4 lessons the Marines taught me about owning a business

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After 10 years in the Marine Corps and 3 years as a professional driver, I decided to start my own trucking business in 2010. Over the years, I’ve been running my business based on four important lessons that I learned as a Marine.

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Photo by Francisco Diez, on Wikimedia Commons

4 things the Marines taught me about business ownership

1. Manage your time. Before negotiating ever begins with a broker about accepting a load, a simple, thought-out timeline of all the events should be written out. I then articulate the plan with the agent I am working with. I often encourage brokers to use rate reduction performance clauses in the rate contract if I don’t deliver on time. This is my way to prove my confidence in my time management ability.

2. Adapt and overcome. If you have done well as an owner-operator, then I am sure you have mastered the ability to adapt and overcome. This is a natural reaction for when our truck has hiccups. The opposite of adapt and overcome is an excuse. Read my blog “My Worst Load Ever” to learn how I adapted and overcame under challenging conditions.

3. Make decisions fast. Most of my loads have been expedited loads that come from posting my truck at dark 30 at night and getting the call from an agent in need. I have learned over the years that most of the time it matters more how soon you can pick the load up than what your rate will be. In the Marines, my nearby rifle was my tool, but as a carrier, my laptop and cell phone are my tools. They’re in the ready position, so I can deploy my most effective resources and get all the information I need to make decisions fast.

4. Uniform of the day. I recently read a rate contract that said pajamas and open-toed shoes are not authorized at the receiver. This means someone has actually worn those in the past. My rule when it comes to the proper work uniform is to dress as good as the people that work in the pickup or delivery facility. I promise if you have your own personal protective equipment (PPE) on, you will be treated like the staff of the facility you go to.

Chad Boblett is the owner and driver at Boblett Brothers Trucking of Lexington, KY. Chad also founded the Rate Per Mile Masters group on Facebook, a communications hub for more than 23,000 members, including owner-operators, truck drivers, and other transportation and logistics pros.

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