Virtual trucking company CloudTrucks has rolled out Road to Independence, a program for experienced drivers looking to transition to owner-operators. 

The company has partnered with Premier Truck Group, CrossRoads Leasing and OTR Leasing to create lease-to-own programs to help drivers get the equipment needed to start their own trucking businesses, something CloudTrucks co-founder and CEO Tobenna Arodiogbu discovered can be difficult for company drivers to navigate themselves.

“Most of us in Silicon Valley were focused on the driver shortage problem and how to automate the vehicle. But then you talk to the owner-operators and all of the problems they were facing in the business of trucking and that’s when I thought, ‘What if we just built a product to help owner-operators with the business aspects of trucking?’” Arodiogbu told FreightWaves.

Arodiogbu said he met with a number of drivers and began to realize there were so many areas new owner-operators have to navigate — everything from compliance to permits to maintaining positive cash flow.

One of his most eye-opening experiences came in talking to Chad Boblett, a veteran, experienced driver and the moderator of the largest Facebook trucking forum, Rate Per Mile Masters. Chad had years of driving experience, and at the time of meeting Arodiogbu, was finding it difficult to transition to his own business.

“I want to have all the freedom of an owner-operator but also will have a lot of overhead costs because I’m just one person,” explained Boblett in an interview with FreightWaves. “I told Tobenna this is what the industry needs, the industry needs a place for someone that’s looking to become a [successful] owner-operator.”

Through Road to Independence, CloudTrucks is making obtaining an actual truck easier. Experienced drivers who meet the program’s requirements have the ability to lease onto CloudTrucks’ authority and receive equipment within two to four weeks with no money down.

In addition, for drivers under its authority, CloudTrucks handles insurance payments, load booking and document submission. 

“We wanted to have the very best support team for when the drivers run into any problems on the road,” said Arodiogbu. “If we bring as many owner-operators together as possible and we provide them with support, then their operating costs will go down and their revenue will go up because we’ve built all of this technology to help them make better decisions.”

This business plan helped CloudTrucks secure $20.5 million Series A funding in December, which has enabled the company to create a suite of technology, including Schedule Optimizer to make the most of the driver’s hours of service and the CT Cash card program, which allows for instant payments on a Visa card free of charge. 

“Trucking is one of the greatest jobs in America to support your family and make a really good living,” Arodiogbu explained. “What we were starting to see is folks who have been company drivers for many years run into the problem that … you have the skills, you have good credit, but the dealership wants to know your business plan and if you are going to succeed. And if they don’t know how to do that, they stay in a driving job that they might not like. This program is our attempt at solving that problem.”

Click here for more articles by Grace Sharkey.

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