how to grow a trucking company

Posted & filed under Carrier Connection, England Carrier Services.

Today, there are more than 750,000 active motor carriers in the United States. Of those carriers, 95.8% have ten or fewer trucks. 99.7% have fewer than 100.

In a competitive, volatile, and ever-evolving market, growing a successful trucking company can feel challenging. Even when established, maintaining your earned growth can be even more difficult.

C.R. England has been a perennial example of what makes a tenacious trucking company. Having just celebrated 100 years, the company’s story is a fantastic lesson to aspiring truckers looking to expand their business.

In this special edition of Carrier Connection, we review the story of C.R. England: How a farm boy from Plain City, Utah, grew a trucking giant.


How C.R. England Grew through a Depression, a World War, and Deregulation

The success of C.R. England was not by happenstance. Through a century of challenges, C.R. England’s success was proven by two overarching skills:


  1. The ability to overcome hurdles

  2. The ability to seize opportunities


There have been ample challenges and opportunities in the last 100 years of world history.


Overcoming Hurdles


how to grow a trucking company

Chester behind the wheel in the early days of C.R. England.


Chester R. England was no stranger to adversity. Having grown up on a farm in Plain City, Utah, Chester became familiar with hard work and occasional disappointment in his farming experience.

Despite the hardships of trucking, Chester demonstrated remarkable resourcefulness as he battled obstacle after obstacle. Here are only a few examples.

  • When Chester’s first reefer proved unreliable, he placed ice and a fan over the produce to keep it fresh.
  • Through the hardship of the Great Depression, Chester and his family persevered by continuing to offer their service despite the difficulty, holding on to their grit to make it through.
  • During World War II, sons Gene and Bill sold their cigarette rations to continue to support the business.
  • When potato hauling was abruptly halted in the 1950s, Chester turned to alternative markets like bananas and other produce to make up for the loss.
  • When the trucking industry was deregulated in the 1980s, 90 of the top 100 largest carriers went out of business as rates fell. Rather than give in, C.R. England was among the first adopters of modern communication technology to facilitate greater growth.

Though today’s market has its challenges, the C.R. England story demonstrates the value of tenacity in the face of difficulty. Where so many other trucking companies left the market, C.R. England relied on its resourcefulness and love of trucking to make it through.


Seizing Opportunities


how to grow a trucking company

Gene England, 104 years old, still visits the office in Salt Lake City, Utah.


C.R. England didn’t just grit their teeth to success; they identified opportunities and sought to innovate trucking through the years. Here are a few ways that C.R. England made the best of the market.

  • In the 1950s, C.R. England changed trucking by introducing a 72-hour service. This promise came at a time when there were no interstates, and all roads had only two lanes.
  • During the 1960s, C.R. England knew that it couldn’t keep its eggs in one basket—it needed other freight, too. After offering a greater variety of cargo, business continued to increase.
  • With the introduction of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, C.R. England immediately increased shipping to the Mexican border. Today, this rapid pivot has enabled cross-border shipping that is integral to modern business.
  • When the trucking industry began to garner a reputation for high turnover rates, C.R. England identified a need to improve the trucker’s experience. In response, C.R. England introduced more comfortable cabins, rest centers, and driving schools to promote the well-being of the truckers.
  • More recently, C.R. England identified reducing idling as an opportunity to reduce expenses and aid the environment. Heaters and idle-limiting software were introduced in C.R. England trucks to reduce costs drastically.

Even after 100 years of service, C.R. England is still one of the largest trucking companies in the United States. By emulating C.R. England’s ability to overcome hurdles and capitalize on market opportunities, other trucking companies can enjoy growth and rise above the market’s headwinds.


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