Nelson Bautista is one of those people whose lives have been changed by technology. The trucker now literally has his job on his telephone.
An app on his cellphone, QuickLoad, links him to clients who want to move some cargo. The trucker, born in the Dominican Republic, delivers it and gets paid within 48 hours.
Bautista said he started to use the app six months ago, and his business has already increased by about 60 percent. With his flatbed truck, he can deliver six pallets of tile from Doral to Bar Harbour one day, and five pallets to Naples the next.
“All my clients reach me on the app. I no longer have to worry about making calls to different companies to see if they have work for me,” said Bautista, who added that the app was as easy to use as Uber.
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QuickLoad, founded in 2015 in Allapattah, has been called “Uber for trucks” by some of the 1,000 drivers and 500 clients who use it. It can be used by individuals who need to move bulky items or companies with big shipments.
Turkish entrepreneur Ozan Baran, who arrived in Miami in 1999 with $600 in his pocket, founded his first cargo company, BOS Transport, in 2005 with just one truck. He later expanded to a fleet of trucks, warehouses and offices now operating as BOS Group, which owns QuickLoad.
“Ozan realized that most of the time his trucks were half empty,” said Marianna Schiavino, marketing director for QuickLoad. The businessman set off to make his operations more efficient and decided to repeat Uber's formula.
Before the app, cargo coordinators could take up to two hours to link clients with truckers. “If you don't use this technology, it could take 16 phone calls and emails to reach an agreement and contract the services of a trusted trucker,” said Schiavino.
The new app simplified the work by connecting clients who need to send cargo with drivers who have space in their trucks.
Seablue Freight Services moves about 20 containers per week using QuickLoad. It's an intermediary between customs agents, sea shipping companies, importers, exporters and freight companies.
“We used QuickLoad yesterday to move eight containers from PortMiami to Opa-Locka, and today I sent four containers from the port of Fort Lauderdale to Doral," said owner Greta Mena.
She said the speed of the app's service is critical because cargo often must be taken out of warehouses within certain time limits to avoid extra charges.
The payment process also is faster, with drivers getting paid within a day or two of services, compared to waits of one to two months in the past.
The QuickLoad app is free and the driver pays 10 percent of any transportation job received through the service.
When truckers sign in, they receive a list of cargo available, destinations, mileage and weights, and they can then decide which ones they want to sign up for.
To join QuickLoad, drivers need a certificate of insurance for their trucks, licenses to drive them and W-9 taxpayer forms.
Security is a key concern for the service, much like Uber. So how can anyone guarantee that a shipment does not contain anything illegal?
“When merchandise leaves the port of Miami or Everglades, before it is handed over to the truck driver, it passes through a rigorous process that includes X-Ray inspections by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. That's a guarantee that the merchandise is always legal,” said Schiavino.
In the case of cargo shipped from one warehouse to another, drivers receive a bill of lading that includes information on the type of merchandise, weight and quantities involved. That guarantees the truckers will move the correct cargo ordered.
"If there are any irregularities," said Schiavino said, "the trucker contacts QuickLoad directly and our operations team intervenes between the transporter and the contact person in the departure point.”
Follow Sarah Moreno on Twitter: @SarahMorenoENH