Tag: trucking

Grow Your Fleet

Grow Your Fleet Your Way

Having the freedom to run your businesses your way means owning a fleet in the Landstar network can look different and achieve a variety of goals, depending on the business owner. Here’s a look at a few of the ways Landstar business capacity owners (BCOs), the company’s term for owner-operators leased to Landstar, have structured their fleets.

Fleets Can Be a Family Affair

When the housing bubble burst in 2008, Joe Mullen, who had been primarily hauling kitchen cabinets, knew he needed to find a different way to support his family. With backing from his wife, Elizabeth, he decided to buy a truck and start his own business. “You’ve got to have determination when starting a business – and not be afraid to lose money,” said Mullen. “I told my wife that we can risk it, but we might lose it all. She said go for it.”

The risk paid off. Joe Mullen became an independent owner-operator leased to Landstar, started his company Mullen Transportation, and now owns and operates a fleet of 15 trucks with six trailers and 12 drivers in the Landstar network. The decision to build a fleet came from Elizabeth’s request for Joe to stay at home with the family more, and the fleet allowed him to do that. While Joe handles the truck and trailer side of things, Elizabeth manages dispatch and business administration.

Driver retention is a big part of their business success. “We are always honest and upfront with our drivers so they know how much they are going to make and how they are going to be paid. We want our fleet drivers to know they are valued and appreciated,” said Mullen. “Because of this, we have a core group of drivers who have been with us for several years and we consider to be family.”

Mullen also says Landstar and the relationships he has developed within the company, are an invaluable tool for his business. “Landstar makes being a fleet owner easier – they stay on top of the important things that help keep my trucks and my business compliant, so I don’t have to worry.”

Mullen’s business continues to grow steadily in revenue, but he is near his maximum for the number of trucks he wants to own. “I don’t need a bunch of trucks,” he says. “All I want is enough for my family to be happy.”

Fleets Can Help Others Start Their Businesses

Not long after self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur” Larry Long sold his business in 2007, he came across an advertisement while flipping through a classified ads magazine. The ad recruiting truck drivers inspired him. Eager to start a new project, Long went through CDL school, and began his career as an owner-operator and fleet owner.

Over the next five years, he grew his fleet to four trucks while leasing to another company but was ready to take the next step in growing his business. He decided to move each of his trucks to a different company, including a truck leased to Landstar with a qualified driver, to determine which one would be the most profitable. Less than a year later, it was clear that the Landstar-leased truck was outperforming the others. As a result, Long became qualified with Landstar and moved the rest of his fleet over to Landstar in 2013.

Fast forward to 2022, Long’s Blue Ribbon Logistical Solutions now operates a fleet of 15 trucks leased to Landstar and helps other entrepreneurs get their start in the trucking industry. “My fleet is different in that I’m not looking to hire long-term drivers. Instead, I work with people who want to become part of the Landstar network but don’t yet own a truck,” says Long.

Drivers are employed by Blue Ribbon Logistical Solutions for a year and a half, during which Long teaches them the Landstar system, how to be a successful business owner, and how to save for and purchase their own trucks. Long says, “The goal is goodbye – so after completing the program, drivers are ready to start their own business as an owner-operator leased to Landstar.”

Despite his love for helping others get a start in trucking, Long still has his own business to run and is always looking for ways to grow his fleet. His business model focuses on low overhead and no debt. “My trucks aren’t brand-new, but they are safe, reliable and mechanically sound. And, they are paid for,” Long says. He also has fleet managers who each handle a cluster of five trucks, so he tries to add trucks to his fleet in groups of five.

In addition to owning trucks, Long also works with other BCOs in the Landstar network who own multiple trucks but don’t have an operator or no longer wish to employ operators. By moving these trucks under his fleet, Long can bring on more drivers without having to purchase additional assets, and the truck’s owner can generate revenue on a previously idle asset. “The BCO receives a profit split of the net revenue from the truck,” explained Long. “Thanks to the availability of these trucks, I have been able to sell some of my trucks to drivers who have completed my program and are ready to go out on their own.”

Long credits much of his fleet’s success to the flexibility that Landstar affords independent business owners. According to Long, “Having a fleet with Landstar is the closest thing to having your own authority, but it’s actually easier because Landstar handles the compliance aspects and insurance, which allows me to focus on my business. I couldn’t do what I do anywhere else.”

Smaller Fleets Can Deliver Big Success

For Randy Ladd of Wizard Express, owning a fleet in the Landstar network has afforded a comfortable lifestyle for him and his family. After driving trucks in the U.S. Army, he continued his career as a truck operator working for several companies before leasing to Landstar in 2000. According to Ladd, “Over the years, leasing to Landstar has helped me build my business assets to include a full-service shop, four-car garage, truck port for my trucks and over $1 million in equipment that is paid off.”

His business plan is fairly simple – start with a truck and a trailer, work on paying them off, then add a new truck. He continued to purchase trucks and trailers, eventually building a fleet of five trucks and trailers with five drivers. He also purchased a number of the tools and equipment needed to perform truck and trailer maintenance on the fleet.
“You have to keep investing in your business – learn what things cost and find out if it is
cost-productive to do it yourself,” says Ladd. He used an escrow account with an auto-deposit feature from Landstar settlements to help build the funds needed to purchase equipment.

Owning a variety of trailers has played an important part in Ladd’s success as a fleet owner. “In my opinion, the trailer is what makes the money. If you have the right trailer, you can get the right load,” Ladd says. “Even if you are only focused on van freight, you could have van and reefer trailers to accommodate more types of loads.” He also notes that freight types have seasons and cycles, so owning multiple types of trailers can help ensure steady business throughout the year.

Ladd recently began scaling down his fleet as he starts looking toward retirement, while his wife has become an independent Landstar agent. “One of the best parts about Landstar is that you can pursue multiple types of business opportunities with the support and backing that you need to be successful. I wouldn’t have had the same success on my own without Landstar.”

Interested in starting your own fleet in the Landstar network or bringing over an established fleet?
Visit LeaseToLandstar.com for more information and call 800-435-4010 to speak with a recruiter.

Coming Soon: Three Steps to Book a Load

Landstar’s brand new Available Loads app is coming soon to Android and iPhone. The mobile app is designed to give business capacity owners — Landstar’s term for independent truck owner-operators — a better, easier way to find and book loads.

The free mobile app was designed for the needs of BCOs and was first announced during Landstar’s All-Star Celebration in Nashville, Tennessee in July. That same month, the app was put to the test and tweaked to fully support Landstar owner-operators’ needs.

Soon, booking a shipment will easily be done in three steps:

  1. Login using your name and password from LandstarOnline.com
  2. Easily set your load parameters and search loads
  3. Simply tap to call the agent and book your load

“We went through multiple designs and gathered feedback on the app’s functionality from Landstar BCOs throughout the process. Our goal was to refine the app to do what owner-operators expect it to do with ease,” said Landstar Executive Vice President of Capacity Development Rocco Davanzo.

The new Available Loads app is intuitive and has the same features and loads that can be found on LandstarOnline.com. With a simple download, the app will give BCOs an easy-to-navigate load board right on their phones.

“BCOs won’t see fewer loads than they would see on the load board or miss anything when they shift from the web version to the mobile app,” explained Davanzo.

Download the Available Loads app for your Android: http://bit.ly/2wIcqkU

Download the Available Loads app for your iPhone: http://bit.ly/2wI4HTM

If you have questions about the app, email AvailableLoadsApp@Landstar.com

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

J - BCO-appreciation-sign

We appreciate truck drivers 52 weeks a year, but during this year’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week from September 11-17, 2016, we’re showing some extra love to the professional drivers who help move America.

Landstar Business Capacity Owners (BCOs) – our term for independent owner-operators – play a huge role in transporting goods safely and on time. So, we ask that everyone join us in saying “thank you” to the men and women professional truck drivers who are on the roads each day.G - BCO-appreciation-Hipp

Attend our online celebration all week by following Landstar on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll have fun posts to share, prizes to win and photo tributes. Use the hashtag #ThankYouBCOs to participate in this online high-five with the Landstar family.

Also throughout the week, Landstar BCOs are invited to visit any of Landstar’s Orientation Centers for lunch. The free meal will be served at Noon, Monday, September 12 through Friday, September 16 at our Orientation Centers in: Fort Worth, Texas, Jefferson, Georgia, Indianapolis, Indiana, St. Augustine, Florida, Lewistown, Pennsylvania, Reno, Nevada, Rockford, Illinois and Burlington, Ontario.

rocktruckTo top off National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, BCOs are invited to join us at our service center in Rockford, Illinois for Landstar BCO Appreciation Days on Tuesday, September 13 and Wednesday, September 14. The event offers BCOs the chance to connect with Landstar executives, attend education and safety meetings, and network with fellow professional drivers. Also, one lucky BCO will drive off in a 2017 T680 Kenworth – the grand prize in the Landstar Truck Giveaway, powered by Comdata.

From everyone in the Landstar family … Thank You BCOs!

O - BCO-Thank-you-0816_1