Hub keeps moving no matter what, thanks to their hardy crew
Among the NY Metro area's largest full-service commercial truck leasing and rental companies, Hub began as a typical dealership. Shortly after commencing operations in 1957, the Company saw the potential in the leasing business and the Company's founders pivoted in that direction. In the 65 years since, Hub Truck Rental has become the premier full-service truck leasing and rental company in New York and New Jersey.
With eight full-time service locations and over 2,500 Hub-owned trucks, Hub services a diverse group of industries in the Tri-State area, including building, plumbing, and electrical supply, as well as, food distribution, catering, and many others.
Deemed an essential business during the height of the pandemic, Hub's 24/7/365 service response team kept deliveries moving. Over Hub’s long history, they'd had plenty of experience dealing with catastrophic events such as the Eastern Seaboard blackout of 1965, Superstorm Sandy, and the financial crisis of 2008. As a result, Hub is well-prepared to “go the distance” for their customers.
Company CEO Lance Kaufman explained, "Each crisis made us stronger. We owe it all to our staff, who really go above and beyond in exceeding our customers' expectations.”
In recent years, the Company's conversion to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan or ESOP has underscored that devotion, said Kaufman. In 2010, the Company's majority owner wanted "to take some chips off the table.” Rather than making a deal with a megacorporation, which he felt would change the Company irrevocably and leave many workers unemployed, he sold 40% of the business to the employees. "He wanted to take care of the people that got him to that point," said Kaufman. In 2019 the remaining 60% of Hub was sold to their employees.
Innovation is inherent in Hub's DNA. When the Company was founded, trucks came off the assembly line equipped only with manual transmissions. Hub, always way ahead of the innovation curve, was one of the first companies to convert its truck fleet to automatic transmissions. "Some elements in the market pushed back," Kaufman recalled. "They didn't believe that automatic transmissions could work for an over-the-road vehicle. Now, automatics are the standard." The same goes for their early embrace of advanced technologies such as GPS and backup cameras.
Hub's proprietary fleet management and logistics tracking system, Comet, enables the staff to provide their customers with detailed cost-per-mile data that provides an in-depth assessment of each truck. "We are relentless in wanting to know every cost that goes into a truck so that we can provide the best deal for our customers," Kaufman said. "We've had several truck manufacturers requesting that we share our proprietary expertise with them such that they can fulfill their objective of building better and more reliable trucks."
These days, Hub is eyeing the hybrid truck market with plans to be at the forefront of that shift. Kaufman has built a leadership team with strong ties to the market, including one board member who sits on the board of the Long Island Power Authority, and a second director associated with a global manufacturer and distributor of high-speed EV chargers.
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As CEO, Kaufman is on the hunt for intersectional opportunities to keep Hub on its strong growth track. They've grown organically over the years and have an eye-popping 90-plus percent customer retention rate. As customers have moved into new territories or new markets, Hub has often moved with them. For example, their Bronx location exists today because a customer relocated there and urged Hub to migrate to this new area with them.
"We have a lot of customers that are looking to expand and have hoped that we will partner with them in this regard. Such partnerships provide better customer service and afford Hub the opportunity to open new facilities,” said Kaufman.
At the beginning of this year, Hub completed the acquisition of Queens-based Public Service Truck Renting, Inc. "We were always mutually respectful competitors," Kaufman noted. The sale brought two additional locations to Hub, and access to Hub's road service program that guarantees arrival within one hour in Long Island and two hours anywhere else in the U.S., which is a first in the market. "The partnership between Hub and Public Service is a great opportunity for our employees, and our customers are also going to really reap the benefits."
That relentless focus on customer service is just one reason for their 90-plus percent customer retention rate. Fairness is another. Take the current truck shortage, for instance. Rather than selling previously leased trucks and making a handsome profit, they are keeping them on reserve to supply to their customers when the need arises. "We look at the long-term customer service objective rather than the short-term profit goal," the CEO said.
Hub's success comes from the strength of its people, many of whom have been with the Company for 20 or 30 years or more. Together, the Company's Co-Presidents, Donna Blanc, and Ken Tirone, have a combined 78 years with Hub. "When I think of our people, three words come to mind: resilience, resilience, resilience," Kaufman stressed. "We’ve been together through many challenges – it’s taught us to be resilient and in doing so, persevering through some of the toughest times."
As CEO of an ESOP, Kaufman sees Hub's “employee shareholders” every day, and that closeness matters a great deal. "I see their hopes, their dreams, their economic anxieties," he mused. "I'm responsible for their retirement and their well-being. Employee ownership is a key to our service strategy. There are no outside shareholders, just a family of Hub employees. That makes us a tight community. I believe that Hub’s strong corporate culture is the cornerstone of our continuing growth in revenue and our leadership in this industry.”
Hub Truck Rental and Leasing is committed to exceeding its customer expectations through its highly motivated and engaged employee-owners; a passion for customer service; and a commitment to creating and retaining a lifetime customer. And, since the Company’s commenced of operations in 1957, Hub has been doing just that.
It all started with a customer's need for a rental truck while repairs were being done to their truck. This one solution was the basis of what is today Long Island's largest full-service commercial truck leasing and rental company. As a member of NationaLease, Hub provides a broad range of truck solutions for local and long-distance users.