TranStewart Trucking: Freight is a People Business
Founded in 1996, Osseo, Michiganâ€™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.
â€œThey werenâ€™t making any money,â€ says Sarah Stewart, the Chief Operating Officer of TranStewart. â€œI understood what itâ€™s like to be the wife of an owner/operator whoâ€™s not making any money. We werenâ€™t getting calls, and were getting further and further behind. We figured that thereâ€™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.â€
And thatâ€™s how TranStewart Trucking has operated for nearly fifteen years: with a focus aimed at the owner/operators who drive for them. Itâ€™s a response in some ways to the experiences that the Stewarts had as owner/operators themselves, and thatâ€™s a deeply important part of how TranStewart defines itself; itâ€™s something that informs each and every part of their business. â€œA team thatâ€™s focused on the owner/operator will be more loyal,â€ Jerry Stewart says, â€œand theyâ€™ll want to work for you.â€ 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 TranStewartâ€™s ability to keep their drivers, to which they attribute their perspective and focus on the owner/operator. â€œThe annual turnover rate in the trucking industry is well over 100%, and our turnover rate is right around 10%,â€ Jerry Stewart says. In sum, this means that TranStewart keep their drivers, and they do this by â€œKeeping our drivers happy,â€ he says.
A major part of their success in doing so is that the Stewartsâ€™ strong emphasis on the companyâ€™s dispatch operations. â€œWe personally train our dispatchers,â€ Sarah Stewart says, â€œso that we can keep the focus where we think it should be--on the drivers.â€ Itâ€™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 driverâ€™s day could be a complete mess. In other words, if youâ€™re not moving, nobodyâ€™s making money.
Another central reason that TranStewart is proud to say that they keep their drivers happy is how theyâ€™re paid. â€œWithin 48 hours, we pay our drivers,â€ 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, â€œI remember when Jerry was driving with other carriers, and itâ€™d take weeks to get paid.â€
â€œWe have a lot of happy wives,â€ Mr. Stewart says.
The bottom line, however, is simple: TranStewartâ€™s primary aim hasnâ€™t wavered one bit--they know how drivers want to be treated, and they therefore strive to do just that. So far, itâ€™s been a recipe for success.
As for surviving the most recent economical turbulence, Mr. Stewart says that itâ€™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 theyâ€™ve certainly come out the better for it; and with rates coming up, things are beginning to look good. â€œI see rates stabilizing around the beginning of the year,â€ he predicts, â€œand when that happens, youâ€™re going to see a need for more trucks.â€
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 companyâ€™s recruiter, Mr. Stewart. doesnâ€™t have a long list of requirements for its owner/operators. Heâ€™s looking for a clean driving record with no DUIâ€™s. Beyond that, TranStewart simply wants to get to know their drivers. Itâ€™s something that makes a refreshing amount of sense, considering theyâ€™re in the business of working with people.
TranStewartâ€™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
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7880 S. Bird Lake Rd.
Osseo, MI 49266