Questions from potential expediters or from someone wanting to enter the trucking industry can be very interesting and insightful. Many of the questions make us stop and think before we can answer and other answers are common sense within the trucking industry. The questions can range from how to sleep in a moving vehicle, how to back into a dock, or what receipts to keep for the business. Each question is in earnest and they do not need to hear a flippant reply.
It takes time and patience to answer questions from new people as often they do not understand the terminology we use. At one of the workshops that I was on a panel one lady wanted to know why she could not run for many companies so that she could pick and choose what she wanted to do. It seemed as if the more she talked and the more we answered the more confused all of us got. She wanted to be able to say no to a load or to say yes to a load and not be under forced dispatch. Our replies that there was not forced dispatch within Expediting companies did not make sense to her and her explanation of what she wanted to be able to do in her van with her own authority did not make sense to us. We finally had to move on and agree to discuss this after the workshop.
One of the workshops I attended was about becoming a fleet owner and it was great. Two totally different business models and both successful. One fleet owner pays cash for all of his trucks and built his business slowly while the other has used financing to build a bigger fleet that has a little more diversity quickly. While listening to them I realized our business model will put us in the middle of how they built their fleets. We plan to have nicer trucks then the owner that pays cash and have teams that are qualified to run DoD freight but grow at a slower rate than the fleet owner that built the bigger fleet quickly. This was a great example of listening and taking their examples and fine tuning them to fit our goals.
In forums and on Facebook I see people ask questions that should be asked of the company they are leased on to. The questions are company specific and while it often helps others to think and to learn from the reply’s. Too often though the replies are not the correct answer for the company specific rules. One great example is carrying guns in the truck, some companies have no policy and others do not allow a gun in a truck. When asking questions think of the source and find the best source for the question that is going to be asked.
When someone asks us our thoughts I hope they take our answer along with other people they have asked the question of and then figure out from the replies to get their perfect scenario to fit their business. Just like different trucking companies, one person’s business model does not fit everyone. The more people we ask questions of or network with the better we are able to fine tune our business and use their advice.
So, do not take my answer as the only answer ask many people the same question and summarize the replies to fit your business.