The story of how Jovanic Bontemps’ Long Island-based trucking company, FR8UP Logistics, got started isn’t your typical one. Jovanic is an IT professional who, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, went all in on trucking. After hearing from his trucker friends about the high demand for reefer and van capacity, Jovanic launched his trucking company in July of this year. Trucker Tools recently had the opportunity to speak with Jovanic to learn more about what it’s been like to start a new trucking business this year as a newcomer to the industry. 

Why Trucking?

Jovanic has been working full-time in the IT industry for the last 16 years and continues to do so, but he says he’s been fascinated by trucks since he was a kid. Jovanic worked as an IT consultant for UPS for two years, where he got his first taste of the transportation industry. In his consultant role with UPS, Jovanic saw firsthand the massive influx of packages during peak shipping season, which made an impression on him. That experience combined with the success that two of his trucker friends have had this year convinced him to pull the trigger on his business. Jovanic used money he’d been saving to start his trucking company, FR8UP Logistics, just a few short months ago. 

“Trucking jumped out to me as a recession proof industry,” Jovanic said. “No matter what, people need to get things from point A to point Z. We’re a small company. We’re fresh and we’re new, but we’re excited.”

Building a Trucking Business

Jovanic began building his team when he hired a dispatcher with 30 years of experience. Jovanic leans on his dispatcher for industry knowledge and his existing relationships in the business. Jovanic sees his relationship with his dispatcher like a mentorship and says his dispatcher’s willingness to answer his questions has been invaluable. Jovanic hired a driver who is relatively new to trucking because she is a team-player, hungry for success, flexible and patient. 

“We are one of the COVID-born businesses,” said Jovanic. “People are looking for new ways to reinvent themselves and to secure profit outside of corporate America. People are looking to pay themselves. Our investment in ourselves was this business.”

Jovanic continues to work full-time in IT as a systems administrator and says his partners also are gainfully employed outside the trucking business, which he sees as a strategic advantage. Currently, Jovanic has one truck running load out trailers, but recently finalized two lease agreements with owner operators who will run under the company’s MC number. Jovanic’s goal is for the business to sustain itself and to quickly scale up his number of trucks. He hopes the company will grow into a local or regional operation where drivers love to work because they can be home every night, be paid well and get the good benefits that larger companies often offer. 

Lessons Learned 

At present, FR8UP Logistics is using load-out trailers. With load-out trailers, you get paid a small fee to transport the trailer to a destination in seven to 10 days. In that time span, you can use the trailer to move loads, provided you get it to the final destination on time. According to Jovanic, this has worked in the short term for the new business, but the time it takes to pick up and drop off load-out trailers eats up a lot of time. With load-out trailers, you’re also restricted by geography because you have to stay relatively close to the final destination for the trailer. If he had to do it again, Jovanic says he would have spent less money on his truck and bought a trailer instead. 

Jovanic told us that he’s also learned that you must take into consideration the average rate per mile in the area when you bid on loads and that your bids shouldn’t be based only on the number of miles. One of the other lessons Jovanic has learned in his time in the industry is how important the happiness of drivers is to the success of a trucking business. 

“My driver is making a huge sacrifice to be away from her family for so long,” Jovanic noted. “I realize that if my driver is not happy, we’re not making money. It’s a give and take relationship.”

“My driver is making a huge sacrifice to be away from her family for so long,” Jovanic noted. “I realize that if my driver is not happy, we’re not making money. It’s a give and take relationship.”

To learn more about Jovanic and his trucking company FR8UP Logistics, check out his Instagram or Facebook page.

Looking for more great interviews with folks in the trucking industry? Check out Trucker Roni Bender Talks Technology, Mentoring New Drivers and Why She Loves the Trucker Tools Driver App. To download Trucker Tools’ free driver app, visit https://www.truckertools.com/web/carriers/

Leave a reply