“I didn’t plan on becoming an owner operator,” Matt Christiansen said. “It just happened.” At first he was overwhelmed by the idea of owning his own trucking business, but Dart made it easier. “That’s what’s awful neat about Dart. Everyone’s very friendly and helpful.”
Before driving a truck, Matt worked in a transportation office. “That’s how I heard about Dart,” he said. He got to know a Dart contractor who regularly stopped at his location and it was with his encouragement that Matt got his CDL and started driving.
In 2008, Matt purchased a 2007 International through Highway Sales, Inc., a truck and finance vendor. “It’s a green truck,” he laughed. “And I’m really tall. So people call it the jolly green giant, or the guacamole truck. It’s pretty cool.”
Matt puts a lot of effort into running a successful business, and that starts with his truck. To improve fuel economy, it has air tabs. “Those have helped out. And of course I have the APU.” He does regular preventative maintenance. “You have to spend money to make money,” he reasoned. And he uses E-Driver, Dart’s online resource, to help plan where to buy fuel. “The name of the game is to always look for ways to run the truck more efficiently.”
Communication is key too, he said. “It’s always good to communicate with your fleet manager. Be patient and understand you might have to move from one area to another to get a load. What makes Dart good is there are a lot of opportunities so you can run your truck the way it needs to be run,” Matt said. “It’s nice to have choices so you can change it up. There’s something for everybody – regional, over-the-road, short haul.”
There’s also Dedicated, which is the contract Matt has. “I’m always staying busy. And it’s easier for planning fuel purchases, because with Dedicated the loads are lined up in advance.” It also helps him plan time at home with his kids. Family is important to Matt. “I spend a lot of time with my kids, Lilly and Jackson,” he said. “My daughter Lilly came in the truck with me for three-and-a-half weeks. We drove through 17 states, almost 9,000 miles. She enjoyed it a lot. With my kids, I always plan time off around them. Birthdays, spring break, summer vacation.”