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Episode 1: How to Average 10 Miles per Gallon with Henry Albert, President of Albert Transport

Brent – 00:00:01:

Welcome to Freight Nation, a trucking podcast where we explore the fascinating world of trucking and freight management. We dive deep into the freight industry and uncover why the trucking industry is more crucial to our country now than ever before. Stay tuned to uncover the driving forces behind successful trucking businesses and hear from the hard-working truckers and leaders who keep the world moving. Let’s hit the road. Welcome to Freight Nation. This is Brent Hutto from Truckstop, your host. And I’m so glad that you joined us today. Man, today we have a super special episode, a very, very important one. And the first owner-operator to have on with us is my good friend, Mr. Henry Albert. Henry and I have been friends since 2007. I’ll tell you a little bit of reason why in just a second. But he is the president of Albert Transport. Used to be based in Statesville, North Carolina. Now he’s out of Laredo, Texas. In true trucker four, but he’s been in the industry more than 35 years. He’s been running on his own for 25. And he’ll tell you a little bit more about his story. I’d love to hear the story, but it is an honor today for me to bring on my good friend, Mr. Henry Albert. So Henry, thanks for being on the program today.

Henry – 00:01:12:

Great to be here with you today, Brent. It’s been a long time. We’ve known each other now.

Brent – 00:01:16:

It sure has. I always like to start off with the why, man. Like what was the why? How did we get to know each other? And I remember that day in my backstory, I worked for Overdrive magazine and we always chose each year we were so honored to pick an owner-operator of the year. And in 2007, my life changed when I got to meet the 2007 owner-operator of the year for Overdrive, Mr. Henry Albert. I didn’t know what I was going to get myself into when I got to meet this guy. So I called him up. I said, look, I’m so excited about meeting you. Congratulations on winning. And first off, he was super humble. He’s like, well, you know, there’s a lot of great truck drivers out there. And I’m just glad that I got this award and was recognized for this, but there’s a lot of great ones out there. And I said, Hey, I’m going to be at the Mid America Truck Show next month. We’ve invited you to come. Can you make it? He said, absolutely. And we got to meet and it was so funny. We got to meet on a rainy day, the horse barn next to the parking lot. But it was a great day because Henry was the guy who helped me really develop. First off, an extension of my dedication and appreciation for owner-operators. He helped me understand what does it mean to be a professional in this industry? What does it mean to be focused on success and on profitability? And what does it mean to be focused on in being a good steward, a good representative of this industry? And so Henry shaped everything. And I measure so many owner-operators against Henry Albert. And so to have him be my first active truck driver, active owner-operator on here is a super honor for me because I don’t just call him a guy. I know I call him one of my close dear friends. And so Henry, I remember that day and I remember you telling me about, you know, how you started your business and how you got into trucking, give the listeners and the watchers here a little understanding on how you got in the industry and why you got in the industry and how you started.

Henry – 00:03:01:

It’s a little funny story the way my career in this industry started. And the fact that I never drove for a trucking company other than my own, my career started out with private carriers, two of them to be exact. I really learned a lot of valuable lessons working for a private carrier. The first one was a food service business. And in fact, we had a really good salesman that had left and our food service division of that business was really a standalone from the main company and it was more keeping them in touch with their roots where they started from. Well, when that salesman left, our business changed and what products we had changed. We didn’t really have a salesman on the road. And with the person I worked with there, I started taking samples along and I built my runs up. You know, it was almost like route sales. The one thing they really preached to us there was we were the most important salespeople they had because as drivers, we saw the customer more often than they did. When I left there and moved to the Carolinas, cause I used to race stop cars. That’s a whole nother story in itself. But at the carrier that I, private carrier once again, and I worked there and I drove the trucks. I ended up being in charge of their three trucks that they ran. It was kind of a cool story because the one day I was up there in the office and I started hearing from the high up boss about all the dumb people that worked in the warehouse. There was other words used for it. And then I said, well, this is funny. We were one of the lowest ranked branches in the country. And I said to him, well, that’s kind of funny. He says, what? I says, because I don’t see how we’re ever going to succeed because we’re all a bunch of idiots. He says, why? I said, because when I’m down in the warehouse, they tell me about all the idiots up in the office. I’m up here in the office. They tell me about the idiots in the warehouse. If I’m around outside sales, they tell me about the idiots in the warehouse and on inside sales. I said, so, you know, I don’t see how we can go anywhere. If we’re a bunch of idiots. And we really worked on that where nobody had a job. When I say nobody had a job outside sales had their job. Inside sales had their jobs. But if our trucks weren’t full, we called every customer along the route and seen if they needed anything to fill out the truck. We also started carrying samples along to help augment what outside cells did. When we were backed up and couldn’t have the trucks preloaded for the next day, outside sales would come in and help us load the trucks. So everybody worked together and it was a beautiful thing that we went from, I think 38th branch in the country to second in one year. And I’ll never forget either because the boss, the branch manager put together this big celebration and everybody’s having a big old time and he’s like, you don’t seem that wound up. He says, and you had a big part to do with this. Well, my question is, what are we celebrating? You know me, I’m a racer. Second place is not a good place to be. Dead last is a little easier to deal. No, you can see first, right? And I said, don’t. I said, well, I’m trying to figure out what we’re celebrating. I said to me, we ought to be meeting here, figure out how we’re gonna be first next year. And first place traditionally had been won by the home branch in Atlanta every year. We were in Charlotte. And he says, nobody’s ever beat Atlanta. And I looked at him, I said, so? That just means nobody ever did it. He said, you’re serious, aren’t you? I said, well, yeah, we’re second. That’s no good, we gotta be first. Well, sure, not a celebration about being second, and we all put our heads together and started figuring out what we were gonna do come out of the gate the next year and head for first. Oddly on that story, I got to go to Atlanta different times with my job there. And first quarter out of the year, we beat them. And they said, you know, people have beat us before for a quarter, but, you know, that’s a quarter. I wasn’t crowing nothing. They were the one bringing it up to me. Well, they had control over us and they kept tying our arms behind our back, but we kept figuring ways around it. At the end of the year, we beat them all four quarters and we won the award fair. But a lot of that had to do with how I started my trucking company because I was wanting to get on my own and do my thing. From that, I knew of a lot of freight that went into that location. And part of the deal was I also automated valves there. I had some projects that I was going to move back to Pennsylvania, actually. And some things were not finished up there. And the boss said, about wanting me to stay and finish those projects for that year. I said, all right, I’ll stay, I’ll get that done. I said, but here’s the deal. I said, if I do that, I want to start my own trucking business. I said, here a little bit with getting some of my first customers, and that’s really how I got started on my own. The funny part about was when I got my own authority, government held up my authority for about a month, about put me broke before I got started, which was not good. But it was right about this time of year, it was in September. And it was a cold, damp, rainy day for that time of year, 1996. And I was looking for a load to get to Philadelphia to pick up what was supposed to be my second load. And my second load was direct with the customer and the day went on, the day went on and freight was slow. And here I’m sitting with a brand new FLD 120 Freightliner, brand new Transcraft trailer that I sold everything I could to have enough down payment money and to get started. And then that getting held up a month and having a young child at home and everything else, I’m like, what have I done? But it got up in towards the day that it didn’t look like I was going to have a load. And I said, all right, I’m leaving. I’m going to Philadelphia to pick up what was going to be my second load. 559 miles. I’ll always remember it. And I remember that rainy night driving up there and empty flatbeds, terrible. Because every time I looked in the mirror, as I was reminded, I had no load. I stopped at Hall River and used a Discover card, which I still have in my wallet, to put my first fuel on because I’d used up all my extra money sitting there that first month. I did a lot of soul reflecting on this wasn’t good, not a good way to start out that I was behind now. And I got to Allied Tube and Conduit, Northeast Philadelphia, went to bed and I got up in the morning and went in to check in and they said, wow, you’re here early, you must have got to unload it quick. I said, well, that would be nice if I had got unloaded. I said, but you were supposed to be the second load on my trailer, but as it turns out, you have the honor of being the first. And I explained to them what happened and they said, well, you should have called us. We could have got somebody else to haul that load. I said, you know, that time will come. I can’t be there, but I told you I was going to be here and I’m here. That move going up there empty and showing them that I was going to be where I said I ended up paying off a lot of dividends. It turned out to be a better start than I could have imagined, even though it didn’t look good at the time. So from that room ended up having one of the keys that I did to get direct customers was I concentrated on a route to city. I was concentrating on Charlotte and the other end was Philadelphia. And I just bounced back and forth between there. Eventually it grew where the southern end of my routes was West Palm Beach, Florida. The northern part was Westfield, Massachusetts. And for us, going west was Cincinnati or Atlanta. That was as far west as we went. But over time, it accumulated 38 direct customers. At that time, it had put on some owner-operators and everything went real well. But it was a hard, during that, which is what got overdrive’s attention. And it really started out kind of in a funny way. I was at a trucking museum with a friend of mine that wasn’t part of the trucking industry. And we’re looking at this different stuff there, but we got to this timeline on the wall and it was somewhere in the late forties. I want to say. It said that the average road drivers wages were within $2,000 of the average doctor or lawyer. And my response to him was, you don’t have to worry about that anymore. Well, and he’s like, yeah, no, go farther down the line. Well, then they had a mannequin wearing the uniform that they wore during that era.

Brent – 00:11:51:

In what timeframe was this supposed to be talking about?

Henry – 00:11:54:

Late 40s, early 50s, which everybody wants to say old school, which I described tracking into two categories as far as timeline. Before the movie Convoy and after the movie Convoy. And by the way, it was a good movie, but it was not a National Geographic documentary on trucking. Many people treat it though it is. So he said, yo, it don’t look like that anymore. Well, they had nice uniforms, embroidered emblem, wore a tie, hard-billed cap that Eisenhower jacked. They looked a lot like an airline pilot. So he looked at that and he, I already had nice uniform shirts. I wore button-down Oxfords. By dickies, they were work clothes, but they didn’t look like work clothes. And you know, you got pretty darn nice uniforms. He says, why don’t you add a tie to your uniform? And I said, I’m not flat better. I’ll be the laughing stock of everybody. He kept goading me about it. And I still remember I went into a Walmart. They had three ties. That’s all they had there. All three of them were blue and it was just on the east side of the Chesapeake Bay on Route 301. He had been talking to me on the phone. He’s like, you wearing a tie? Yeah. So I ended up doing it and the first year I wore a tie without driving any more miles than I had previously, I ended up making close to $30,000 more than I had the previous year. And I can directly attribute that to the tie. It wasn’t that it made me a better driver. It wasn’t anything along that line. It was a door opener. What I could count on, ever I delivered or picked up, it was enough different from how everyone else presented themselves, that either the owner, the supervisor, somebody that was in charge of something would always come over and have a conversation with. And then many times that led to them saying, well, we need to get you set up with so-and-so hauling in here. But when it’s their customer wanting them to use you, it gives you a bit of an upper hand on the negotiation.

Brent – 00:13:58:

Well, no doubt. I remember when you told me the story, because I mean, when I saw you the first time, I’m those people that you were first talking to thought to, which is, this person’s different. They present themselves differently. They are well put together. They’re thoughtful. They’re patient. But it all comes with the visual, because we humans are visual first. We see things and we make assumptions. And so when people see you, they immediately think, first off, that’s probably not a truck driver. Probably maybe a truck owner or the fleet owner. It can’t be just be the guy driving the truck. So, and that’s really what struck me is as people are seeing you on this video right now, that’s the person I saw. Maybe not with this much gray hair, but the same person I saw, which was that’s why he’s the owner-operator of the year, because you thought about marketing yourself as different, as somebody that they could depend on. And so by putting that image in their head, it created great opportunities for you and your business. So that just struck me. I knew you’d have a tie on for this. I knew it would say Albert Transport. I knew it would say Henry on this side. I have a lot of respect for the name Henry. It’s my father-in-law’s name and my grandfather’s middle name. So you presenting yourself as a professional has paid off tremendously for the 25 years you’ve been an owner-operator. What was the most unique way it paid off?

Henry – 00:15:19:

So to me, each one of us represents the industry. And if we’re going to be noticed, there’s so much of the outlaw look. But if we’re going to get noticed by the public, I think it ought to be a positive type of situation. And what happens often, if I go to a smaller convenience store that has a couple of diesel pumps out back and I stop there, either to get fuel or I got going in to get a cup of coffee, I usually cannot get in there and out of there without someone from the motoring public look at me and say, you’re a truck driver? Which starts a conversation that wouldn’t have started otherwise. Well, oftentimes that gets into a conversation where we start talking about the road and start talking about blind spots. And more often than not, of them coming out and actually sitting in the truck and looking at the view from where we see it, which to me is a really positive thing that has no monetary value to me, but each one of us are representing this industry every day.

Brent – 00:16:19:

Yeah, without a doubt. So, I mean, you’re so right. One of the things you hit on this just for a second, because you are not an owner-operator that historically uses a load board, which is cool, because you have focused your business around working directly with the manufacturer, the shipper, or working directly with the person that has the freight. And so, at Truckstyle, we feel the same way, that every owner-operator ought to have as much predictable business as they can possibly get, and then use the load board to fill in when you don’t have that, or when you’re first starting out and you’re building your business and those things, but use it always as the ability to help you continue your business where you’re not sitting still or things like that. But, so you talked about building 38 customers, you said? That’s a lot of customers, Henry. I mean, I can imagine not just the sort of personal pride you had in building your business, but also what that created financially for you with a successful business, but also creating more freedom for you to do what you want. So tell me a little bit about how you built that. I mean, you talked a little bit about customers were recommending you to other people in the marketplace or other manufacturers in the marketplace. So I just think that’s remarkable. And so, some people would say, oh well, Henry doesn’t use a load board right now, and why is Truckstop talking to him? Well, there’s lots of reasons why. But number one is, we want every owner-operator to have a successful business. We want to be a part of that where we can be, but there’s so many ways to create that success. So tell a little bit about that.

Henry – 00:17:47:

Well, one of the keys to that was having my wife wanted to stay home and she did a lot of the cold calling and the sales calls. So having that support and the back office being taken care of from the home enabled me to be in front of the customer doing my job to the best of my ability and not tied up with the back office area.

Brent – 00:18:08:

And that’s pretty common in the marketplace that the spouse or the significant other is helping.

Henry – 00:18:13:

And the other part with looking for places to call on, I’ll never forget on this, I was up in Delaware. And freight was slow and I didn’t have a load and there was a Lowe’s across the street. And I was flat bit. So I knew everything that got up to either their DC or to that store came from somewhere. So I got a pad of paper and I’m walking through the Lowe’s writing down where this lumber come from. And when they talked to me, they thought I was there from Home Depot comparing braces. I said, no, no, no. But, and you might have to call on 30 of them to get one, but I knew that going in the area that I wanted to go, if I found that it came from where I’m coming from.

Brent – 00:18:54:

So help me out with this. So, because a lot of times shippers don’t want to do business with owner-operators because you have one truck and you know, then they got to do with one person, that sort of thing. So tell me, give the watchers and listeners a little bit of like, maybe a tip on how you convince a shipper to do that business with you.

Henry – 00:19:12:

It’s all about toothpaste.

Brent – 00:19:14:

So you’re saying fresh breath has a lot to do with this? No. No.

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Henry – 00:19:20:

So it’s a funny story. For two years, I met with a man named UJ Kozart with the SBA. And he had me put together my main business plan, a backup to my business plan, and a backup to my backup. Fortunately, I never had to ever use the third part of it. I dipped into the second one a couple of times at the beginning. I had everything together, and I didn’t put on rose-colored glasses when I put the business plan together. I actually made them pretty detrimental. I made them like you were gonna have a bad year. He ran it by peers of mine in the industry, and they all said, there’s no way you could have that bad of a year. But I said, yeah, but it’s possible. And I had enough to come dead even with where I was working for somebody else. So that’s not a bad place to start from, right? So I knew I could pay my bills. I knew I could support my family. And he got through all that, and I’ll never forget, he leaned back in his chair, flipped his feet up on his desk, and he said, all right, you’re ready to start doing this. He says, why in the world would anybody ever use you to haul their freight? And I paused for about half of a second and went to answer him, and he put his hand up. He says, I don’t even wanna hear your answer now. He says, come see me in a week. I was ready a second ago. So he says, nope, I don’t wanna hear your answer now. So I went home thinking on this, and I got the mail out of our mailbox, and there was a little envelope with a sample of Colgate toothpaste. I used Crest and I’m thinking heavy on what he just told me. Why would anybody use it? And I’m like, why use Crest? They sent me Colgate. And after I pondered on that a little bit, I realized that was the answer. They sent me a free sample. Most people are pretty low to their toothpaste brand. They grew up with Crest, they used Crest. Shippers, there’s somebody else already hauling that freight before you walk in that door or before you make that phone call. Why are they going to use me? I got to thinking about that and I’m like, okay, I want to switch them to my brand. And from working the freight desk at that previous shipper, I knew that every shipper always has a customer that’s a royal pain in the butt. They complained on every load they get. The problem child of it. And my strategy became to give them an introductory rate. Like you would a coupon to get somebody to try a different cereal or whatever, right? And that would be good for depending on how bad I wanted the customer, one load, maybe two loads, maybe a month, just depending on how bad I wanted. And I tell them, this will give you a chance to find out what I’m about. This will give you a chance for me to find out what you’re about and what it really costs to do your business. And then we can sit down and discuss what the rate needs to be. And by the way, please give me your most problem customer that you have. Give me the problem. And my typical strategy was to show up at that problem customer first thing in the morning like they wanted me usually. And I’d come walking in with a box of Dunkin’ Donuts if I was up north. If I was down south, I’d learn quickly they didn’t like Dunkin’ Donuts. They associated that with up north, so I’d bring them Krispy Kremes. And how can they be mad when some people are just mad to begin with? And one of them happened to be up in New York. You know how they have that TV show where there’s them family businesses that add all those problems? Well, I used to deliver the one and this guy, you thought he was mad all day, right? And he wasn’t, but if you broke bad on him, now he was. But his attitude when he was talking to you with that was in the Bronx. Move your blanket and truck over. It didn’t seem pleasant, but he was, but it was some powerful language that went along with it that made it seem bad. Now forget I walked up to him and handle a box of Dunkin’ Donuts. He’s looking at me like, but the key to that was he called back to that shipper and said, send Henry he’s all right. Usually he was calling complaining. So now when it came time and more other customers that I delivered for them actually were calling back send Henry next time. Well, now when this trial time was up and it was time to sit down and discuss what the rate needed to be. I had quite a bit of an upper hand on that.

Brent – 00:23:30:

You’ve got great quality that they’re looking for. I’m glad you told that story because differentiating yourself and showing your consistency and your dependability is, is what every piece of freight movement requires. And so if you can show that very well, how do they not do business with you? So, which has been a part of your story since the beginning, you’ve set yourself apart, I mean, you’re an owner-operator, where’s the tie, you have a professional, the logo shirt, even with your name on it. So they can call you by so they’d never forget your name. And then when you’re solving problems, like you did, when you said, give me your worst problem, if I can solve that, they gotta be thinking, gosh, what could he do if it’s not a big problem? So that’s super unique. And so that helped you build your business over these 25 years. It’s a very unique things. And I’ve watched you in the, since we’ve been friends, the seat that’s 16 years. Is that right? We’ve been friends.

Henry – 00:24:26:

I didn’t have gray hair when I met you.

Brent – 00:24:27:

Well, but I didn’t have any hair then either. So it didn’t matter. But for me, but you hate some dark hair. But so the, one of the other things that I remember you teaching me about what truck drivers really need to pay attention to one is differentiate yourself and solve customer problems. That’s huge. One of the other great things about you is that you are a nut about efficiency. Like I remember you telling me about how strategic you were about off ramps and on ramps. And I’m like, off ramps and on ramps, Henry. I mean, you went getting up to speed, you used the most fuel. And I go, oh yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So let’s talk a little bit about your just passion for efficiency, what it’s done for you in your operation, and the advice you would give other owner-operators in the market about efficiency. So I’m ready, Henry Albert, with them on this.

Henry – 00:25:23:

Ans the end of the day when you’re running a business that’s one of your of course you got to be quality right but or you can have your operating costs the better you’re going to be I mean that’s just and if the market gets tight I can afford to haul some things at a lower rate if I need to.

Brent – 00:25:39:

Well, that was part of the point, right?

Henry – 00:25:41:

Not out there to cut rates, I’m out there to sell on service. But if I had to, it’s nice knowing that that ability is there. So fuel being one of the big ones, everything you can do to save fuel, how you spec the truck, how you drive the truck, don’t go faster than you need to to get there on time. If you’re gonna get someplace and be there for 12 hours and you only need to be there for 10 hours, why are you hurrying to get there? Not idling the truck, finding ways to not idle the truck. And after all, I mean, so many people wanna consider us the last American Cowboys. How do they think they did that on the wagon trains? You didn’t idle on a Stoggle wagon. Toughened it up a little bit. I mean, literally up until 2007, I had never idled a truck overnight, but I had a 12 eating pad and I had a window fan. That’s what I did. And through that, I was able, the savings more than paid for all my son’s college.

Brent – 00:26:35:

Okay.

Henry – 00:26:36:

So, there was some times that I wasn’t that comfortable, but I’d remind myself, we pride ourselves on being the last American Cowboys. What would they have done on a wagon train? Oh, somebody come here and fan me please. No, probably not. But, you know, paying attention when I was on flatbed was a lot more fun. I’m on dry van now and it’s always the same shape. But I found a lot of efficiency on how I had the trailer loaded. And I would have been close to eight mile to the gallon back then, but chain link fence was my main customer.

Brent – 00:27:07:

Yeah, I remember you telling me about how hard that is to haul.

Henry – 00:27:10:

Oh, and chain link fence is like pulling a parachute behind you.

Brent – 00:27:13:

I thought that’s gotta be easy. You’re like, no, no, no, no, no, no. It’s very difficult.

Henry – 00:27:18:

Every little piece of wire is grabbing the air. When you go up over a fancy gap, which I used to do a lot with that, I remember you’d actually be downhill, but the wind was always coming across there and it’d still feel like you were going up. Well, paying attention to, you know, it’s not 100% anyway, but there’s a lot big fleet could learn from an owner-operator. But there’s a boatload that an owner-operator can learn from a fleet. They usually spec to be fairly efficient. So I always stuck with what they were doing hard. And I wanted to be more like them than I did the big glitz out owner-operator. They didn’t go from one truck to 25,000 trucks by making a whole lot of mistakes or whatever size they grew to. So that’s how they were specting things gave me a lot of ideas. The other thing when you were saying about wearing the tie and being known for efficiency, that same year that I met you, I met the vice president of marketing for DimeWareTrucks North America, which got me involved with a program they called Team Run Smartware. I run a truck, not only representing Albert Transport, but the Freightliner and Detroit brand. And on my current truck on that quest for efficiency, the lifetime average on mine now at 230,000 miles is 10.25 mile per gallon.

Brent – 00:28:35:

And you just said the magic number that I wanted every owner-operator listen this podcast to hear, which is you’re not just doing better than average, you are crushing average. You’re averaging over 10, over 200,000 plus miles.

Henry – 00:28:54:

229,371 it was when I parked it.

Brent – 00:28:56:

Would say, Oh, Henry, you’ve got an advantage. You’re working with Freightliner and all this stuff. Tell me how you answer that question.

Henry – 00:29:02:

Yes, I do.

Brent – 00:29:03:

Well, I realize it’s a good edge, but these are your ideas. You’re the one giving them that, Hey, let’s do this. Hey, let’s do this. Let’s cut this wind. Let’s take that off. Let’s put this in. So talk a little bit about how you got to averaging 10 miles a gallon.

Henry – 00:29:16:

It’s really a combination between an, oh my gosh, you can imagine what fun I have of I get to talk to the engineers and we start going back and forth. Sure. You drive them crazy. Well, sometimes they drive me crazy too. It’s a two way street. When I first started out with them back in 2007, 2008, my goal was to get to a mile a pint. And that’s sort of an interesting visual, isn’t it? Think of every mile you drove a truck that you’re setting a pint down. A mile a pint is eight mile out of the gallon. And little over a year into the program, and mind you, this was towards the beginning of a missions battle and a mission’s pretty hard too. Through specking the truck right, running the truck right, I got that one to eight. And each year it stepped up just a little bit more. You don’t find it all in one spot. I remember when I went out to Portland with a load and I met up with some of them that I knew out there and I said, yeah, I moved my trailer license plate. They’re like, you did what? I says, yeah, I moved my trailer license plate. And they says, what do you think that’s worth? I says, it’s gotta be worth at least $400 a year. And they’re like, how are you figuring that? I says, well, I just tried to estimate that if I held a license plate out the window all day, what kind of force that would put on my arm all day. And tried to put that into sort of a fuel number. I says, I think it’s at least 400. And he says, all right. He started looking at that. And they didn’t do no scientific tests on it, but they did a little computational fluid dynamics on it. And it turned out at that time with fuel at 370 a gallon, it was worth between four and $700.

Brent – 00:30:57:

That’s a pretty good bonus.

Henry – 00:30:58:

What’s interesting on that now of having the license plate not below the tail lights, it’s now an option on at least I know, Great Dane, Utility, Wabash, and I think Hyundai. Pretty sure on that. It’s an option to have it up there on the rear threshold now. The other was pulling a dry van. I had a light go out on the top. And you know, you don’t spend that much time looking at the top of your trailer. I was up there, cause the one light was out on the clearance lights on the back. You got 53 foot of nice smooth roof going all the way down till you get right about this far from the end. And then there’s a rain gutter. Oh, when I was up, when I looked there with the reefer trailers, didn’t have a rain gutter. The container trailers didn’t have a rain gutter. Like, why do I have a rain gutter? Oh, when I got home, I covered that up. How much difference did it make? I don’t know. It doesn’t even matter. It was just too easy. So certain things you look at being directionally correct.

Brent – 00:31:55:

Well, I think about, you know, like just recently, how much fuel has, you know, went down fortunately, but it’s come back up more than a small amount. You know, the fuel surcharge index, I believe has a watermark of about 6.5 miles to the gallon where they say that’s what that’s based on. That sort of thing. I think it used to be 5.5, but it’s about 6.5 now. So, with you averaging 10, You are able to operate in challenging markets much more at ease than somebody who is not creating the same efficiency. And so I just think about, even though I know you’re pulling direct shipper freight for the most part, but I just think about how much more flexibility and freedom that gives you in your business because you’re focused on efficiency, you’re focused on your operating ratio, you’re focused on the things that make it more predictable for you to operate your truck.

Henry – 00:32:48:

To me, fuel measures so many things. If you do better on fuel, usually your tires do better.

Brent – 00:32:54:

Tires are pretty expensive less than my touch, yeah.

Henry – 00:32:56:

If you do better on fuel, your brakes last longer. If you do better on fuel, your maintenance costs in general tend to go down. In fact, Detroit’s, and I’m sure with the other manufacturers, but that’s what I’m most familiar with, they break down the oil change interval based upon what your fuel economy is. So if you’re above seven, which to me, if you’re not above seven today, there’s something wrong. If you’re above seven, it’s considered ultra efficient on highway. And on today’s engines now that calls for a 75,000 mile.

Brent – 00:33:32:

That’s a lot.

Henry – 00:33:33:

So when you, when you look at how it changed that way, it’s incredible.

Brent – 00:33:36:

That is incredible. We’ve got a few minutes left and I would be remiss if we didn’t talk about your relationship to Freightliner and what that’s helped you and how that’s helped you and how you’ve helped the industry learn more, you’ve got your own communication that is out there in the marketplace. You do a great job in communicating to the industry about many things. And some of the things we’ve talked about today. So talk a little bit about team RunSpark. We love our friends at Freightliner. We’ve got lots of friends over there, but tell me a little bit about how does that change your point of view on things being honestly, officially part of their team?

Henry – 00:34:08:

What I really like about it, Freightliner, who’s been the market leader for some time now capturing usually 40 plus percent of the market to a single mark. It’s been their way of giving back to the small fleets, owner, operators, and drivers. It has the pods are on everything from driver health to maybe how to find a customer maintenance items, just business savvy stuff to anyone can grab onto and better their spot in this industry. You can find it at teamrunsmart.com.

Brent – 00:34:39:

That’s fantastic. Well, Henry, I hope that everyone heard the same thing I’ve been hearing since 2007, which is there’s a great way to operate your business and it’s to focus on creating a great brand, creating a dependable brand, creating an operation that focuses on efficiency so you can have the greatest flexibility on this. Thank you so much for being on Freight Nation for everybody listening. This was a benefit to you. If you need to find Henry, it’s not hard to find him out there at teamrunsmart at Freightliner. And Henry, thank you so much for being my friend. And thank you so much for being a friend to Truckstop. And thank you so much for being the best owner-operator I’ve ever seen. I appreciate your friendship.

Henry – 00:35:17:

Well, thanks for the compliments. And I hope to be on here sometime with you again in the future.

Brent – 00:35:21:

Absolutely. My friend will talk to you soon. Thanks a lot. On behalf of the Truckstop team, thanks for listening to this episode of Freight Nation. To find out more about the show, head to truckstop.com/podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure you hit subscribe so you don’t miss any future episodes. Until then, keep on trucking and exploring the open roads with Freight Nation, a trucking podcast.

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