Black History Month: How A Black-Owned Trucking Business Has Achieved New Heights
(Updated February 2023)
Thunder Celebrates Black History Month – To honor Black History Month, we are pleased to highlight one exceptional carrier who has been a long standing Thunder Funding client; Mike Johnson from MAJ FreightHaulers and how he has excelled in building his trucking business.
Mike Johnson’s Trucking Journey
Mike Johnson’s trucking journey started since he was a “tiny grasshopper”. Back in the day Mike planned to go to college in his hometown of Chicago. However, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia and his plans changed. He had a management position at a Waffle House for a while. It was at the restaurant where he learned good leadership skills and how to be business savvy. Although he was doing really well, it just wasn’t what he was truly passionate about.
He worked in construction for some time. While working there he got a chance to see the tuckers coming and going from the construction site and noticed how happy they looked all the time. In 1996 he took the plunge and got his first job as a driver. He worked as a company driver for 20 years. During this time he got a chance to talk to a lot of owner-operators and learn about the trucking business. Mike came to understand from his interactions with these business owners that, as a company driver, he was making decent money. However, it was being an owner-operator where the REAL money was at.
Mike did his due diligence and researched as much as he could about owning his own trucking business. Fast-forward to 2017 when he finally opened his own trucking company! When asked if he would’ve done anything differently in the beginning, he said no because he had done his homework and was able to avoid major hiccups along the way.
His advice to people wanting to open their own trucking business is to PREPARE AND DO YOUR RESEARCH! Also make sure you have a support system, like your family and friends, who can keep your spirits high even when things get tough. Trucking is an unforgiving industry so you need to educate yourself as much as you can and keep your expectations in check. You want to remove as many obstacles as you can because “it’s a downward slope once you start losing money”.
Mike’s trucking business continues to expand, but he still keeps all of the admin work up-to-date by himself. With all the technology available like apps, load boards, and accounting software, being a business owner has never been easier.
“The best thing about trucking is the FREEDOM” – Mike Johnson, MAJ Freight Haulers
Commercial Truck Driver Statistics By Race
According to Zippia The Career Expert. There are over 1,369,002 commercial truck drivers in the United States. “The most common ethnicity among commercial truck drivers is White, which makes up 57.2% of all commercial truck drivers. Comparatively, there are 20.0% of the Hispanic or Latino ethnicity and 13.7% of the Black or African American ethnicity.” This statistic might look a bit underwhelming but it has increase by 25% in the last 19 years. In many cases the trucking profession is introduced as a family business. Many drivers begin their careers in the trucking industry because relatives were also truck drivers.
Although there aren’t as many older truck drivers to serve as mentors for the next generation, there are people who are trying to change that. Shenika Carter from Aurora, Colorado who co-owns Carter Truck Driver Academy, which might be the nation’s only Black-owned truck driving school, says “We do things that are unheard of in our industry- with compassion for people, compassion for humanity, welcoming all ethnicities, all genders.” You can read the rest of this article here.
So no matter your race, gender or background the trucking industry is always growing and evolving and as Mike’s story reveals, hard work and a willingness to keep learning and adapting can take your dreams and business to new heights!
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