“Driver turnover and insurance costs. Right now more than anything it’s insurance, but driver turnover comes in second. It’s not a daily thing, but when we spend the money to get drivers trained, and then they quit, it gets frustrating. Recently we had one guy, an owner-operator, leased on with us. After two weeks of running with us he didn’t think he could make it anymore. I think insurance is the biggest thing that’s killing everybody right now.”
– Boone Cummings, president
“Having your equipment out of your control. For example, you want to cover a pickup, but your closest truck has been delayed. The customer is continually calling wanting to know where the truck is. You run out of excuses. There are no trains blocking the road, so you can’t blame it on that. On the flipside, sometimes you don’t have enough tonnage in loads to cover your equipment. It’s not one particular thing that causes stress. At some point in time you have to deal with insurance adjustors investigating and settling claims. They don’t settle things the way they should have. It becomes a paperwork nightmare. I guess the ultimate stress is when you get your P&L at the end of the month, and you look at your empty miles, driver turnover and out-of-service problems. You can have 11 healthy months, and then one month can knock you like the flu.”
– Max Luna, director of marketing
Agway Systems Inc., Baton Rouge, La.
“You’re asking for one of the 500 items that causes me stress? Probably the largest is human resources. Dealing with people is the No. 1 problem. It’s trying to get a commitment from my people to perform the task as I would have it done. That’s probably the No. 1 thing in every industry. It’s not exclusive to trucking.”
– Roger Amhof, CEO
Amhof Trucking Inc., Eldrige, Iowa
“There are hundreds of things. Mostly it’s a lack of time to prepare for whatever I need to prepare for. What happens is you get tied down to all the small things. If I had more time, I could prepare better. When you do the job of 2-3 people you lose time to prepare, and then all sorts of things go wrong.”
– Jessie Herrera, manager of International operations
PGT Trucking Inc., Laredo, Texas
“I’m not the kind of person that gets stressed out much. But what causes the most aggravation and stuff like that is – and I hate to say this – but whiny drivers create more problems than anyone else. You can’t print what I really want to say about them. That’s the primary problem I have. The next biggest thing is getting adequate revenue for the loads. Load rates seem to be going down, but luckily fuel prices seem to be going down too.”
– Jerry Rainwater, owner
Rainwater Transport, La Follette, Tenn.
“I think a lot of times stress is self-imposed. The external factors of business make us always strive to do things better. We put pressure on ourselves. We look at other people and try to be better. I’ve learned to live with a lot of things. With business conditions as they are, it’s tough to be very profitable. There are not a lot of stars out there right now. We’re a company that’s been very fortunate. We saw things slow down last July. We worked hard to bring on new business. Many people couldn’t understand why we were rescheduling freight. We were able to maintain our projected revenue and have been profitable. One thing that has caused stress for many years is the driver situation. I’m in charge of operations, customer service and recruiting, but I can’t run the miles without drivers. We’ve been fortunate to surpass our growth expectations with drivers. There’s a lot of talk about this being the perfect storm, and you wonder what other front is going to come in. I’m optimistic. The economy will change. I keep telling our guys there will be a time when things will get better. We need to take advantage of things right now.”
– Dennis Dellinger, vice president
Cargo Transporters, Claremont, N.C.