...and I needed a few truckers to make it work. Also yes, I’ve read the news and heard truckers are in short supply.
Let’s say, hypothetically, I wanted to start a business helping farmers transport ag products, primarily raw grain such as wheat, hemp, etc, to processing facilities. I’d expect to be moving products from the west, northwest, and mid-west, to anywhere else in the country. But especially to the mid-west. I think I know where I’m looking to plop this upstart, but there are a lot of blanks; such as where does this stuff go after the farm and how does it get there?
I figured the best thing I could do starting this hypothetical company out is is ask the people I want to hire what’s best. Since they’ll know a lot than me, wet behind the ears and green. Doesn’t mean I think I can please every Dick, Tom, and Harry that walks in with a resume and semi ready to go so please have reasonable answers. Customers are going to push back on rates and I plan to give them high expectations. However when they ask why I’m slightly more than a competitor, I’m going to say I pay my people better, which in turn gives me the best workforce, and therefore better service than anyone else. I’ve seen many businesses succeed or fail because of how well they treat their people. So my aim is to be a better employer than all of my competition first, and earn my keep as a trucking line starting there. If I don’t take care of my people well, then the customers can forget it too.
People will know the difference in quality when they hear the name, and recommend it to anyone who asks. As far as the workforce goes, some days will be hard, and sh*tty. I can’t make the sky blue or keep everyone off their cellphone. But I want my folks to hang up their hat at the end of the day and say “That was worth it, and I know he’s got my back tomorrow” and not mother-#### me all the way to Tibet.
As such, I developed a list of questions to get me going, and I hoping they aren’t offensive or misguided. I’ve never had a CDL and came here for an early education. I understand it’s hard work keeping yourself, your load, and everyone around you safe, especially when ######## dart all around you without respect to your size. Every day. Take the freedom of rewording my questions or rearranging my mindset if you think need be.
-What unknowns should I be researching, looking out for?
-Do farmers hire transport companies to get it moving from the farm or do buyers send their own trucks to the farm to pick it up? Is this contracted?
-Where would be the best place to source employees from who are willing to spend time driving across Washington, Oregon, NorthCali, Montana, Utah, Colorado, and the Dakotas, down as far as South Carolina, and back again.
-In the beginning, I won’t have enough startup capital to purchase a company truck, so I’d have to ask my first few employees to BYOT. How does that work in the industry?
-Once I can afford to buy a truck, what is the best combination of most comfortable/most reliable/most sought after? (Does a Cadillac Tacoma exist?) I don’t want to give my drivers crap-ola tools.
-How soon after harvest is a grain product transported between farm and a wholesale buyer (refinery, food manufacturer, etc).
-If you’ve transported similar ag products, where did you usually go, how far, and what was your favorite route and why?
-What kind of trucks are used for this work and what specialty to truckers consider themselves for this type of haul. (What are the terms I should be using when referring to the types of truckers I need)
-For those who have transported ag, what did you like best? The views? Quiet country roads? Close to home?
-Similarly, what would you improve? The hours? The pay? The medical benefits? Truck type? Management style? Equipment?
-I assume truckers can be paid by the mile, hour, or some combination thereof? What are the low, average, and high amounts companies offer for long-distance (multi-state) hauling of ag?
-I’m a family guy, and I want my employees to have time with their families too. If you could design a work schedule (by week, month, or year) that is solid enough to earn an income to support a family of four, but maximizes quality time off with family, what would it look like?
-If you love what you do, are really great at it, and have no plans on leaving, what type of pay and benefits package would make you second guess that?
-How do you feel about this uniform?: Company supplied dickies collared button down work shirt - long or short sleeve. With name patch above the right breast pocket, company patch on the left sleeve, and any combination of hat, pants, and boots you feel comfortable in.
-If your employer offered a great medical plan, 401k, paid for 20 vacation days and 5 sick days, and closed the office for a week and a half during Christmas/New Years, what other benefits would really ice the cake?
As in, what fringe benefits sound appealing (like tire replacement costs, etc.) that I don’t know about?
I think that covers it for now. Thanks for setting me straight!
Let’s say I wanted to start a business...
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Farmers dont typically ship that far it eats into there already small profits the farthest we ship anything is 1 state away and we just do the because we can get a back haul from them and get all the fright paid by others most of the time when shipping products long distance in ag they use barges or rail
Around here the farmers I know transport the product the the elevator. The elevator company then loads it on rail to ship to points wherever.
The two my brother in law uses are 10 and 15 miles and he hauls them himself. No market here in a company hauling grain type products.
then the super large corporate farms would have thier own trucks, or o/o's..???
Amen on the barge and rail. Cost per ton/mile is quite a bit cheaper on the rail or the river.
In our area...the left coast... non perishable farm products are usually hauled from the field to first point of processing or field to storage. This is relatively short distance driving. It's also seasonal to some extent.
All the major grain elevators, rice driers, and tomato packing plants have railroad sidings for shipping the finished product. Some product goes by truck to the end user but relatively little.
If you're planning on running trucks with grain products long distances you'll need to plan for back-hauls when the truck is empty.
There's more...a huge amount more...but this gives you some idea of what you're facing.
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