Starting a small fleet has never been easy. Growing one and staying profitable is even harder.
Many Overdrive readers, though, have done just that. To honor those who’ve done so, and to learn from their successes, Overdrive is launching its Small Fleet Champ award. The program is sponsored by the Pilot Company’s One9 Fuel Network.
The championship belt will go to a small-fleet owner who has demonstrated effective business practices and positioned the fleet for long-term financial stability and capacity for growth.
Three finalists will be profiled in Overdrive this summer. Each will receive free lodging and $1,000 toward expenses to attend the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Aug. 27-29, where they will participate in business panels. The winner will be announced at GATS.
The winner will be profiled in a cover story in Overdrive and also featured in Commercial Carrier Journal, a sister publication of Overdrive.
The competition is open to fleets that operated three to 30 Class 8 trucks during 2019 and meet other criteria detailed on the contest entry website. Entries can be made through May 10.
“Overdrive editors have interviewed many owner-operators who have begun growing small fleets, only to fall back to a one-truck operation,” said Editorial Director Max Heine. “We’re excited to recognize the skills and effort it takes to build a successful small fleet. Recent years in particular have provided excellent conditions for many operators to start or expand their fleets.”
Comparing 2012 with 2019, the number of for-hire fleets of one to six trucks grew from 109,009 to 204,554, an increase of 88%, based on federal data compiled by the Tucker Company Worldwide brokerage. That far outpaced growth in every larger category of fleet size.
Even more pronounced was the growth in drivers for those very small fleets. Over the seven years, their driver rolls went from 223,709 to 564,880, a jump of 153%.