Survival strategy

July 1, 2013
The company willing to adapt will ultimately thrive

There’s a rumor circulating that the micro-trucking companies and owner-operators (O/O) are becoming a fast-dying segment of the trucking industry. But as a business coach, I’m finding these small-business entrepreneurs are very adaptable.

Many of these companies are implementing policies in hiring and managing their drivers that will make CSA compliance much easier. One carrier has already instituted a “no moving violation tolerance” policy in which more than a single moving violation in a single year results in the driver being dismissed or his contract canceled.

Another company has a preventive maintenance program for all company and lease-operator trucks to help ensure they won’t receive any out-of-service orders. All road equipment is DOT-inspected and all required repairs performed. This occurs at least once every 30 days.

There are several carriers looking at ways to compensate their drivers other than the standard per-mile formula. They are finding ways to increase pay while reducing the logged hours on duty. One company has actually developed a program that increases O/O pay by scrapping the fuel surcharge and using a fuel compensation program that benefits both the shipper and the person purchasing the fuel.

Another client has developed specific lanes for each driver that provide more than ample time for the driver to complete the turn. He hires truckers from the destinations of his outbound freight where his drivers typically can wait at home for a day while return freight is obtained. Those truckers are ready and willing to take the next outbound load from the company’s terminal instead of trying to squeeze in home time.

I could go on and on with more examples. My point is the savvy business truckers will more than survive with CSA; they’ll thrive. They’re much more adaptable to the changes brought by the government than many large carriers. Those large carriers have to change entire business models.

Now with that said, O/Os and carriers of all sizes and shapes that think they can do business as they’ve done in the past will simply fail, especially if their business model involves pushing the HOS envelope, skimping on preventive maintenance, running freight on a static per-mile rate, conducting business without completely understanding the cost of doing business for each vehicle they operate, or operating without specific freight lanes.

It isn’t the size of the trucking company that determines its stability or frailty, it’s the ability to adjust, adapt and evolve within the industry.

Contact Tim Brady at 731-749-8567 or at

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