Following reporting in April about the plans of Overhaul’s Barry Conlon and his team for its new shipper-carrier connection tool, Conlon sat down with Overdrive at the company’s Great American Trucking Show booth last week to spell out the details of the launch of the freight marketplace. The associated mobile app for drivers “launched this week,” he says. When the shipper-direct freight marketplace launches a few weeks down the road, owner-operators and small carriers cleared early for membership (at $15 monthly, though for early sign-ups the first three months with be waived) will be some of the first to take advantage of freight opportunities with shippers Conlon and team have signed on.
Regular readers will recall Conlon was making his pitch to high-end shippers, from manufacturers of electronics to pharmaceuticals, one of each of whom he’s been working with as Overhaul has beta-tested its system. The marketplace is intended to connect shippers’ transport managers and Overhaul member owner-operators/carriers via the online marketplace. Shippers, he says, are increasingly responding to his message that “brokers have made this a very difficult business for owner-operators.”
Arguably, he adds, the “large-carrier environment” many shippers deal in for their contract transportation needs “is the same,” and many “shippers don’t know that.”
In the transportation ecosystem, he tells them, however, “the most important guy is the driver,” too often getting the short end of the compensation stick. “Shippers have a soul,” Conlon has found.
When presented with just how little of the shipper’s transportation money gets to the party doing most of the work of moving product, often enough the shipper asks, “Are we part of this problem?” Conlon says. In the case of the high-end shippers he’s targeting, many long familiar to and with him given his past involvement with the FreightWatch company, he tells them, “you’re paying a premium” for transportation service, “but it’s not getting to the right people.”
The Overhaul app gives such shippers what he believes they want — full in-transit visibility and reassurance via the series of milestones reported on previously that carriers are doing what is necessary to enhance load security.
Conlon, co-owner of small fleet REC (Regional Express Carriers, like Overhaul operated with a home base in Laredo, Texas), has his fleet on the platform today, in addition to other testers, and he says he’s looking for 200 owner-operators now. “If we get 200 in the next two months, that’s great, but if it’s 2,000, we can expand even faster,” he says. As with the monthly membership fee, the $70 onboarding fee (an offset for required background checks) is being waived for those who apply for membership over the next three months.
All in all, Conlon feels Overhaul’s mission as a marketplace is to do what too few non-drivers in the transportation and logistics space are doing today — treat the driver as the customer he is. “If I can find ways of constantly making that guy happy, he’ll stay with me” and truly drive all parties’ success.