Trucking companies ready to hire new drivers want them behind the wheel as soon as possible. Since DOT drug testing is essential to the onboarding process, they need a lab that can provide fast and accurate results.
Tonia Landry opened Fastest Labs of Marietta in October 2019 to deliver that kind of service. Her business offers comprehensive testing for individuals and for employers in a variety of industries.
With a background in real estate, banking and investment, Landry had been looking for a franchise opportunity where she could put her people skills to good use.
“I was attracted to the Fastest Labs franchise because it is primarily a B2B business, because the market is established with known demand, and because it is a business that is recession-resistant,” she explained.
The Fastest Labs franchise also has a proven track record. Dave and LeDona Claflin opened the first Fastest Labs location in 2008 in Texas. They had observed that people often had to wait an hour or two in less-than-pleasant surroundings before getting tested, and then waited another day or two for results. With their Fast Labs model, the Claflins made the entire process much faster, and ensured that the testing facilities were clean and sterile. Fastest Labs is now approaching 60 clinics in 20 states.
“At Fastest Labs of Marietta, we are focused on premier customer service, with accurate results and competitive pricing being our main differentiator and competitive advantage,” Landry said.
Fastest Labs serves about 140 to 250 customers and processes between 250 and 420 tests each month. Services include urine, saliva, hair follicle and nail tests for pre-employment; random screening and post-incident reports for companies; court-ordered drug tests for individuals; and DNA tests for criminal, paternity and family custody matters. Its clients include everyone from self-employed truckers to large companies with 500-plus employees. Industries served include trucking, construction, medical and pre-school education.
Fastest Labs follows strict testing protocols. “We have the candidate/employee empty their pockets and remove all unnecessary outerwear, then have them secure their personal belongings in a locker with a key they retain,” explained Landry. “We do a non-invasive inspection of the candidate prior to entering the collection room, and give clear, precise instructions on what to do and what not to do when in the collection room. We are trained to perform pre- and post-collection visual inspections of all donors to eliminate potential sample tampering.”
The testing materials they use are 99 percent accurate (the industry average is 94 percent). Fastest Labs processes many of the tests on site, providing instant, non-lab-based results. If certification is required, as with DOT testing, the samples are sent out to clinical lab partners. If a donor fails an instant test, the test samples are sent to the clinical lab for confirmation.
While most donors come to the laboratory for testing, Fastest Labs offers after-hours, on-site collections for certain situations, like large construction sites where multiple employees require testing. Company employees will also travel to the scene of an accident if post-incident driver testing is required.
Fastest Labs currently has exclusive pre-employment testing agreements with several trucking companies, and provides random, post-accident and on-site testing as needs arise. They also work exclusively with construction companies that have a mix of federal DOT and non-DOT employees.
Landry said trucking customers tell her that an accurate drug test, with a fast, clean and safe environment is what’s most important to them. “We engage each client within five minutes of them entering our facility, and each test has a result within 10 minutes of processing. All lab-based results are presented to employers within two days of testing time,” she added.
Fastest Labs of Marietta can provide other important services for trucking customers as well. “The Federal DOT clearinghouse regulations are coming into play, leaving small and some mid-size companies scrambling to get in compliance and stay in compliance with the new requirements,” Landry said. “We can manage a company’s entire drug screening program, from drafting the drug policy and managing the random selections to pulling queries and reporting violations to the clearinghouse.”
The company keeps its technology updated to ensure that it’s ready for anticipated changes in DOT reporting. “Our industry was once heavily reliant on paper chains for custody and hand-written results, which slowed the process tremendously,” Landry said. “Our business has transitioned to more of an online process, thus making the experience faster and more reliable. We believe the drug testing business will continue to shift the process more online, eventually allowing instant results for federal DOT drivers at some point in the future.”
To keep updated on trucking industry concerns, Fastest Labs joined GMTA in 2019. “We became members of GMTA to share our services and help an industry that is intricately vital to our company and to our economy,” Landry said. “My father drove trucks for years for Harley Davidson, and he talked about some of the places he went to for tests and the need for improvement. So we chose to be the change. Our desire is to serve the trucking industry and others with care that they rarely see. Their jobs are challenging, so to come to a pleasant environment to test should be par for the course.”
Landry was able to attend only one GMTA meeting before pandemic. She plans to participate more fully and to sponsor some events in 2021. “We also offer 10 percent off of any of our services for GMTA members who make a new agreement of any kind with Fastest Labs of Marietta,” she added.
Despite the impacts of COVID-19 on businesses, Fastest Labs of Marietta has grown every month since its founding. Landry anticipates that will continue in 2021, and plans to add one full-time employee to the three part-time workers she already employs. She’s also looking forward to adding additional customers from the trucking industry.
“We would love to work with more trucking companies to meet their needs,” she added.