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From 2 Trucks to 80: How a Thriving Carrier Grew Their Fleet With Coyote

Coyote’s online freight portal stands out from some of their major competitors. We pretty much only book loads online, and Coyote always returns a serious counter offer very quickly. With other brokers, we can be on hold for hours to get answers. - Ivelina Atanasova, Owner, Matrix Inc.

About Matrix Inc.

Based in Hoffman Estates, IL, Matrix Inc. is a successful mid-sized trucking company moving freight throughout continental U.S.

According to Matrix Inc. Owner, Ivelina Atanasova, they started exclusively as a hazmat transportation company. While that remains a key focus of their business today, they have expanded into regular dry van truckload freight.

Their fleet is entirely made up of owner-operators, and they pride themselves on creating an attractive environment for these independent contractors to work in.

Coyote Services Matrix Inc. Relies On:

Challenges and Results

Matrix Inc.’s Challenge:

Grow their fleet and scale their operations without lowering their hiring standards or sacrificing the quality of their service.

Results With Coyote:

Coyote's leading shipper network brings them the regular freight they need to keep their fleet moving.

Our digital freight platform CoyoteGO® keeps their operations smooth, their transactions transparent and their reputation in the field strong.

While working with Coyote, Matrix Inc. has:

  • Achieved 100% growth in the first year of our relationship
  • Expanded from four trucks to 80 today
  • Been able to keep costs down and provide owner-operators with competitive rates


Initially Intrigued by Coyote’s Connections

Matrix Inc. first came to Coyote in 2013 with a simple challenge: find a steady volume of well-paying loads to keep their drivers satisfied.

Because they employ only owner-operators, they needed to be able to offer competitive rates to keep their drivers from looking for work elsewhere.

To make sure rates were as attractive as possible, they look exclusively on the spot market rather than for dedicated freight.

Enter Coyote’s sizeable shipper network — today over 14,000 shippers strong — to help connect them to regular freight and keep their fleet moving.

“For years, Coyote has been our first call for hazmat freight. Their reps are approachable and their communication is strong.

We’re always looking for more opportunities to move their freight, and they find us the best loads!”

- Ivelina Atanasova, Owner, Matrix Inc.

Behind the Business Model: Why Owner-Operators?

Matrix Inc. was initially founded with a fleet of four trucks driven by employee drivers. In a narrow segment of the truckload market like hazmat, however, they quickly encountered difficulty specializing.

When they pivoted to their current owner-operator business model, they were able to attract a wider network of skilled and qualified drivers to handle their at-times challenging loads.

Why Matrix Inc. Prefers Owner-Operators

The owner-operators they bring into their fleet come ready with their own specialized equipment to handle the business’s hazmat loads and knowledge of relevant FMCSA safety guidelines.

By working with expert drivers and maintaining stringent compliance practices, Matrix can keep their cargo and liability insurance rates low.

They also feel that their approach to finding loads lines up with the priorities of owner-operators more than those of an employee driver fleet. Owner-operators, in their experience, prioritize rates while employee drivers prioritize miles.

An independent contractor workforce makes sense, then, with the way they search for and secure loads at attractive rates on the spot market.

Why Owner-Operators Want to Work With Matrix Inc.

Matrix Inc.’s business model is effective because they have succeeded in making themselves a place where independent contractor drivers want to work.

They offer a number of quality-of-life accommodations that owner-operators seek:

  • Predictable weekly pay structure
  • Electronic BOLs rather than conventional hard documents
  • 24-hour dispatch and after-hours road assistance
  • Fuel cards with good discounts

Perhaps above all, Matrix is very transparent about all contracted rates. Drivers see this as a sign of respect and professionalism they don’t always encounter in a fragmented transportation marketplace.


How Coyote Helps Make it all Work

First and foremost, Atanasova cites Coyote’s technology as what sets us apart from the 3PL competition.

She singles out CoyoteGO as the #1 offering that makes her life easier when she works with Coyote for several reasons:

  • Booking loads is a snap.
    Matrix books all their loads through CoyoteGO, which keeps their operations running fast and smoothly.
  • Her accounting team loves it.
    They can submit digital copies of paperwork with a single click.
  • It offers unmatched visibility.
    She likes being able to see instantly whether we’ve received BOLs.
  • It makes the Coyote experience better than the rest.
    She contrasts the ease of CoyoteGO with frustrating hours on the phone with our competitors.

They also take advantage of our powerful data integration capabilities by connecting their TMS and their QuickBooks instance to Coyote’s EDI.

Atanasova also calls out the strong fuel and tire repair discounts we provide relative to the competition. This might seem like a small thing, but every little bit counts when you’re trying to maintain a reputation for excellence among owner-operators who have plenty of options.

And of course, the size of the Coyote shipper network is what ties it all together. With more than 10,000 loads shipped per day in the U.S., Coyote offers Matrix Inc. the steady volume of freight to keep their driver s happy and their wheels on the road.


The Result: A Desirable Destination Among Owner-Operators, Enabled by Coyote

While they do some outreach on social media, Matrix Inc. primarily relies on word of mouth to bring in new drivers.

That word of mouth remains positive thanks to everything Coyote brings to this productive relationship: top-tier technology, smooth and simplified processes, expert carrier support, and as much freight as they can handle.

Want to see how far we can take your trucking business? Sign up for our load board and create a CoyoteGO account today, or check out our CoyoteGO users' guide for more details about its most powerful features.

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