Driven to Succeed: Kalloor Transport, Dallas, TX
“I had a lot of friends in the business,” he said. “They talked about how good it was. I took driving lessons and bought a truck. Six months later the business dried up.”
The trucking business, like many others, was hit hard by the Great Recession at the end of 2008. The number of loads available declined significantly, as did truck prices.
“Six months after I bought my truck you could buy the same truck for 40% less,” Happy said.
Poor economic conditions increased the normal difficulties all startups face. There were times during the first two years of his business that Happy thought he might not make it. He persisted, taking the loads he could get, and borrowed from family when necessary.
Eventually he started getting steady work. He attributes his success to acting with integrity and getting a reputation as someone suppliers could trust. “If it belongs to someone else I don’t want it in my pocket,” Happy said. “I also tithe, and give God what is His. I find that if I do those two things, everything seems to work out.”
One challenge Happy faced as a new owner was finding the right drivers. As Happy put it, “Your drivers make or break your business. I learned that if drivers had a lot of experience and were available, that meant the big companies didn’t want them. Instead, I hire drivers with a year or two of experience. When I find one that’s reliable, he gets a lot of work.”
Develop a reputation for being a person suppliers can trust. Be a person of integrity.
Happy advises new businesses to keep a cash reserve even when things are tight. He said that having money available to handle unforeseen difficulties can make the difference between success and failure. “I like to have $10,000 set aside for repairs and emergencies,” Happy said. “You’ve got to have cash flow.”
Happy said his reputation for honesty and good cash management enabled him to build his business through the Great Recession. Kalloor Transport now has been operating for four years. Happy owns three trucks, has regular customers, and is on a much sounder financial footing than when he started. He expects the economy and his business to grow in 2013.
“People have to have their products,” Happy said. “Companies need to deliver the products. I’m not as worried about the economy as I am about getting good drivers.”