Developers, grading and excavation contractors-everyone involved in construction in the Raleigh/Durham, NC, area knows exactly what to expect when they hire family owned and operated Covenant Trucking Co. to haul materials for them. As the company's name implies, an agreement made with Covenant Trucking is a binding contract.

Company owner Joe Jones started Covenant Trucking Co. after retiring from a 20-yr. miliary career in 1996. At that time, a thorough investigation into the dump truck business in the Raleigh/Durham area showed there was a large amount of construction going on and that projections for business growth over the next several years were excellent.

Going from one Mack dump truck and a home office just six years ago, Covenant Trucking now consists of seven dump trucks, seven drivers and a brand new office facility and parking area for the vehicles in Youngsville, NC.

“We are a sub-contract dump truck hauling service, hauling materials such as dirt, sand, stone, asphalt and brush. We have an established trucking relationship with local grading contractors. We're also a certified minority business enterprise with the North Carolina department of transportation, the city of Raleigh, the city of Durham and the Raleigh/Durham international airport, which gives us the opportunity to bid on jobs in those locations when minority participation is required,” Jones explains.

Covenant Trucking also receives daily trucking requests from other grading companies, besides those with whom it has established business relationships, and also custom-home builders and private home owners to haul stone, top soil, etc. In addition, it provides disaster relief hauling services.

“In the past six years, we've purchased eight Mack trucks,” Jones reports. “Two of those trucks were replacement vehicles for trucks that were burned recently in an unfortunate arson incident. Under normal circumstances, however, our mileage is low compared to over-the-road trucks, so we keep the vehicles seven to ten years. We have one RD 688S, the rest are Mack Granite CV 713 models. Our two 2003 trucks have the new emissions specs on them. The only difference with them is that the Mack EO-N Plus 15W40 oil must be used. We have not changed the maintenance intervals for these trucks.”

Jones says when purchasing new trucks he specs quad axles rather than tandem or tri-axles because they allow him to haul more payload per load, which increases his efficiency. He also has gone with the more powerful Mack 400-hp. E-TECH engine. Jake Brakes are spec'd to retard engine speed and alleviate wear on the regular brakes. To complete the package, he matches the Mack chassis to Ox steel dump bodies, which he says are very strong and dependable.

All warranty maintenance work is performed by TranSource Inc., Raleigh, NC. Fluid services and nonwarranty work is done by an independent dump truck mechanic. Covenant keeps its own maintenance records and has lubes and adjustments done bi-monthly. Drivers are required to perform preventive maintenance checks daily, reporting any problems to Carlton Jones, the operations manager.

“Finding and keeping good drivers is one of our biggest challenges,” Jones says. “We're constantly looking at ways to attract drivers through things like rewards and benefits programs. We also believe that everything in this industry is driven by safety, so we preach safety on a continuing basis.”

For 15 years it seems business in the Raleigh/Durham Research Triangle area has been exploding. The media, Jones says, compares its growth rate to that of Atlanta, and new highways are being built every day to handle the increased volumes of traffic. With no signs of slowing down anytime in the near future, Covenant Trucking should have plenty more fruitful years ahead of it.