This story originally appeared in Convoy’s “The Future of Freight,” featuring 40 thoughtfully curated pages on supply chain disruption, freight procurement, market volatility, and more. Read the full issue.
Technology has turned Thomas Singletary’s Tithing Transport into a top-performing carrier, helping him grow his business and give back to his community. Of more than 3 million truck drivers on the road today, 90% are small carriers and owner-operators just like Thomas. Are you tapping into this capacity?
Small carriers are the backbone of the American supply chain. More than 90% of the nation’s 3 million truck drivers are small carriers and owner-operators running six trucks or fewer. Yet, they often face greater challenges than their larger counterparts, such as lack of access to quality loads from enterprise shippers, uncertainty about where their next job will come from, and unfair financial treatment.
But this is changing. Technology is improving their quality of life and affording them the same opportunities as large trucking companies. When given such opportunities, small trucking companies leave a lasting impression on the industry and their communities. One such company is Tithing Transport LLC, owned by Thomas Singletary.
As the son of a truck driver, Thomas was introduced to the industry early and officially earned his CDL in 2005. But after seven years of driving, in 2012, Thomas fell on hard times. He faced mental health issues and experienced homelessness. He stepped away from driving. “When I was at my lowest, there were people who didn’t even know me who showed kindness and tried to help me turn my life around,” he said. “And it lit a fire under me to find a way to give back to others who were also struggling.”
With the support of his community, Thomas worked to get back on his feet. He found a job and started saving. It was his now-wife who convinced him to get back on the road. Thomas started over with a small box truck running local loads. Eventually, he upgraded to a 53-foot trailer, then another one. With the hiring of a second full-time driver, Tithing Transport was born in 2015. Since then, Tithing Transport has grown to five trucks and eight employees.
“Without today’s technology, we would not have been able to grow the way we have,” Thomas said — words that pack a punch considering he knows what it was like from the days of his father driving. Bidding on desirable lanes, planning routes weeks in advance, ensuring his backhauls are full, and monitoring driver performance have all fueled his growth. “One thing that is incredibly helpful about Convoy’s technology is that I can view our carrier scorecard and share feedback with my drivers,” said Thomas, “so we can continue to improve our service and gain access to even more loads.”
Tithing Transport is a high-performing carrier with Convoy, maintaining 100% app usage, high on-time pickup, and zero cancellations. This high performance isn’t an anomaly. Convoy’s digital freight network monitors performance in a way that traditional brokers and carriers can’t, and automatically rewards higher performers with a better win rate on the loads they bid on. It creates self-reinforcing behavior that improves the quality of the entire network.
Despite Thomas’ success, he never forgot the kindness he was shown at his lowest. “The name Tithing represents the idea of giving back to my community, and that’s what I hope to do through my business and community service.” As he saw facilities sending imperfect shipments — water, granola bars, personal care products, and more — to landfills, Thomas knew there was a better way. “Why send products to the landfills when they could be used to help people in our communities?” He began working with shippers to donate the items. “Shippers have the opportunity to do the right thing,” he said. They also get tax benefits from their donations. Now, when he gets an imperfect shipment, Thomas contacts the shipper and offers to donate the goods to food banks and other donation sites in the San Antonio area, the most impoverished major city in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
It can be easy for large shippers and brokers to overlook carriers like Tithing Transport. Even the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not account for owner-operators in its monthly jobs reports. But owner-operators and small carriers are the answer to today’s capacity constraints, and digital freight networks like Convoy are bridging the gap. When given opportunity and resources, small carriers deliver for shippers because truck driving isn’t just a job; it’s their livelihood. For Thomas, it’s his life’s work.