Driven to Succeed: Bubbles Xpress, Joplin, MO
In early 2009, with truck tonnage dropping and the U.S. economy in the grip of the Great Recession, Jason Bates and his wife Kristi surveyed the bleak landscape and decided it was the perfect time to start a trucking company.
Bubbles Xpress, a flatbed business based in Joplin, Missouri, not only survived, but thrived, growing to a fleet of 16 flatbeds – beating the odds in a business where the life of the average trucking business is less than two years.
In this, the first of an occasional series of client success stories, TBS Factoring Service asked Jason to let us in on his recipe for success – paying it forward, if you will, for others out there, who might be struggling or looking for ideas on how to help their business beat the odds. As a family business serving family businesses, TBS is committed to helping truckers succeed – with flexible cash flow solutions, but also with sound business advice and peer-to-peer insights from truckers like Jason.
Jason and Kristi didn’t let the gloomy economic statistics stop them. Jason had recently sold a van business for a profit, so, despite the recession, he had a reasonable expectation of success based on previous experience. He attributes his success to sticking to some simple rules.
“Most important,” he said, “Take care of your drivers. Loan them money when they need it, and make sure they can be home when they need to be home. Remember you’re not just hiring a driver; you’re hiring their whole family. Treat them right and they’ll treat you right.”
“A lot of truckers believe their broker is their only customer,” Jason said. “We believe that everyone you contact delivering a load – the buyer, the supplier, the loaders, the receptionist – should be treated like your most important customer.”
You may not satisfy everyone 100 percent of the time, but if you treat everyone right you have a much better chance of satisfying all your customers and get repeat business.
Remember that trucking is very competitive, especially among small and medium-sized companies. New owners must treat it like a business. “Plan ahead,” Jason said. “Our drivers are pre-booked and pre-loaded so we’re not wasting time. The day the load is ready, we’re on the road.”
Jason summed up the importance of aggressively pursuing more business and responding to economic changes this way: you can't stay in business by sitting.