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Spotlight on an American Trucker: May 2017

Spotlight on an American Trucker: May 2017

Jim and Heidi Roberts, owners. Jim’s Equipment Transport & Services, Bakersfield, CA

Jim’s Equipment Transport & Services is a Disabled Veteran’s Business Enterprise started by Jim Roberts in June 2013. The business focus is local and long distance transporting: hotshot cargo, RV trailers, boats, small equipment, trailer towaways, along with automobiles. The company specializes in transporting high-end collector cars and motorcycles along with commercial vans. The equipment includes two Ford 350 pickup trucks, along with a 35-ft. two-car wedge gooseneck trailer, an Interstate Motorcycle trailer and an 8-ft. enclosed Cargo Trailer.

Q: How are maintenance and repairs handled? Do you stock parts for your truck or purchase as needed?
A: We use the local Walmart Auto Service for oil changes and preventive maintenance. We stock belts, hoses, and bulbs.

Q: How are major repairs handled?  Your own shop or jobbed out?
A: My brother is a certified diesel mechanic and has his own shop, so I job out all repairs to him.

Q: What challenges do you face with your maintenance program? How do you resolve them?
A: The time frame for getting mainte­nance and repairs done at either Wal­mart or my brother’s shop is the biggest challenge. We prefer to have it completed over the weekend. The problem is, if parts are needed, we have to wait until Monday. We’ve found that doing comprehensive preventive maintenance, where we anticipate the parts we need and have them when they’re needed, means catching problems before they become an issue.

Q: How do you ensure good mileage from tires?
A: We purchase Corsa Highway Terrain tires. We check inflation levels and rotate on a regular basis. Wheel alignment is done every six months.


Q: How do you determine when it’s time to replace a truck or trailer?     
A: When downtime is causing a loss in revenue, it’s time to replace.

Q: What are the specifications for your trucks?
A: [I prefer a] Ford F350 Dually and an older 7.3 diesel. I’m also looking to purchase 7.3 diesel engines as spares that we can rebuild and set aside until one is needed. That way we can just pull and replace if there’s a problem with the one we’re currently running.

Q: What programs do you have in place to ensure CSA (Compliance, Safety, and Accountability) compliance for your trucks and/or trailers?   
A: We ensure compliance with our constant inspections from pre- and post-trip to a full DOT inspection every 90 days, along with consistent maintenance. ‘If it’s not right, fix it or replace it’ is our policy.  

Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do?     
A: I enjoy driving on the open road; not to mention delivering a car to its owner is like a four-year-old at Christmas.

What does your company do best?   
We are on time, and we are a man of our word.
We want to hear from you. Know of a trucking business we should feature? Send their contact information to [email protected]

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