Startup offers truckers quick load approval, freight from large shippers, and pay within hours
Plenty of load boards and brokers exist for trucking companies looking for freight. There are nearly 600 found on a basic web listing – and likely many, many more. But there are few, if any, like Sleek Fleet.
Officially launched this week, Sleek Fleet aims to provide customer service to owner-operators equivalent to what larger fleets routinely experience. And that includes pay within hours and quick approval for loads through the load board.
“We’re driving efficiencies in the marketplace by eliminating the middleman,” Oleg Yanchyk, CIO, tells FreightWaves. “Sleek Fleet is built to automate many of the functions now performed by dispatchers, brokers, and factoring companies.”
Owner-operators know they will benefit from these efficiencies and receive fair and equal treatment because they are the only customers on the trucking side. Any of the nation’s 350,000 or so registered owner-operators can choose loads from the site and propose a rate in line with their economics – not that of the carriers or the brokers. And unlike going through other load boards, Yanchyk relates that Sleek Fleet is working only with shippers with at least 100,000 truckloads per year – ensuring that truckers get quality freight at a fair price.
Using proprietary algorithms, Sleek Fleet automates the entire process. Truckers simply scan the searchable load board, which includes several filters to make finding the perfect load easy, and choose the load they wish to haul. They submit their price for the load and within seconds they know if their bid was accepted.
Sleek Fleet’s system provides transparency, accuracy, up-to-date load information and efficient payment for drivers – all something a Sleek Fleet survey found drivers wanted, the company says. The company says that once electronic receipt of the proper paperwork is received and approved, drivers are paid within four business hours. Paperwork can be submitted through the phone or tablet app that works on all major operating systems.
The app, which pulls loads directly out of participating shippers’ systems, also minimizes another common owner-operator concern: loads that do not exist upon arrival at the dock. When making the bid, the Sleek Fleet app provides drivers with all the information for the load. There are no hidden surprises. Sleek Fleet does not accept loads from brokers or large carriers – each load comes directly from a shipper. The price drivers submit for the load, if accepted, is what drivers are paid. A small fee is applied to shippers for participating.
The entrepreneurs behind Sleek Fleet are experienced transportation professionals, and deeply connected to the needs of owner-operators. CEO Michael Nervick started working with drivers as a carrier sale representative for American Backhaulers. In 2003, he founded AFN and scaled the business to over $170 million in revenue in just over a decade.
Yanchyk has more than 13 years of experience in logistics and supply chain project management and sales experience. Chief Technology Officer Andy Stump has over 20 years of experience in software development and consulting. Chief Commercial Officer Jim Robinson brings 20-plus years of tech and logistics management experience with a number of industry leaders including Google, Microsoft, Maersk Line and a number of early stage technologies.
Sleek Fleet stands out because it is focused on the needs of independent truckers. Kelly Cutler, the company’s CMO, understands that “owner-operators are a valued part of the trucking community, yet they are challenged to secure a level playing field in the market.” Cutler points out that “Sleek Fleet’s easy-to-use technology provides these valued operators with direct access to freight that was once the exclusive domain of large carriers and brokers.”
To complement its deep connection with owner-operators and drivers, Sleek Fleet recognizes that shippers need a streamlined, automated platform as much as drivers. Several benefits have been built into the platform for them. For one, shippers don’t need to manually post loads to a load board – the Sleek Fleet platform automates the whole process, saving time and money. Also, shippers can choose which loads go to the Sleek Fleet platform, so there is plenty of control to ensure preferred carriers continue to receive their loads.
For shippers that require special needs – such as increased insurance levels – Sleek Fleet will work with them to develop custom parameters. Also, all payments are sent to Sleek Fleet – which handles the owner-operator payment process – and can be handled on typical shipper terms.
Sleek Fleet is trying to carve out space in a niche of the industry – a very large niche – that regularly is forgotten.
For owner-operators, Sleek Fleet may just be opening that door to large shippers that move so much of the nation’s freight; a door that for many years for various reasons was closed to this much of this segment of the trucking population. Not anymore.