Candace Hunter was running a successful tax business in 2019 when love intervened. She met Rickie Braden, who was interested in starting a business of his own.
Working together to consider the type of business that would provide the greatest chance for success, the couple decided on trucking. While Braden went to CDL school to learn the ropes, Hunter immersed herself in researching the trucking field. Then she climbed into the cab and rode with Braden to gain first-hand knowledge.
“I just went on the road with him,” she said. “I was just teaching myself about everything, on how to start a trucking company, what we would need to do as far as budgeting, startup, and so on. As we were going he was teaching me about things, how his day is set up and what he needs to do with the trucking job. We did that for a whole year.”
During those early days, the couple saved as much money as they could, preparing to buy a truck and start a business of their own. A year ago, they bought their truck, a 2016 Volvo VNL 670, and began running under their own authority as Prolific Transport Corp.
“Everything has been going great since then,” Hunter said.
Today, Braden still does the driving while Hunter handles dispatching, broker relations, accounting and more.
While managing her own business keeps Hunter busy, she says she also wants to help others start trucking their own businesses. To that end, their company website,
prolifictransport.net, features the trucking operation as well as Hunter’s educational materials. She offers courses and consultation in dispatching, understanding business credit, building an email list and more.
She has also published an eBook, “Beginner’s Guide to Successful Dispatching,” that covers topics such as how to set up and market your own dispatch company, negotiating rates, bookkeeping and more.
While traveling, she has continued her college studies and recently earned a Master of Business Administration degree in business. She plans to continue her studies.
“I’m going for my doctorate now,” she said. “I plan to major in psychology and open a practice.”
The couple chose their Volvo tractor because of its ride comfort and fuel efficiency.
“We have a refrigerator, TV and an air fryer,” Hunter said. “I can cook ribs or anything.”
When they need to take a little time off, Hunter works to books loads going near their vacation destination.
“We went to Colorado last year for Valentine’s Day,” she remarked. “It was my favorite vacation.”
It’s not surprising that Hunter is concerned about rising fuel prices, but she says they haven’t suffered yet from some of the low spot rates being offered.
“Honestly, we’ve been consistent on what our target goal is,” she said. “Sometimes, it’s how you book the load. Your negotiation skills definitely play a part, and I teach that in my book, on just using the things that are going on in our economy to kind of navigate that price index.”
One of her techniques is to book loads that allow for early delivery, allowing the driver to move on to another load and keep the cash flowing. Another is to make sure the rates cover the higher cost of fuel.
“Some of the brokers work with us giving us fuel surcharge. If they don’t give us that, we try to calculate it into our pricing and try to get it on the back end,” she explained.
Hunter also considers the time frame of each load, rejecting those that tie up the equipment longer than necessary.
“Often, they’ll try to give us a load over the weekend — they want us to pick up something on Friday and hold on to it until Monday. So, I’m going to ask for what I want for those three days.”
She is meticulous about her bookkeeping.
“I do it on a weekly basis, what we’re making cost per mile and what we’re spending on fuel,” she explained. She and Braden go over the numbers every month, evaluating what went right and identifying areas for improvement.
The source of the loads Hunter books plays a role as well. She prefers the DAT load boards, if time permits.
“They give you more time for negotiating back and forth,” she said. “If I need a load more quickly, I go directly to one of the carriers we deal with. If I have more time, I’ll go on a dashboard, since I can be more successful there.”
Hunter credits the couples’ success to their attitude and approach.
“We always try to keep a positive mind,” she stressed. “I visualized this day, with us starting this company, us going in and out of town, and I kept speaking it into existence. And even when we have hard times, we always try to stay positive with it.”
She regularly engages in one-sided conversations with the couple’s Volvo tractor, which they’ve affectionately named M&M. Hunter says the name stands for “More Millions.
“I tell it how much I appreciate her taking us where we needed to go,” she said with a laugh, adding that the practice has rubbed off on Braden, who now also talks to the truck.
Hunter says she has plans to grow the company, including buying a second truck soon.
“The next four years, if we do one truck a year, we’ll be where we really want to be,” she said.
The goal is for both her and Braden to come out of the truck, taking on training and administrative roles in the company and hiring drivers. For now, they are content to travel together, along with Yorkshire Terrier “Cocoa.”
In the meantime, Hunter wants to share her experience with others.
“You can work together with a significant other in harmony,” she said. “You can grow a business from nothing, make money together and just live a happy life.”
Cliff Abbott is an experienced commercial vehicle driver and owner-operator who still holds a CDL in his home state of Alabama. In nearly 40 years in trucking, he’s been an instructor and trainer and has managed safety and recruiting operations for several carriers. Having never lost his love of the road, Cliff has written a book and hundreds of songs and has been writing for The Trucker for more than a decade.