The Baylor and Vanderbilt graduate sold The Muenster Truck to an Atlanta-based catering company that became interested in the food truck after it got national media attention.
Shah also has plans to launch Revolution Logistics by September.
“When I sold that, I was still doing business development at the family business, Hamilton Plastics, but that entrepreneurial bug was still in me,” Shah said.
He looked at the business landscape in Chattanooga and saw strong potential in logistics and trucking, he said.
Asset-based trucking means that he decided to invest in the vehicles, as opposed to working with brokers to organize shipments in other people’s trucks.
“I figured I’d go with the mentality of crawl, walk, run,” he said.
He launched Shah Trucking in 2014 with one truck that has state-of-the-art systems that can manage speed and miles per gallon, among other metrics.
After one year in business, Shah Trucking had four trucks. It now has six and is on a continued growth pattern. By the end of September, which will be the business’ second year, Shah will have 10 trucks, 12 trailers and a box truck (meant for deliveries of within about 250 miles).
Part of his strategy is to only hire drivers with a minimum of seven to 10 years in the industry and clean driving records. Shah Trucking aims to differentiate itself by hiring drivers with experience, many of whom started working at a small company and got used to being valued, but lost that as their employers grew.
He also hired a veteran from the trucking industry to help lead the company.
“There’s certainly a lot of demand for trucks-for each truck out there, there’s probably 10 loads [that need to be transported],” he said. “The problem is finding capable, smart drivers.”
Each driver gets their own truck with a bed that is equipped for a television and microwave. And Shah aims to get to know each driver and what’s important to them. He works to help create an environment where the drivers feel respected.
For example, if a driver needs to be home on weekends with the family, Shah will make that work. If another driver likes to go out for longer, that’s an option, too.
Shah is looking to hire another person to work in the office, which is in the same building as Hamilton Plastics.
And he’s looking toward additional future growth.
Shah is also looking to do more business locally. The box truck, which can carry smaller, 10- to 12,000-pound shipments, is one way to do that, he said.
“That’s a niche we are just getting into … [We’re] hoping to expand that,” he said.
Updated @ 9:26 a.m. on 7/11/16.