B. Ray’s Flooring made its official launch, I guess you could say, by going live with a public website just a couple months ago, says its proprietor and D&E Transport-leased owner-operator Bobby Laws, who lives in Des Moines, Iowa.
But owner-operator Laws has been doing floors longer than that, starting with the one in his 2007 Peterbilt 379, which he bought from the TMC flatbed fleet when he moved from running company equipment to leasing with them. (Get a nice, more recent look at unit via Big Rig Videos’ Rolling CB Interview with Laws last year after the Guilty by Association Truck Show:)
Owner-operator Laws hauls flatbed freight with a conestoga-type set-up, having come up in trucking from 2012, when he got his CDL and went out hauling as a company driver.
“When I first got my CDL, I told myself I’d give it five years,” he says. “Next thing you now, it’s in my blood.”
He eventually moved into the 379, powered by a 2006-emissions-spec Cat C15, and adopted a six-month-old rescue ridealong companion he fell into “house training” on the road — “truck training,” so to speak.
That practice didn’t bode well for the carpet flooring in the unit, which he moved to replace himself at a certain point with dreams of the purple Rockwood floor but without the money to make it happen. Gray carpet would look dandy with the gray dash, though, he thought, and, using his original carpet for a template, he did a replacement himself.
The pup, meanwhile, is “still having accidents” time to time, Laws says, and “after changing the carpet twice, I thought, ‘I’ve got to do something else.'”
He then considered easy-to-clean sheet vinyl flooring that had the look and feel he was looking for and, of course, came in at a price tag well under higher-dollar floors. With the first install, he learned plenty, and chiefly, after it was done and owner-ops he met along the road saw the results: “A lot of people are out there in the same predicament that I was in – wanting the nice floor, but can’t really justify the expense,” Laws says.
Thus B. Ray’s Flooring was born.
Since that first install in his own truck, owner-operator Laws has gotten closer to perfection with a better product. The first vinyl was “not a great quality,” he says. “I redid it with better-quality vinyl and with a better underlayment.”
He’s thought since about adding a custom soundproofing layer under the flooring as well — “any more sound absorption could be great,” he adds.
Pricing on the vinyl options that are displayed at Laws’ company’s website are $700 shipped, and $900 all in for Laws to do the work himself for you, which is possible to complete in several hours.
He “just started in February” and is “not 100 percent on everything I’d like to know” about all makes and models, but he has done 36 floors in a variety of makes in that time period and his resources for templates that fit the variety of trucks on the market are growing fast.
Keep an eye out for him and his Pete at the Guilty by Association show in Joplin at 4 State Trucks next week, which he’ll be attending provided he doesn’t utilize the weekend for a set of dump-truck floors out in Virginia he’s in the process of outfitting with floors. For now, here’s another look at some of his handiwork, shots from an install on a customer’s 1996 Peterbilt 378 — this floor is B Ray’s “Smoked Habanero” variety.
And here’s the floor in a similar view, and then one from inside, looking down, nearing completion: