An Alternate Method of Buying a Truck: The Housworth Method
So you've been thinking about entering the expediting business, but weren't quite sure just how to get started? Traditionally, there have been two ways of getting started.
One method which is highly recommended by veteran expediters and by Expediters Online.com is to drive for an owner. This gives the prospective expediter the opportunity to try out this business at minimum expense, but sometimes the lower income derived from splitting the truck's revenue makes it difficult for the driver who wants to save for his own truck to put aside the necessary funds.
Then there are the occasional conflicts when that driver wants to head home for the weekend and the owner thinks the truck should stay on the road for a few weeks straight. Add to that the sometimes less than perfect equipment one might have to drive for that owner.
The other method is for the prospective expediter to head for the truck dealer and plunk down varying amounts of cash and sign on the dotted line for that new/used straight truck with the big sleeper and creature comforts.
This technique requires the credit worthiness to obtain financing for the $40,000-$100,000 for the truck and is usually best when accompanied by sufficient funds in the bank to help the new expediter pay the bills while learning the ropes.
Or, is there yet another way to get started in this business?
There's a couple who live about 20 miles east of Atlanta, GA who think they have a better method; one in which hard working people can get into business for themselves with no investment.
Housworth Trucking & Leasing bills itself as the "nation's largest company leasing team-driven trucks for the expedited freight business" and is the brainchild of Ed and Ruby Housworth, who are former expediters themselves.
Their program provides late model FL 70 & 80 Freightliner straight trucks on a lease basis for people who, as Ed Housworth puts it, "Don't wish to commit to the major expenditure that a straight truck represents, or those who don't qualify for purchasing their own truck; we can help set them up in their own business. With us, their credit background doesn't matter."
"Our program allows them to try expediting with no long-term obligation."
Ed Housworth comes from a humble background; born on a farm in rural Georgia, he worked his way through Georgia Tech running a milk route until he achieved enough college credits to go into Naval Aviation.
From 1955 through 1963, Ed served as a fighter pilot flying the first 1000 mile per hour Navy fighter, the F-8 Crusader. Other naval career highlights included his time with the "Jolly Rogers" aerobatic team in Europe and working in an exchange program with the US Air Force, flying the F-104 Starfighter.
Upon leaving the Navy, Ed worked for a gas/petroleum company and was also employed in the Recreational Vehicle business. He also spent time working as a fleet and truck manager for a Chevrolet dealership.
Sadly, Ed lost his first wife of 33 years to an accident in 1990. He and his current wife, Ruby were married in 1991.
In 1994, the couple answered an ad from an owner who was looking for a team to run a cargo van, and after 6 months of expediting in the van, Ed and Ruby ordered a "D" unit which they leased to ConWay Now of Ann Arbor, MI.
They ran for ConWay Now for over three years, becoming the top wage earners in straight trucks in 1997 and 1998 and garnered the "Contractor of the Year" award in 1998.
Unfortunately, health concerns forced them to retire from driving in that same year. By this time they had purchased a second truck and had another team driving for them as well.
It was around this time that, "Our CPA helped us develop this unique concept in expediting/leasing," says Ed.
"The teams do not work for us but rather they work for themselves. We offer our recommendations on where the top truck income can be earned. They make their own contract with an expediting company and we provide all start up funds for truck lettering and satellite installation."
The only requirements that Housworth imposes is that the team meets the requirements of the carrier for whom they will be operating and that they are willing and motivated to work hard as a professional business owner, remaining in service for dispatch approximately 90 % of the time.
Housworth Trucking & Leasing tells it's teams, "Your success is necessary for our success as a leasing company since we share in the revenue earned by the truck rather than a lease payment."
Ed Housworth also states, "By leasing from us, a team is able to avoid the expensive costs of truck maintenance and repairs.
"We provide all maintenance costs such as oil changes, truck washes, mechanical repairs, tire replacements, towing charges, registration expense and we even pay for additives and washer fluids."
Housworth has national accounts established with Freightliner, Speedco, Blue Beacon and their own COMDATA account for disbursing funds. In their literature they stress that there is no waiting to get reimbursed and there is no large bankroll required.
Regarding those FL 70's and FL 80's mentioned earlier, Ed relates that, "The Freightliners we lease are all equipped with raised roof/walk-through condo sleepers which include a refrigerator, microwave, TV, inverter and much more. All trucks have a 22 FT cargo box and are rated for 33,000 lbs GVW which allows it to qualify as a "D" unit with all carriers."
Ed feels that support for the driver(s) is key to a successful operation and he stresses that his teams can always reach someone at the office-no matter the time of day or night. From his experience on the road, he knows what it's like to encounter situations on the road and not be able to reach the truck's owner.
He says, "We have a full-time staff of five people including Louise Johnson-Office Manager/Accountant, Ken Hill-full time Preventative Maintenance Director, Earline Hill-general assistant, Ruby and myself. We can be reached 24 hours a day."
Since the inception of this leasing program, Housworth Trucking & Leasing has grown to over 40 units currently on the road. The expediting companies which are leasing Housworth trucks include Allstate Express, Nations Express and, of course, ConWay Now, with some 30 trucks leased to that company alone.
Housworth states that they have no long term obligation and cancellation of their lease requires only a 30 day notice. In lieu of a toll reimbursement, if the team remains with Housworth for a minimum of 6 months, they are rewarded with a $1000 cash bonus and will also confer a $100 per month bonus thereafter as long as the lease is in effect.
"The team's only obligation regarding expenses is to purchase the diesel fuel and pay the tolls," Ed says. "If they are involved in an accident that is their fault, they will be required to pay the $1,000 deductible on insurance. We expect that our teams will keep the interior of the sleeper berth in good condition."
"Pets are allowed but the team would be responsible for any damage."
He adds, "We offer the team the rights to own their vehicle after 2 years of leasing. We offer an attractive program wherein we agree to finance the truck with no down payment for a period of 36 months at an attractive interest rate."
"The selling price is determined by the revenue earned by the truck during the 2 year period. The harder they work, the cheaper it gets!"
The Housworths tell us that they try to treat their drivers like family; when in the Atlanta area, whether passing through or on layover, Housworth teams are invited to stop in at the family's 200 acre farm which includes a house with 6 guest bedrooms and 4 baths, with a truckers lounge with big screen TV.
Ed says there's plenty of straight truck parking with a shuttle car available between the house and parking area. There's even a 15 acre fishing lake and they supply the tackle!
The Housworths offer a one-day orientation for their drivers at their facility; they emphasize in their "class" that expediting can be a challenging business, and at times, a difficult one. They counsel patience when it comes to dealing with the frequent idle time of expediting and that the team should measure their success by monthly earnings, not miles driven.
The Housworths believe in straight talk and being honest with their drivers; they tell them that the driver's dependability and motivation are essential for success, but that this business can also be "a great adventure."
Steve and Linda Gawlik are from the Palm Beach, FL area and have been with Housworth Trucking and Leasing a little over 2 years. Their truck is leased to ConWay Now.
Steve says, "It's the best system we've run across! Ed Housworth came highly recommended and I wish we had met Ed and Ruby when we first looked at expediting. We have a great relationship and it's worked out very well."
"We like expediting the most out of our trucking experiences; we can see the country and make some money on top of it."
Spencer Squire of All-State Express in Mocksville, NC has a number of Housworth trucks leased to his company and he tells us, "We're keeping Ed's trucks quite busy! Ed is a remarkable fellow; his concern is the comfort and well being of his drivers. I understand that they have a very upscale facility for their drivers with home-cooked meals and other amenities."
"It's been a very profitable relationship between Housworth Trucking & Leasing and All-State Express and we welcome his teams."
Ed Conaway of Con-Way NOW echoes those sentiments: "Housworth Trucking & Leasing is a knowledgeable operation with years of experience behind them in this industry. They run a very professional business and provide training for their drivers. ConWay Now has had a mutually successful relationship with Housworth for some time now."
Ed Housworth tells us that even in this depressed economy, expediting is still a profitable venture: "I'm looking for a return to business levels that we had, let's say, back in 1999. I believe expediting is here to stay, even with it's ups and downs."
Housworth Trucking & Leasing will be launching their new website in the near future; stay tuned for details. In the meantime, Ed says that spreading the word about his company is never a problem: "Our biggest source of referrals is the phone number on the back of the trucks and our happy drivers!"
Housworth Trucking & Leasing