Sell service, haul value, build relationships — words to the wise, from a longtime independent

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Artie Danie-2020-10-02-12-21
Artie Daniel, who was honored for his nearly many decades trucking as an owner-operator after last year’s event on the Mall.

An owner-operator’s over-reliance on what may be the path of least resistance to freight like as not will get him/her in trouble in a down market, suggests longtime independent Artie Daniel, of McKinney, Virginia. Not that he doesn’t understand the attraction of today’s online marketplaces and the convenience they offer to start-up owner-operators and those willing to ride the risk/reward line with purely transactional relationships.

Daniel’s built his business by taking a different tack. He’s kept a mind on selling his service to the customer (whether broker or shipper), toward building solid connections, with close communication. He’s always got an eye out for side opportunities for his one-man, two-truck, five-trailer business (including reefer rental by outlets with emergency cold storage needs).

“You’ve got to build relationships with people who you can trust, to make it work,” he said for this edition of Overdrive Radio. If you don’t have that, “you’re at their mercy” on rates when options are plentiful, as so many learned during the depths of the early pandemic period’s lockdowns. Take a listen:

Also in the podcast: More from Daniel’s history and about his 1982 Kenworth W900A, bought a few years ago from an original owner who’d put only scant miles on the unit over decades as his personal truck. A few pics of the unit follow from early October on the National Mall in D.C.:

The Caterpillar-powered rig was purchased from an owner who ran a small fleet, among other businesses, and used this as his personal truck.The Caterpillar-powered rig was purchased from an owner who ran a small fleet, among other businesses, and used this as his personal truck. The unit boasts just 600,000 original miles, in spite of its near four decades in existence.The unit boasts just 600,000 original miles, in spite of its near four decades in existence. What’s not obvious from a distance are the gold flecks in the black paint job.What’s not obvious from a distance are the gold flecks in the black paint job.

Artie Daniel's kenworth semi truck next to tree

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