Seasoned expediters: Tom and Tina Evans

| August 15, 2013

Tom and Tina Evans
Truck: Straight 2005 Freightliner M2, aftermarket 96-inch AA sleeper and 22-ft. cargo box
Leased to: Load One, load1.com

Load One-leased owner-operators Tom and Tina Evans choose to have Tom driving days, Tina running nights. Tom says it’s consideration of loading/unloading and fueling situations, which Tina tends not to like and which are mostly daytime affairs, that dictate such a schedule. “A lot of people run their 10 or 11 hours and change their drivers,” alternating shifts even after time off, with the last driver who was in the bunk taking over driving duties at the start of the next haul, says Tom. “We switch at midnight, no matter what, and we run 10-hour shifts. Keeping it on a schedule like that, we can run coast-to-coast, and it only changes our schedule by four hours.” By the end of the run, Tina will be starting her driving shift at 8 p.m.
Load One-leased owner-operators Tom and Tina Evans choose to have Tom driving days, Tina running nights. Tom says it’s consideration of loading/unloading and fueling situations, which Tina tends not to like and which are mostly daytime affairs, that dictate such a schedule. “A lot of people run their 10 or 11 hours and change their drivers,” alternating shifts even after time off, with the last driver who was in the bunk taking over driving duties at the start of the next haul, says Tom. “We switch at midnight, no matter what, and we run 10-hour shifts. Keeping it on a schedule like that, we can run coast-to-coast, and it only changes our schedule by four hours.” By the end of the run, Tina will be starting her driving shift at 8 p.m.

Tom and Tina Evans of Mattoon, Ill., began running as team owner-operators 13 years ago. They’ve always run a straight truck, hauling expedited, the niche where teams perhaps are most prevalent. Today hauling all manner of loads with their Freightliner M2 powered by a Mercedes diesel, a week’s take-home income for the pair runs about $3,000, says Tom – or at least that’s what “we like to see.”

“Gross would be more like $4,500 … we can go as low as $2,000 a week” and meet all personal expenses, “but that extra cushion makes our paychecks on weeks we’re not running.”

Good thing, considering the expedited segment in slow times can be catch-as-catch-can for freight. Also, the couple likes to take off all of July, leading into the big Expedite Expo show at the end of the month. “It’s been extremely slow this year,” says Tom. “I think come the end of the year, we’ll end up in the same place we were last year” for overall income.

For more on Expediting, click through the cover image above to read our December 2012 cover feature on the segment.
For more on Expediting, click through the cover image above to read our December 2012 cover feature on the segment.

The Evanses are leased to Load One, which pays 70 percent of the load. That’s somewhat high for the expedited segment, where percentage rates often are lower than those at nonexpedited carriers given the extra back-office work that often goes into load planning. The pair says they’ve found the sweet spot for their experience level, allowing them to choose freight that will meet their income expectations.

This Freightliner M2
Tom and Tina Evans’ 2005 Freightliner M2 won Best of Show awards at the truck show at 2012 Expedite Expo.

From his late 20s to his mid-30s, Tom worked as a warehouse manager for a furniture retailer, occasionally driving box trucks and exercising a fair amount of freedom in determining his workday. Preservation of that freedom drove him toward expediting, he says.

“I really worked for myself – I could come in, take days off at my own whim. After eight years of doing that, I didn’t want to punch a time clock. After a year’s worth of researching, we just jumped in. We went $50,000 in debt for that first truck – we had to make it work.”

Find more about the pair’s operation in the video below, shot during the 2013 Expedite Expo — in it, the Evanses discuss a special bit of growing up two of their children got during their final year of high school. Halfway through the year, the Evanses went out on the road expediting for the first time.