Month: June 2019

What Makes a Load “High-Quality”?

what-makes-a-load-high-quality

Not all loads are profitable.  Fuel costs, competition, and freight type can all impact the shipment rate.  If you’re not careful, you could end up in the red, the load costing more than it’s bringing in.  How do you know? How do you pick a high-quality load that’s going to be the most profitable?

The value of a load is what it pays.  However, there’s so much more to take into consideration than how much it’s going to pay.  A “high-quality load” is one that not only pays well but isn’t going to have added costs, added work, or increased risk.  By looking at the whole picture, you can better judge the quality of the load before committing to it.  

Is a Load High-Quality?

To understand the quality of the load, there are several questions that should be asked.

What is the pay? 

 Simple and straightforward.  Look at how much the load pays per mile.

Does the freight lane make sense for me?  

The freight lane is the freight going into and coming out of an area.  If it is balanced, it means there is an equal amount of freight going in and coming out.  Freight brokers will aim for a balanced freight lane because it means they’ll be able to eliminate deadhead miles and truckers should look at this too.

Is it a good rate for that particular lane?  

Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Do some comparison shopping.

What is the competition like in this lane?

Load boards can tell you the number of trucks in the area.  If there is little competition, you’ll be able to negotiate a better rate.

What are fuel costs?

If fuel costs are high, there’s less profit and you’ll need to demand higher pay.

What is the load weight?

Heavier loads eat up more fuel.

Is there extra work involved?

Sometimes loads require a lot more work than anticipated.  “Tarping” is a good example of this and in fact, it’s a deal-breaker for many truckers.  Tarping is when large, heavy tarp must be placed over a load on a flatbed truck. It’s hard work, and it’s dangerous, and most truckers hate doing it.  Shippers generally understand this and will add tarp pay so make sure if you take a job that involves tarping that they pay you for the extra work. (Sometimes shipping have machines that tarp the freight on the truck for you.  Use it. It’ll make the process much quicker and easier.)

Is the load dangerous?

Even under the best circumstances, some loads are downright dangerous such as steel coils.  Steel coils are extremely heavy rolls of steel that are held on a flatbed by chains. Some truckers won’t touch them because of the danger involved with transporting them.  

How to Get Higher-Quality Loads

There are some steps that can improve your chances of obtaining higher-quality loads that will bring in higher pay and improve your business.  

Know your own operating costs.  If you don’t, you could take on a load that will cost you money or one that is worth so little it’s not worth your time.  Knowing the minimum amount that you need to make a profit will give you more negotiating power for rates. Walk away from loads that don’t offer enough.

Look at every aspect of the trip.  Things like wait-times can eat into a trucker’s profits in a big way.  These wait-times usually occur during load pickups and drop-offs. When you’re paid by the mile and you’re not moving, you’re losing money.

Consider government contracts.  Sure, it’s hard work to get them and there’s a lot of competition, but they can pay really well.

Get endorsements.  Getting specialized training and license endorsements can bring in better loads.  Whenever there is special training required, there will be fewer qualified truckers to haul the load. Examples:  

    • Liquid hauling.  Driving reefers, hauling liquids, requires added training and knowledge.  If the chemicals are hazardous such as gas or chemicals, a special hazmat certification is required.  
    • Oversized loads.  These loads also have a special license and training as well.
    • Driving specialty trucks.  Car carriers, dump trucks, mining trucks can all bring in higher pay.

Use a good load board. Load boards can help find quality loads in many ways.  They create a more balanced freight lane by cutting down on deadhead miles, find larger, established shippers who pay on time, show you the freight lanes you want to drive, and help you manage your operation.  Using a good load board can save a lot of time tracking down loads, making the whole process more efficient. After all, time is money and if you’re getting paid by the mile, you aren’t getting paid for looking for loads. 

Direct Freight Services is a web-based load board that allows users to search for loads or post trucks.  It has many helpful features like full credit reports, load filtering, payment expectations, and broker authority information.  Whether accessed online or now through our easy-to-use Direct Freight app, Direct Freight helps you find the right loads. Go to DirectFreight.com and start searching for those high-quality loads today!

How a Product Gets From Factory to Your Doorstep

how-a-product-gets-from-factory-to-your-doorstep

In logistics, one thing is connected to the next.  You buy an item online and although it may seem like it miraculously appears on your doorstep a few days later, it actually goes through many coordinated steps to arrive there. 

A supply chain is just that―individual links that make up a long chain.  For example, you want to buy a dinosaur action figure from an online retailer who acquires them from China.  Before you’ve clicked the “add to cart” button, your dinosaur action figure has already begun its long journey.

 

Dinosaur Action Figure  Supply Chain

  1. Raw materials are sent to a manufacturing plant in China via boat, plane, train, or truck.
  2. Manufacturing plant molds plastic into the perfect dinosaur action figure.  
  3. Manufacturing plant sorts and ships dinosaur action figure to a port via truck or plane.  
  4. Shipments are loaded into shipping containers and loaded onto a ship bound for the U.S.
  5. At the U.S. port, containers are off-loaded and wait for further transportation.  
  6. Shipping container or its contents are loaded onto a truck,train or plane and sent to a warehouse.
  7. You place your online order and the dinosaur action figure is on the move again.
  8. At that warehouse, the freight is sorted and then loaded onto a truck to be sent to another warehouse.  This process could happen several times before the dinosaur action figure arrives at a retail outlet or distribution center for online orders. 
  9. Distribution center uses 3PL to deliver your dinosaur action figure to your doorstep.  Hurray!

 

Of course, this is merely an example of the way a product could get to your front door and the journey is dependant on many things such as starting point and destination, location of the retailer, and the manner in which the shipper chooses to ship their freight.  You may order directly from a foreign company that uses 3PL to get the product to you. Or you could drive to a retailer and buy a product that was flown to the U.S. instead of being shipped by boat.  

The one thing all of these supply chains have in common is that they rely on trucks to move products.  Even if boats or planes are links in the chain, trucks are used to get freight to and from them. Even when trains are used for cross-country journeys instead of long-haul trucking, trucks are still needed to get freight to and from the trains.  

Whether trucks are big rigs or 3PL vans, they will remain the backbone of every supply chain around the world.  It’s why there’s such a high demand for truck drivers with no hint of slowing anytime soon.  

If you’re a trucker who’s interested in becoming one of those important links in the supply chain, a good load board like Direct Freight Services is a great place to start.  With helpful features like a mobile app, quick pay, deadhead miles, text alerts, and turn-by-turn routing, Direct Freight will help truckers find the loads they’re looking for.  Sign up today at Directfreight.com and see how Direct Freight can start working for you!