Local/regional fuel hauling and the winter volume boost, cost tradeoffs and more

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This week’s edition of the Overdrive Radio podcast features a talk with small fleet owner Dave Marti of Forrest, Ill. He’s got six power units, including his own, leased to Transport Services of Sullivan, Ill., hauling fuel in the region around his home base, delivering in liquid-bulk hazmat tanks to fueling stations that see an uptick in volume this time of year. His is one of not many trucking niches that actually see a boost in business this time of year, though as you’ll hear, costs are higher for his business just as they are for many in this frigid season. Balancing the tradeoffs is one of the many calculations the owner’s learned to make over his years in business.

I first met Marti many years ago now, in early 2008 on a cold day in Peoria, Ill., during the regional MidWest Truckers Association’s truck show, his first with his first truck as an owner-operator, the 2007 “High Maintenance” Peterbilt 379 he still runs as part of the small leased fleet to this day. His move toward trucking following 20 years off and on driving and in maintenance, as you’ll hear him describe shortly, and growth in the business has come with the dependable partner in Transport Services he made about five years after he got his start as an owner-operator with that 2007 Pete leased to another outfit. His story I imagine might help show the way for any of you thinking of expansion in the years ahead, and ring familiar to those who’ve done just that with success today. Take a listen:

Also in the podcast: If you missed my coverage of Chicago-area-based owner-operator Robert Budzik and his 2002 Kenworth T2000, my brief talk with the operator about his young business’ recent history — on the opposite end of the spectrum of a fashion in life and business from where Marti is today — rounds out the podcast. Here’s a video look at the unique custom rig it all rolls on (and find more about Marti’s operation via links at bottom):