers can earn an additional 2% of their linehaul revenue as a bonus for every driver they refer and we hire, with no limit on the number of bonuses,” Martin explains. “As long as both parties remain employed by Clark & Reid, the bonus is paid for three years. It’s a long-term benefit that is apparent in every paycheck.”
Clark & Reid has also developed a proprietary costing tool so drivers can accurately gauge their potential earnings for each load. “Determining what drivers can take home is an industry challenge,” Martin says. “With this tool, we estimate tonnage and by knowing the load’s origin and destination, we can provide the driver with a top line figure. We then estimate fuel, labor, packing material, and other costs and project a bottom line for each load. Drivers can always reject a load. It’s not effective for anyone to lose money, and if we can’t help our contractors be successful, we won’t be either.”
According to Martin, another contributor to the success of Clark & Reid is the decision it made 10 years ago to outsource its maintenance to Ryder Transportation. Today, the company fleet of 11 Freightliners and about 50 Kentucky 53-ft. air ride electronic vans are maintained in a dedicated shop near the carrier’s facility and at Ryder shops across the U.S.
Clark & Reid traces its roots to 1902 when Michael Martin established a local package express company using horse-drawn trailers. In 1925, his son purchased Clark & Reid, established in 1910. Today, a third generation of the Martin family continues to operate the business, which for over 20 years has maintained a 100% on-time delivery record.
“We’re driven by our values and a code of conduct that form our vision,” explains Martin.