The Business Of Independent Service Provider Contracting

The Look of Success

Posted by Bob Tiell on Jul 25, 2021 10:15:00 AM

This blog post is written by eTruckBiz Business Coach, Bob Tiell.

You've heard people say, "There's strength in numbers." And I'm sure you've heard, "Two heads are better than one." People say them because they're true.

Both can be said about entrepreneurship. There are lots of moving parts in a business which leads to some things getting overlooked and others missed altogether. So, business owners may benefit by asking an expert to see what can make their company stronger down the road.

I can be that other set of eyes. I am someone who’s learned what success looks like by working alongside hundreds of AO’s and BC’s throughout the United States. I’ve gained perspective on how business owners achieve their goals.

My “second career” as a Business Coach (after departing the management ranks at FedEx Ground) affords me opportunities to alternately learn from and guide the brightest Contractors in the business. Today, I’m sharing a few of the best tips that can strengthen your company for the long haul.

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Topics: Business Results, Management, FedEx Ground, Business, Investment, Metrics, contractor, Profit, leadership, consulting

Entrepreneur of the Year - Hutch Motors, Inc.

Posted by Ben Weil on Jul 7, 2021 1:00:00 PM

(Courtesy of ...)

Hutch Motors, Inc. is an eTruckBiz customer that was recently recognized as a Regional Entrepreneur of the Year by FedEx Ground (FXG). The award recognizes service provider businesses that have excelled in service and safety - both of which are keys to success.

In addition to those two criteria, FXG considers business growth, customer satisfaction, ethics and community involvement as award components. Winners are selected from six regions in the United States plus one in Canada.

We caught up with Eric Hutchcraft, the Authorized Officer (AO) of Hutch Motors, Inc. asking him about keys to success. 

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Topics: Business Results, Management, FedEx Ground, Business, Investment, Metrics, contractor, Profit, leadership

Profitability Profile - Ron Levine

Posted by Ben Weil on Jun 28, 2021 3:45:00 PM

(Courtesy of Ron Levine)

The first Unboxed event in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, was our last pre-COVID event. For that reason, the two-day seminar held in February will always stick in my memory. The pandemic had not yet reached the United States. Socializing in-person was normal.

The poolside cocktail party stands out because it was a perfect sunset over the harbor, and I had the pleasure of meeting many successful Contractors there. One of the best aspects of my job is people sharing their stories of becoming FedEx Ground Contractors and what it means to them today.

In particular, Ron Levine and his son, Scott, entered into the transportation business unconventionally. Neither worked as a driver, nor a package handler, and they did not know anyone already in the business.

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Topics: Business Results, Management, FedEx Ground, Business, Investment, Metrics, contractor, Profit, leadership

Changes Are On The Way. Could These Be The Big Ones?

Posted by Jeff Walczak on Apr 12, 2021 2:00:00 PM

What do you get when you combine:

  • the current regulatory environment, 
  • significant shifts in market demand resulting in large changes in CSA characteristics,
  • the demand from Wall Street & investors for increased ROI,
  • and a cult following of litigious regulators and attorneys looking for big paydays?

Let’s just say that it looks a lot like today.

All these forces are coming together to bring about what could be the largest, most sweeping change in FXG’s business model ever, which will in turn, drastically change how you monitor and run your businesses. 

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Topics: Business Planning, Business Outlook, Compliance, Ground, FedEx Ground, Business, Regulation, Co-employee, change

Autism Awareness Month

Posted by Ben Weil on Apr 4, 2021 2:15:00 PM

This blog page generally addresses business problems and solutions associated with operating a last mile delivery transportation company. Today's post is just as important, but in a different way.

Speaking of different, the CDC reported roughly 1 in 54 children in the U.S. was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) last year. In fact, 1 in 34 boys identified with autism and 1 in 144 girls identified with autism.*

April is designated as Autism Awareness Month and part of the impetus for this post.

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Topics: autism awareness, autism awareness month

What's Happening with Fuel Prices?

Posted by Ben Weil on Feb 14, 2021 4:25:52 PM

(Stock Image from Canva)

Experts are predicting fuel prices will continue to increase in 2021. Why is that the general consensus?

First, we have to look at the main components of fuel pricing. The underlying components are a.) the cost of crude oil, b.) refining costs, and c.) distribution and marketing costs. Seems simple enough, but then federal, state and local taxes are added. That’s why pricing generally differs from one state to another.

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Topics: Business Results, FedEx Ground, Business, contractor, Fuel, fuel card, fuel management program

Exploring the Need for Training

Posted by Ben Weil on Jan 24, 2021 3:48:15 PM

(Jeff Thompson, Courtesy of Jeff Thompson)

Thursday and Friday of last week I watched Gary, my co-worker, leading our Engineering & Operations training class. He’s a former FedEx leader with decades of operations experience. His expertise is unmatched.

Most of the students last week were BC’s. They paid close attention. That’s impressive because earlier in the week they attended the Leadership & Management class, too. BC’s are accustomed to spending most days on their feet. Sitting in a classroom all week is rare for them, but so important.

The attendees, alongside several AO’s and new owners, were truly interested in changing the trajectory of their businesses. Change is not for the weak, nor for those who cannot handle uncertainty.

The week begins by asking attendees to write down the most important questions they want answered. Some of last week’s replies were predictable, and others not so much.

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Topics: Business Results, Management, FedEx Ground, Business, Investment, Metrics, contractor, Profit, leadership

Understanding Why You're In Business

Posted by Ben Weil on Jan 17, 2021 4:28:52 PM

(Jeff Thompson, Courtesy of Jeff Thompson)

What do people do with the money they make from being in business? Let's dive into that question.

Businesses usually exist for reasons other than just making money. Making money is a necessity to keep the business going, but there is probably another reason "why" a business exists.

I encountered one of the most clearly defined reasons "why" a business exists in my recent conversation with Jeff Thompson of CI Express from Kennewick, Washington. Jeff is the subject of our most recent Success Story, and the interview on our website is worth a read. You may even be inspired.

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Topics: Business Results, Management, FedEx Ground, Business, Investment, Metrics, contractor, Profit, leadership

Fuel Fraud Warning Signs

Posted by Ben Weil on Jan 10, 2021 9:15:00 AM

Today's blog post is brought to you by our friends at Fleetcor.

As a Contractor, the work seems simple, deliver packages on time and customers will be happy.

It’s not always that easy, there’s an operational side to your business, the public never sees, that is just as important to your success. One example is managing fuel spend. Fuel fraud and misuse can tank your profits, and it’s not always glaringly obvious when it’s occurring, so it pays to introduce regular monitoring controls.

Keeping a watchful eye on expense trends can help catch fuel fraud early, before perpetrators have a chance to rack up extensive charges.

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Topics: Business Planning, FedEx, Business Metrics, FedEx Ground, Business, Metrics, Fuel

2021 Insights for Business Owners

Posted by Ben Weil on Jan 3, 2021 1:43:13 PM

We recently caught up with two guys heavily involved with building successful transportation companies to ask for their insights into 2021.

The first expert is a long-time CSP from the Midwest, Tracy Taylor. The second is the founder and CEO of eTruckBiz, Jeff Walczak. Both have spent the better part of their careers in the FedEx Ground arena. We engaged in a fast-paced conversation to produce our most recent Truck Talk podcast episode.

Some of the insights may surprise you.

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Topics: Business Structure, Business Tools, Business Planning, Training, Intelligence, Business Metrics, ISP, FedEx Ground, Business, Negotiation, Metrics, Profit, leadership, safety, coaching, Scheduling

The Most Important Goals for Your Transportation Company

Posted by Bob Tiell on Dec 13, 2020 4:00:00 PM

This week’s blog is the first in a two-part series of posts by Bob Tiell, an eTruckBiz Coach, who resides in Lexington, KY. His experience includes years of operational management at FedEx Ground.

Goal Setting - Business Plans and Safety

Even though we're in the middle of peak, it's time to start planning our next twelve months. If planned well with the right goals set at the beginning of the year, we can make peak 2021easier and more efficient for everyone involved. If you haven't already started thinking about your 2021 goals, perhaps you'll find some helpful direction and starting points in this brief blog post.

Let's start with the likelihood that your company has grown throughout the years, and you’ve probably added supplemental routes. They then became full routes (after FedEx Ground approval).

Plus, you've probably added more drivers and a BC, or two, over the years. What's next?

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Topics: Business Structure, Business Tools, Business Planning, Intelligence, Business Metrics, ISP, FedEx Ground, Business, Metrics, Profit, leadership, safety, coaching

Profitability Profile - Dawn Nyen

Posted by Ben Weil on Nov 22, 2020 4:26:43 PM

(Dawn Nyen, Courtesy of Dawn Nyen)

A co-worker recently suggested that I reach out to a customer who has an interesting history with entrepreneurship.

My conversation with Dawn Nyen developed into our most recent Success Story.  And just in case you don’t venture over to that page on our website, I’ll share one of her lessons learned in this blog post, but trust me the interview is worth the few minutes it takes to read.

Dawn’s path to becoming a FedEx Ground Contractor started in a hotel ballroom. She answered a local newspaper ad instructing people to attend a local recruiting meeting about owning a business. Dawn and her sister were the “last ones standing” in the room. Then, her sister dropped out leaving Dawn standing all alone.

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Topics: Business Results, Management, FedEx Ground, Business, Investment, Metrics, contractor, Profit, leadership

eTruckBiz Just Got Better - Unveiling The New Platform

Posted by Jeff Walczak on Nov 15, 2020 1:22:11 PM

For more than 8 years, we’ve been building products & services to help CSP’s transform the way they approach running their businesses.

Recently, the FXG model itself has been transforming in unprecedented ways. For most CSP’s , the days of being a “hands-on” operator are gone, and the need to provide leadership & management through systems, processes and people are quickly being implemented. The days where you or your BC’s could “jump in a truck” to fix things are gone.

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Topics: Business Structure, Business Tools, Business Planning, Timekeeping, Bookeeping, Intelligence, Business Metrics, ISP, FedEx Ground, Business, Negotiation, model, Metrics, Profit, leadership, safety, coaching, Scheduling, Dynamic Route Optimization

Time Traps: Action & Assessment Phases

Posted by Ben Weil on Oct 18, 2020 9:45:00 PM

As we’re approaching peak this year, conversations with FedEx Ground Contractors reflect a sense of urgency caused by the expected increase in package volume. From California to the east coast, everyone is feeling the pressure. Rental trucks have long been reserved by others, new trucks are scarce, the competition for finding and hiring temporary drivers is tough, and the new pre-load technology is time consuming at best.

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Topics: Business Tools, Business Planning, Business Results, Business Metrics, FedEx Ground, Investment, Profit

An Organization Time Trap

Posted by Ben Weil on Oct 4, 2020 7:33:46 PM

A common thread amongst FedEx Ground Contractors is the amount of time and effort required to handle everything that’s expected to stay compliant, safe and profitable. If you’ve been tracking our blog posts about time and task management, this is the third in a series.

First, we suggested tracking where your time is spent. From there, we looked at the likelihood that working seven-days a week has resulted in losing your identity. You’re known by your job.

Now, let’s examine how to improve your working situation.

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Topics: Business Tools, Business Planning, Business Results, Business Metrics, FedEx Ground, Investment, Profit

Independent Service Provider (ISP) Tips And Advice

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