We’re in the business of connecting the logistics industry, but that doesn’t stop at connecting shippers with carriers. This is our second episode of On the Road with Loadsmart, a platform to connect the industry to the stories that matter, inspire, and are essential for giving credit to the unsung heroes of the road we have the privilege to work with every day.
In this episode Aaron from Loadsmart sits down with Jose from JN Ideal Transport to discuss how he had to ‘change everything, but it worked’ during the pandemic.
Aaron: Can you tell us a little bit about your business – how you started and where you are today?
Jose: We started in 2014 with a single truck. We were working with 7 trucks at the beginning of the pandemic. We were growing real good. When the pandemic came it brought us down a little bit, we went down to two trucks, we sold two trucks.
Normally we do a route in NY and we do a route in NJ, and business went down pretty good in those areas during the pandemic. And there were no loads to go to NY and NJ.
Aaron: How many loads were you doing between Charlotte NY/NJ before the pandemic and what did that go down to during it – did it go down to 0?
Jose: We were doing around 20 to 25 loads a week, when the pandemic came up we went down to 5 loads.
Aaron: When that happened did you ever question whether you would still be in business?
Jose: I didn’t know if I would make it through because business was pretty tough. There was no money to pay the insurance, no money to fix this truck, so I stopped all the trucks – and whenever one truck broke down I used one of the trucks I had in the yard and we survived like that.
Aaron: Do you think that you will eventually get back to what your business was like before this or do you think things are going to be a little bit different for the foreseeable future?
Jose: We are going to have to learn new ways to work
Aaron: What are some of those new ways?
Jose: Well before the only way I was working was interstate. And I didnt see myself doing those local loads before and I didn’t even try to see the business. I see it now we can survive doing some short run and I don’t have to be worried about my drivers to be out of hours which is a real plus because that’s always a big worry for me.
Aaron: What was stopping you from doing these local loads before?
Jose: I didn’t know we were able to make some money like that, but I see a different way now.
Aaron: So before the pandemic what were some of the challenges – or was business growing and business was good?
Jose: We were working everywhere. If the North is down this week, we’re going South. I was comfortable with that route because I was doing that route for more than five years.
Aaron: You were doing business the same way for five years and then when this hit you had to completely change?
Jose: That’s right. We had to change everything and it worked. I didn’t know we could do some different stuff and make a living.
Aaron: How confident were you that it was going to work?
Jose: I wasn’t confident – I didn’t know. I was trying to make some money to survive. When the pandemic started everybody was scared so I got 6 drivers at the time and I came down to 2 – including myself
Aaron: Did you see anything you thought you would never see before?
Jose: I break down. I don’t know if you know Roanoke, Virginia one night. And I called road service and they told me road service was not working and I couldn’t get anybody that night. So one of my drivers – I had to wait on the side of the road almost the whole night just waiting for one of my drivers to show up – and we fix the truck by ourselves the next day.
Aaron: How did Loadsmart come into play – did you work with Loadsmart before this?
Not that much, we did some loads coming down from Jersey to North Carolina. I think we did a couple loads for you guys. But when the whole pandemic happened – I called this guy Jean Pierre – the guy who I worked with – he was pretty nice and he helped me alot during the pandemic and hopefully we can keep going.
Aaron: Do you think more drivers are using technology that you can have on your phone?
Jose: Yeah we’re going to have to. We’re going to have to work different.
Aaron: Are you feeling optimistic about the trucking community – do you feel there is a sense of community that’s building?
Jose: I think a lot of people now know about trucking. I know before a lot of people didn’t even know – I know we have a big truck on the road but sometimes they don’t notice. They don’t even look at us. But right now they know we’re there
Aaron: That’s what we‘re trying to do as well to get your stories out there because they’re deserving of that.
Jose: No problem, I appreciate it.
Aaron: Thanks Jose for the time.
Jose: No problem, my pleasure.
Aaron: The insights you have from the road are special to us and I think a lot of people out there so thanks for sharing them with us.