JD Clark - just right
There's a misconception held by many drivers.
Most believe that the majority of drivers are employed by the big fleets, and for good reason: Schneider National employs 15,000 CDL drivers; Swift Transportation has a fleet of 16,900 tractors and 49,000 trailers; JB Hunt now probably sends most of its freight by rail, but they still employ 4,900 drivers.
On the opposite end of the size scale are the single truck owner/operators. Nationwide, the number of single-unit owner/operators numbers in the hundreds of thousands.
However, according to industry sources, the majority of the nation's 3 million-plus truck drivers are employed by small-to-midsized fleets. Companies like J.D. Clark Logistics, Inc.
The reasons for this disparity are numerous. But the most problematic for the big fleets is created by their success: they must contend with a logistics nightmare. Every day that a truck and trailer sits on the backlot waiting for a driver to be hired costs the fleet as much as a thousand dollars; multiplied by thousands of idle units, pretty soon we're talking serious money.
Goldilocks discovered that Daddy Bear fleet was too big, and Baby Bear independent owner/operator was too small. J. D. Clark was just the right size for Goldilocks, and may be for you too, driver.
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J.D. Clark can't compete against the Big Three. But then, they don't need to. They have their own niche, and fill it very well.
J.D. Clark and his wife founded their company in 2004. A few months later, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. Monetarily, the hit was enormous. The Clark family felt compelled to pitch in...with cash, with their energies. For six months, J.D. and his wife dedicated their lives to helping Louisiana recover. The company reopened in 2006 as a truckload carrier and within months had settled into their own special niche, providing expedite services domestically and internationally. Success always extracts its pound of flesh.
J.D. personally had to pay a hefty price. "I started out in the freight business as a RGN flatbed operator." Some men settle in front of a TV with a beer when they need to rest. Shifting gears and listening to the wheels sing is how some truck drivers choose to relax. "I still enjoy getting out of the office occasionally and getting behind the wheel to help do local and regional deliveries; however, lately I'm pretty much chained to a desk and half a dozen phone lines."
"The nature of our business is expedite freight services," says J.D. "We are a CSA/CTPAT bonded carrier for international shipments. I am a fleet owner, broker, freight forwarder, and employ Independent Owner Operators. We specialize in straight truck and semi-trucks only. And provide specialized flatbed services utilizing 53' flatbed and step-deck Conestoga trailers."
Posted above dispatcher desks all around the country is something akin to, 'Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.' That attitude won't cut it at this fleet. Things happen outside anyone's control; no matter the cause or who is at fault, shortfalls in customers' inventories must be dealt with. Having been there, done that himself, Clark pays a premium to his drivers on all loads that require the above and beyond approach. J.D. Clark realizes that the achievement of perfection isn't possible, but that's no reason not to keep trying.
Clark asks a lot from their drivers, and pays them well for putting in the extra effort, beginning with a $1,000 sign on bonus for straight trucks and a $2,000 bonus for a tractor, paid in cash after the 30th day with the fleet. This is in addition to safety and on-time bonuses.
J.D. Clark Logistics, Inc is currently looking for company drivers, owner operators, and experienced dispatchers.
"An experienced dispatcher can make up to $100,000 per year working for us," Clark points out. "And we pay a referral fee to the person that refers an experienced dispatcher who can get the job done. A lot of prospective drivers have a favorite dispatcher, one they've worked with for years, and we gladly make a home for them both."
This company retains 89% of all hires of both company drivers and owner/operators, and for a very good reason, says, J.D.: "We treat them the way I wanted to be treated when I myself was a driver. We have a no forced dispatch policy, provide excellent pay and benefits, including health insurance, provide all new trailer rentals, plate program, free lettering, free communications, and we don't argue with the driver when he wants to go home for any reason, any time!"
It's a fact that fleets are born, and fleets die. If its history is any indication--and it is-- the only going this fleet will be doing is up up and up. For the eight years of its existence, J.D. Clark Logistics has enjoyed an astonishing 35% yearly growth rate. For its growing list of customers, its wholly owned subsidiary, J D Clark Global Supply Chain Solutions provides cross-docking, warehousing and packaging; the next flight out option, charters, and small package delivery within all airports.
This company is growing. Admittedly, however, it is unlikely to ever own 50,000 trailers and 10,000 power units. But then, J.D. Clark's drivers don't do a lot of sitting around waiting for a load. This fleet keeps its drivers running, and earning.
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