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Carrier Profiles

TranStewart Trucking: Freight is a People Business

By Jason McGlone, staff writer
Posted Aug 6th 2010 3:38AM
Founded in 1996, Osseo, Michigan’s TranStewart Trucking was formed by a father and son partnership.  Jerry Stewart Sr. and Jr. had had experience driving with various carriers, and essentially wanted to form their own carrier that had all the advantages they love about expediting, with a minimal amount of the disadvantages they saw in their varied experience over the years.  

“They weren’t making any money,” says Sarah Stewart, the Chief Operating Officer of TranStewart.  “I understood what it’s like to be the wife of an owner/operator who’s not making any money.  We weren’t getting calls, and were getting further and further behind.  We figured that there’s got to be a better way--a better way to treat drivers, a way to keep them moving, and a way to keep them happy.”

And that’s how TranStewart Trucking has operated for nearly fifteen years: with a focus aimed at the owner/operators who drive for them.  It’s a response in some ways to the experiences that the Stewarts had as owner/operators themselves, and that’s a deeply important part of how TranStewart defines itself; it’s something that informs each and every part of their business.  “A team that’s focused on the owner/operator will be more loyal,” Jerry Stewart says, “and they’ll want to work for you.”  This, of course goes from top to bottom--from the loads getting there on time, right down to the dispatchers knowing the name of the driver without them having to give a number.  

This dynamic also manifests itself through TranStewart’s ability to keep their drivers, to which they attribute their perspective and focus on the owner/operator.  “The annual turnover rate in the trucking industry is well over 100%, and our turnover rate is right around 10%,” Jerry Stewart says.  In sum, this means that TranStewart keep their drivers, and they do this by “Keeping our drivers happy,” he says.  

A major part of their success in doing so is that the Stewarts’ strong emphasis on the company’s dispatch operations.  “We personally train our dispatchers,” Sarah Stewart says, “so that we can keep the focus where we think it should be--on the drivers.”  It’s no secret that the dispatcher is a major cog in the wheel that is an expedite carrier; without a finely-tuned and experienced dispatch crew, a driver’s day could be a complete mess.  In other words, if you’re not moving, nobody’s making money.

Another central reason that TranStewart is proud to say that they keep their drivers happy is how they’re paid.  “Within 48 hours, we pay our drivers,” Jerry Stewart says.  This is, of course, significantly different than many, if not most, other carriers, where it can take several weeks for owner/operators to receive settlements.  Sarah Stewart chimes in, saying, “I remember when Jerry was driving with other carriers, and it’d take weeks to get paid.”  

“We have a lot of happy wives,” Mr. Stewart says.

The bottom line, however, is simple: TranStewart’s primary aim hasn’t wavered one bit--they know how drivers want to be treated, and they therefore strive to do just that.  So far, it’s been a recipe for success.  

As for surviving the most recent economical turbulence, Mr. Stewart says that it’s been tough, but that getting through it is as much about perseverance and keeping things moving than it is anything else.  TranStewart weathered the storm and kept quality in mind as much as quantity, and they’ve certainly come out the better for it; and with rates coming up, things are beginning to look good.  “I see rates stabilizing around the beginning of the year,” he predicts, “and when that happens, you’re going to see a need for more trucks.”  

It could even happen before that, if certain predictions turn out to be correct.  

In the meantime, TranStewart is looking to expand its driver base.  As the company’s recruiter, Mr. Stewart. doesn’t have a long list of requirements for its owner/operators.  He’s looking for a clean driving record with no DUI’s.  Beyond that, TranStewart simply wants to get to know their drivers.  It’s something that makes a refreshing amount of sense, considering they’re in the business of working with people.

TranStewart’s list of leasing advantages includes:

NO satellite fees NO fuel tax backcharges NO hidden insurance fees NO paperwork fees NO forced dispatch NO turndown penalties NO permit fees NO silly check call requirements NO lengthy orientation requirement
Click Here to apply now!

TranStewart Trucking
7880 S. Bird Lake Rd.
Osseo, MI 49266


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