Expediter Profile: Rich and Mary Moore
Rich and Mary Moore are the focus of this edition of our Driver Profile. The couple runs a team operation in a "D" unit leased to Federal Express Custom Critical. Visitors to the Expediters Online Open Forum might recognize Rich M as one of our fine moderators of that Forum.
Rich begins, "I was born in New Jersey and currently live in the Jacksonville, FL area. I'm 58 years old, a US Army veteran and I have three grown sons by my first marriage."
"My work history includes about 15 years in the medical field, traveling around the country repairing blood testing equipment. After that I worked in the cash register business for about 5 years and hated every minute of it. Like so many other people, I had a nut for a boss and he just about drove me crazy."
"I entered the transportation field around 1986," Rich continues, "moving furniture on my own truck in the New Jersey and New York area. I stayed with that about 18 months. The biggest problem was finding reliable help. I can't really recommend that segment of the home delivery market."
Rich discovered Roberts Express in 1987 and has been with them (now FedEx Custom Critical) ever since. He's seen many changes with that company in the last 13 years: "Back then before Qualcomm satellite communications and cell phones, we used to live on the pay phone. Information about runs was tough to come by, but then again, the volume of freight was nothing like it is today."
"In those days, Roberts wasn't very organized and quite often they would have two different departments working at cross ends to one another. Also, there was no contractor relations department back then."
"One thing I've always complimented Roberts (now FedExCC) about has been the efficiency of the contractor settlements department and the fact that the money is almost always on time and correct."
"The name change of a year ago in my opinion has not necessarily been a positive one because of the name recognition factor. Roberts had a respected name in the industry and the FedEx Custom Critical name is confusing to many customers. I will say however, that I think the FedEx Custom Critical signs on the truck keep us from getting kicked out of the mall parking lots because of the name recognition."
Rich echoes what many expediters have to say about this business, "What I enjoy the most about expediting is the freedom to do what you want to do when you want to do it. I spent many years in the corporate world and was constantly pressed for deadlines, had to deal with unreasonable bosses, etc. I also like the fact that every day is usually different than the one before; I don't think I could handle a dedicated trip going to the same locations every day."
Mary has some thoughts on the lifestyle of expediting, "I like the freedom of this business and when we're laying over we go shopping or do a lot of reading. I DON'T like showering in the truckstops."
"Because we're best friends, we get along very well on the road. It's rare that we both get mad at the same time, so we've always got the other to calm us down."
From his perspective of 13 plus years in the business, Rich tells us that he thinks the overall future of expediting is good. "While every day we see more and more start up operations giving more competition,we also see more and more shippers utilizing expediting as a tool. No one wants to carry inventory any more, so expediting is playing a greater role every year."
"I feel the expediting industry will always be a viable part of transportation, but I think that the quality of service from some of the newer entries into this industry has diminished the level of service."
"Generally speaking, I feel that some problems that need to be addressed would include the problem of veteran driver retention; the owner/operator signing on today makes exactly the same revenue as the long-time owner with ten years or more experience with a company. There's no incentives or rewards for years of faithful service."
"Another area of concern is that fleet owners with a company(5 trucks or more) definitely receive more attention than the single truck owner."
Rich also thinks that being with a larger company has it's advantages with more oportunity for backhauls, contractor support, but on the other hand, the smaller company does have more of a personal touch.
"My advice to someone getting into this field is to start small," Rich tells prospective Owner/Operators. "This business is not for everyone and family life can suffer based on the lifestyle. I would tell newbies to start out driving an owner or at very least go with a used truck."
"You need to watch and keep a tight control over your funds. I have seen many people fail because they start out and after a few weeks go by, large checks start arriving.
The ones that fail think this will go on forever, so they spend more than they should and when the time comes that they need some time off or have a breakdown they don't have the funds reserved for those situations. I tell all newcomers to take a portion of each run and allocate for maintenance plus try to get one truck payment ahead."
Rich also says to watch the little charges that can add up, and if possible, avoid the truck stop restaurants. He tells us, "It is easy to save $25-30 per week by spending wisely and at the end of the the year there is another truck payment. I
have had 3 trucks so far in expediting and have always maintained them by the book or better; this will pay off. I also do not speed or idle excessively and as a result get 11-12 mpg while other trucks with the same powertrain get 9 mpg."
"Something I can recommend to other expediters is incorporating. We did that about 7 years ago in an S-type corporation and it's definitely worth it for the tax advantages and for the liability issues."
Rich and Mary a currently running in a 1996 FL70 originally ordered and built for a driver in Pensacola, FL. Rich says, "When the dealer called to tell the customer the truck was ready his phone had been disconnected."
"The dealer told us about it, we took a look at it, got it for a very good price and have had no regrets. It's got a 60" double bunk sleeper and it's equipped with a lift gate. As I mentioned before, we don't idle a lot, so we get pretty good mileage. I figure we have about a million and a half accident-free miles in the expediting business now."
Although he says he's not an exercise nut, Rich tries to live a healthy lifestyle with biking and walking regularly. "I'm planning on picking up a folding bicycle to take on the road with us and get in some riding out there," he says.