Dawn worked as a school bus driver in spring 2005 when she read a newspaper ad announcing that FedEx Ground had scheduled a one-day meeting at a local hotel for people interested in owning their own business. The requirements were twofold - previous business ownership experience of any sort and a solid credit rating.
Dawn had owned a cosmetology business for fourteen years. She also worked as a postal carrier from time-to-time but turned down a full-time position because she didn’t want to work six days a week - she now laughs.
Dawn and her sister attended the hotel meeting. More than a hundred people packed the hotel conference room. The meeting opened with the message that health insurance would not be offered as part of the deal. According to Dawn, half of the attendees walked out.
Next, the host announced that a drug screen would be required. More people hit the exits.
She and her sister were two of the thirty people remaining at the meeting who completed the ownership application. Dawn returned to driving a school bus assuming she had not been selected.
Her assumption was wrong - she was awarded a territory in late 2005.
A LONG JOURNEY
Dawn began her one-woman P&D operation covering a rural section of northeast Minnesota. She typically completed thirty to forty stops per day.
Months later, she paid $11,000 for a second route in nearby Wisconsin. Then in 2006, FedEx awarded her another territory in Minnesota.
“We certainly didn’t grow as fast back then as people do now,” she explains. “Eventually, FedEx announced that owners were required to run at least three routes, or they had to exit the business. It turned into a feeding frenzy. I simply held onto my three routes,” adds Nyen. “But volume has increased a lot in the last five years. My two areas to the north have grown to eight routes while Wisconsin has doubled,” she declares emphatically.
Those fourteen-years led Dawn to the point of exhaustion and she decided that it would be best to exit the business.
“I was burnt out. I’d lost my drive. I didn’t have the help I needed to keep going in this business. My heart just wasn’t in it anymore.”
In January 2020, Dawn reached out to eTruckBiz to calculate a selling price for her FedEx Ground contracting business. Her increased workload, combined with new compliance rules and regulations (not to mention the required technology) overwhelmed her.
She reveals, “I had made up my mind to either retire altogether or find another job - depending on the value of the business. I told myself that whatever eTruckBiz determines my business is worth will make my decision.”
eTruckBiz evaluated Dawn's business and forecasted that her business would be more valuable by making simple adjustments. In fact, it would dramatically increase by implementing a few processes and systems of accountability.
“I convinced myself to give it one more try. I could still sell it later if I changed my mind. So, I signed up to attend the eTruckBiz conference in Ft. Lauderdale in February 2020 to learn some new ideas.”
Dawn was the only female contractor in her terminal which initially intimidated her. It also prevented her from interacting with the other owners in the terminal.
“I brought a driver with me to the Unboxed event in Florida, so I’d have someone to talk to while I was there. I’d never been in a situation where I was comfortable interacting with other contractors and sharing my experiences. The friendliness of the other conference attendees was great!"
A NEW DAWN RISING
“I hired eTruckBiz to coach me,” she says. Dawn and her eTruckBiz Business Coach met virtually every week in 2020 covering everything about leadership, recruiting, training, and spending her time better.
“I promoted a driver to BC, but he preferred to just keep driving. So, I hired another guy and he’s been great,” she says happily. Her son and husband also help her with recruiting drivers and implementing the new technology requirements. Three months after returning from Florida, her operations were looking up... then COVID-19 hit.
“I bought eight trucks in the course of two months. Right in the middle of all of this, I bought a territory from a struggling contractor in my terminal. Since then, I’ve been non-stop recruiting and hiring,” she reports.
Other contractors are now asking Dawn for advice about growing their own businesses. Plus, FedEx Ground leadership is referencing her company as a shining example to other CSP’s.
“After everything I’ve gone through, I was teary-eyed after a phone call from the Terminal Manager. All the hard work I’ve put in was finally being recognized. To get a pat on the back from FedEx is amazing,” she expresses.
“Guess what else,” she smiles. “I bought a building for my office. I went from wanting to sell this business to buying other contractors’ routes, buying more trucks, and buying a new building...all in 7 months. Who does that?! I’m so glad eTruck talked me into giving it one more chance. There's no stopping me now.”