Flatbed Forum

 In Flatbed Forum

Volume 2, Issue 6

April 30, 2019

A bi-monthly newsletter for small business owners in flatbed transportation.

Top stories in this newsletter

Jeff House
2019 Contractor of the Year

Achieving a Dream Through Running Hard and Support of Family

You Talk, We Listen

Memorial Day Holiday Settlement Schedule

Let’s Talk About Those Freight Rates

Welcome to Our Newest Driver Partners and Small Business Owners


Jeff House – 2019 Contractor of the Year

FBF:   Jeff, you have been selected as the Contractor of the Year, how do you feel about that?

Jeff:     I am very honored! I feel that when you work hard and safely, you can accomplish anything you set out to do. It is fantastic that CRST Malone recognizes hard work! Thank you all for this honor!

FBF: How long have you been with CRST?

Jeff:  I began with Expedited as a trainer in 2013, I transferred to Malone in 2016, so I have been with CRST 6+ years. I started in the Malone LP fleet in 2016.

FBF: What made you decide to get out of the LP truck and purchase your own truck?

Jeff: I wanted to own my own truck, so I turned the LP truck in and went looking for a truck. I found one and decided to buy it. At that time money was short so I maxed my credit cards out for a down payment and jumped in. It was a scary time but now I am doing well. I bought a trailer through the LP program and then I purchased a Conestoga kit for the trailer.

FBF: What did you do before CRST?

Jeff: I worked in construction before I went to Expedited.

FBF: You are consistently one of our highest revenue producers. How do you do this?

Jeff: I feel that I am a hard worker, pick up and deliver on time. I also feel that I am versatile and will take a load anywhere as long as I am confident that I can get a reload.

FBF: Can you tell us about your family and how you balance home time with work time?

Jeff:  Well I am not married although I do have a daughter that is 21 years old and she lives in Austin, Texas. She is studying to be a WEB designer.  I do not see her as often as I would like, but we make it work.

FBF: What are some of the biggest obstacles that you feel drivers face these days?

Jeff: Too many regulations. ELD Devices. It is very hard to manage your clock when shippers and consignees are in no hurry to get you loaded or unloaded. Detention time should be paid when the bill is turned in, not when the customer decides to pay it, we are the ones that lose time due to inefficient schedules.

FBF: What advice would you give to current Owner Operators and anyone thinking about getting into this business?

Jeff:  I would tell them that they will have to work hard, but it is worth it. I would also tell them this: Save your money, buy a truck and trailer, no matter what you have to do. Know what your costs are, do whatever you can to reduce your costs. Watch the rate per mile, make sure you watch your deadhead miles, that will kill you. Do not run out of route to get home! Every mile you deadhead takes money out of your check! Don’t hang out at truck stops, find the cheapest fuel you can, fuel up and get out!

FBF: What gives you the most satisfaction about being at Malone?

Jeff: The ability to make money, I put every dime I had and could borrow into buying my truck and trailer, it amazes me at times to see how far I have come. I believe Malone is one of the best Carriers I have worked for. You just need to pick a lane that is profitable and stick with it.

FBF: What would you like to see changed at Malone?

Jeff: Would like to see open fuel cards, that would allow us to fill up. Would like to see agents reach out to drivers – it is hard to preplan 2-3 loads in advance because most agents want you to be empty before they will give you a load. The ability to preplan more efficiently would be great. More appreciation events and respect for all the drivers.

FBF: What do you do in your spare time?

Jeff:  I am big BIG Cubs fan, I have season tickets for Wrigley, love it there. I am also a big Packers fan. I travel some, I was on 2 cruises last year, and went to Scottsdale, AZ for Cubs preseason games. I also have 3 Siberian huskies that are my family: Charlie, Lily and of course Wrigley!

Achieving a Dream Through Running Hard and Support of Family by Josh Moore, Fleet Manager

Corpus Reyes just completed the lease purchase program with CRST Malone after two years. Corpus embodies everything that we envision in a lease purchase contractor because he came to Malone with a vision, purpose, and plan to achieve his dream of owning his own truck.

Two years ago, Corpus sat down with his wife and three children to draw up a plan to achieve his dream of owning his own truck. They ultimately decided that the best route was thru CRST Malone’s lease purchase program. The main reason he chose this program was because he could have the ability to pick his own loads and freedom to run as he wanted. Corpus quickly learned that this was more than just driving a truck, it was “learning to run his own business.”

During orientation, Corpus was instantly made aware the costs that he would have to control as a business owner. He learned how to calculate his linehaul revenue and deductions. The areas that Corpus specifically emphasized were that he knew the amounts of his weekly deductions, his bills at home, and how much was needed to support his family. In or der to meet all these needs, Corpus knew how many loads he needed to run and how long he needed to stay out. Corpus also noted that he stayed out for four weeks at a time because he knew that deductions would come out every week regardless of holidays or special occasions. Corpus admitted that this was hard, but it was a sacrifice that he and his family knew had to be made to achieve his dream. When asked about the lanes that he liked to run, Corpus advised that from his experience, he learned to only choose loads east of Colorado. Asked about the best advice he received from other CRST Malone contractors, he revealed that it was to run to areas with the least appealing weather because it typically had the strongest rates and more available loads.

Like all contractors, Corpus faced challenges with his truck, but he always stuck with the program. He knew that giving up or choosing another lease purchase program would only delay his dream of owning his own truck. When times were hard, he reflected on his aspirations, and from his experience he knew that the grass was not greener on the other side. Corpus was able to achieve his dreams by having a vision, purpose, and plan.

You Talk, We Listen by Joey Malone, Manager of Operations

Many CRST operating companies, including CRST Flatbed, are utilizing a new partnership with Workhound to provide business analytics based on direct feedback from our respective fleets. Feedback is provided as overall satisfaction surveys and allows for direct comments from you. The feedback is carefully reviewed by our leadership group and action is taken based on the feedback we receive at both an individual and group level. While you have the option to remain anonymous, permitting us to know who you are better enables us to directly assist you with your concerns however, it is not required.

Several of you have received text messages encouraging your participation in this program. The information we receive from this program is invaluable and allows for us to take immediate action to keep our driver partners and small business owners engaged, energized and supported.  The feedback we’ve received thus far has been phenomenal. We will continue to communicate with you through the Flatbed Forum to update you on the issues we’ve identified through your feedback and operational goals that we’re putting in place to support you better.

I personally want to thank each and every one of you who has taken the time to respond to these requests. I promise every single feedback message is reviewed, and the feedback shows not only areas we need to improve in but also areas we are meeting and/or exceeding your expectations so that we know when we’re doing something right and we keep doing it! I encourage everyone to participate – we want to know what’s on your mind!

Memorial Day Holiday Settlement Schedule

Memorial Day, May 27th is the beginning of the Summer holidays. This is a federal holiday and our office will be closed. Due to the federal holiday, this may have a slight impact on your weekly settlement schedule and pay deposit.

Owner Operators on Regular Pay Schedule

Paperwork scanned between 5/15/19 and 5/17/19 will pay on Wednesday, 5/22/19.

Paperwork scanned between 5/18/19 and 5/21/19 will pay on Friday, 5/24/19. Comdata deposit will post on Friday, 5/24/19. Direct deposits to your bank will not post to your bank account until Tuesday, 5/28/19.

Lease Purchase Operators on Regular Pay Schedule (Fridays)

Paperwork scanned between 5/15/19 and 5/21/19 will pay on Friday, 5/24/19. Direct deposits to your bank will not post to your bank account until Tuesday, 5/28/19.

Operators on the 48-hour Pay Schedule

Paperwork scanned that is normally scheduled to pay on Monday, 5/27/19 will not pay to your Comdata card until Tuesday, 5/28/19 and bank deposits will not post to your bank account until Wednesday, 5/29/19.

If you have any questions, concerns or want further explanation, please feel free to contact your Settlement Clerk or Settlement Department.

Toni Sullivan 205-978-7485

Freda Harris 205-978-7483

Regina Herron 205-978-7484

Cynthia McBride 205-978-7482

Let’s Talk About Those Freight Rates by Maria Gilbert, Pricing Manager

One of the worst parts of being in the Pricing Department is that we have little direct communication with our driver partners. However, with Workhound we are now seeing comments and hearing from our driving partners on a weekly, if not daily, basis regarding their sentiments on freight rates, freight availability and concerns that freight is slow or slowing.

While there have only been a couple of comments received from Workhound regarding rates, I would like to address those concerns. CRST Flatbed has not decreased rates with a single customer in the last year+. If you’re running and continue to run spot freight – freight with brokers or direct shippers that run outside of a contracted rate, it is likely they have reduced their rates from last Spring and Summer. While freight has picked up and continues to follow the ‘flatbed cycle’ as we discussed in our last article – plentiful freight at better rates in the Spring and Summer – the market certainly isn’t as tight as it was this time last year. However, according to our main industry freight index, Morgan Stanley, freight continues to be at record levels.

What does this mean for you? It’s more important than ever to increase your profits by running smart. Decrease your deadhead, ensure that if you decide to take a spot rate load from a broker or a direct shipper that you negotiate the rate to get the best possible amount. You DO NOT have to take a load at the rate posted on the DAT or Internet Truckstop load boards. You have the truck, and you can negotiate those rates. If you’re uncomfortable negotiating a better rate, don’t hesitate to contact your Customer Service Department directly for assistance. Both Stephen Lutz (slutz@crst.com or 205.978.7492) and Andy Krupa (akrupa@crst.com or 319.739.4927) are available to help you negotiate your rate. Even if you’re only able to increase your rate by $0.05 per mile, on our average loaded miles of 1,175 miles per load, that’s an additional $58.75 per load. It may not seem like much but when you take that amount over the course of a year it adds up to almost $10,700! Let’s break that down:

1,175 average loaded mile x $0.05 per mile increase = $58.75

$58.75 increase per load x 3.5 average # loads per week = $205.63

$205.63 average increase x 52 weeks / year = $10,692.76

As always, we appreciate your input and we’re available to answer specific questions you may have regarding customers, markets, rates, and so forth. If you are responding to a Workhound survey and you have comments on rates please include as much detail as possible about the customer freight you’re moving freight for, the areas you’re running in and best case – tell us who you are so we can look into how we may assist you in improving your loads.

Please don’t hesitate to contact your Pricing team at flatbedpricing@crst.com. I wish you safe travels at the best possible rates!

Welcome the Newest Small Business Owners and Driver Team Members to CRST Flatbed!

We extend our sincere appreciation to the newest Small Business Owners and Drivers for choosing CRST Flatbed as their team. When choosing CRST Flatbed these SBO’s and Drivers have chosen quality freight at above average rates, customer service, reliability and support to be the backbone of their business!

CRST Flatbed Small Business Owner and Driver Team Member Anniversaries

Thank you to Jeff House of M058, our Contractor of the Year, for providing this month’s cover truck! Jeff’s been with Malone since 2016. Would you like your truck to be the newsletter cover truck? Send us a picture of your truck and trailer, sideview, loaded or empty to flatbedforum@crst.com! #GOFLATOUT

Is there information you would like to see in the newsletter? Anything that would be beneficial to you or your family? Send requests, comments and suggestions to flatbedforum@crst.com. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

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