It’s almost cliché by now, but there was a time recently when nearly all startup entrepreneurs were touting their newest “Uber for X” ideas. Uber for Massage. Uber for Dog Walking. Uber for Pot Delivery (actually, there a several of those).
At a valuation over $50 billion, who could blame founders for wanting to recreate the Uber magic in their niche. The temptation is even stronger in the trucking world, including dump trucks.
At Dauber, we are often described by outsiders as “Uber for Dump Trucks.” While we appreciate the attempt to describe our business in broad terms, we simply reject that label.
Uber for Dump Trucks is Bad for the Dump Truck Industry!
Any company who describes themselves as “Uber for Dump Trucks” is either:
1. Ignorant on how the Uber business model really works, or
2. Actively trying to steal your drivers, owner-operators and customers
How the Uber Business Model Really Works
UberCab, now known as Uber, was founded in 2009 by Garrett Camp and Travis Kalinick. Originally, their idea was to create an app to order black car services easier. They quickly learned that there was a huge need for an alternative to the traditional yellow taxi cab business.
For the nearly 100 years, hailing a taxi cab was one of the only ways to get around a city when traveling. It was a universally dreadful experience. Riders struggled with fighting to hail a cab on the street or hoping it showed up when scheduled. The cabs were dirty. They typically required cash payment (it seems every card machine in a cab is broken). Cab drivers expected tips even though they lacked customer service skills.
Uber’s proposition was, why deal with a taxi cab when there are millions of cars owned by regular people who might be willing the drive travelers to their destination?
And since people were already accustomed to paying for transportation, Uber could charge a traveler, take a fee, and then pay the driver. Nearly a decade later Uber has become a household term. Travelers win with a more enjoyable experience and services providers (drivers) win with a new way to make money. Uber is the big winner as it makes money by being in the pay flow. The biggest losers are the taxi cab companies (think legacy fleets and brokers).
The Taxi Model vs Uber Model
How the Dump Truck Industry is Like the Taxi Industry
In hindsight, its easy to see how the taxi cab industry was set up for major disruption. Taxi companies did not believe they needed to innovate. Their customers were used to a poor experience, so why invest in customer service.
It is a cautionary tale for the dump truck industry.
In the dump truck business, there has been very little innovation. Over a million loads per day are completed and accounted for using paper tickets. These tickets cause unnecessary accounting overhead for both the dump truck companies and their customers. And, unfortunately, most dump truck customers (material suppliers and contractors), would describe their experiences with dump trucks as poor. If honest, they’d call dump trucks a pain in the a–.
Just like the taxicab industry, the dump truck industry is showing the same unwillingness to change, to adopt new technology and improve customer service.
How the Dump Truck Industry Has Been Protected from the Uber Business Model
There is one fundamental difference between the taxi cab industry and dump truck industry that has protected it from major disruption thus far. Vehicles owned by regular people, who don’t need special licensing, can provide substantially the same services as taxi cabs. There are millions of people with personal cars compared to thousands of licensed cabs. In fact, since there are so many potential service providers, Uber has been able to treat their drivers poorly and maximize their fees.
On the other hand, all drivers in the dump truck industry are required to hold a commercial driver’s license and the cost to purchase and maintain a dump truck is prohibitive for someone looking for a side job. This buffer against the power of the Uber business model may be short lived. As many dump truck fleet owners try to limit the regulatory and legal exposure of owning trucks, they are selling their assets and relying more on owner operators to provide services.
As dump truck companies become brokers, they open the door for the Uber for Dump Trucks business model.
Just like the taxi cab industry, the dump truck industry is showing the same unwillingness to change, to adopt new technology and improve customer service.
How to Tell if You Are Being Threatened by An Uber for Dump Trucks
We often get calls from trucking companies because a new technology company has come into their market. Sometimes these companies blatantly advertise that they are Uber for Dump Trucks. If you value your customers, owner operators and drivers, stay away from these companies.
Other technology companies are more discrete and will avoid the Uber label, but are still following the Uber business model. If approached by such a company, just ask them these two questions:
1. Do you now, or have you ever, owned a trucking company as part of your technology? If yes, beware.
2. Who pays you, me or my customer? If your customer, beware. There’s an old saying in the tech world, “If you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product.”
Still not sure if Uber for Dump Trucks is in your market, give us a call and we’ll help.
Dauber Was Built To Protect The Dump Truck Industry
At Dauber, we believe in protecting the dump truck industry from the fate of the yellow cab taxi business. With Dauber, it is possible to optimize your fleet, increase your efficiency and become more profitable all without stealing drivers and operators from each other and while avoiding the pitfalls of the Uber business model.
We believe that Dauber’s app is the right technology to re-imagine the dump truck industry in a way that benefits everyone.
Our mission is to treat drivers and fleet owners with respect and give them the freedom and tools needed to increase their quality of life.
If you’re ready for your customers to love working with you (no pain in the a– here) and hope for a day where your drivers actually enjoy their work, reach out to us. There’s a good chance Dauber is the solution you’ve been searching for.