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When Life Partners Become Business Partners

Couples who are Agency Co-Owners

To open one's own business is a journey unto itself. And while taking the first steps can be daunting, the results are often worth the work. What's more, those initial steps are made even easier with the support of a reliable partner.

In the case of Landstar's independent freight agents, many have found their spouse to be not only the perfect life partner but the perfect business partner, too.

Three married couples who co-own their agencies shared their experiences on how and why they started, as well as how they make their shared personal and business endeavors work.

From Recession To Succession: Mike and Brenda Hoover, MicBee Transportation

You might say Mike and Brenda Hoover owe part of their success story as independent Landstar freight agents to the Great Recession. After launching into financial uncertainty, they decided that opening an agency together was the best way to forge ahead into the future.

Now, after 35 years of marriage and nearly 14 years of owning and operating MicBee Transportation, they plan to eventually pass the business down to their son and daughter.

How did you get started, and why did you decide to work together?

MicBee Transportation Owners, Mike and Brenda Hoover

Brenda: We first decided to join Landstar in 2009 and later became an LLC in 2012. The economy was in the tank. It was bad, and we both worked for different companies. I lost my job in January 2009, then Mike lost his in February. Mike had a CDL at the time, so he took a local job driving trucks. His sister, who was working under another prospective Landstar agency then, had encouraged us to become Landstar agents. At first, we thought it was crazy. We only had a computer, a phone and a fax machine. We started making cold calls, and that's where it took off. We moved our first load within 
30 days.

How do you divide your responsibilities?

Brenda: He came from the trucking side of it, so he knows heavy haul and equipment and how to handle truck drivers. I came from the administrative side, so I handle the dispatch and back-office tasks. But we like to make sales calls together when we can. We do work the same hours at the same location. Otherwise, our son, Canon, works with us full-time. We also have a part-time college student working with us during summers and college breaks.

What advice do you have for couples who want to pursue careers together as co-agents?

Mike: Laugh together. Cry together. We're glad we started the agency; we were always looking for something we could do together. If you start now, the potential is unlimited. The possibilities are out there. It’s a really great opportunity for anybody who wants to work with their spouse. You have the time and flexibility for growth.

Mixing Professional Careers with Personal Lives: Carrie and Matt Bouback, The Bouback Group

When they’re not flexing their industry knowledge running The Bouback Group as independent Landstar agents, Carrie and Matt are flexing their muscles at their second business: a fitness facility called Reign XT. In fact, they joined forces for this first business venture prior to joining Landstar. Thus, it provided the foundation for blending personal and professional skills to carry them into the freight agency space.

Today, Matt is in charge of the sales processes as well as day-to-day contact with their customers, while Carrie researches new business and handles the administrative responsibilities. When they’re ready, the married couple of 25 years dreams of passing their transportation business on to one of their two daughters.

The Bouback Group Owners, Matt and Carrie Bouback

How did you get started, and why did you decide to work together?

Matt: I've been in transportation since 2006. I started with another company as an account executive, and I worked my way up to be a national sales manager before leaving. Eventually, I was recruited by Landstar. However, in a one-person operation, you need to find a way to handle both sales and operations roles, so I recruited Carrie to help me. We balance each other out.

How do you get along while working so closely?

Carrie: We run two businesses together, and that’s why it works. One of my favorite aspects of working together is the fact that we share an office. We get along well; we spend 90% of our day together, and we don’t fight. We’ve managed it quite effectively. We like being together.

What advice do you have for couples who want to pursue careers together as co-agents?

Matt: I think patience is important. Make sure you both have clear, defined roles, and make sure you know what your strengths and weaknesses are. We’re in tune. She knows what I need. If I’m stressed out, she takes the helm. If she’s stressed out, I take the helm.

Building on a Solid Foundation: Colleen and DJ Warden, Express X D&C, Inc.

Despite having only two years under their belts running Express X D&C, Inc., Colleen and DJ Warden have a clear vision for the future of their business. They say they're not in it for personal income; rather, they’re invested in building something stable for their daughter and grandchildren.

After 20 years of marriage, the two remain committed to the entrepreneurial spirit that led them to work 
side-by-side at the agency, aiming to build a business with longevity that aligns naturally with the future 
they envision.

How did you get started, and why did you decide to work together?

Express X D&C, Inc. Owners, DJ and Colleen Warden

DJ: Before Landstar, Colleen had been in multiple businesses, and I was in management. Then, I was an independent Landstar owner-operator for several years and reached a time when my wife wanted me off the road. l also needed to for health reasons, so we both thought, “Why don’t we try to open a Landstar agency together?”

How do you get along while working so closely?

Colleen: Our skill sets are different. The difference in what we do – sales and operations – means we tend to not always understand each other very well. It’s a weird old battle, but because of those different experiences, I defer to him on some business matters, while he defers to me on others. We don’t always agree, but we always work it out. Our distinct roles are exactly what we need. We have to look at each other's perspective.

What advice do you have for couples who want to pursue careers together as co-agents?

DJ: Listen. Listen to the other person, know what you're doing and work to each other's strengths, not negativity.

Colleen: The work will consume you, so remember what comes first: your family.




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