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I once left TruckSmarter Factoring. Why I won't make that mistake again.

TruckSmarter

May 10, 2024

Nicole Hayes is a 27-year truck driving veteran who has a lot of love for the trucking community, and a lot to say about the current landscape for truck drivers. Nicole is a loyal TruckSmarter factoring customer with an interesting twist: She left our factoring program, then came back. 

Our low freight factoring rate of 2.5% and lightning-fast pay (half of our invoices are paid in under 2 hours) are just a couple of the reasons Nicole loves being a TruckSmarter customer. But the number one reason is transparency. “I've been factoring loads almost every day. And I just never have a problem,” Nicole said. Really important to her is “being able to call and get in touch and ask questions” and not having to wait—like she did with the other guys—to get an answer.

We chatted with Nicole and asked her to tell us more about herself, why she left TruckSmarter and what made her switch back. We lightly condensed our chat below, but she is so eloquent we wanted to let her words speak for themselves. Read on for her first-person story. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Meet Nicole Hayes

My name is Nicole Hayes, and my company name is TreeStone Transportation, LLC.

I'm based out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 

I drive a 95’ International 9400 Super Sleeper. Her name is Peppermint Patty.

I haul general freight. I've been driving for 27 years.

I love this job.

Trucking takes her places

My grandfather drove trucks. And I rode with him every summer. 

I am a teacher by education. I used art to teach the curriculum. When they started cutting these programs out of schools, my grandfather's friend said, if you get a CDL, you can always name your own price. And he called Schneider Trucking School for me.

Through trucking, I’ve been able to go to every state in the United States. I've been to Canada, Mexico…I've seen the Painted Mountains. I've driven through places in a truck that I probably would have never gone to in my life.

And no matter how many times I go to the same place, it's always different because the sun is at a different place. The season is different. The trees are different. So it's art. I'm constantly watching art happen in front of me.

Starting out–and what to know

When I first started out on my own, I cried. I was like, oh gosh, I'm by myself.

I don't know if I can do this. I got to do this alone. And then, after the tears cleared, I was like, wait a minute. I got this truck all to myself. I get to do this all alone. I don't have to stop for anybody else. And I realized, I'm free. This is the best thing ever!

You can make money, but you can't make time. So I’m patient.

I drive like my family is surrounding me in the truck. If time gets away from me, it is what it is. I never drive like I need to make up that time. That's the quickest way to hurt someone and hurt yourself.

So, take your time. Pay attention. Be attentive. Get enough rest. Know your body. I equate this to being a driver for NASCAR. You have to actually take care of your body and know your limitations. Know how much stamina you have. 

I'm a night driver. I just function better at night. When I'm driving, there are less people on the road. I'm a book-on-tape lover so I listen to books all the time, especially scary ones at night.

Being a woman in trucking

When I went to Schneider Trucking School, I was the only woman in my class out of 32 people. Only 12 of us graduated. 

A lot of the women that I met in the industry during that time were driving with their husbands or their boyfriends. They were a part of a team. 

So when I started, I was really the only woman that I knew that drove solo. So I learned a lot. And I enjoyed it then and I enjoy it now.

98% of the people that I have met on the road are good people. And maybe because I live a life where that's the energy that I put out, those are the people that I attract.

All of the men that I met were very helpful. They had wives and daughters and mothers and sisters. And so they saw me that way. Trucking was a bit different that long ago. Everyone had a CB. There was a certain type of camaraderie.

Watch out for shady businesses

A lot of people, when they start out, they think that because they have been driving that they know this business. And that's not the case. There are a lot of things on the business side that you don't learn driving a truck. And there are some companies that are not reputable.

It is legal for a company to send you a fuel card, call you, ask you if you received it, and then put a UCC-1 on your business. And these are very difficult to remove because some of these companies are based out of the country. It sometimes takes years to get it removed.

Leaving–and coming back to–TruckSmarter Factoring

I left [TruckSmarter] because I was doing an MC partnership program. [Through the MC partnership, the other company] would book loads underneath my MC for these newer drivers who just don't have the time in.

I spoke to Giovanni [at TruckSmarter] and I explained everything. And he asked me, are you sure? And I said, yes, I really want to do this thing. He said, well, if anything happens, you give me a call back. He sent me the letter of release instantly. Normally companies don't do that. 

And I went with this other company and I factored one load. 

And I realized, I don't like this. This is not for me.

I called Giovanni back and he sent the information to Basic Blocks [a factoring company] the same day. It took them a week to respond. Then they had three other people call me back to try to convince me. I said, I told you, I am going back to TruckSmarter. I like the way it's set up. And still, they dropped their feet for another week.

And I came right back and I said thank you so much. I said, I would never leave again. You don't understand how much this means to me.

Since Giovanni [at TruckSmarter] sent me my notice of assignment, I've been factoring loads almost every day. And I just never have a problem.

The ease of the app, the factoring, the loads, the having it done instantaneously, the factoring any day of the week, the being able to call and get in touch and ask questions.

Everyone that I talk to and truck with, I tell them about your company.

Why she’s rooting for TruckSmarter

I want this company to succeed because as I succeed, this company succeeds. I'm a stakeholder. I really mean it because it is helping me feed my family. The most important thing to me. And this company is making it to where I keep this truck running.

If a tire goes out, this TruckSmarter debit card that I have, I can do anything and go anywhere and get anything that I need at any time. And my money is available to me immediately.

I use TruckSmarter on a daily basis, and I really appreciate what you guys have put together. You were really thinking about truckers. You didn't just make a product to get into a niche to say, hey, we can make money this way. You said, hey, how can we serve these truckers? How can we serve the smaller businesses to even up to the bigger businesses? Somebody really put thought into this, and I greatly appreciate it.

Thank you, Nicole!

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TruckSmarter Logo Asphalt Grey Footer

*TruckSmarter is a financial technology company and is not a bank. Banking services are provided by Thread Bank, Member FDIC and Blue Ridge Bank, N.A, Member FDIC. Deposits are FDIC-insured through Thread Bank and Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., Members FDIC. The TruckSmarter Visa Debit Card is issued by Thread Bank and Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa USA Inc. Your funds are FDIC insured up to $250,000 through Thread Bank and Blue Ridge Bank, N.A.; Member FDIC.

**Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of 3.27% is effective as of 11/01/2023. This is a variable rate and may change after the account is opened. Minimum opening deposit is $100 and you must maintain an average balance of $1,000 to earn the stated Annual Percentage Yield. Fees could affect earnings on the account. TruckSmarter is a financial technology company and is not a bank. Banking services provided by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A or Thread Bank, Members FDIC. ; Member FDIC. The TruckSmarter Visa® Debit Card is issued by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A. and Thread Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

****Terms and conditions apply to the TruckSmarter cash back rewards program. Please see Program Terms for details.

TruckSmarter Logo Asphalt Grey Footer

*TruckSmarter is a financial technology company and is not a bank. Banking services are provided by Thread Bank, Member FDIC and Blue Ridge Bank, N.A, Member FDIC. Deposits are FDIC-insured through Thread Bank and Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., Members FDIC. The TruckSmarter Visa Debit Card is issued by Thread Bank and Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa USA Inc. Your funds are FDIC insured up to $250,000 through Thread Bank and Blue Ridge Bank, N.A.; Member FDIC.

**Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of 3.27% is effective as of 11/01/2023. This is a variable rate and may change after the account is opened. Minimum opening deposit is $100 and you must maintain an average balance of $1,000 to earn the stated Annual Percentage Yield. Fees could affect earnings on the account. TruckSmarter is a financial technology company and is not a bank. Banking services provided by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A or Thread Bank, Members FDIC. ; Member FDIC. The TruckSmarter Visa® Debit Card is issued by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A. and Thread Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

****Terms and conditions apply to the TruckSmarter cash back rewards program. Please see Program Terms for details.

TruckSmarter Logo Asphalt Grey Footer

*TruckSmarter is a financial technology company and is not a bank. Banking services are provided by Thread Bank, Member FDIC and Blue Ridge Bank, N.A, Member FDIC. Deposits are FDIC-insured through Thread Bank and Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., Members FDIC. The TruckSmarter Visa Debit Card is issued by Thread Bank and Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa USA Inc. Your funds are FDIC insured up to $250,000 through Thread Bank and Blue Ridge Bank, N.A.; Member FDIC.

**Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of 3.27% is effective as of 11/01/2023. This is a variable rate and may change after the account is opened. Minimum opening deposit is $100 and you must maintain an average balance of $1,000 to earn the stated Annual Percentage Yield. Fees could affect earnings on the account. TruckSmarter is a financial technology company and is not a bank. Banking services provided by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A or Thread Bank, Members FDIC. ; Member FDIC. The TruckSmarter Visa® Debit Card is issued by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A. and Thread Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

****Terms and conditions apply to the TruckSmarter cash back rewards program. Please see Program Terms for details.