QuickLoadz - The DL S4E1
In this episode of The DL, Diesel Laptops’ Founder and CEO, Tyler Robertson, is joined by Chris Jenkins – Outside Sales at QuickLoadz.
QuickLoadz is the fastest, safest and easiest way to move loaded sea shipping containers. QuickLoadz is totally automated, controlled with your smartphone. QuickLoadz is an automated trailer that enables a driver to move loaded sea shipping containers in 3 minutes without ever leaving their seat in the truck.
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Transcript for QuickLoadz - The DL S4E01:
Tyler Robertson: Hello everyone, welcome to the DL. Before we get into the podcast and the YouTube series and everything, first and foremost, before starting season four, I just want to thank everybody for the first three seasons. Our guests, the viewers, the listeners. I'll tell you what, it warms my heart to see people tell me how much they appreciate some of the content we're putting out here, the things they learn, the connections they've made. I know I get people texting me and hitting me up on LinkedIn and email me pictures of them watching me on their living room TV, talking about things. Obviously, I love this industry. I love the things that are going on on it. And to me is really what my passion, I'm really fortunate to be able to say, I found the thing in life that I'm passionate about. And this industry is one of those things.
And another thing I get asked quite often is, "Tyler, how do you find people for these episodes? Where are they coming from? What goes on?" Well, really, I'm on social media a lot. I look through magazines, I see news articles hit my inbox. And if there's anything new or interesting that I haven't covered before, I always want to go have those conversations. And sometimes I know nothing about these companies at all except that I saw something and I reached out to them and was like, "Hey man, would you like to come on an episode of the DL?" And usually they say yes. Sometimes they say no. So what I really like about this episode with QuickLoadz is, I know nothing about trailers or how containers move. I watched a video of their product. I'm like, "Man, I have never seen something like that before."
So I reached out to them. They said yes. The person we brought on here, it's Chris, Chris Jenkins, he does sales for them. They're definitely a smaller company that's growing up, figuring things out, bootstrapping it, passion to my heart, that's a lot like Diesel Laptops. So this is a great conversation with him. You can definitely get a sense of a personality. If you're a salesperson and you want to learn how to have a conversation with somebody and make it entertaining and interesting, just listen to Chris during this podcast episode. So with that, without further ado, go ahead, watch the episode. And again, thank you for everything and thank you for coming back for season four.
Welcome to season four of the DL. I am your host, Tyler Robertson. And if you haven't noticed, you've been watching, we got just a great new background here. So, Kara, who's behind the camera, she painted this herself, designed it. It looks great. We got a lot of new surprises. We have a lot of great guests lined up here for this season. So as we approach the end of the year here of 2022, great to start the new season. And we're going to kick things off. And as I do everything on this podcast, I love to talk about new products, new services, new technology, all these new things that are happening in the market. So today I brought on someone from a company called QuickLoadz. So I have Chris on this show. So Chris, welcome to the first episode of the new season, man.
Chris Jenkins: Hey, thank you for having me. We're really happy to be here.
Tyler Robertson: Well, again, I always like to give the high overview first. QuickLoadz, what is it and what does it do? And how long you guys been around for?
Chris Jenkins: We've been around 11 years. We are primarily shipping containers, but we can do everything from palletized material, being on and offloaded, to bed equipment. But primarily 20 and 40 foot shipping containers and the 10 foot pods loaded and unloaded with a smartphone from the cab of the truck. No cranes, no chains, no straps. Just one guy. He can be a disabled veteran, he can be an old dude like me, who doesn't like to get up on icy decks. He can be a petite woman, unlike me. And she doesn't have to throw straps, but we load shipping containers robotically.
Tyler Robertson: So these are basically robot trailers essentially, right? And I'm sure as we're doing this, we'll show some footage of people in the YouTube channel and everything. But are these standalone trailers that attach to trucks or can you put these on the back of straight trucks or what's the apparatus look like?
Chris Jenkins: We have several different models. We have a bed mounted unit that does 20 footers in a 20 K and a 40 K. And you can have them on a single axle, double axle, say like an M2 Freightliner. Or we have the trailers that can be pulled with a pickup truck, a one-ton pickup truck. But then we also go up to 40 Ks with 80,000 pound capacity pulled by a semi. So if you want to get in the hot shots and you're not sure you're going to be good at it, we have a trailer that can do twenties that doesn't require a CDL, up to a 40 foot, we can customize up to 53 foot, that will pull on 80,000 pound shipping containers. Now you may have to get a license to pull them, but we can make them.
Tyler Robertson: I watched a couple of videos to practice risen. Like you said, it was pretty cool. They backed a trailer right up to a container and the driver's in the cab and literally use their smartphone and is able to load that container right onto the trailer or the back of the truck. So I guess I never really paid attention to how do people do it today? Because I actually have a container here. I'm guessing a flatbed trailer must have just... Or a tow truck guy must have just dropped it off. How do they do it now?
Chris Jenkins: They do it many different ways. If the ports still do it with cranes that are just amazing and they're millions of dollars and they'll drop the shipping container onto them. I don't think drop is the term that they use. But when we look at the life expectancy of our competitors that are having these, gently set on them, it's not as long as ours, but typically it's a YouTube fail, a lot of times when they... Well let me say this, they can load them with a winch, but the same winch that loads them doesn't offload them. So then you have to get creative either with a crane, I'm seeing crane prices anywhere from two to four grand, depending what size crane and what size, what part of the country. Giant forklifts, bulldozers, even to bull tying it to a tree and yanking it off. Some of the other videos will be say to put it in reverse and hit the brakes. But I think when you start talking about shipping containers and a not so controlled environment that there's, you'll probably be on YouTube again for a fail.
Tyler Robertson: So I mean this container we have here right outside my building, it's just on the dirt back there and everything. If I call a guy up, is it literally I'm like hook a strap up to it and wrenching it, dragging it up onto something? I can't imagine there's a bunch of lifting apparatuses that they can pull up to with the truck in the back of my building,
Chris Jenkins: When the head hunter called me on this, I was kind of looking and I had had a friend, and you know best friends what their jobs are, best friend's job is to try to kill you. Have you ever noticed that? Because you're always telling these tales and it's with your best friend. I was with my best friend and we were out with the shotguns, but we went to move, he got a good deal on a 40 footer and they were going to pull it on with the winch and it was at an angle in the woods. So I was the guy on the big John Deere with the front loader, because I had a John Deere. So I almost died.
So when the head hunter called me, and is like, "Hey, there's this opportunity on this company that loads shipping containers onto trailers", I'm like, "Oh no, that's not going to work for me. I've already tried to kill myself once like that." But she said, "No, look at the, watch the video." And I watched the video and I told my wife, "This is amazing." And I said, "I'm going to work for this company."
So they've never had a reportable accident. All the crazy stuff is done from the cab of the truck. And you're right, outside of having a crane or a giant forklift, they're pulling these things on with a winch and how they can get them off, once they get weight on them, then it gets more and more crazy trying to get these things off a trailer.
Tyler Robertson: Yeah, and I've seen some of your other competitors too, where they have a big strap or some big apparatus they have to attach to it and the guy has to be back there to do that and then they got to just drag it up there and everything. So the first time I saw that video is like how in the hell is that thing even pulling that thing up onto the trailer? But it is really, obviously some engineering work went into this whole thing. And it literally takes less than three minutes, from the video I saw of you guys, being able to load up one of these containers. And I saw a lot on the website and I listened to your founder and CEO speak at FreightWaves, I believe it was pretty recently. And he talked a lot about how this changes things, it makes things better, right? So there's always, we have a better mouse trap, a better product. But what's the benefit for the user? How does this make them more money or save them time? What's the value to someone?
Chris Jenkins: I think a lot of people that move shipping containers will agree, if you can get in and get out of one of these situations in under an hour, life's been pretty good to you. You didn't lose any fingers, you didn't lose any toes, you got it loaded and you're on your way, you're making your set mileage amount, so everything's looking good. And then comes the unload part. So basically the huge benefit is the ROI, the return on investment. The three minutes, three minutes is, that's made for salesmen. But typically if you have your CDL, and you do this for a living, it's quicker. They just put the three minutes for me. So when I'm demoing these things, people aren't making fun of me. So it's really a lot quicker than that. I'm a good driver. It's just that whole backing thing is questionable. But if you do this for a living, it is typically under three minutes. And same way with unloading.
But you just back up to it, load it with your cell phone. If your cell phone dies, it has a brain box, you can get out and run a cord from the brain box that's on the trailer. It's not a cell phone connection, it's wifi, it's built right into the trailer. So when you start looking at the return on investment of three minutes to load, three minutes to unload, you start talking about a lot more shipping containers getting moved in a shorter time. Which kinda is a big deal right now going on as if I've heard the news correctly.
Tyler Robertson: You mean you don't need to talk to me about supply chain problems. Trust me, we've been battling ships and shortages and everything else going on for a long time here.
Chris Jenkins: I'm kicking you under the table and seeing if, you know...
Tyler Robertson: Yeah, I think everyone's starting to realize how important logistics and moving freight is. And I mean that's the interesting thing about our world, is people don't realize like that thing they bought at Walmart came all the way probably from overseas somewhere and went through shipping containers and boats and trucks and just warehouse. How many warehouses that thing probably touched before it actually got on the shelf. Just absolutely boggles my mind on this whole industry. It's just massive. The mobile app, I've never seen someone operate a trailer essentially from a mobile app like that before. Was that always a piece of it or is that something new that was added to it?
Chris Jenkins: I shouldn't tell you this, but we literally have, I believe, as many engineers and computer people working here as welding and fabricating. I'm trying to get more welders because they're funner to talk to. The engineers, they're introverts and they don't really like talking to sales people because we have a contagious disease. So-
Tyler Robertson: It's because you guys ask for stuff all the time, that's why.
Chris Jenkins: Now I get why and I'm sorry. It's not a personal thing.
Tyler Robertson: You sales people are always asking for things. I know I got engineers and sales people too. It's always like, "I want this thing, I want that thing. And the customer asks for that." So I'm just giving you a hard time man. I get it.
Chris Jenkins: It's always the customer. "We need these things, we need these."
Tyler Robertson: Well, so no, I mean a lot of people don't believe this when they have a business, but at the end of the day, everybody in a business is a salesperson and we're all tech companies at some level. And a lot of people probably won't look at your company and be like, "Hey, you guys are a tech company." But again, when people watch the video, and if you're on the audio, I highly encourage to go their website and watch a video. You can just tell looking at it like, okay, that's not simple for me to understand how that works. It had to have been a little bit of a complex thing to get built. So who built it? Was it the founder and CEO, was he a tinkerer? Or was it you got a bunch of investment money, how did this thing get started? And I guess he saw the problem and thought, "I can build a better mousetrap."
Chris Jenkins: And I found this to be true. I have quite a few engineer friends and it's like when you tell an engineer, I bet you can't do this, it drives them wild. And someone said he couldn't do it, and I think 22 patents around the world later he is like, "Yes I did." So he is an amazing guy and you're right, I've seen him come out with custom builds for people. I've also seen him sell the product. We are a startup and the reason you haven't seen us is because every dime's going back into R and D and making the mouse trap produce the traps quicker. So hopefully you'll start seeing him more now doing conferences and we're trying to implement dealerships. But Sean Jones, I mean he's an amazing person. Very smart. Oh sorry, I got caught up in our company joke about how salesman brown nose to get accounts.
But no, he is an amazing engineer. His sons work here. I believe they're third or fourth generation engineers. But the one thing I think is amazing, and I'll just say this real quick and let you speak, but when we go around to the trailer things, he's still a builder at heart. He's a construction guy from after he graduated engineering school. He didn't really like the engineering booth, so he did construction. He's a builder. So I watch him walk around and field the welds of our competition and he's, he's been building trailers now 11 years and he's pretty good at it. So we do make a beautiful product, great welds and we always welcome people if you're ever in Northern Appalachia, swing by and I'll buy you donuts and we'll walk around the factory and we'll let you look at Harry Redneck sweat over welds.
Tyler Robertson: Well I'll tell you what, Northern Appalachia is not that far from Columbia, South Carolina. And I love a good factory tour. So you probably will see me up there one of these days. And-
Chris Jenkins: We have a guy coming in tomorrow from Columbia, South Carolina to take the tour.
Tyler Robertson: Yeah, no man, I love a good factory tour. So maybe, I'm going to hit you guys up on that. Come up there with my camera crew, do a little thing. I think that'd be a great time. So
Chris Jenkins: I'll celebrate you with donuts and coffee.
Tyler Robertson: Well ,hey, and I will say this, I respect and I understand where you guys and your ownerships coming from, right? Cause I mean I was in my garage and dining room table with just me and nobody knew who I was. I had no budget, no nothing to go do anything at all. So I know the grind and it took us a lot of years to get to where we're at and it just, it's a big snowball and it's hard because you want to keep making your product better and expanding-
Chris Jenkins: Exactly.
Tyler Robertson: And it's hard to decide where those dollars go. So trust me, if anyone gets the-
Chris Jenkins: It's the balance.
Tyler Robertson: Yeah. Oh it is.
Chris Jenkins: And I have to be really careful because I want to ask for stuff. But I still understand that we're, I'm coming over from 30 years with McKesson Pharmaceuticals where there was no budget. I mean we had gold cards for lunches. It was totally, it was truly dangerous. But now it's like we have to watch every dollar, but we got to keep in consideration that startups and hot shots, they want this product. But you know, you got to keep it affordable. It is amazing starting a business and seeing on the inside that every dollar counts. You're exactly right. I'll just...
Tyler Robertson: Well hey, I was going to say, I am right there with you because I see a lot of companies that take a lot of money and they just go blow it nilly-willy on a bunch of things, and like "Oh we got to go raise more money." And they go raise more money and take on more investors and do these things. But when you do it the way you guys are doing it, which sounds like the way I did it, is like you said, every dollar matters and you really have to decide is this the best use of that dollar. And you lose that when you have a big pile of cash to burn through. So it usually makes you a stronger company. It's a slower scale up and mode, but usually end up being a much more fiscally, financially stable company and have a lot more for respect for things. So I totally get it.
So I want to go back to the product though, because when I saw your CEO do it, he did it at a FreightWaves live event in Tennessee, and the trailer was actually like 900 miles away. And one of the things that kind of got talked about a little bit was, well man, we got robots driving trucks coming down the pipeline and you're unloading a truck remotely with a mobile app. Is there a play in that world where just robot, I mean we're talking about robots, you're doing things that humans are doing now, right? Is that where this is this where it's going?
Chris Jenkins: Exactly. I have a joke that I tell to the guys around here. I'm like, "Come on Elon, what's taking so long?? So, that's my little joke. I'm like we're ready for autonomous. Like I said, we can do it remotely. We have products coming that are going to have self hybrid generating power axles that can help with acceleration. Therefore, 35% savings on fuel. It's amazing what they're doing with the product. But yeah, autonomous, we're pretty much ready. It would just probably be us working on a connection. But I don't want to go into anything highly tech because I am a salesman and they told me when I came in here and shut the door. Listen, you are going to have to have a babysitter if you start talking tech. So...
Tyler Robertson: You guys must have the same people at our company because we tell our sales people do not get over your skis. Sell what we have today, not what we have tomorrow, just stay in your lane. I promise you we're trying to come up with a bunch of cool products and services and all these things going on here. So I understand, hey, small business, scaling up, doing things, limited resources and you're a manufacturer, I mean I know what my supply chain's like, we talked about it earlier. How's it been for you guys? Like labor, raw materials? What's going on there? What are you guys seeing?
Chris Jenkins: Would you want me to start first with labor?
I'll start first with labor because I am labor. When I saw the product I wanted to work here, but there is some risk of joining a startup. You don't get a wrapped vehicle. I mean every salesman knows if you don't have a wrapped F-150, it's not a real job, right? So I had to not have that. I had to have a regular F-150. It was brown, it's brownish and it's not cool orange and white of our colors. Oh sorry, this was about labor, not me. Sorry, I'm so sorry I got caught up in my...
But there's a risk but I... It's kind of cool to see since we did FreightWaves, we had a lot of interest. Then we just did NADA and actually took the trailer down to Nashville to do the NADA show there for the trucking conference and trailer conference. And it was amazing to see because when you produce this thing, we have all these welders and fabricators and we're seeing the product every day. But most of the time the people who see it for the first time or you try to tell them about it, they give this look like you're on drugs. And I'll recognize it now, and I joke about it, but at first I was kind of offended because I thought they thought I was lying. Do you know what I mean? And I would be like, "Listen, I'm not lying, this is real."
Tyler Robertson: They don't believe it. We have the same problem with some of our tools. That's impossible. No, here it is. Here's how it works?
Chris Jenkins: That can't be done.
Tyler Robertson: Yeah, that can't be done. You're like, "it can."
Chris Jenkins: And then they make it personal because I'm from West Virginia and I'm missing a couple of teeth. Not the perfect young uber freight guy that's presenting a pristine thing. I'm like, "No, this is real." So as far as labor goes, we're continuing to try to hire stuff, but it's very difficult in this setting to have people that really want to show up and work hard all day to produce a product. But that being said, we have given increases to our jobs. So I know things are going good with us because now we're actually having bonuses and stuff. So it's kind of cool to see the company come out of what I call was scary and now have a place where we can start to build a really good work environment for people, give increases and stuff like that. So that's kind of cool seeing that part of labor go from scary to-
Tyler Robertson: Yeah, I mean that's the startup. I mean that's a small business life, right? It's the ebb and flow and it's like you said, you're always walking that line and I think, I bet, I guarantee you a lot of our audience listening to this are just nodding their heads right now, like, "Oh yeah, I've been there." I've been, there was times where I was like, this is years ago, I'm like, "Man, how are we going to make payroll this week?" You have those things, but you get through them and you do all these things. So who's, for you, who's your core? Who's your core buyer? Who's your target market that's buying these things?
Chris Jenkins: Well, I'll be honest, right now it's going to be construction, tow, freight trailer sales. Now I could tell you some huge names, DOD, some rather large box names that are starting to see 40 foot shipping containers show up in their parking lots. But we've kind of just been in the standard mom and pop scenes are where we're seeing a lot of our resales. Now, are we having upper level meetings with larger box stores? Yes, but we're not really right where we can produce them. And there is some danger of writing contracts with companies that have 752 lawyers because sometimes they don't understand supply chain like axles, cylinders, hydraulics, electronics, and they just don't come next day anymore.
Tyler Robertson: We're on month nine of a legal contract negotiation for a seven figure deal over here. So I feel you're pain dealing with attorneys. It just feels like, it feels like it never ends. And I can tell you when they own nuclear power plants it's even worse. So all the fun stuff we deal with over here as well. No, I mean it sounds like things are going good. It sounds like you guys are starting to get your feet underneath you and get out in the marketplace and do all those things. So are customers, do they buy direct from you or is it all distribution that you have out there?
Chris Jenkins: That's a good question. We are, we're... Tomorrow we're going to meet with one of the possible first dealers that we're going to implement. And we've been direct sales from the get go. But now we're going to start looking at having dealerships, which throws a whole new monkey wrench of setting retail prices, discounts, volume discounts, riskless stock, inventory, dealership networking. And that's above my pay grade and I want it to be, I always want to be out doing sales. But yeah, we're looking at doing dealers, so we're trying to find people that see the value of our product and would like to join us. Now we're not going to ever be able to probably produce a hundred thousand of these a year, but we are producing them in a better mass. So if you're looking to partner with someone that makes a really unique product, we're open to dealerships.
Tyler Robertson: Yeah, no, it sounds great. Sounds like things are going all right, if people want to learn more about your product, watch some of these videos. What's the website they need to go to do that?
Chris Jenkins: They could go to the, I'd say first thing is go to the YouTube videos because if you call us directly, they would probably be... I would go to QuickLoadz.com obviously, but probably go to the YouTube video first, because like I said, when you first start watching this, if you don't see it actually work, you probably won't believe 90% of the stuff that comes out of our mouth. So I honestly, I really love it when someone calls in and be like, "Listen, you guys gave me... I have this addiction now to YouTube, watching these trailers do their thing." Then that's how I know I have someone that's qualified. Most of the time if they call in and they haven't watched a video, it's just from seeing the short stuff in our web. So it's not really as good as lead as it could be.
Tyler Robertson: Yeah.
Chris Jenkins: Like you said, when you saw it, you are just like amazed.
Tyler Robertson: Yeah, no, I was really surprised the first time I saw it. I'm like, "Wow, I've never seen anything like that before." So anytime I get a chance to do that, share a story... And I like to share a stories about the companies. So I'm glad you're able to get on the show here, talk about a little bit of everything. It's been great. So I appreciate you having come on the episode. Anything I forgot about, anything you want to mention that I happen to leave out?
Chris Jenkins: I'd just like to say this, currently right now I see so many recruiters and so many freight and trucking companies talk about driver retention. And I would like to say this, what if you had a product that was driver attraction? What if you had a product that disabled veterans could do, women could do, and your older guys that have been great employees for 20 years, but they're getting too old to get on icy decks or climb in and out of the cab or load deck equipment or do the palletized stuff. This product is the answer for a lot of people. And when you start talking about driver turnover, the added cost of our unit will keep drivers in the seat and even put them in the seat once you show this. It's a mechanism to get people into trucking.
Tyler Robertson: Yeah, no good product. And you're right, there's a lot of benefits besides just the thing that it does, right? The impact it has on your employees and retention and attraction and all those things. So Chris Jenkins, great for coming on the show. Thank you very much man. I really appreciate it. And again, QuickLoadz with a z.com for everyone that wants to go check it out and see what it's about. We'll drop a link in the show notes for everybody and we're going to call this episode of rap. So again, thank you for watching. Thank you for listening. Like, subscribe, comment, share, all these things tremendously help us here at Diesel Laptops. And remember, it's not just diagnostics, it's diagnostics done right. And we'll catch you on the next episode.