‘It was meant to be’: Nationwide Transport creating new trucking line in La Grange

Nationwide Transport

Owner Andrew Eisenbeiss, left, and dispatcher Shawn Emerick stand in front of their Nationwide Transport trucks in La Grange, Mo. | Ron Kinscherf

La GRANGE, Mo. — Andrew Eisenbeiss grew up in a trucking family. His father drove for years, and his grandfather drove into his 70s.

“I’ve been around truck driving since I was a little kid,” he said.

Eisenbeiss now is taking things a step further. After nearly 20 years in the industry, he recently created Nationwide Transport, based in La Grange.

“I wanted to break away and be able to run my own company and do it the way I want to do it,” he said.

Eisenbeiss found four and a half acres with the perfect setup — a new unused building with a garage and a bay door. Discovering the location was like divine intervention.

“Everything along the lines, from when we decided to do this and take the big jump into this, has felt like it was meant to be,” Eisenbeiss said. “Everything has kind of felt that way. It’s just kind of happened, how it should happen. It felt perfect the entire way. It’s just like everything clicked.”

Nationwide Transport has seven drivers and 10 trucks in less than a month. One of the challenges Eisenbeiss faces is the balance of new customers and finding drivers for those customers.

“We don’t want to have the business and then not have a driver to do it and then fail for the customer,” Eisenbeiss said. “But we don’t want to hire the driver and then have him looking at us with nothing to do. Right now, we’re just in that small growth pattern of a little bit more each week. Once we add another driver, we can go after a little bit more business. 

“We have to know our limits because we don’t want to fail for the customer. That’s our number one goal … a happy driver and a happy customer. We don’t want to fail either one of them.”

Eisenbeiss is aware of the challenge of keeping drivers.

The American Trucking Association says trucking is an extremely tight labor market. Drivers are in high demand today, a fact exacerbated by COVID. To attract and retain drivers, fleets must increase pay — which is happening at extraordinary levels. Weekly driver earnings are surging at a rate more than five times their historical average — up more than 25 percent for long-haul, truckload drivers since the beginning of 2019. Fleets also are offering sizable sign-on bonuses as all of them compete for the same limited pool of drivers.

Over-the-road driving has become one of the fastest routes to a middle-class lifestyle without a college degree. 

Eisenbeiss has a game plan to retain his drivers. based on his life experiences. 

“A lot of these guys, they’re gone a lot,” he said. “I dealt with it in my life. My dad was gone all week. I think being appreciated for what they do and what they sacrifice is a huge deal. When you throw in new equipment, good pay and good benefits, I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Despite having just started this journey, Eisenbeiss is encouraged by what he has heard.

“People in the industry have reached out and given us nothing but support. They’ve said they think that we’re going to be very successful,” he said. “It makes us feel really good. We’re going to do it the right way, and that we have this support means the world to us.”

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