Want to know how to grow your trucking business? David Voronin is the President and CEO of MigWay, Inc., a trucking company based in Pineville, North Carolina. In a recent interview on The FreightCaviar Podcast, David shared his journey of building MigWay into the successful company it is today. Here are five ways he’s been able to grow his trucking business from zero to 260 trucks.
Everything is driven by data in trucking.
David believes in the power of data to drive his business forward. Initially, David used the money from his construction business to buy two semis he leased out. After seeing that he could do things better, he decided to start his own company.
From early on, David’s wife used Excel to collect valuable data, allowing him to predict his company’s growth and make detailed projections easily. By continuously studying the data and the market, they saw it was much more profitable to do triangle routes. He credits this strategy as one of the top ways he grew his trucking business.
Data also showed them that they could beat out average DAT van rates by 20-30% consistently year over year, informing his decision to take a gamble and treat customers like spot rates. Now they run 50% from customers and 50% from DAT. That has allowed them to maintain a good position in the current market.
You’ll always need hard work and motivation.
When entering the industry, David didn’t have much trucking experience. He came from a carpentry and woodworking background. However, he had the motivation to excel at what he was doing and come out on top.
““Everybody wants to know what is the success…I’m like, I just work harder than you,” he laughs.
David was willing to sacrifice his personal life and comfort for the success of his business. For the first three years, he did not allow himself to go on vacation. For the next two years, his wife would go on vacations while he stayed behind. David says he is driven by an “obsessed motivation” to work harder than his competition.
And the current downturn hasn’t slowed him down. He says it’s the perfect time to prepare for another big leap. So it’s back to the excel sheets plugging and crunching numbers.
“Five years ago we were at 30 trucks and today we’re at 260. So now is the time to plan and design what does a 1000 truck company look like.”
Have a clear story and stick to your values.
Foremost, David’s goal has always been to “build a great company that enriches the lives of [his] employees.” David reveals they spent $1.5M on marketing to clearly and loudly communicate to customers what MigWay stands for as a company.
“When you put something above money, I think everything else just starts to go to a different level, and the customers felt that,” he says.
One way David tries to change employees’ lives is by being there for them and their families in times of need. They’ve even hired a chaplain that drivers can reach out to 24/7. Prioritizing the needs of staff builds loyalty and strengthens retention. It also attracts new talent needed to grow your trucking business.
Don’t lower your standards, and don’t lower your rates.
“If you lower your rates, brokers will never let you raise them back up. They’ll just know you as the carrier that does two dollars a mile. We know our worth–and it always helps that we have so many trailers.”
David goes into a story about a shady dispatcher that used to work for MigWay (they didn’t last long) who tried to sneak in a load for one of their customers. The broker paid the MigWay rate, but the load didn’t make it on time because prior commitments superseded that one dispatcher’s underhanded decision.
When the broker inevitably got upset, David didn’t sweat it. He took $500 out of their own money to pay the broker. He made it clear that MigWay delivers excellent service, and integrity is one of their highest priorities.
“This sent a loud message that we don’t treat brokers like brokers. We treat them like customers. If the broker doesn’t appreciate our treatment, we don’t work with them–we block them–TQL was the first to go.”
Build strong relationships that last.
To grow your trucking business, relationship-building skills are essential. During the hot season, David went all in, focusing heavily on building and maintaining relationships with customers who needed freight moved. At that time, David’s approach was to be a backup for his customers rather than commit to specific volumes. He always made sure to be transparent and always deliver on promises.
David told customers to call whenever they had overflow, and they would pay the MigWay rate. This strategy paid off. One week he had 200 trucks on the road, and only two had come from a load board. These relationships continue to fuel MigWay’s growth.