How a husband and wife team went from running a van to operating their own trucking company using the tools in Truckstop.com.
“I believe in sweat, hard work. I had never been in the trucking business in my life. We’d go anywhere and haul anything. We literally learned the hard way what to haul, what not to haul, where to go, where not to go.”
Ernie Hall spent 25 years as a commercial contractor but needed a new job after breaking his wrist in a snowmobile accident. He and his brother-in-law bought some vans, subcontracted with a distribution center, and started running lanes in Idaho. There have been a lot of ups and downs along the way, but today with his wife Michelle, Ernie is running a thriving trucking company – Fast Forward LLC.
“We started this thing on a shoestring and didn’t really have two nickels to rub together. I remember once when my brother-in-law and I were in Texas, I maxed all three of my credit cards out just to get us enough fuel to get home, praying for a check in the mailbox when we got here. That’s literally how we started this thing.”
After investing in multiple vans and a DOT authority, Ernie’s subcontract abruptly ended. They upgraded the vans to a tractor (the “million-mile molly”) and started hauling milk. They were making money and got a second truck, but there wasn’t enough milk to keep it moving. They bought a dry box, and Michelle got a crash course in using load boards and booking loads.
They quickly learned that most load boards provide nothing more than a very basic service – no rates tools, no reviews, and nothing to help you protect yourself and your business. And because of Ernie’s dynamic personality, their trucking company was attracting other people (shippers, drivers, etc.) that wanted to work with them. They were trying to figure out how to run a new business efficiently while also growing very quickly.
“Before I got Michelle’s help, it was kind of a wreck. Once I asked her to get on board and we got things operating smoothly, she found Truckstop.com and a few other things that were really critical in making this work.”
“Ernie and I never intended to run a trucking company together. When we started out, and I was doing property management. He needed help finding loads when he was on the road, didn’t have internet service, and couldn’t search the load board. I started looking for loads to get him moving.”
The Fast Forward team tried a number of free load boards. They kept coming back to Truckstop.com because of the resources available for finding reputable brokers, getting better rates, and making sure you get paid – tools to help protect yourself and your business.
“As we progressed, we started learning more of the things that Truckstop.com did for us – credit checks, credit scores. Those kinds of things are imperative because when your authority is young and you’re new in this business, you are a target for people that don’t pay really well.”
“When I go to a new search, it shows me more information than if I just put in a general here-to-there search with a van. I can make it date specific.”
“There’s good brokers that are going to take care of their carriers, and there’s brokers that are just out to make a buck and blow the carrier off. I’m looking for brokers that have the best reputation, best credit rating. What I’m hoping for is the most money. That’s what we are in business for.”
Using the right tools to grow a business
Ernie and Michelle rely on Truckstop.com Basic as their main load board to run their trucking business.
“We have five trucks. We started in 2014, so one truck a year about is what our growth rate is, but we’re at the point now to where we could grow substantially.”
“If you want to make money, you have to have the proper tools. If you’re not willing to spend money on the right equipment to make you money, you’ll be mediocre your whole life. You’ll never really excel. If you build a house and I build a house, and you use a hammer and I use a nail gun, I’m going to build a lot more houses than you. I’m going to make a lot more money. Those load boards, the same way.”
Using the right tools to make more money
Ernie and Michelle have learned to trust the loads posted on Truckstop.com because they’re backed up by broker ratings and credit scores.
“When you get on a load board like Truckstop.com, the loads are a little better paying. Then you could check people’s credit, and we learned a lot about quick pay and things like that that we didn’t have. Now our cash flow has become faster.”
“Tools like Credit Stop really help me to become more familiar with someone that I’ve never worked with. We can get a general idea on where we need to negotiate the rate by the number that the mileage offers as well.”
Using the right tools to work toward retirement
“I’m 60 years old, and we have struck on something that is working well. It’s like I explain to my kids and other people, we can’t push reset and do this again like a video game. This is really critical that this works for us, and the tools we use are so important to make everything work because this is it for us. All of our eggs are in one basket. Hopefully, in four or five years, the endgame is we win. And Truckstop.com will help us get there.”
Learn how users like Ernie Hall use Truckstop.com to find loads and make more money.