When you meet Ben Rhoads, he’s so calm, you wouldn’t think police officer, safety inspector, driver who loves heavy haul loads, or father of six children – including three adopted children abandoned by their mother. He’s so laid back and never seems to get ruffled by anything that he comes across more like a pastor or counselor, somebody who tries to be there for others.
Actually, he’s pretty much all of those things.
Ben’s the type of guy that is always looking for opportunities to help others. He started out his career in law enforcement, but his heart always brought him back to driving. His love of children led him to take on the challenges of raising and loving three damaged children. At Bennett, he is a Safety Road Team Captain for Bennett’s Safety Team, a role that involves inspecting the trucks of Bennett drivers he may encounter while on a route. He cherishes the role because he sees it as service to the drivers “to help them be more cautious and avoid violations,” he says.
Ben grew up in a family with nine children, which he credits for his ability to get along with people. Ben started driving brokered heavy haul loads for Bennett as an independent driver before becoming a company driver in 2014 hauling big loads for oil rigs for a Bennett agent. Then he got the bug to have his own business again, bought his own truck and leased on as an owner operator. He has a good reputation with Bennett’s operations managers who view him as reliable and competent, a driver they can really trust.
Ben says that flexibility has helped him go the long haul in professional life, including getting the kinds of heavy haul freight jobs he likes best.
“When I came on, I tried to stick to oversized stuff,” he says. “I like to do heavy haul loads, but I was willing to do anything. I try to be flexible, and that has gone a long way in helping me to get some great freight opportunities.”
5 Flatbed Owner Operator Tips for Being Flexible
Ben shares how to be flexible:
- Be willing to take on loads you don’t want. If somebody asks you to do something, even if it isn’t what you want, look at it as an opportunity to help and you may get a call down the road for a load you really want. Ask yourself, is it really going to hurt me to help with something that I’m not that excited about? You may realize that it will actually help you!
- Look for opportunities to help others, especially drivers. If you’re flexible and help somebody else, you could end up with opportunities you’d never even know about. If you’re going to be a part of the Bennett family, being willing to help each other out sometimes can help you get on someone’s good side. That person may have great loads you know nothing about, some really great freight.
- Be willing to break even every once in a while. Being flexible might mean taking on loads where you just break even, but it can get you to a place where you can get the freight you really want.
- Work with others. In this business, it’s not just about you. If you want good jobs, you need to learn to work with others. Give a little, take a little.
- Be business smart. Being flexible doesn’t mean that you have to sign up for everything that’s tossed at you. You’ve got to be business smart too and not let people take advantage of you, but if you look for ways to be of service, the good jobs will start coming your way.
Ben’s service record of flexibility and willingness to help speak for themselves. When he was still a company driver, a customer told him that he coordinated the smoothest oil rig move (58 loads in four days) that she’s ever had and even asked Ben to run her job site. He was one of the drivers to help out with FEMA loads after the hurricanes and was really there for Bennett when they had a driver in a pinch.
Driving for Bennett
Ben was a heavy haul driver at other companies before coming to Bennett. He didn’t stay long at those companies because he didn’t like how they treated drivers.
“You were pretty much a number and that was it,” he says. “They weren’t thinking about the driver. But here at Bennett, they take care of drivers. They treat you like you’re a human being, not a number. I can talk to anyone by phone and they talk to me by name. Miss Marcia is a sweetheart. I love that woman to death. She has always treated me and other drivers with respect.”