ExpediteNow got the chance to sit down and speak with long-established motor carrier On-Time Express and their owner, Bob Stark.
Bob, thanks so much for taking time to talk with us! First things first, with Fall approaching, what is the favorite football team (college or NFL) among the On-Time Express team?
Being from the Detroit Area, we all are all Detroit Lions Fans. We are not sure why, but every year we hope for the best!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you have been in the industry?
I was born in Michigan and spent my young years in both Michigan and California. In 1983, I came back to live permanently in the Detroit Area. I met my wife that very same year. We married in 1986, and we have 2 exceptional sons, a wonderful daughter-in law, and a granddaughter on the way. This is my 30th year in the Industry, starting off as a Driver and then Starting my own Business in 1995.
On-Time Express has a long history of specializing in cargo van and Sprinter freight.. What are some things you feel have helped establish your company as such a reliable carrier?
Our Service mostly, because of the outstanding people I have representing my company both in the office and on the road. I have Dispatchers, Accounting personnel and Drivers that have been with me since the beginning years and I believe that is why our Service is so exceptional. They are experienced and professional and reliable.
Having quality people in your fleet is such a crucial piece of any success carrier. What are some things you have done to ensure that quality people come and stay with On-Time Express?
One very important thing I do is I still hand pick every single Driver I hire. I do not have a Recruiter speak for me. I want quality, experienced, professional people representing my Company. I want them to have clean driving records and no less than 2 years of verifiable experience within this industry. They also must have a newer vehicle if they want to make a professional living in Expediting. I cannot and will not sign on a Driver with a vehicle older than 5 years that has a ton of miles on it. This is my Quality Control and I don’t bend my rules.
What do you feel is the biggest struggle for drivers in our industry today, and how do you suggestion they address those struggles?
It is extremely tough right now. The biggest struggle right now are the rates. They are very depleted and it has been rough. This is across the whole industry, and unfortunately, it will push a lot of carriers and drivers to pull out of the business. As carriers struggle to try and stay afloat, they are making promises they cannot keep to potential drivers. I have spoke with many drivers that have been with 3-5 different carriers this year alone. I always attempt to be honest and fair with potential drivers. If a driver is calling me from an area that we are not strong in, I tell them right up front. I don’t like to make any promises because I do not have a crystal ball. This has been a very difficult year, and we are all trying to weather the storm. My advice to drivers is to educate yourself on who you are interested in signing on with. Be flexible with your schedule (work weekends as often as possible), and communicate often with your carrier’s dispatch team.
What is one of the most rewarding parts of your profession?
For me, personally, it is knowing that I have people that have been with me for so long and they are still here working hard every single day for me. It gives me satisfaction that people are happy and content. Being a business owner is very difficult. The trucking Industry, especially, is so challenging. I have seen and been thru so many changes. I am proud that my company has survived such tough times and I attribute it to the people who represent it.
Is there anything else you would like to communicate to our readers?
On-Time Express, Inc. provides a quality environment for our drivers, and I am proud of that. We work very hard to make our drivers profitable. We care about and respect our drivers and will always do our best to keep them busy and moving.