What is the biggest threat to your business this year?

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“Competition. That is pretty much it right now. It’s all over. It may be fiercer in the van segment than in the flatbed, but it’s certainly prevalent in both. It’s very difficult to operate profitably with the rate structure that’s currently being exercised due to the competition.”
Jeff Jenks, owner
Truckmen Corp., Geneva, Ohio

“Honestly, the biggest threat is insurance. If the economy stays up, which I’m assuming it will – we’ve not seen this giant recession that everybody’s been talking about – I think the biggest threat will be insurance costs. Property and casualty insurance has gone nuts since 9-11. Health insurance has been going up too. In the long term, those are the things that worry us.”
Dan Baird, CFO
E. Stewart Mitchell Inc., Baltimore, Md.

“The economy and what it’s causing nationwide. There is not an even flow of business to keep the trucks going at all.”
Doug Ferris, terminal manager
Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging, Georgetown, Ohio

“The biggest threat is unlicensed, uninsured people who rent a truck and with no overhead expense, no warehouse, and only casual help, compete for our market. They put an ad in the phone book and open up a temporary moving company; then they disappear when their phone bill runs out. They are not like our company. We have good workers. We’ve been around for 83 years. These other people get off the boat or airplane and all of a sudden they’re competing with you. They rent a Ryder or U-haul for a day and they’re in business. They have no insurance. We have to have everything. They give a person a price and say they have to pay up front in cash. They do it for 50 percent less than we do it. Sometimes they end up taking the truck and the furniture. It happens a lot around here. It’s a black eye to the industry.”
Joseph Campbell, director of operations
Campbell’s Moving Co., Inc., Trevose, Pa.

“The DOT. They pull our trucks over and tie them up. If they can’t find anything then they start looking for something. It’s not a safety thing; it is how many tickets they can write. If the driver has a helper, and he doesn’t have an ID, then they think he’s wanted by the police for something. Or if nothing is wrong, they do a further check. It just holds up the process. We do a lot of moving with people who are getting charged by the hour. We have to charge the people and they get upset. They wonder why I charged them for an hour when the drive should only have taken 15 to 20 minutes.”
Aaron Rogovin, vice president of operations
Rogovin Moving and Storage Inc.,
New London, Conn.

“Rates. That’s it in a nutshell. Lowball rates. We’ve just been having a terrible time with being able to establish a fair and equitable rate. Since September 11, the major carriers are coming in and going into accounts offering lower rates to keep their units busy. In turn, that is closing the door to smaller and mid-size carriers. What these shippers don’t realize is that when the economy comes back, the major carriers are out the door. They will go for the rates that will be substantially higher. A lot of smaller and not-so-small carriers have gone out of business due to these practices. I can handle the fuel costs and the insurance issues if I can get a fair rate.”
Michael Riggan, president
TanTara Transportation, Muscatine, Iowa.

“Low rates. There are other companies out there willing to work for nothing. It’s not even competitive anymore. When the economy picks up there will be enough for everybody, but right now you have to shave your rates to almost nothing. You’ve got companies like Schneider and Swift that can afford to keep their rates down. You’ve also got a lot of immigrants that go out and buy a truck and are willing to run for 70 cents a mile. I’ve got nothing against immigrants, but that happens, especially in New Jersey and New York. They go out there and run for nothing just to keep their trucks running. Rates are the biggest culprit as far as whether or not we stay afloat or go under.”
Kevin T. Costello, owner
Strait-Line Transport LTD, Newington, Conn.

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