Marena and Ralph Markel chased their dreams early on in life. While Marena was at home raising their children, Ralph drove a floral delivery truck throughout the state where he often spent his weeknights on the road.
One day, while refueling his delivery truck, Ralph struck up a conversation with a FedEx Ground driver at the next pump over who told him that a local route owner happened to be looking for more drivers. Ralph ended up being hired and was finally spending nights at home with his family.
With the help of a silent partner, the couple bought their own FedEx Ground route and trucks in 2005. Ralph drove the delivery truck and performed all required maintenance while Marena handled the paperwork. Soon enough, more ownership opportunities came their way and they experienced steady growth over the next nine years in their P&D operation.
THE DIFFICULT YEARS
During Peak of 2014, the stress of handling a large operation finally began wearing on the couple’s health. Marena had gained weight and was so overwhelmed that she didn’t bother putting up the family’s Christmas tree that year. In fact, she hadn’t put one up for the last two years - because she was so busy.
Their income was being consumed by the business expenses, the fun was gone, and the couple recognized they were in over their heads.
Marena reveals, “Ralph bought two cases of wine before peak. We would share a bottle every night after work just so we could calm down enough to fall asleep.”
She continues, “I was responsible for Human Resources and payroll, too. If I forgot to process the payroll, I had to wire money to employees. That’s expensive. From the day we bought this business, I knew we would eventually sell it, but I didn’t imagine it would be because we were too stressed to keep it going. We needed help and didn’t know where to turn,” conveys Marena.
The Markels discovered eTruckBiz in 2015 when they attended a seminar explaining what needed to change and why.
“We needed a system that combined both the operations and financial sides of our business. We hadn’t thought of the benefits of keeping all our data in one system and we didn’t know eTruckBiz existed."
“When we were making decisions before, it was from a position of fear. Now, because we understand what our data means, we’re making decisions based on what’s right for our business, our employees, and our own well being,” she relates.
In 2018, the Markels hired a full-time manager to run their daily operations allowing them to step back and focus on the financial aspects of their business. They are no longer fighting fires every day and making decisions from a position of fear.
The Markels recently bought a motor home and have started traveling for fun. “We love to drive when we’re not having to drop off packages and hurry, hurry, hurry,” adds Marena. “I’ve lost 35 pounds since we started working with eTruckBiz. Plus, we’re more relaxed and still playing the game.”