T&K Nationwide Trucking: Growth, Trust, and Timeliness
and growth at a reasonably fast rate, seems to be a hallmark of success
in the expedited trucking industry. It should come as no surprise,
then, that we're profiling another company that's experienced the
whirlwind that is rapid growth. New Lenox, Illinois's T&K
Nationwide Trucking opened for business in 2004 with two trucks and a
plan. Cut to 2010. Now they run 150 trucks, work out of two buildings
(with a soon-to-be third), and boast seven employees.
"Owners working 24 hours a day now working 12 or so hours, with dispatch open 24 hours a day," says Peter Haljean, Vice President and one of the founders of T&K Nationwide. "We see a great future."
And they see a great future with good reason. In the almost six years that they've been in business, the company has gone from Peter Haljean and Timothy Allen and about $40,000 in startup funds to a company clearing $5,000,000 a year. Growth at that rate is difficult to ignore, if not quite a thing to have to manage.
When I asked him whether he could think of anything specific that acted as a springboard for this growth, Mr. Haljean didn't miss a beat. "Joining GPSNet around two years ago. That was my springboard for growth. Sharing resources with other carriers is huge for me. GPSNet has really done wonders."
The fact that they've grown so much over the last few years is made more notable by the fact that they've managed to do so even in the face of last year's economical troubles. Like many of the carriers who made it through the year, however, they managed to do pretty well despite the circumstances. "The way I survived was by keeping a set of core customers," Mr. Haljean said. "I didn't do anything different than '08, and I matched my money in '09." Carriers going out of business increased freight to a very small degree, and the Cash for Clunkers program brought a fair bit of freight to the industry as well, Mr. Haljean noted. But as long as that core group was steady, there was some leeway.
"If you have a good core, you can cover extra freight with a virtual fleet. Sharing resources with other carriers is huge for me," he says.
They plan to continue to grow, as well, and are contemplating a move towards working with more manufacturing companies and direct shippers in order to expand their market. "In 2010, we'll be recruiting Owner/Operators and building a T&K sales force, which will will go out and get customers, create bonds & put rates in place with 3rd party logistics companies, who have accounts, but need trucks in order for them to be taken care of."
While this is something of a significant shift and surely represents a learning curve of some variety for T&K Nationwide, Mr. Haljean takes is with a healthy mix of stride and confidence. "I want to diversify beyond just being a carrier's carrier. We have our name out there and it's trustworthy with carriers; now I want to get it out there with manufacturers, direct shippers and third-party logistics companies, too."
Beyond his good relationship with other carriers and his joining GPSNet a couple years back, it's keeping that trustworthy name that has proved to be important. I asked Mr. Haljean whether he had any advice for smaller and growing characters. He said very simply, "Honesty and Integrity. Do great work for other carriers. Mostly, though, honesty."
T&K Nationwide uses all types of drivers--Owner/Operators, in-house drivers, fleet owners, etc., and carries loads with anything from cargo vans to straight trucks to tractor trailers. They operate in all 50 states, with their primary service area being the upper midwest (namely Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Iowa).
Employment requirements and leasing benefits:
Drivers are not held to exclusive use Rates: .85 for Cargo Vans .90 for Sprinters 1.25 for 22ft Straight Trucks 1.35 for Tractor Trailers 14/16/18 ft Straight trucks negotiable between .95 and 1.10 rpm Deadhead pay available Accessorial fees paid Drivers must provide Full Insurance Primary and Liabilty to include cargo Ins. Workmans Comp. WE use C.I.S. Insurance exclusively for the Independant contractors 21 years or older. Clean and maintained vehicle. Age does not matter.
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