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Success from Landstar's BCO Mentor Program
Benefits of the Landstar Owner-Operator Mentor Program
Landstar business capacity owners (BCOs) have a reputation for their entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to safe driving and professionalism. When an owner-operator becomes a Landstar BCO, the term used for independent owner-operators under exclusive lease agreements, they are given the support, tools and resources needed to nourish their independent businesses and keep them on the road to success.
In a letter to Gregg Nelson, Landstar Transportation Logistics vice president of BCO retention, Landstar BCO Jason Jennings penned the benefits of Landstar’s mentor program.
"My name is Jason Jennings. I have been leased to Landstar since December 2018 and want to say thank you to my Landstar BCO mentors, Bill Ater and Robert Boyle.
Before joining Landstar, I asked my recruiter if there was a driver that I could talk to so I could compare potential operating costs. The recruiter put me in touch with a driver who then put me in touch with Bill and Robert within two days of my request. I thank God that she did, because a lot of costly, business-sinking mistakes have been thwarted as a result of my friendship with Bill and Robert.
This is that story..."
In the next seven pages of his letter, Jennings includes each detail of his decision process that led him to lease to Landstar, purchase a truck and run his business with the guidance and advice of knowledgeable BCO mentors.
“The most important thing about running your own business is knowing your costs,” says Landstar BCO Robert Boyle. “Jason was at an advantage when he leased to Landstar because he knew all of his operating costs. He shared a spreadsheet with me that detailed every cost to run his business, then I helped him flesh it out based on what I use to track my own business expenses.”
“When I first spoke to Jason, I could tell right away that he was very smart, had good business sense and was going to be a great BCO, but he needed to learn more about the trucking industry,” says Bill Ater, Landstar Million Mile Safe Driver and Roadstar® honoree. “With his background as a company driver, Jason had no knowledge of running a business as an owner-operator and he didn’t have enough education about the mechanics of a truck or how to fix one.”
Ater and Boyle started mentoring Jennings about leasing to Landstar almost immediately. They discussed the Landstar technology tools Jennings would have access to as an independent owner operator, how to track business expenses, the benefits of networking with independent Landstar agents, and how to take care of his equipment. But first, Jennings needed equipment – to be an independent Landstar BCO, he needed to buy a truck.
“While I was a company driver, I saved all of my money. I was ready to buy. And I listened to my mentors about what kind of truck I should buy,” explains Jennings. “After I purchased a used Freightliner, I hadn’t even met Bill in person yet, and he had me drive it right to his yard and park it so he could check it out for me.”
“Jason got a nice used truck for a fair price,” says Ater. “I was happy to help him find a truck that was similar to mine, so I could also teach him some of the basic mechanic skills he would need to keep his trucking running.”
With keys to his own truck, an exclusive lease agreement and his BCO mentors just a phone call away, Jennings was ready to pull his first load.
“I have always loved trucking, but I fell in love with the business even more while learning from Bill and Robert. They changed my perspective on what is possible for my business,” says Jennings. “I love being out on the road, working on my truck and being an independent owner-operator.”
“No matter what your profession – an owner-operator, a sales agent, a professional athlete – we all need a coach, an example or a mentor to get better than the status quo,” says Nelson. “The Landstar BCOs who are involved in the mentor program are experienced and successful owner operators. BCO mentees, like Jason, directly benefit from the experience of a mentor who knows the Landstar system and can provide tips and industry-related advice.”
Looking back at his first year as an owner-operator leased to Landstar, Jennings says the journey wasn’t easy, but the knowledge he gained from his mentors he’ll use throughout his career as a professional truck driver.
“When I listened to their advice, it worked. I value everything they taught me. In fact, everything I learned from them I use daily, and I pay it forward by sharing their advice with other BCOs I meet,” says Jennings. “No one strikes gold their first year, but I have a healthy perspective on where my business is going.”
In closing his letter to Gregg Nelson, Jennings shared more of his perspective as a new BCO and the advantages available to independent owner-operators in the Landstar network.
"If I had to offer one piece of advice to any new owner-operator with Landstar, it would be to get yourself a Bill Ater or Robert Boyle as soon as possible!!! What every owner-operator needs is someone who has knowledge, someone that has stood the test of time, loves what they do and is willing and able to mentor. I’ve seen a lot of folks talk about strategies for business, but I have actual results from the advice Bill and Robert give me every day. Because of Bill and Robert, I know I can make it through whatever gets thrown at me on this journey."
The Landstar BCO Mentor Program, initiated in 2018, is intended to provide independent owner operator mentees support and guidance in developing valuable skills and positive relationships within the Landstar system. The program allows mentors to use their experience and wisdom, or in other words, pay it forward.
If you are a Landstar BCO interested in becoming a mentor or mentee please email: BCOBizHelp@Landstar.com.
For more information about the opportunities available for independent owner-operators at Landstar, please visit www.LeaseToLandstar.com.