Navy Federal business members are like family. This couldn’t be a truer statement for Keith Jones, whose wife and Navy Federal employee, Tarsha introduced him to the credit union and eventually Business Services. Through Navy Federal, Keith was able to follow his dream of starting his own company – K.D. Jones & Sons Trucking. We are proud of the fact that Keith came to us with an idea that we were able to help turn into a reality.
Recently, Capital Rail Constructors hired Keith’s company for a major construction project in Washington, D.C. to help build the Silver Line of the city’s metro system. The Silver Line provides rail travel to five new stations in the Northern Virginia “Dulles Corridor” – home to several of the region’s most dynamic and rapidly growing economic centers. Planning and construction took years in the making. Keith is excited to announce the Silver Line is officially open for business!
I had to share Keith’s inspiring story with our members. Getting ahold of such a busy and sought-after man is difficult, but we had a little help from our friend, or should I say colleague, Tarsha.
Jim: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and why you started K.D. Jones & Sons Trucking.
Keith Jones: My name is Keith D. Jones, I have two sons, Kendric, age 19, Keith Junior, age18, and a twelve-year-old daughter named Kyah. Obviously I started my business before I had my daughter and I have to hear about it from her all the time! My wife, Tarsha Jones has been an employee at Navy Federal for almost 18 years and we live in Manassas, Va.
I started my business because I was young and had a family to provide for. I was driving a truck for someone else and thought, “why not drive for myself?!” In 2000, I purchased my first dump truck – a 1983 GMC Brigader – with a loan from Navy Federal. In fourteen years we have expanded to over 40 pieces of equipment! “God is good!”
Jim: What’s your biggest challenge in owning your own business?
Keith: Everything! Trucking is a very competitive business. Maintenance, fuel and repairs are costly. Managing your overhead is definitely a challenge. There is always a situation, so the goal is to find the safest, most efficient way to resolve the situation and keep the customer happy. At the end of the day, the customers are the ones who keep me in business. In addition, as with most businesses, you have work/life balance challenges. I work seven days a week in some capacity; I have to always be available (even on vacations!)
Jim: What’s the first thing you did when deciding to start your own trucking company?
Keith: Try to figure out where I was going to get the money from. That’s where Navy Federal came into the picture!
Jim: What’s the one thing you wish you knew when you first started K.D. Jones & Sons Trucking?
Keith: How competitive this business is! The overhead challenges and just how “dirty” the trucking industry can be. It’s alI about networking and the relationships you build. I’m an honest guy and I think that means a lot in this business.
Jim: What advice do you have for someone looking to get into the trucking business?
Keith: Do your research. Know your competitors and do your research on every aspect of the industry. Run your numbers and then rerun the numbers again! Surround yourself with people who have your business’s best interest in mind. Don’t get discouraged when times get rough, because they will. Be innovative and open to criticism. This is not an easy business and success does not come overnight!
Jim: What are the goals for your business in the next 5 years?
Keith: In reality, the main goal is to stay in business! So over the next five years I plan on aggressively pursuing and ensuring financially stability for my business in the long run. I am not necessarily looking to expand but I need to replace some outdated pieces of equipment. I also want to continue building good relationships with my business partners. I’m not getting any younger, I’d like to retire at an early age and enjoy life, hopefully within the next 15 years. At some point (once my kids finish college) I plan on handing this business over to them to run. Preparing them for what lies ahead will take more than five years, so I have to get started!