In The News
Expediter of the Year 2018 Finalists: Tim Paxton
Expedite Expo 2018, which runs July 20 and 21 at the Lexington Center in Lexington, Ky., is the only trade show in the world geared exclusively to the expedited trucking industry. And this year’s show will feature the announcement of the winner of the Expediter of the Year award, which will be presented to one of these three finalists: Tim Paxton, Nancy Hudson, and Eric Escobar.
The purpose of this award is to recognize those hard-working, professional and safety-conscious expediters on the road today who strive to make the expedite industry better and are deeply involved in serving and making a positive impact on their community.
So, who will win this year’s award? Find out on Saturday, July 21, at 2:30 pm in the Expo hall.
Registration for the entire conference is free—and so is truck parking. Secure your spot today - REGISTER NOW!
In the meantime, let’s get to know each of the finalists. Today’s spotlight is on Tim Paxton.
Carrier: Barrett DirectLine
Vehicle: 2017 Ford Transit 350 (with 3.5 Ecoboost gas engine)
One of Tim's nominators is Jamie Palmer, a driver with Barrett DirectLine, saying "Tim is the reason I found this career. I was not in a good place in life, and I found his videos on YouTube and changed my life for the better. He has a Facebook group he started that helps so many people, and he deserves every award possible."
Tim began his business as an expedite owner-operator in 2015, with the encouragement of his brother Allen, who had already been in the business for about five years.
And when Tim launched into expediting, he went all in, says Dawna Paxton, his wife and co-owner of Paxton Xpediting LLC. “As a rookie, Tim decided that he eventually wanted to help others who either wanted to enter the industry or had just begun and needed a helping hand. He also wanted to form an alliance of sorts with the people he had met along the way because Tim feels that there is always something to learn on the road, and you can never have too many friends to help you along and vice versa.”
One way Tim has found to help other expediters is to start a Facebook group with his brother. The group is called “Transportation Life ‘Wheels, Wings & Rudders,” which has grown to over 1,700 members. “It has become a place for rookies and veterans alike to come and learn something new, get information on happenings on the road, and meet and make friends,” says Dawna.
Tim has also launched a YouTube Channel “My Life’s Ventures” that has about 2,300 subscribers to help others in the industry get up and running in their own expedite business.
EO recently caught up with Tim to learn more about how he got started in expediting, how he defines success in this business, and what advice he has for other expediters. Here’s an edited version of our conversation.
EO: You started in the expedite industry as an owner-operator in 2015. What were you doing before and what led you to get into expediting?
Tim Paxton: I was a tanker driver, hauling chemicals, grease from restaurants, raw sewage, construction site waste—dirt, mud, and oil—you name it. I got into expediting because there was no forward [career] momentum as a tanker driver. There were no bigger hurdles to get over. There was no hill to climb to get anywhere further than where I was. But, in expediting, I have room to grow. I am progressing forward as we speak—with other plans and future prospects—and I'm going to take advantage of them. As a tanker driver, I was treading water, just sitting there in place. So, expediting provides more of an opportunity—whether as a fleet owner, or jumping up to straight trucks, or whatever the case might be.
How did you hear about expediting? Was your brother Allen already in the business?
Yes. He was already in it for about five years. And he had been trying to convince me to get into it for probably two or three years of that. But with my tanker driving job at the time, I was at home every night with my wife and my daughter, and I didn’t want to leave them.
So, I just kept turning him down. I was like, "No, I'm not interested. I want to stay home with my family."
And then one day, I don't know, he just caught me on the right day. I decided to investigate and look more into it. The more I learned, the more [expediting] seemed like something I would enjoy. And I decided to make the change.
What led you to start with a van versus owning a straight truck? Was it a lower risk, lower investment way of testing the waters or was that something that you just gravitated to because you prefer to drive vans?
I was just always under the assumption that you could only make so much money as a solo driver in a straight truck and everyone who is out there harps on the fact that it takes a team to make money in a straight truck in expediting.
Then I had to consider that it's a lot more expensive to buy a brand new straight truck versus a van. I mean you're talking $200,000 to $300,000 to get the right outfitted truck compared to $40,000 for a van. It was a money thing. And folks who I spoke with reinforced the fact that there's no money in a solo driver straight truck unless you find that right situation with the right company that has a dedicated route or promised work which you can very seldom find.
You mentioned that in expediting there are opportunities to grow into. What are the ones that you're exploring? Are you looking into becoming a fleet owner and expanding your fleet of vans?
Eventually down the road—no time soon—I'm looking at getting my own authority and maybe becoming a bigger company one day, making a name for myself and becoming a dispatch company and working with the load boards direct and getting customers.
From your perspective, how would you define success in your role as an owner-operator?
I don’t focus on success in my role specifically as much as success for the industry. My brother and I and those closest to us take a lot of pride in trying to better the industry as a whole by focusing on bettering the drivers. The more intelligent, the more educated drivers we have out there on the roads is going to make it easier for us to try to get a decent wage from state to state. We want everybody to do well out there because the better everybody does, the better we will do.
What advice do you have for other expediters on how they can succeed in this business?
If you're coming into this industry, just make sure you're financially secure before making the leap because the biggest thing I hear—after doing this for over two years—is that people go broke because they're not prepared. They don't understand what this business entails. One time I was speaking with a gentleman, and he was saying, "Hey, I'm interested in expediting," and we told him everything he needed to do. He then says, "Okay, great. I've already got a van, I've got the insurance, I'm ready to hit the road next week." And I asked him one simple question, "How much money you got? Are your finances okay? Your bills okay?"
He says, "Yeah, yeah, my bills are paid off.”
I ask him, "If you don't mind me prying, what's in your bank account?"
That’s just not going to cut it. People get into this business thinking they’re gonna get their big payday, and it doesn’t happen that way. So, I'm always telling people they have to come out here and be financially sound. I would recommend not coming out here unless you have $5,000 to $10,000 minimum [in savings] because if the engine blows or the transmission goes you need money in the bank. If you're out of warranty—and out of money—that's gonna hurt.
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