Trucker Tools recently had the opportunity to speak with Grace Maher, OTR Capital’s Vice President and Director of Operations, about the company’s new integration partnership with Trucker Tools. In our conversation with Ms. Maher, we learned more about OTR Capital’s beginnings, the company’s focus on carrier service and success, and why Trucker Tools is the right partner for the organization. Ms. Maher also spoke about the value of OTR Capital’s back office support services and the challenges that carriers have faced this year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you for speaking with us today. To start, can you tell us about OTR Capital and how the company got its start?

“OTR Capital is nine years old. We started in 2011 with a transportation-focused background. Our company was built on the idea that we’d provide the best service in the industry and be dedicated to helping carriers succeed and I think we’ve maintained that as a core value for the company all of these years.”

What makes Trucker Tools a good partner for OTR Capital?

“We continue to run our business based on the idea that we want carriers to value OTR Capital as a strategic partner. That’s why we found Trucker Tools – because COVID had hit, freight was scarce and our carriers needed more options. We really loved the idea of digital freight matching and the fact that Trucker Tools is so focused on carrier success, as well. So our values and respective missions aligned there, but there also are so many great brokers working with Trucker Tools that we can provide a lot of different freight options to the many different carriers that we serve. Trucker Tools specializes in the owner operator segment of the industry and OTR Capital does, as well.”

Does OTR Capital focus on any specific markets or fleet sizes?

“OTR doesn’t just focus on mid to large-sized fleets, although we have many. We love servicing our owner operators and treat the one-truck guys just as well as we treat the 300-truck fleet. We will work with any type of carrier, from the one-truck new authority to the established five-truck company to fleets of all sizes. We also work with established brokers and 3PLs. We have a team dedicated to servicing our carriers. It’s very relationship-based, so we can build long-lasting relationships with all of our carriers.”

Can you tell us about the back office support services that you offer to trucking companies, as well as brokers?

“Absolutely. What we call back office support is almost the back office, period. We’re not just support, we can actually be the back office. Our back office support services allow companies to focus on procuring new customers and getting more freight. Businesses are starting to see the value of outsourcing more. When I talk to a company about our back office services, I ask, “How much is this costing your company? How well do you think you do it? Do you think you can do it more efficiently by adding more overhead or do you think you can do it more efficiently by outsourcing?”

OTR Capital can handle back office support for you with excellent communication and streamlined services. You don’t have to worry about it. It’s what we do. You don’t have to train anybody. You can literally just outsource these back office responsibilities and burdens. We’ve got automated processes ourselves, so it’s not just manual tasks. We’re getting smarter and more technologically efficient, ourselves, and can just do it better.”

What do you think the trucking industry can learn from COVID-19?

“COVID-19 has shown us that truckers care about who they’re hauling for and how they’re treated. When rates got really low earlier this year because there wasn’t much freight, it was an opportunity for brokers to really show whether they were going to take care of carriers or not. There was an opportunity there at the beginning of the pandemic when freight was scarce to pay carriers a lot less. If you were on any kind of social media during that time, it became clear that carriers really took a beating.

Relationships absolutely matter and they matter to the carriers who run freight. They’re the backbone of the country. We talk about the health care workers being essential, but I’m not sure there was enough talk about all the carriers out on the road running supplies during that time, as well, while everyone was at home. Carriers remember how they’re treated and everyone wants to be appreciated for the job that they do. Trucking is not an easy job. It was very hard for us to see carriers that who’d been doing this for a very long time struggle and to see some go out of business because they just couldn’t make it on those rates.

That was really unfortunate and, again, one of the reasons why we partnered with Trucker Tools. We were scrambling, trying to find options for our carriers. With our partnership with Trucker Tools, we can put more freight options in front of our carriers that are good paying loads. Before that, on some of the loads, our carriers couldn’t even afford to buy a sandwich or a cup of coffee by the time they delivered.

That was a tough period. Some brokers were arguing that, well, the market shifts and sometimes it’s the carriers’ time to make more money on rates. But it’s never the same. Brokers never take the same hit that the carriers take. It’s harder for carriers to band together because they don’t necessarily have the same networks that brokers do. There’s always a carrier willing to take a load. The brokers that don’t take advantage of carriers during times like that, they garner a lot of respect. I understand that brokers need to pay attention to margins and that giving a carrier an extra $200 takes away from the broker’s margin, but is $200 worth the carrier never wanting to work with you again? That happens all the time.”

If you’d like to learn more about our partnership with OTR Capital, read Integration Partner Highlight: OTR Capital. To download the Trucker Tools’ driver app, which includes digital freight matching and in-app load booking with Book It Now®, visit https://www.truckertools.com/web/carriers/.