OTR Express, Olathe, KS, plans to grow through owner-operators as part of its new strategy to return to profitability.

The company is facing rising fuel costs and trucks with no drivers as it implements its five-year plan. To mitigate the impact, OTRX plans to convert up to 50% of its company-owned truck s to owner operators over the next three years.
“We plan to reduce our unseated trucks by returning to our focus on drivers as equipment managers by providing them with substantial earnings incentives,” says Chairman, President and CEO Bill Ward.
The company plans to increase its owner-operator fleet by approximately 125 units, to nearly 200 by the end of 2000. OTRX intends to sell 50 of its trucks to company drivers next year and convert them to owner-operators, and add another 75 owner-operators through aggressive recruiting. It also will sell another 60 trucks to outside parties, and replace them with additional owner-operators.
To help its owner-operators succeed, the company has developed a proprietary Owner Operator Management Training System. The system is designed to provide independent contractors with the planning and information systems needed to profitably manage the trucks they own and drive. OTRX will provide bookkeeping services through a related company to prepare budgets, tax returns and monthly accounting for its owner-operators.
The company also expects its logistics revenue, which increased more than 100% in 1999, to continue to grow.
OTRX expects to have changes in place during the first quarter of 2000, and expects to return to profitability in the second quarter of the year.