The transportation industry has truly been founded by families.
While many companies have left those familial roots behind, others are holding on strong. Time and again, it has become clear that drivers — and customers— find serious value in companies that continue to embrace their heritage.
C5 Expedite started out as — and continues to be — a family-owned and operated expedited transportation business. When C5 President and Co-founder Clayton Ramsden started the company with his father, he was the fleet’s very first driver.
The Wisconsin-based company offers expedited services via sprinter van, small straight and large straight trucks. C5 offers additional services — including dry van and airfreight — via its brokerage operation, C5 Logistics.
Companies typically do not require expedited transportation for most shipments, but having a top-notch carrier to rely on when the need arises is critical. With over 25,000 units in its nationwide network, C5 fits the bill.
C5 employs about 75 nationwide owner-operators as independent contractors. This wide driver base allows it to partner with an array of customers across several industries and states.
The company’s most frequent customers, however, are shipping automotive parts. These parts are always considered valuable, but getting them to the right place at the right time is more important than ever with ongoing global shortages putting pressure on manufacturers.
Still, no carrier has been completely shielded from the market at large. Declining rates are affecting carriers of all shapes and sizes. But Ramsden’s perspective on the current market turn is infused with a healthy dose of optimism.
“Even in a downturn, we still have a lot of room to grow,” Ramsden said. “It gives us an opportunity to differentiate and grab more market share.”
C5 operates relatively small vehicles, meaning it brings in less income per load than companies operating larger vehicles simply by virtue of moving less volume. Less revenue on a per-shipment basis, however, does not mean less revenue overall.
The company moves freight less than 10,000 pounds, making it exempt from most of the Department of Transportation guidelines that carriers operating larger vehicles must follow, including keeping logbooks. This exemption allows the company to make up for any lost revenue due to the size of its loads by simply driving longer.
Being exempt from DOT regulations does not mean C5 disregards the health and safety of its drivers. It does mean, however, that safety rules can be adapted to meet the particular workforce where they are, providing a more customized experience.
“We make sure our drivers are healthy and pass DOT physicals,” Ramsden noted.
Ramsden has moved out of the driver’s seat, but his passion to see the duo’s business — and its drivers — succeed has not dwindled.
“Sometimes drivers feel like they’re throwaway people, and we want to make sure that’s not the case,” he said. “America runs on [trucking], and each job really is fulfilling different parts of the supply chain.”
On a practical level, being dedicated to drivers includes making sure they bring home reliable, predictable paychecks. C5 accomplishes this on a weekly basis, giving its drivers the structure they need to best support themselves and their family.
C5 has partnered with OTR Solutions to ensure its drivers get paid over the past four years.
“At our core, OTR Solutions is committed to bringing trusted and value-driven factoring solutions to the transportation industry,” according to the OTR website. “As we continue to develop new and innovative solutions for our clients, delivering fast and reliable cash flow, an unmatched level of customer service and an unwavering commitment to our clients’ success will always remain.”
OTR Solutions sets itself apart through its true non-recourse approach to factoring. Unlike most factoring companies, OTR will absorb the risk of unpaid invoices, including those from customers who are still in business, which is where traditional non-recourse factoring programs offered by other companies fall short. This makes it easier for companies like C5 to navigate their finances and balance budgets. It also makes it easier for companies to part ways with OTR, should they ever need to do so.
This stands in stark contrast to C5’s former factoring partner. When Ramdsen tried to part ways with that company, it made it nearly impossible by using outstanding invoices to tie up C5’s capital.
OTR helped C5 navigate that difficult situation, and the two have been strong partners ever since.
“They made the process smooth in a very stressful time,” Ramsden said.
While leaving OTR would certainly be easier than parting ways with its last partner, Ramsden has no plans to say goodbye anytime soon.
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