Carrier Profile: Express-1
The focus of our latest carrier profile is Express-1, located in the small southwestern Michigan town of Buchanan, MI, just ten miles north of South Bend, IN. A privately owned company founded in May 1989, Express-1 provides expedited freight transportation in all 48 states, Ontario and Quebec.
Operating with a fleet comprised of 80 percent Independent Contractors and 20 percent Company Drivers, this company offers it's customers a total fleet size of 130 units from vans to tractor-trailers, all of which are satellite tracked.
"We're happy to say that our growth is still there after 11 years, and growing at a rate of 35% for over five years now," says John Welch, vice president. "We're proud of our ability to control our growth and remain focused on servicing our customers and taking care of our drivers."
The main areas of operation for Express-1 are, in general, East of the Mississipi, from the Great Lakes through the Carolinas. "However", says Michael Ruelle, recruiter for Express-1, "we're branching out through expansion of our service territories with our sales force actively seeking new accounts and we have a brand new inside sales department that is aggressively pursuing new business."
"The future looks extremely bright for Express-1 and a good part of that is because of our owner/operators and the image they present of themselves and Express-1."
Unusual in expediting, Express-1 also operates a small fleet of company trucks with company drivers. John Welch tells us, "Our company drivers are headquartered here in Buchanan for runs that originate in this local area. It's important to be able to service our local customers, but not at the expense of our owner/operators."
The company also utilizes the services of non-leased owner/operators with own authority operating as "partners" with Express-1's logistics department to better serve their clients.
Owner/operators in expediting understandably have a reluctance towards discounted freight, particularly automotive. Express-1 thinks they have an answer for that problem: " We have just instituted a new pay policy that guarantees an owner/operator a miminum regardless of any discount that we offer the customer," says Michael Ruelle.
"We do haul some automotive freight at discounted rates, but it is not a major portion of our business. Some discounted freight is a reality in this business, and that's why we began the guaranteed minimum for our o/o's."
Maintaining control over fleet size is an important part of Express-1's business philosophy. Michael Ruelle states, "We also work very hard not to overstaff our company because we are aware that if we did it would be at the expense of our owner/operators. The size of our company allows us to keep the trucks moving."
"We can control the amount of trucks in certain areas, and our owner/operators will not pull into a truckstop and find another half dozen Express-1 trucks waiting too. We work very hard to keep our trucks from sitting any great length of time."
The company utilizes a First In - First Out policy of dispatch and has no forced dispatch. "We allow the owners to operate their business themselves. We even turn down a load if we don't have a truck available, we don't pressure our owner/operators to take a load they don't feel is right for them," adds Michael.
Some details of interest to a prospective owner/operator with Express-1 include: Bi-weekly settlements in full Company provides trucking insurance, cargo insurance, all permits, the company files the IFTA O/O provides the bobtail insurance
When asked, 'What are you looking for in a prospective o/o?' Michael responds, "What I look for is someone who is aware of the realities of expediting. This is not an easy business and I have the utmost respect for the people who are out there."
"It is the contractor's own business and we regard it as such, and we look for people who have the same business philosophy as we do, working as partners with us, to keep both themselves and the company growing."
Michael Ruelle, Recruiter
1-800-800-5161 ext. 244