The Benefits of Hiring a Small Trucking Company
Everyone seems to believe that small trucking companies don't have what it takes to make it in this overly competitive market. And it’s easy to see why: industry giants tend to take the spotlight all to themselves. But the numbers paint an entirely different picture: an estimated 90% of trucking companies operate only six or fewer trucks in the United States.
Small, family-owned companies are the backbone of our nation's economy. If you still have your doubts about whether to work with a small company versus a giant, we’re here to make a case for the little guys and tell you what you’ll get if you sign a contract with a family-owned trucking business.
Small Trucking Companies Are Here to Stay
A lot of people wrongly assume that small trucking businesses don’t stand a chance in the face of corporate entities. After all, they lack the resources, workforce, and even drive to do so. Clients prefer to work with large companies because they see them as more stable while they perceive small businesses as unable to stay afloat. Those who do manage to survive, don’t turn a pretty profit.
Of course, if you want to cherry pick, then you can find plenty of examples of businesses that fail. But at a macro level, small trucking companies aren’t going anywhere. Over the years, they have only grown in market share, became more efficient and competitive, and currently, hold an essential place in the industry.
And it’s all due to their size. Remember, trucking is a unique industry since all of its revenue depends on the loaded miles driven. The only way for a business to grow revenue is to increase the number of loaded miles. Big companies do it by increasing the size of their fleet. They add more trucks, hire more drivers, all to respond to the constant pressure of getting a return on their investment and growing their revenue.
You can argue that this obsession with growth makes big companies ignore one key aspect, which small businesses took and used it to their advantage.
‘It runs in the family.’
Small trucking companies don’t focus on growth, at least not in the beginning. They focus on finding, hiring and training drivers. In these businesses, the drivers become part of the family, and there is a lot more care and effort that goes into making sure everyone is happy.
It’s a form of driver-centric business model, and most of the decisions also take into account how it could impact the driver since they are the primary source of revenue. This model works because decisions aren’t made based on numbers, estimations, and other non-pragmatic elements. However, the same model becomes impossible to maintain once these companies grow, add more trucks and more drivers.
Benefits of Hiring a Small Trucking Company
So, we’ve established that small, family-run trucking companies aren’t going extinct. On the contrary: their unique selling points will keep them afloat for decades to come. Now’s the time to look closely at what a small trucking business can offer you and make you forget all about the industry giants.
1. You Are Family too
The basis of these small businesses is that everyone is part of the family, which automatically extend to you, the client.
With larger firms, you can talk about hundreds of different clients on a weekly basis, possibly even more. At one point, clients become a number, which doesn’t happen in small businesses.
In a family-run business, all jobs are treated with importance and priority, because they can’t afford to lose a client. As a new member of the family, your needs are heard, and the company will do its best to meet your expectations.
2. It’s Easier to Run
Big companies may have a lot of red tapes you’ll have to get through. In a way, they have to impose specific rules and regulations because otherwise, they lose control. In a small business, there’s no need for that, as the owner can be kept in the loop (and can keep you in the loop) at all times.
With less red tape, the process can move on smoothly and quickly, which is extremely important particularly if your transport is time sensitive and you can’t afford to wait around for the higher-ups to greenlight the shipment.
3. You Can Negotiate
Coming back to the “big companies think your just a number” argument, they also don’t budge on the price. Because they have a lot of jobs to juggle, they establish fixed rates for their services. It’s uncommon to see them come at the negotiation table with an open mind. It’s take it or leave it with them.
With small trucking companies, however, you can negotiate the final price. Don’t expect them to do the job for free, but if you’re a customer coming in with a long-term contract, they’ll most likely be more than happy to make you a good deal.
4. You Can Get to Know Them
If you’re working with a family-run company, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be in direct contact with the business owner to discuss the terms, and not with a small-time representative of a big, faceless entity.
Because of this, you can get to know the company you’re hiring, ask them questions and expect valuable information in return (because who knows a business better than its owner?). That may not seem like such an important selling point, but trust us, it is as it affects the very way you communicate with them.
You can be more open about the job, discuss your worries, and get the information you need to rest assured the shipment will reach its destination on time and unharmed.
5. They’re Flexible
Sometimes, the terms of the shipment may change, even after you shook hands on a deal with a trucking company. And that’s a big problem if you’re working with a big firm, because of all that red tape we mentioned earlier.
If the time of shipping, location, or any other terms of the job change, the transport is placed on hold, and you’ll most likely have to go into another meeting to renegotiate. Not to mention the fact that they may not have a driver available for the new terms of the transport if they’re handling a heavy schedule.
But, if you’re working with a small company, one that you’ve gotten to know and trust, they can be a lot more flexible with these changes, and you won’t have to delay the shipping.
6. You’ll Contribute to the Local Economy
Whether you’re a business owner yourself, or an individual in need of a trucking company, you can see the importance to contributing to the local economy, particularly if it’s the one you live in at the moment.
Working with a small company is like making a direct contribution to the local community, and you can feel its impacts on a variety of different levels.
While we’ve made a case for small trucking businesses, and we do believe they’re great, it wouldn’t be fair to anyone not to acknowledge one obvious downside: they might not be the right one for you.
It’s important to choose the trucking company you work with based on the particularities of what your transportation needs are. The truth is that, in some cases, family-owned businesses might lack the resources to complete the shipping. Even if you’d rather work with them, you should look at their services first, and see if they are the right one for you.
For instance, do they ship nationally, or do they have the right trucks to move your cargo? Some do, while others may not. But since you’re contracting someone’s services, you have to put your needs first to ensure you get what you want.
Choose a Company You Can Trust
In the argument of big trucking companies versus small trucking companies, everyone’s a winner, really. It’s tough to asses which one offers the better service unless you dive into the subject and start comparing based on the particularities of the company, and not the size of it.
That said, we have one final piece of advice: choose a company you can trust to get the job done right. Look at their reputation, referrals, and experience in the business before making a decision. It’s the only way you can rest assured you’ve made the right choice.
And if you want a trucking team you can trust, we’re always up for the task. A-1 Auto Transport has decades of experience in the business of trucking, so call us now and let’s see what we can do to help you.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.