Contractors can never find enough dump trucks when they need them.
However, technology is now being used to connect the two in real-time.
Andrew Davies, a London, Ont.-based construction professional, has created and launched an app called TruCon in an effort to solve the problem.
In a nutshell, the platform connects truck owner operators in southwestern Ontario with contractors and jobs and vice-versa.
“Currently, it’s all in who you know, what broker you have, and whose phone numbers are in your phone or Rolodex,” explains Davies. “Many who could work together likely don’t even know about each other.
“Truck owner operators are looking for work and jobs are going over time or over budget because contractors or dispatchers could not find enough trucks to complete the work. All of the players are isolated from each other, which has caused challenges in small to commercial-sized jobs across the country.”
TruCon was launched in October. A beta version of the app is currently available in southwestern Ontario and the Greater Toronto region. The platform, which is accessed at TruCon.app, is gaining momentum with new contractors and owner operators signing up daily.
Users can create a profile and owner operators of dump trucks can create profiles for their equipment so they can be found in the system and invited for jobs. Owner operators can also search through all of the available jobs and bid for work.
Owner operators can set preferences to search for and book jobs that fit their equipment and their schedule days or weeks in advance. Contractors or those co-ordinating and managing equipment for a job, can post jobs and book trucks instantly for projects ranging from small residential jobs to larger commercial jobs.
TruCon’s truck inventory is experiencing consistent growth and when the 2021 construction season rolls around the inventory of resources is expected to be deep in both truck type and numbers.
Davies says it’s a good news story about solving a regional and larger industry problem and helping individuals across Ontario find work in a more efficient way.
“This ensures that equipment is on the road and used all season long. It makes income and schedules more predictable and ensures that no opportunities are lost,” he says.
“More equipment can be located at one time, rather than relying on who knows who and calling each person individually. The platform is also designed to support agricultural jobs, such as hauling grain or sand for dairy cows.”
The app is presently free to all users but will eventually be subscription-based. While it’s currently servicing southwestern Ontario, the plan is to slowly expand to other provinces and eventually North America as the platform grows and demand increases.
Davies has been involved in the trucking, construction and agricultural industries his entire life and like many owner operators would struggle to keep his trucks working every day.
One day, while his company trucks were parked and not working due to a lack of booked jobs for the day, he realized that there had to be a better way to find work for idle equipment.
He came up with the simple concept of an online, two-sided marketplace that connects contractors with owner operators and owner operators with contractors. The concept quickly evolved into a solution for multiple industries.
“There is nothing else like this for Canadian owner operators, contractors or farmers and it was created right here in Ontario,” notes Davies.
The platform allows users to search and book jobs from any device.
“The construction industry has been left behind by technology,” explains Davies. “Currently, Ontario contractors and farmers can never find enough trucks and other equipment when they need them. It becomes time-consuming to look for enough reliable, available equipment and professional operators, which means that projects can fall behind schedule and go over budget.
“Those who drive or own trucks spend a lot of time trying to find the available jobs, with trucks often sitting parked and underutilized, even though there is a job nearby that could have used it. The two parties struggle to know who or what is available in real time.”
Davies says he has a significant growth plan for the company and hopes to evolve the concept in the coming years. Right now, equipment such as grain haulers, live bottom trucks, truck and pumps, dump trucks, water trucks, sweepers and more are available on the platform.
The app is growing daily as contractors and owner operators alike start to realize there is a more efficient way to connect with one another and book jobs, he says.
Davies hopes to encourage further growth in the trucking industry, including helping make trucking a career again among the younger generation.
“Many owner operators are approaching retirement age, with few new drivers entering the industry,” he says. “This gap will exacerbate the delays and challenges already being experienced. This is where TruCon can help newcomers meet contractors to get started, and vice versa.”