Krystal Raue, owner of Triple R Trucking, based in Decatur, Nebraska, was born and raised around trucking and worked in her parents’ transportation business from a young age, doing paperwork and other things. works.
After obtaining a university degree in business administration, she returned and continued to help the family business.
“As the technology increased, I kind of started to help them move more to the technological side of things,” she said. “I ended up running my parents’ business, a refrigeration company.
In 2012, Raue bought her first two trucks to get a feel for what it was like to own trucks and run a business. She rented these trucks from her parents’ business. A few years later, “Dad was ready to retire,” she said, “so I ended up buying him the equipment and put everything and everyone under the name and the authority of my own company, and we have been operating ever since. “
Since starting the business in 2014, Raue has maintained a fleet of around 10 trucks, primarily renting and finding freight for owner-operators. Today, the company has eight owner-operators who handle refrigerated freight across the country except for the Northeast and California. Most of this freight is meat from Nebraska and Iowa, with product coming back.
The company contracts with an owner-operator performing platform work. One of the drivers came to Triple R after flatbed for years and ran for a while, but wanted to go back to flatbed.
Raue said having the set helped balance things out.
“The prices for the refrigerators will be good and those for the plateau not so much, but when the prices for the refrigerators go down, the plateau will somehow go up,” she said. “It kind of helped keep that good middle in the middle and get things done.”
Triple R is also in the process of registering with the United States Food and Drug Administration for a more direct path to FEMA charges. The company is not yet fully registered, but it has secured FEMA charges through brokers to transport ice to areas affected by hurricanes.
“Money is good, but making sure people get what they need is the most important thing,” said Raue. “We will sit there for as long as it takes. We’re just trying to help as much as we can. “
Raue said she would like to grow the business over the next two years by adding more corporate drivers, but has struggled to find drivers who don’t mind being on the road for two or three. weeks at a time, which is typical for the owner-operator of the business.
“This is really where I have the most difficulty finding drivers, whether they are owner-operators or company drivers,” she said. “I can’t give them the time they want at home or the insurance benefits. We do offer supplemental insurance, but we ditched health insurance when those rates started to increase and we didn’t have enough staff… to make it worth spending the extra cost.
Raue said her goal is to add five more trucks over the next two to three years.
Focus on safety
Triple R has received numerous awards from its insurer, Victim of the Great West, both for road safety and occupational safety, the latter every year since 2015. The company has received the road safety award four times during this period, with the silver award in 2015 and 2020 , the gold price in 2018 and the platinum price in 2019.
“It’s harder for us because it’s based on mileage and accidents,” said Raue. “Last year we did 580,000 miles, but we had an accident in June, and it got us back to the money. It is a question of removing these responsible accidents. We’re trying to keep increasing our miles, getting the drivers rolling and making sure they’re watching what’s going on and avoiding these crashes, being those responsible drivers and trying to prevent crashes. “
Company drivers are required to pass quarterly online safety tests, in which they are required to watch a video and take a quiz each quarter.
Impact of COVID
After the difficult start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Raue said being in the reefer business has been a plus as Triple R has only become busier than before the pandemic. Plus, she said, after the initial period of adjusting to the new procedures at shippers and receivers, her drivers actually appreciated some of the changes.
“It kind of made it easier for them because they don’t have to go inside that much,” she said. “They can make a call and check in, customers come to pick up the papers when they’re ready. Lumpers and stuff, they’ve done everything for electronic payment now. In fact, we are saving time now without waiting for all the documents to be shuffled. “
Triple R pays its drivers as a percentage. Initially, the new owner-operators of the business who use the company’s trailers make 72% of the load. This percentage increases to 75% after a 90-day review. Owners who bring their own trailer to the business leave with 85% of the load.
The company is also a member of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC) and uses the NASTC fuel card and other membership benefits. Owner-operators get 100% fuel savings with the NASTC card sent to them.
Since Triple R stopped offering health insurance, the company has offered supplemental insurance through Illinois Mutual. Triple R pays for the driver’s coverage, and the driver is responsible for the cost of any additional family members.
Triple R also offers a $ 1,000 sign-up bonus paid in an operator’s first year, a $ 100 mileage bonus to the driver with the most miles each month, and inspection bonuses. The company pays drivers $ 150 for a clean Level I inspection, $ 100 for a clean Level II, and $ 50 for a clean Level III. These carrots, however, also come with a stick. If an operator obtains a violation, they are billed $ 20 per violation.
The program “encourages drivers to keep their belongings together,” Raue said. “I don’t want CSA points, [the drivers] I don’t want CSA points, so we all get along there.
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