Tim Brady

Business editor

Timothy Brady owned his own trucking operation for 23 years and has over 33 years of trucking experience. He retired from truck driving in 2003 after totaling 2.5 million accident- and ticket-free miles. Brady is a published author and award-winning columnist, speaker and business coach. He provides information, training and educational presentations for small to large trucking companies, logistics organizations and community groups. He’s the Business Editor for American Trucker Magazine; the “Answer Guy” for trucking education website TruckersU.com, partner and Business Editor for Write Up The Road Publishing & Media, and a freelance journalist for multiple print and online publications.

Spotlight on an American Trucker: May 2017

Jim’s Equipment Transport & Services is a Disabled Veteran’s Business Enterprise started by Jim Roberts in June 2013. The business focus is local and long distance transporting: hotshot cargo, RV trailers, boats, small equipment, trailer towaways, along with automobiles. The company specializes in transporting high-end collector cars and motorcycles along with commercial vans. The equipment includes two Ford 350 pickup trucks, along with a 35-ft. two-car wedge gooseneck trailer, an Interstate Motorcycle trailer and an 8-ft. enclosed Cargo Trailer.

Driving forces

If there’s one truth to running a small- and micro-trucking business, it’s that there is, and will be, uncertainty. Meaning that with all the best-laid plans, there will be hiccups and events that require a re-evaluation of those arrangements. These can involve weather, mechanical breakdowns, canceled loads, lost customers, new customers, or economic downturns and upswings.

Spotlight on an American Trucker- April 2017

Working for someone else and making their dreams come true was not what Prentice Woods envisioned for his life, and it’s taken longer than he’d hoped to take the step to being an owner-operator.  A person can let fear keep him from moving forward, or he can “use that same fear as fuel,” he says. He drives a 2007 Freightliner Columbia and pulls a 2015 Great Dane Air Ride 53-ft. dry van. Even with just his single truck and trailer, he thinks of his business as a trucking company—a starting point, “but it will not be where I end.”

Spotlight on an American Trucker - March 2017

Cliff Robertson has been around trucking his entire life, having spent many summers of his childhood riding shotgun with his dad. He’s been driving for 25 years and has been leased to X-Treme Trucking for the last three years.  He drives a 2017 International LoneStar with an ISX 475 Cummins and pulls drop-and-hook flatbed, drop-deck and Conestoga trailer freight, both full truckload and LTL, including over-dimensional and general freight. Robertson often handles multi-load jobs when a customer has hundreds of loads moving in the same direction.    

Volume pricing and the micro carrier

Trucking hauling rates are volatile and ever-changing—and based on multiple influences. Some of these influences are controllable and others are not, with the majority fitting into the noncontrollable category. There are fuel prices, costs of doing business, driver pay, etc. Then there are broad market forces, competition for loads, other specific market forces such as availability of loads to the number of available trucks to haul them, and weather. All of these will impact the hauling fee you must calculate to remain profitable.

Shutting the doors

Here’s a topic most business people don’t think about: How do I go about getting out of the business I own if circumstances are such that it becomes necessary? The reasons can be as varied as the people who own trucking companies.

Walking away is never a good option, and running away is guaranteed to have a bunch of folks willing to chase you down. Planning is everything in a small business, and the same holds true if it becomes necessary to close the business.

Spotlight on an American Trucker: Bob McKinley, owner-operator, leased to Climatic Carriers LLC

Owner-operator Bob McKinley’s first job was working for his grandfather, driving a GMC box truck for the HVAC wholesale distributor in Southern Michigan. After 10 years in the HVAC business (including a short stint repairing AC units in Iraq working for Halliburton), McKinley went to trucking school. He hired on with Swift’s flatbed division and spent two years there before moving to a small, local company in his hometown of Coldwater, MI. There he learned how to handle tankers, end dumps and even some hopper bottoms.

Spotlight on an American Trucker: Revolving Circles Transportation Co. LLC, Memphis, TN

Revolving Circles Transportation Co. LLC is a specialized transportation company located in Memphis, TN. The vision of RCTC is to become the leading transportation company in North America, increasing the client base by 45% a year. RCTC has served and will continue to serve Fortune 500 and third-party logistics businesses with freight hauling and logistics management services. RCTC has more than 25 years of experience in trucking, transportation and freight hauling services. The company operates a pair of Volvo VNL tractors with dry van, refrigerated, and flatbed trailers.

Spotlight on an American Trucker: Ryan Brunecz Trucking LLC, Kiantone, NY

Ryan Brunecz has been trucking for 16 years. He received his own authority and started Ryan Brunecz Trucking in 2003 with a focus on hauling produce, meat and some frozen foods, with very little dry freight. His freight lanes are in the Northeast, Southeast including Florida, and Midwest. He serves several direct customers and uses a specific list of brokers when booking loads. The vast majority of his loads are on demand based on customer needs. He drives a 2005 Freightliner Columbia with 2 million mi. and pulls a 2005 53-ft.

Taking on a partner

If you and a friend, spouse, adult child, or parent decide to open your own small motor carrier, will both your relationship and the company survive? Following are some points to consider before you sign those partnership papers.

Spotlight on an American Trucker: J&M Transport

J&M Transport is a small business, started just over a year ago by the husband and wife team of Jeff and Michele Beagle. They have one truck (an International 9900ix), one trailer (a Great Dane reefer) and one driver (Jeff)—but they plan to expand. Michele is the office staff and dispatcher. J&M Transport primarily hauls produce and products requiring refrigeration or a level of temperature control, with both regularly scheduled routes and on-demand.

Prepping for Disaster

What is your plan if a disaster strikes the area your business is located? What if one of your trucks is in the wrong place at the wrong time?

We all like to think we’re immune to disaster, but we’re not. We must have an action plan that can be implemented quickly. That plan must be shared with employees and contractors.

Spotlight on an American Trucker: Susquehanna Transport, Carlisle, PA

Mike Jester has been driving since 1996, when he turned 22. His love of trucking came from his father and grandfather, both truckers. He went on egg delivery runs with his grandfather when he was five, and that’s when “the diesel bug” bit him and he knew he wanted to be a trucker. When Jester started Susquehanna Transport in July 2005, he hauled auto parts. Now, his main focus is flatbed freight. He drives a 2001 9900IX International with a 6NZ Cat engine and pulls a 1997 Raven 48-ft. flatbed trailer.

The case against speed limiters

The speed limiter proposal from DOT estimates a 60-mph setting will save 336 lives and prevent serious injuries to 372 people each year. Additionally, 6,950 minor injuries will be avoided annually. But, as in any analysis, nothing happens in a vacuum. Let’s look at an incident that occurred well into my quarter of a century as a truck driver. If a speed limiter had been installed on the truck I was operating, the results of this event most likely would have been catastrophic.

Spotlight on an American Trucker - Jerry Figueroa O/O for Carbon Express, Inc.

Jerry Figueroa has had his CDL since 1999. He became an owner-operator in 2001, teaming with his wife for four years before going solo. He drives a 1998 Peterbilt day cab with a Detroit engine, pulling mainly mineral oil in a tanker, along with other chemicals, on demand.


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