For Todd and Marcy Vandenberg, trucking is a family business. They’re a husband-and-wife team—he drives and she does the bookkeeping. Todd has run freight all over the country in his 13-year career, but he now runs local Southern California loads. No matter where he’s driving, though, Todd exudes a true passion for the industry.
“A lot of people can drive a truck, but there are only a few truckers,” he said. “Even if you’re running local or regional, you can still take pride in your ride.”
We sat down with Todd and Marcy at this year’s Great American Trucking Show (GATS) to find out how they balance career and family, what they see for the future of the industry, and why they choose to haul with Uber Freight.
What’s your favorite part about trucking?
Todd: The freedom. I like driving and meeting someone new every day. Also, the opportunity to make a good income and to move up. I started as a company driver and have had my own authority for a year this time around. I had it before the 2008 recession but I had to sell the truck back then.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
TV: Four-wheelers and people not respecting the big trucks. They probably don’t know, but it’s just the courtesy of seeing a big truck and thinking, “Oh, they probably need a little more room.” People cut us off or fight us to a lane. Also, sometimes there’s confusion with appointments. If it runs smoothly, it’s great, but when it doesn’t, it just delays the day.
Why do you like working with Uber Freight?
TV: The simplicity and ease of it. There are no brokers, no middlemen. You guys are the middleman I guess, but it’s seamless.
The detention pay is great and the money’s right there. There are also a lot of local runs in my lane. And the support I need is great, people are always so helpful. Sometimes with other brokers, I’ll send an email and 2 hours later I’m still waiting. Uber Freight gives you the support you need from beginning to end.
Now you can book multiple loads at once too, so I can plan out my whole week. It gives me peace of mind because I know the work is there. I’ve tried other apps, but I keep coming back to Uber Freight.
Marcy: Uber Freight has definitely been the most successful of the apps he’s used. He sends me screenshots of all of his loads so I know where he’s going and what the pay is, so when he gets his remittance in, I can match everything up and make sure we get paid. He’s able to send me everything from his phone, and it makes it clear and easy.
You have children. How do you balance trucking and family?
TV: Luckily our kids are grown now. When they were younger, I just always found the jobs that gave me nights and weekends off. I did a lot of local runs. The times I did go OTR, it was just out and back, maybe a weekend. I wouldn’t stay out. The good thing is that there’s a lot of demand for drivers, so you have that freedom to move around and pick and choose where you want to work.
Do your kids have any interest in going into trucking? Would you encourage them to do so?
TV: I do need to hire drivers! But no, I wouldn’t want them to put that hardship on their families. They’re just starting out, they went to college and they’re going to do the opposite of what we did. We wanted to give them the life we didn’t have.
What advice would you give someone just starting out in trucking?
TV: Go to a mega fleet to get your experience. Spend a year there and learn all you can. Mega fleets have a lot of money invested in their safety programs. Some of the guys training new drivers have 30+ years of experience. So go there, get your foundation.
In the first year, learn what industry you want to go into—flatbed, reefer, over-the-road, local. And in the second year, go into that industry with a smaller company and then maybe become an owner-operator. Save your money, find a mentor, and talk to people. There isn’t one owner-operator who won’t tell you how they did it or their opinion on it.
Is there a community in trucking? Do you all lean on each other?
TV: There used to be a lot more. That’s why I got into it, for the brotherhood. But now, with the demand for drivers, people are put in quicker. It’s less of a career and more of a job now. The camaraderie has kind of fallen to the wayside, but it’s still there in the core of drivers. They’ll still be there to help you out.
MV: We’ve talked about this before, but it used to be a lifestyle for an older generation. For the younger generation, it’s just a job to make money. We’ve noticed that difference over time.
What are your hopes for the future of trucking?
TV: I think apps like Uber Freight are the future—it’s the younger side. Not necessarily the younger drivers, but the younger generation of logistics. I think there will always be trucks. We still don’t have self-driving cars, so I think self-driving trucks are way off.
The views expressed in this post are solely of the individual being feature. Experiences may vary.