• DATVF.ATLPHL
    1.565
    -0.064
    -3.9%
  • DATVF.SEALAX
    1.015
    0.010
    1%
  • DATVF.VNU
    1.389
    -0.023
    -1.6%
  • DATVF.VWU
    1.518
    -0.019
    -1.2%
  • DATVF.VSU
    1.197
    -0.065
    -5.2%
  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    2.020
    -0.049
    -2.4%
  • DATVF.VEU
    1.452
    0.015
    1%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.532
    -0.087
    -5.4%
  • DATVF.CHIATL
    1.863
    0.112
    6.4%
  • DATVF.PHLCHI
    0.929
    0.000
    0%
  • DATVF.DALLAX
    0.861
    -0.044
    -4.9%
  • ITVI.USA
    9,614.760
    -86.220
    -0.9%
  • OTRI.USA
    5.220
    -0.030
    -0.6%
  • OTVI.USA
    9,603.790
    -87.620
    -0.9%
  • TLT.USA
    2.600
    0.020
    0.8%
  • WAIT.USA
    150.000
    0.000
    0%
  • DATVF.ATLPHL
    1.565
    -0.064
    -3.9%
  • DATVF.SEALAX
    1.015
    0.010
    1%
  • DATVF.VNU
    1.389
    -0.023
    -1.6%
  • DATVF.VWU
    1.518
    -0.019
    -1.2%
  • DATVF.VSU
    1.197
    -0.065
    -5.2%
  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    2.020
    -0.049
    -2.4%
  • DATVF.VEU
    1.452
    0.015
    1%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.532
    -0.087
    -5.4%
  • DATVF.CHIATL
    1.863
    0.112
    6.4%
  • DATVF.PHLCHI
    0.929
    0.000
    0%
  • DATVF.DALLAX
    0.861
    -0.044
    -4.9%
  • ITVI.USA
    9,614.760
    -86.220
    -0.9%
  • OTRI.USA
    5.220
    -0.030
    -0.6%
  • OTVI.USA
    9,603.790
    -87.620
    -0.9%
  • TLT.USA
    2.600
    0.020
    0.8%
  • WAIT.USA
    150.000
    0.000
    0%
BusinessInnovationLess than TruckloadModesNewsStartupsTruckingTruckload

Commentary: Fresh opportunities bring new entrants into asset-based trucking

An interesting trend is happening in the US trucking market. On the heels of some of the best years in the industry’s history, investors and operators are coming from unlikely places and backgrounds, bringing a fresh perspective and a flood of investment dollars along with them. The record-breaking revenues of 2018 contributed to the demise of several asset-based trucking companies that expanded their fleets only to falter due to the rate declines of 2019. As some carriers shutter their doors, others are being born.  

(Photo credit: Instagram)

Jelani Hawkins, CEO of Fat Richard Trucking, LLC out of Houston, Texas, is an example. Hawkins has a non-traditional background for a trucking company founder, to say the least. Born and raised in south central Los Angeles, he went on to become a standout athlete – earning a scholarship to play Division 1 college football at San Jose State before going onto a multi-year career in the NFL with the Houston Texans.

Jelani Hawkins. (Photo credit: LinkedIn)

After football, Hawkins was a top-performing branch manager with Enterprise Holdings before leaving with a co-worker to found Squeezed Juice Company. The juice company wasn’t an overnight success but through hard work and hustle, they grew the brand into a thriving company with revenues of more than $30 million per year. Through this process, Hawkins realized he’d built a career in logistics. “It didn’t matter if I was moving thousands of cars, a few tons of raw vegetables, or hundreds of thousands of bottles of juice, my success – or failure – always came back to logistics.” This epiphany made Hawkins think about opportunities in the space and reminded him of a teammate he once had who bought trucks early during his NFL career.

Hawkins was first exposed to the concept of truck ownership while he was still in the NFL. His teammate on the Houston Texans in 2003, Gary Walker, already owned multiple trucks while he was still playing in the NFL. Hawkins remembered, “Gary’s outlook was ‘I have the capital, why not put it to work?’ That got me to thinking, how much can a guy make off of a truck?  I used to think about that question a lot and after I left the juice business, I started looking into it.”  

(Photo credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Running the numbers on an asset-based trucking business took him some time. “With all the information and data out there, I had a lot of work to do. After I modeled the business at scale, I knew I could make it work. I’ve always been a hustler and have never had a problem asking for what I want. So, I went to my network and started asking who had routes I could handle for them once I opened the business. The response was overwhelming. My network put me in touch with their network and the next thing I knew, I was running down to buy my first truck.”  

Unlike many owner-operators turned trucking company founders, Hawkins worked backward from the customer needs to the revenue, not the other way around. “My insurance broker always tells me I’m going to be successful because I don’t want to sit in the seat. It seems like a lot of truckers turned owners fantasize about driving the miles and being behind the wheel. We have big goals and the opportunity in front of us is massive; the last thing you’re going to find me doing is driving cross-country every week. We have a company to run and that’s what I’m all about.”

Hawkins credits his experience in former endeavors for his confidence and early successes at his trucking company. “As an athlete, you study your opponent and you work on your craft. That’s exactly how we’ve started so far at Fat Richards’. We assessed the opportunity, identified where we think we can win and now I’m executing that game plan. At Enterprise, it was all about volume and hustle, trucking is the same way. Nobody is getting rich off of a truck or two. You have to hustle if you want to win in this business, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.  

Hawkins and Walker aren’t alone as the only former NFL’ers involved in the trucking business. NFL alumnus Jeraud Powers, Jasper Brinkley, Senderrick Marks, Chykie Brown and Shaun Rogers have all invested in or started asset-based trucking companies, according to Hawkins. These examples are indicators of a new breed of professional athletes turned entrepreneur. They just happen to be investing in trucking rather than restaurant chains, gyms, sports teams and movie houses like athletes before them. Amazon and e-commerce have educated us all on the importance and need for logistics, and these current and former athletes are simply investing in a growing industry and expecting big returns!


Tags
Show More

Charley Dehoney

Charley Dehoney is a growth-focused executive, consultant, advisor and investor, with more than 15 years of experience at the intersection of transportation technology. He's helped create revenue systems that have supported hundreds of millions of dollars in growth for the businesses he's helped build. Dehoney is currently serving as CEO of Manning's Truck Brokerage, a 50-year-old, private equity-backed logistics company. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska with his beautiful wife and three strapping young sons.

9 Comments

  1. i cant believe i would even see an article like this, the publisher seems to praise this man for nothing more than having alot of wealthy backing. when he very loudly admits he will never do the actual job of trucking. it is a job that so many do with sacrifice in every aspect of their lives. the family life is almost nonexistant, the living conditions are horrible, there is no parking, everything you buy on the road you pay double for. everyday you risk being fined or sent to jail because someone is busy on the cell phone, and if you get tangled up guess whos gonna pay. i could go on and on. So in ending lets start being honest!! the economy sucks, 70% of everyone having car payments is three months behind according to forbes. the rich are getting richer, and the middle class is being beaten to the poverty level. I Wish someone in Washington had the BALLS to tell the truth!!

    1. You have someone in Washington who is telling the truth. However the democratic side of the government is keeping him busy day after day with the bullshit they continue to state he has done or is doing . If they would only let him do the job of president instead of talking to private attorneys day in and day out you would be surprised at how much would be getting done in the White House in stead of the court room. Let the man be president and do presidential things and you would be surprised at how much better things would be. By the way I am being told that my reply will not be published. I guess it’s due to the fact that I am right and that this comment site does not like to hear the truth. Must be Democrat’s. If Hillary would have been in office my god where would we be today? I’m sure we would be in worst shape and probably be at war with the world. Either that or we would be being ruled by them,

      1. I beg to differ .
        “He” is not as honest as you tend to believe .

        I suggest you go down the rabbit hole , you’ll be amazed at what you will discover .

        “He” knows how to “play” a crowd and tells them what they generally want to hear while mocking “his” opponents .

        Don’t let “him” fool you .

        That being said , “he’s” quite entertaining ,but nothing more .

        In my humble opinion ………….

  2. Quote:
    “We have big goals and the opportunity in front of us is massive; the last thing you’re going to find me doing is driving cross-country every week. We have a company to run and that’s what I’m all about.”

    “At Enterprise, it was all about volume and hustle, trucking is the same way. Nobody is getting rich off of a truck or two. You have to hustle if you want to win in this business, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.  ”

    End quote.

    I could play with the words being used . One of them being “Hustle” . I believe truck “drivers” have been hustled and are still being “hustled” and they’ve been “hustled” enough . I’m not saying that the particular entrepreneur in the article is hustling truck drivers . However , he’s using them to generate wealth for himself while he indirectly admits that he wouldn’t do the driving himself due to it not paying enough , he has a “company” to run !

    In other words , truck drivers are getting the short end of the stick by being divided while “carriers” are making the big bucks off of the truck driver’s back .

    LOL !

    I thank Freightwaves for posting this . It clearly demonstrates why “Truck Drivers” need to organize themselves into a well structured alliance in a way where they themselves will be collectively reaping the benefits of a business reaping all the benefits . Let’s call it a Truck Driver Alliance Co-Op which forms subsidiaries . And as the “entrepreneur states, “the opportunity is MASSIVE !

    Furthermore the “entrepreneur in the article is indirectly telling you that he didn’t “invent” anything . He’s no pioneer . All he did was “follow” someone else’s idea and created a transport business for “himself” and in doing so he’s reaping the majority of the benefits .

    Therefore “Truck Drivers” can do the same . It ain’t sorcery ! They just need to UNITE and structure themselves differently to gain major benefits by simply following the general idea . Collectively create a “business” ,be a pioneer in the way you structure it through your alliance and reap the major benefits by doing so . Then you will be in a position to cut out the middlemen reaping the benefits off of your backs . Then the trucking transportation entrepreneurs like the one in this article will become history due to not being able to compete with you as a whole . Where would they get truck drivers from if truck drivers earn more through their own Co-Op than driving for “independent” entrepreneurs/corporations ?

    Perhaps not enough of these so called entrepreneurs have laughed enough in truck driver faces for truck drivers to WAKE UP !

    Thanks for the great article !

    LOL !

    In my humble opinion ………..

    1. You should look into worker cooperatives.
      That being said, seems like herding cats getting that many drivers to cooperate. And you would still need a management structure who would need to be compensated (albeit not at the current nosebleed heights).

  3. A reposted comment of mine from the Freightwaves titled article :

    Volvo Trucks will lay off 3,000 workers because of UAW strike at Mack Trucks

    I added a few more statement to it here .
    ….

    Interesting article on Business Insider today .

    Title : There’s a stark reason why America’s 1.8 million long-haul truck drivers can’t strike
    You should read it !
    The biggest excuse for truck drivers not being able to strike is :
    Quote:
    “In order for a movement like (Black Smoke Matters) to actually happen, you need the two things independent owner operators like myself do not have,” Epling told Business Insider. “That’s the luxury of time, and a whole lot of money.”

    WRONG !

    Number 1- OO”s cannot strike ! They can’t strike due to the law that states you are not “employees” , you’re a business and businesses “striking” would be considered to be equivalent to PRICE FIXING ! Therefore it is ILLEGAL for OO’s to strike !

    Number 2- THE PROBLEM is that you think that you need to “fight” in order to obtain a change ! YOU DON’T ! You need to be clever and create a REALISTIC PLAN along with a REALISTIC “LEGAL” STRATEGY to bring that prosperous plan into existence !
    It doesn’t take tons of capital per driver , and it doesn’t take truck driver time per se .

    What unfortunately takes time is getting it through your stubborn minds to unite amicably without the need to fight in order to obtain an ethical desire !

    You’re roughly 3 million truck drivers in the USA ! If only 1% of you united at first and pitched in $1 measly dollar per business day per month ie; $20 multiplied by 30,000 members equals $600k at the end of 30 freakin’ days ! Now multiply that by 12 months ! That’s $240.00 each leading up to $7.2 Million that you CAN OBTAIN collectively ONE PEANUT at a time too get your capital generating PLAN off the ground .

    A strike is a form of bullying . And all it will get you are pennies while costing you dollars aside from the aggravation you will cause , until the NEXT TIME ! Think about the recent GM strike that caused truck drivers and auto part carriers and car haulers grief.

    A strike is not a permanent sustainable solution ! It’s old school ! It’s a temporary Band-Aid on a cancer ! A cancer ? Yes demanding more fiat based currency that is repeatedly being diluted . Fiat currency continuously loses its purchasing power unless you have a plan to multiply it which outpaces it’s diluted quantity/percentage !

    Assembling a like minded “frustrated crowd” and CONTROLLING it is a lot more easily accomplished in theory than in reality . Learn from history . Some turn out into riots . Some get comprised with anti protestors to disrupt the movement . Then more laws are created which will reduce your FREEDOM furthermore !

    And “if” the general public and economy suffers due to your “strike” , they(General Public & Government) will turn against you ! Truck driver reputation has been tarnished enough , we don’t need to add more fuel to the fire !

    Number 3 – The reason the BSM movement didn’t succeed from my perspective was due to its poor structure and lack of organization . They were advocating hatred , war , fighting , causing disturbances , disrespect , and they were not listening to their members . Furthermore the group was compromised . I certainly did not agree with the ways they were advocating to create change . They didn’t have a realistic solution . They simply wanted to cause an economic problem based on their grievances and push it into another’s hands to find a solution while they were telling and making gestures to the world to go F*** themselves ! That “group” was lead by hostility and a lack of class with zero diplomacy . Their demise was not due to being unrelated to a labour union . Their demise was due to their attitude and ill founded “plan” along with a lack of ethics , in my humble opinion . Apparently they shut down their Facebook page and have returned to the proverbial drawing board . I wish them the best of luck .

    Number 4- Owner Operators are suppose to be “Business minded” . They should act as a “Role-Model” . Develop a business plan to counter their current monetary & political frustrations . They should form a “mastermind group” that will create a realistic prosperous business plan for them to follow and put into action . They should be pioneers rather than follow old school striking mentalities .

    And that “plan” should include PR(Public Relations) to help change the publics opinion concerning truck drivers . A countrywide truck driver strike would inconvenience the general public . You don’t want to do that . You want the public to be your ally . After all , the public are “consumers” to whom you cater through your transport service . Their consumption is what offers you your livelihood . We wouldn’t want consumer organizations to get fed up themselves and start organizing major boycotts without truck drivers nor against truck drivers . (wink)

    Boycotts are the only form of “strike/protest” that I do condone . It’s a form of protesting for change with your dollars without the need to protest in the street . Protesting in the street could attract government retaliation , and or certain groups to infiltrate your protest and divert it in accordance with their agenda . TRUST NOBODY ! Always remain watchful .

    That being said , a well organized boycott can pay off tremendously .

    In my humble opinion ………….

    1. Maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll guit making Volvo’s, all they do is ugly up the highways

      1. LOL thanks for making me smile !

        Unfortunately I think truck driver luck is fading and will pretty soon transition into truck drivers fading . And I don’t mean “fading” due to a truck driver shortage .

        Here’s a quote in regards to Volvo’s Vera autonomous truck from June 2019 :

        “Its latest autonomous truck, called Vera, is about to embark on its first assignment, transporting goods around a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden.

        Vera will form part of an integrated solution to transport goods from a logistics centre to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden. The assignment is the result of a collaboration between Volvo Trucks and ferry and logistics company, DFDS.

        It is controlled and monitored via a control centre, and has the potential to make transportation safer, cleaner and more efficient.”

        More efficient ??? That means cutting the truck driver out ! If I’m not mistaking ,mining corporations are the one’s that first implemented driverless trucks in their mines .

        In fact there was a collision concerning two driverless mining trucks back in February 2019 due to a Wifi outage in a mine in Australia ,LOL !

        You can google this title :
        Not so autonomous: Wifi outage results in driverless truck crash at Fortescue mine

        That being said , can you imagine what could potentially occur once they try that on highways with autonomous highway trucks while the “transportation technician” is sleeping in the bunk as the autonomous truck is rolling down the highway and loses its Wifi connection ? I rather not , LOL !

        In my humble opinion ………..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close