105: CAT Scale: Born Out of Listening to Drivers

During this week’s episode of the Oakley Podcast, host Jeremy Kellett is joined by Heather DeBaillie, the vice president of marketing at CAT Scale to get the low down on what they do: company origins, how they’re helping drivers, their 45th-anniversary contest, and more.

Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • The birth of CAT Scale (5:06)
  • Helping drivers who get fined (7:42)
  • North Little Rock location (9:56)
  • Making life simpler for drivers (12:37)
  • On the CAT Scale horizon (15:26)
  • The Way to Weigh Contest (16:39)

Oakley Trucking is a family-owned and operated trucking company headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information, check out our show website: podcast.bruceoakley.com.


Heather DeBaillie  0:12  

We want the driver to be confident in the weights that we’re providing them, and how can you do that if you’re not willing to stand behind it and guarantee it? That’s our goal. We understand how hard it is to be a driver and how hard it is to be away and on the road and all of the multitude of things that they have to deal with.

Jeremy Kellett  0:30  

Welcome to the Oakley podcast, trucking, business, and family. This show is brought to you by Oakley Trucking, headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The purpose of this podcast is to communicate with Oakley owner-operators and their families by giving them up-to-date information concerning Oakley Trucking and the trucking industry. From business advice to safety updates to success stories. Also to give an inside to outside truck drivers that might be interested in joining the Oakley family.

Hi, there’s Jeremy Kellett, Director of Recruiting here at Oakley Trucking and I’m your host for this podcast. This is episode 105. So on today’s episode, Heather de barley from cat scale, sit down with me at the Mid America Truck Show. And we talked about how Catskills got started. But we talked about how they operate. And we even talked about how they helped truck drivers get out of some overweight tickets. As always, we try to bring good information here at the Oakley podcast. So to help you be more successful as an owner-operator, so be sure to comment, like and subscribe, watch us on YouTube and even go to Oakley trucking.com If you need more information about coming to workforce here but before we get into our episode, let’s hear from our sponsors Arrow Truck Sales and LubeZone.

Keith Wilson at Arrow Truck Sales in Springfield, Missouri is currently offering $1,000 off your first month’s payment when you finance with transport funding, or $1,000 off the truck price if you bring your own financing. They’re also discounting the cost of an extended warranty by $500. Arrow Truck Sales has been a longtime partner with Oakley Trucking and that’s because they specialize in first-time truck buyers, they don’t do any leases, they have the best-used trucks money can buy (because used trucks is all they do, they don’t sell any new trucks), and the biggest reason that Arrow and Oakley are partners is service after the sale. It is very important to us at Oakley that when we refer you to a company, that they are a good company with good people, they do what they say, and they understand our requirements. So give Keith a call at 573-216-6047 for a good used truck and tell him you heard about it on the Oakley podcast.

LubeZone has been a sponsor the Oakley podcast for a long time. They have good people over there. Jeff and Megan do a great job and they provide good discounts for Oakley owner-operators, but it’s also just a great place to go. They’ve got 11 locations in Texas, California, Oklahoma, and Georgia. They’re primarily along major highway exits, which allows easy access. They can do a lot of stuff there. They got full-service oil changes like tractor and trailer grease, air filters, all analysis tire checks, DOT inspections, these guys can do it all and we love doing business with them.

One of our owner-operators went to LubeZone, he said, “Hey, I’m going in here and I going to find out how their service is, if they’re fast and if I get a discount.” I said, “Alright, you let me know when you get out of there.” So he called me back and he said, “I just want you to know that’s a great place to go. It’s clean. It’s nice. The service was great.” He got the full-fledged filters, oil change, the whole nine yards service and he also got his $40 discount. You got to tell them you heard it on the Oakley podcast, that you are with Oakley Trucking, and they will give you a discount.

Just great service from those guys. We appreciate them being a sponsor of the Oakley podcast. If you’re in one of those areas, you go to LubeZone.com and you see where their locations are, and if you’re close by there, go try them out and let me know how your service was because we’ll give the feedback back to LubeZone. And check out the rewards program. That’s really good, too. Just be sure to check them out and let them know you heard it on the Oakley podcast.

Okay, we’re here at Mid-America Truck Show with Heather DeBaillie from CAT Scale and wanted to visit with her for a little while and talk about CAT Scale and what they have to offer. How’re you doing, Heather?

Heather DeBaillie  4:27  

I’m doing great. How about you?

Jeremy Kellett  4:29  

I’m doing good. I sure am glad you sat down and visited with me a little bit today.

Heather DeBaillie  4:32  

Well, thanks for inviting me.

Jeremy Kellett  4:34  

Oh, yeah, it’s good. One of those things with CAT Scale is I’ve always heard about them, how good they are, that everybody’s using them, and I’ve never really heard the lowdown on CAT Scale and how it helps drivers and owner-operators in the business. First of all, I was looking at your website. You guys got a great website, by the way.

Heather DeBaillie  4:54  

Thank you.

Jeremy Kellett  4:55  

I’m sure you probably developed, didn’t you?

Heather DeBaillie  4:57  

I got a little hand in it.

Jeremy Kellett  4:58  

Did you? It really is good and makes it easy to see what’s going on with CAT Scale. It looks up to date. You guys are celebrating 45 years.

Heather DeBaillie  5:07  

45 years, yeah. We put the first scale in South Holland, Illinois in 1977.

Jeremy Kellett  5:13  

Wow, that’s a milestone, hitting 45 years.

Heather DeBaillie  5:17  

It is. And it’s it’s something that kind of grew out of just listening to drivers. We’ve owned Iowa 80 truck stop for a number of years and some other truck stops and truck and truck washes.

Jeremy Kellett  5:30  

Wait a minute, I didn’t know that.

Heather DeBaillie  5:32  

Yes. We’ve been connected to drivers since 1964 and CAT Scale was born out of drivers saying, man, you know, if we could just weigh our full truck at once, you know, not have to pull forward on those axle scales and throw those coins in, get your little card stamp. For those of you that have been out there a while, you know what I’m talking about. So we developed a full platform scale that could actually give drivers individual axle weights as well as their gross weight. And so we did that for a while. And then we had our location in South Holland. Then we opened one in North Little Rock, Arkansas and Walcott, Iowa. So Iowa ad was not the first cat scale, oddly enough, but then we had drivers talking about overweight citations and listening to them. And it was always our intention to be a help to them to let them know that they could feel good about weighing on a cat scale. So that’s when we came up with our guarantee program, that if you weigh on a cat scale, and then you go out, and you’re shown legal, and you go down the road, whether it’s an axle, or gross weight, whatever, and you receive a citation from the DOT being overweight, we cover that. So we’ll reimburse the driver, really, for that citation. And sometimes those fines can get huge. I mean, if you have somebody that ends up getting their permit revoked, and then they’re issued a ticket back to 80,000 pounds, and they’re hauling 100 plus 1000 pound load. I mean, we’ve had drivers call us and say, I’ve got a $16,000 fine. How can you help me? And that’s when we go.

Jeremy Kellett  7:19  

I was actually going through some of your testimonials that you have on your website. Of course, I don’t ever go to CAT Scale, but our owner-operators do. But I was reading through some of the testimonials and how you helped do that and I thought that’s really intriguing that you guys backup drivers is if they’ve got a scaled cat scale ticket and they go somewhere else and it’s over. When they get fined, then y’all really do your homework and taken up for the driver and helping him, right?

Heather DeBaillie  7:48  

We do because we want the driver to be confident in the weights that we’re providing them, and how can you do that if you’re not willing to stand behind it and guarantee it? That’s our goal. We understand how hard it is to be a driver and how hard it is to be away and on the road and all of the multitude of things that they have to deal with.

Jeremy Kellett  8:12  

So y’all must have to do calibrations all the time.

Heather DeBaillie  8:15  

We calibrate our scales every three months. And we actually have our systems are so advanced now that we can dial into any scale at any time and see what’s happening. And we get automatic diagnostic reports every day. We get alerts from all 2,075 low scales in the US and Canada that tell us if they feel like something’s wrong, like our machines are talking to us really and telling us this might not be there might be something wrong with a load cell so we can a lot of times intercept that and fix it before a driver even knows or the location itself even knows.

Jeremy Kellett  9:01  

Do all 2,075 locations come back to one location?

Heather DeBaillie  9:06  

They all come into our headquarters in Walcott, Iowa, okay, which our office and our helpdesk are open 24 hours a day seven days a week, 365. If a driver has an issue and needs to talk to somebody has a question, if a CAT Scale location has a problem or a question they can call our toll-free number 877-CAT-Scale anytime.

Jeremy Kellett  9:32  

Sounds like y’all got it going on, advanced equipment that takes care of it. You understand if you’re fixing to have issues ahead of the game before you have problems.

Heather DeBaillie  9:41  

And again, that just goes back to our commitment to the driver that we want to be there and we want to make sure that our scales are accurate because it doesn’t do anybody any good if they’re not.

Jeremy Kellett  9:51  

Right. No, it does not. It sure doesn’t. And I apologize for this, but you just said North Little Rock. So was that your second location?

Heather DeBaillie  9:59  

Yeah. So we had a location in North Little Rock, Arkansas and it’s still there.

Jeremy Kellett  10:04  

We’re in North Little Rock, Arkansas. I don’t know why I didn’t make the connection with Iowa 80 and CAT Scale but I should have because you guys are right there in North Little Rock. The trucker man and the CAT Scale there in Northern Rock, so right there we’re Oakley is.

Heather DeBaillie  10:20  

I think it’s important for drivers under to understand that Bill Moon who founded Iowa at and CAT Scale on trucker Matt. His whole goal was to always be there for the driver and help in any way that he could. So building places like Iowa, eight was a huge driver. He was not a driver. He was actually a chemist by trade rule. He worked for Standard Oil. And his job was to locate places where Standard Oil at the time wanted to put in these little pumper truckstops little store little restaurant to decent pumps. I mean, we’re talking early to mid-60s here. And so he did that. And he found the Walcott, Iowa location for Standard Oil. And that place opened in 1964. Then, in 1965, Bill and his wife, Carolyn, came to Walcott and started running Iowa at four Standard Oil, brew the place. And in the meantime, was doing other things like truck mad and started CAT Scale. And then in 1984, Standard Oil said, and we don’t want to be in the truckstop business anymore. And then now they were able to cope. And he was like, perfect because I’m buying it. And he had been very strategic in buying up all the land around the truck stops. So reddish more man, when it was then became bears, they can expand and we have not stopped. That is awesome. He said, I know that’s not CAT Scale. But it’s not it explains where we come from.

Jeremy Kellett  12:04  

That’s a good explanation because he sounds like he was sharp thinking ahead of what’s down the road and what this might turn into. And it’s amazing because it reminds me of Bruce Oakley, that did a lot of similar stuff that Byron enough laying around to give us room to expand and understand that this is something good that’s about to happen here. Right, good. Well, tell us about the apps. Everything’s online on your phone. I mean, you got to make it simple for drivers. And they’re all on that phone. I mean, so how in the world does CAT Scale use that to make it simpler for drivers?

Heather DeBaillie  12:36  

Well, the big thing with the way my truck app is just how fast you can get away now. So it’s, it’s really focusing on that time savings. Because we already had the guarantee, we already know that our skills are accurate. So what was the piece that we needed to improve on, and that was the time it took to weigh because a driver would have to pull on the scale, they would have to talk through the intercom, which is kind of like a drive-thru. Sometimes it got all messed up or you couldn’t hear the cashier. They wrote down the wrong truck number. Drivers out there, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And so the app allows them to be able to pull on the scale, they’ve set up their account ahead of time they open the app, it automatically shows them where they are, they confirm yep, that’s the scale location that I’m at. Then it shows them their truck information, your trucking company, truck number trailer number, they can, can toggle into those fields and change it if needed. Process tops to the scale processes, the payment shows them their weights right there on their phone before they ever pull off the scale. So they know if they’re good to go. Or if they need to pull off and adjust and come back on, and then emails the driver a lot to PDF copy of their scale ticket that looks exactly like the printed ticket, they would get inside. So there’s no need to go inside, no need to park. And if they have to rewind for some reason, pull off, make their adjustments, pull right back on the app automatically recognizes that they’re eligible for reweighing. And this whole process takes about 60 seconds. totally paperless. And yes. Instead of the usual 20 to 30 minutes, depending on where you’re at, you might not be able to find a place par.

Jeremy Kellett  14:25  

True. Yeah, that sounds like it’s made it simple. Haven’t we come a long way?

Heather DeBaillie  14:30  

Oh, my gosh, this has been revolutionary.

Jeremy Kellett  14:34  

It’s amazing how things change, but the goal is helping it change for the convenience of the driver and the trucking company to make it better.

Heather DeBaillie  14:43  

I know it’s an old cliche, but time is money. Drivers are being paid by the mile and owner-operators are being paid by the load and hours of service. I mean, you’ve got to every minute counts. And so that’s another way that we felt like we could help the drivers speed things up.

Jeremy Kellett  15:04  

Did that play a part in making that decision is the new ELDs?

Heather DeBaillie  15:10  

Yes. Where else can we improve? And that was, well, we could make it faster, save the driver some time, and that’s what led to develop.

Jeremy Kellett  15:18  

Anything new on the horizon for CAT Scale or lean thing new coming up? It sounds like you’re on top of everything.

Heather DeBaillie  15:26  

Well, we are actually new openings. Well, we do have new openings we have opened so far this year, we’ve probably opened 20 locations and opened another 50 before the year’s up. So our goal there, again, is to make it easy for the driver always looking to be near those load generation points. Because we know I mean, if you’re gonna weigh your load, you want to make sure you get it weighed before you have to hit that state. So we’re always looking for new locations. So drivers, if you’re listening, and you’re like, hey, there’s a place there that out there that I know, a CAT Scale is sorely needed. Tell us.

Jeremy Kellett  16:01  

That’s that way you get some of that information.

Heather DeBaillie  16:04  

We do have a lot, and we have a forum, even on our website that’s for driver feedback on where should we send, it suggests a scale location and Oh, give us the info tell us where it’s at. Tell us what’s been loaded in that area. And we will definitely check it out.

Jeremy Kellett  16:19  

That’s the way to do it is getting information from the guys that are out there doing it every day because that’s why I do it. I ask them what’s going on out there. They know.

Heather DeBaillie  16:27  

They do know. They’re the experts. I’m not the expert.

Jeremy Kellett  16:32  

Me either, but it’s good. What about the way to win contest you were telling me about before we got on here?

Heather DeBaillie  16:37  

As you mentioned earlier, it is our 45th anniversary this year, so we’re adulation Thank you, we thought well, we need to do some fun stuff. And let’s celebrate and give some things back to the driver. So we’re giving away a brand new Ford Raptor. So one lucky driver is gonna win that in June. And we’re also giving away 10s of 1,000s of other instant win prizes. So drivers, go to weightowin.com and put in your scale ticket number and your truck number that’s on that scale ticket. And that is every single one of those tickets is a chance to win. You can win prizes instantly, which you’ll be notified right there on the website. And even if you don’t win an instant prize, every single entry goes into for a chance to win that Raptor.

Jeremy Kellett  17:26  

Okay, I’m on the website and it’s under the heading “Cards, Merchandise and More.”

Heather DeBaillie  17:31  

Or you can just go to weightowin.com and it’ll take you straight there.

Jeremy Kellett  17:37  

And then you got all the information to fill out.

Heather DeBaillie  17:39  

And we’re probably awarding, we get a list every week and from the firm that is handling the sweepstakes for so the winners of the instant prizes, and we’ve 200 to 250 drivers a week are winning the CAT Scale swag. We’ve got water bottles and hats and multi-tools and YETI Coolers.

Jeremy Kellett  18:02  

And y’all just call him and tell him?

Heather DeBaillie  18:05  

We just auto-ship it to him with a note that says, “Hey, congrats! You won this.”

Jeremy Kellett  18:09  

That’s a way to do it. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Well, Heather is great to visit with you about CAT Scale. Anything else to add, you think, off the top of your head?

Heather DeBaillie  18:16  

We’re improving the Weigh My Truck app so we’re in a rewrite of the app right now that allows drivers to make some more account changes right there within the app. So we’ve again, we’ve gotten some feedback from drivers saying, Man, I wish I could update some of my account, maybe change my payment method and do some other things right in the app without having to go back to the website. So we’re making those improvements. And hopefully in the next few months, that update will be rolled out for everybody.

Jeremy Kellett  18:41  

Awesome, very impressed with Heather DeBaillie at CAT Scale. She does a great job and I’m glad to learn more about cat skills. It’s always been out there for years that I’ve never really got to talk to anybody about it, but very impressed. Glad to hear all this.

Heather DeBaillie  18:57  

I appreciate you having me on and another thing I just want drivers to know is if you have any questions, call us. Like I said we’re there 24/7 at 877-CAT-Scale.

Jeremy Kellett  19:08  

That’s the way to do it. Thank you, Heather, for visiting with us and we’ll let you get back to the truck show.

Heather DeBaillie  19:12  

All right, thank you.

Jeremy Kellett  19:13  

Thank you.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Oakley podcast: trucking, business, and family. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to rate or review the show on the podcast platform of your choice and share it with a friend. We love hearing from our audience, so if you’ve got a question, comment, or just want to say hello, head over to our website, theoakleypodcast.com, and click the “leave a comment” button. We’ll get you a response soon and may even share some of the best ones here on the show. We’ll be back with a fresh episode very soon. Thanks for listening.