Hello, my name is Allen. I got my first trucking job in 1994 as a company driver. By 2000, I managed to buy my own truck. I was leased out to another company. In 2002, I got my own trucking authority. Over a couple of years, I managed to add more trucks. As the business got bigger, things got more hectic trying to track everything. I knew what we did today, even the last few days. But running multiple trucks – knowing what we did 2 weeks ago got really confusing. I was managing everything with a mix of QuickBooks, paper, and spreadsheets. I’m experienced with running the trucks. As for the business side, I’m definitely not an accountant – that’s for sure. QuickBooks is a tool for accountants. It helped with some things, but it didn’t track dispatches which is the heart of the business.
There was a lot of work to do, and I was the one who had to do it. Things were just getting lost in the shuffle. We were working really hard, but we never had any money. I looked around for a solution. Everything I looked at either didn’t track what I needed or was extremely pricey. The cheap stuff wasn’t much better than my spreadsheets. There were expensive software packages, but they were so expensive for a few thousand more I could have bought another truck. I didn’t think I needed software that bad.
Everything changed in 2006. I got sick and had to go to the hospital. I was terrified that when I got out there wouldn’t be a business to come back to so I asked my father to come down and help run things while I recovered. After just a couple of days in the office, he came to me at the hospital and told me – “Your records are a mess. I don’t know that anyone can run it because so much of it is in your head. We’ve got to fix this.” Things got so desperate that I ended up calling in loads for drivers from the intensive care unit to keep the business going.
I got better, but I knew things had to change. I was lucky because my dad had the skills to build software. Working together we were able to build what would eventually be known as The TruckingOffice. It started small and grew as it was able to do more and more. The first version just focused on tracking dispatches. This helped get things in order around what was actually going on. Then we added on better support for invoicing. It turned out this was the source of a lot of my problems. When I was doing it in spreadsheets, it was just too hard to review everything all the time. With TruckingOffice, I’m shown a count of invoices that were coming due or over due every time I logged in. It really helped me focus on getting money in from my customers.
Then I had another tragedy. I kept all my maintenance records on the computer in my office. Thieves broke in and stole all my tools and my computer. I never was good about backing stuff up, so they got my only copy of the records. As my luck would have it, DOT auditors showed up a few weeks later. When they asked for my maintenance records, I explained about the theft. They told me they heard that sort of thing all the time. I ended up having to pay a big fine. As a result of that incident, we added maintenance logs to the TruckingOffice.
About a year later, I got audited for my Trucking Authority. When the auditor showed up I just gave him access to the TruckingOffice. He was able to quickly verify everything he needed to see. He was really impressed at how organized I was. He wished that more small operators had my software. I think that was the first time I got the idea that there might be other people out there with the same problem I had. I put it on the back burner, and just focused on my business.
After some time and a lot of discussion with my dad, we decided to offer up TruckingOffice to other small trucking companies. Dad was able to convince some his business contacts to invest in a business to do just that. So now you are seeing the first publicly available version of the TruckingOffice. Originally we built it just to help me survive. I’m really excited that it has grown beyond that and is helping other people like me succeed.