Working for someone else and making their dreams come true was not what Prentice Woods envisioned for his life, and it’s taken longer than he’d hoped to take the step to being an owner-operator. A person can let fear keep him from moving forward, or he can “use that same fear as fuel,” he says. He drives a 2007 Freightliner Columbia and pulls a 2015 Great Dane Air Ride 53-ft. dry van. Even with just his single truck and trailer, he thinks of his business as a trucking company—a starting point, “but it will not be where I end.”
Q: How are maintenance and repairs handled?
A: Maintenance is usually done while I’m on a break out on the road; it’s easier that way. I usually use TA and Petro. I also take care of what I can take care of myself, and I have family that works at the Freightliner assembly plant in Cleveland, NC. With one phone call, we can troubleshoot a problem. Finding parts at a reasonable price is a major challenge. I have a few parts on hand, such as an extra airbag, light bulbs, air lines, alternator belts, and hoses. For major repairs, I have an awesome mechanic that I use.
Q: What do you do to ensure CSA compliance for your truck/trailer?
A: I’m a member of NASTC and OOIDA. They both have great programs that help you stay compliant, and we have a liaison that helps us.
Q: How do you minimize downtime?
A: I keep up with routine maintenance and pre- and post-trip inspections. I handle issues while they are small because an air leak never ‘gets better.’ PMs are done between 15,000 and 20,000 mi. I grease the truck and trailer in between PM services. I repair what’s needed when it happens, and I do not put a Band-Aid on a problem. I fix it then, no matter the cost. Too many drivers put Band-Aids on things, and it just creates bigger problems in the long run—more money and more downtime.
Q: What are your truck’s specifications?
A: If I were to buy trucks now, I would look in the used glider market. Pre-emissions is what I would be looking for in a truck.
Q: What does your company do best?
A: We believe our true worth is determined by how well we serve others. We’ll go above and beyond and do what is necessary to have on-time pickups and deliveries, but we also provide an open line of communication to our customers via emails, phone calls, and GPS load tracking. I love talking with people, asking them questions, learning about what needs they have, and what I can do to fill those needs. Being a company that provides great value in this industry is what my company does best.
Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do?
A: It’s not about the type of freight that we haul; it’s all about the service that we provide. When you are in it to serve, then you will never have an issue with anything. My vision is to have more trucks down the road, so developing sincere relationships with people now is what is going to matter for my company’s success now and in the future.
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