Category: CDL Drivers

What is LTL

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The last few years have brought a boom in the e-commerce sector and with it a huge increase in the need for affordable shipping for small and medium businesses. These businesses have products that need shipping that exceeds the limits of parcel delivery but doesn’t quite warrant an entire 18-wheeler.  This is where LTL comes in.

LTL is a term used in the trucking industry that causes some confusion for people new to shipping their goods.  “Less Than Load”, or LTL shipments, are more than 150 lbs. but won’t fill a tractor-trailer truck which is usually between 26 and 53 feet long.  Parcel carriers such as the US Postal service, UPS, and FedEx ship smaller packages and for larger shipments, LTL is used. (UPS Freight and FedEx Freight are LTL shippers.)  For the largest shipments when the shipment will take up the entire truck, FTL, or Full Truckloads are used.

   

Size of Load

LTLs generally range from 150 lbs to 10,000 lbs but there are some carriers that may accept larger shipments.  They may also be under 150 lbs when the items to be shipped are lighter but irregularly shaped or large and would be difficult to ship via parcel post. Carriers often look at what would be most cost-effective for the customer.  

 

Delivery Time

The fastest way to ship something is using an FTL.  FTLs are direct shipments and the difference between using those versus LTL is like the difference between using an express elevator or an elevator with several people getting off on different floors.  LTLs have more than one customer’s goods on the truck which saves money, but the more stops they have to make, the longer the shipment will probably take.

 

Pricing

LTL carriers have set minimums for the cost of shipping with them.  To determine the cost, the carrier will look at the weight, size, value, distance, needed floor space, and if actions are needed such as residential pickup/delivery, inside delivery, or if there’s limited access for delivery.

 

Handling

With parcel, conveyor belts are typically utilized which means there’s a lot of shipment handling before it reaches the destination.  With LTL, there is less handling involved but there will be other freight on the truck so it may have to be moved around and there’s a chance it will need to be transferred to another truck.  FTL gets the least amount of handling but unless its a large shipment, it may not be cost-effective to use.

 

LTL gives companies the ability to ship products quickly and affordably by sharing the ride and costs with shipments from other businesses and includes the flexibility to ship almost anywhere.  

 

Direct Freight Services is a load board that allows users to use their mobile device or computer to search for loads and post trucks.  With helpful features like full credit reports, load filtering, when to expect payments, and broker authority information, Direct Freight is an essential tool for owner operators looking to move freight. Visit DirectFreight.com to find out more.

 

Why Trucking Companies Need to Hire Women and How They Can Retain Them

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In the U.S., the demand for licensed truckers has never been higher.  With the shortage of truckers expected to climb to 175,000 by the year 2024, now is the perfect time for anyone in search of a good-paying job to enter the trucking industry, especially women.

 

Ripe for Growth

Traditionally, driving a truck was considered a man’s job and attracted few women. Fortunately, times are changing, albeit at a snail’s pace.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, 6.2% of truckers on the road were women, up from 4.5% 15 years ago, a small number when you consider that women make up 47% of the total U.S. workforce.  The trucker shortage combined with women looking for good-paying jobs is the perfect recipe for a female explosion in the trucking industry.

And why not?  Women can be a huge asset to any shipper.  Men cause 6.1 million vehicle crashes per year while women only cause 4.4 million.  Men are more willing to take risks than women which means their accidents are typically at higher rates of speed than those of women, who usually get into accidents at lower speeds causing less damage.  Shipping companies that regularly hire women know this, as well as the fact women tend to be better at completing paperwork and better at customer service. Women truckers do so much more than fill an empty truck seat.  They are a valuable and virtually untapped resource for trucking companies looking for reliable, long-term employees.

 

How can trucking companies attract more women to their company?  

As a carrier, attracting more women to your company means valuing and appreciating them and looking at things from their perspective.

  • Your place of business should be professional and welcoming to both men and women.
  • Include women in your recruiting ads.  Women should feel the ads are not merely aimed at men because this may be an indicator that women are not welcome.  When evaluating your ads include any print or radio ads as well as your presence on social media like Facebook and Twitter.  
  • Promote women into leadership roles.  Other women will see that women are valued in your company.
  • Offer good pay, benefits, and bonuses.  
  • Guarantee time at home.  One major reason the trucking industry suffers from a high turnover rate and lack of recruits is the hours away from home, keeping truckers from having a more predictable home life.  Many companies are trying to combat this with shorter routes and flexible schedules so employees can have a more balanced home and work life.
  • Have female trainers.  Having a female driver on the road with her during her training period may be encouraging.
  • Make diversity training mandatory.  Unfortunately, there are still drivers who show little respect for women in the field. Diversity training may help female drivers, but knowing that your company offers this kind of supportive training may attract more female applicants.
  • Understand safety concerns.  Safety is a major concern for women on the road, especially for those doing long hauls.  Things such as parking in well-lit spaces at truck stops that are open 24/7, always locking the doors, and carrying pepper spray are things that male truckers should do also but may not really think about.  Offer seminars and training on how to stay safe out on the road.

 

If the trucking industry is going to be able to keep up with consumers’ hunger for goods, it needs to shatter the stigma of truckers being big, burly men.  Actively recruiting women to enter into trucking careers is the obvious solution to the growing trucker shortage and changing the field so it fits the needs of many will bring in more recruits looking to enter into a good career.

At Direct Freight Services, we help shippers find carriers to bring loads to their destinations.  From short routes to cross-country, Direct Freight gives shippers the tools they need to find reliable truckers to carry the load.  For drivers and carriers, Direct Freight’s database of currently available loads will keep your trucks rolling. Go to Direct Freight today to find out more about how this vital tool can help you.  

 

Sources:

https://www.trucking.org/ATA%20Docs/News%20and%20Information/Reports%20Trends%20and%20Statistics/10%206%2015%20ATAs%20Driver%20Shortage%20Report%202015.pdf

https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/13/heres-what-its-like-to-be-a-woman-truck-driver.html

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t01.htm

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2017/10/12/mythbusting-why-are-women-paying-more-than-men-for-car-insurance/#7b4bffd45e00

Truckers: How to be Your Own Boss

 

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Having your own rig and being your own boss is the ultimate dream for many truck drivers.  When you’re the boss, you can set your own schedule. When you’re the boss, you control hauling prices.  When you’re the boss, you don’t have to put up with disrespect from your employers, employees, or dispatchers.  However, being the boss can also bring with it longer hours, more stress, and all the responsibility if things go wrong.  Is being an owner/operator right for you?

 

Look at Yourself  

Be honest.  Do you have the drive it takes to work the long hours?  Will you do all of the necessary paperwork on time and on a regular basis?  Do you have the discipline to do what it takes to make your business a success?  Do you enjoy interacting with people? Being your own boss in any industry is hard work and when things go wrong, the buck stops with you.  Any company problem is your problem, even if your company is just you and your truck. If there is a breakdown, you’re out of commission and money stops coming in until your truck is back on the road.

 

Look at Your Home Life  

Do you have children?  The job can take you away for days at a time, most likely more than it does when you’re working for someone else.  Do you have a significant other that can help with responsibilities at home? Are you a single parent or have shared child custody?  Having a family without enough support can impact the volume, locations, and types of jobs you’re able to take, which may make it difficult to build up your routes and clientele.  Being your own boss may bring you some flexibility with your hours but it’s more likely that you’ll have to put in more hours, especially when starting out.

 

Look at Your Health  

Are you healthy enough to endure the long hours driving a truck?  Are you required to take medication that will impede your ability to stay alert on the road?  If you’re currently a full-time driver, you should know how you’ll physically handle the job. Life on the road can be unhealthy due to hours of sitting and the abundance of unhealthy food on the road.  Staying in shape takes dedication and persistence and is important for your longevity on the job.

Just because you drive a truck doesn’t mean that you need to own your own rig and work for yourself.  For many, the responsibility of driving a truck for someone else is enough. When things go wrong, someone else deals with it.  Some drivers prefer a regular paycheck and the security that goes along with working for someone else.

   

 

How Do You Get Started?

Plan

Start with details like what area of the country you’d like to cover, what types of loads you’d like to haul (flatbeds, refrigerated trailers, HAZMAT, etc.) and what type of business you’re registering for.  Do you have your own truck? If not, will you be renting or buying? These are added costs to your business that you’ll need to take into consideration. One of the most important aspects of starting your own operation is choosing the right business insurance that not only covers your business but also your truck and the loads you’ll be hauling as well.

Seek Help

Talk to a lawyer and an accountant for legal and tax assistance.  Hiring an accountant to handle your books may cost you money but it will allow you more time out on the road doing what you do best.  Making a mistake on your taxes can cost money. A good CPA will make sure that all your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed, that your taxes are well managed and you don’t have a huge bill when tax time rolls around.  

Now What?

Now that you’ve taken the plunge and have leased a truck, registered your business, and have all the appropriate licenses and insurances lined up, where do you turn next?

You need loads.  You need an easy-to-use, intuitive load board, like Direct Freight Services.  Enter a little information, like your origin location, the type of trailer you carry, and how far you’d like to travel, and Direct Freight will return a list of available loads and relevant information.  The number of deadhead miles is also listed so you can make arrangements for a return load to maximize your earnings. With Direct Freight, you can also input the details of your truck so shippers or freight brokers can find you.

If you’re ready to hop into that driver’s seat and be your own boss, check out Direct Freight at www.directfreight.com or call (888)894-4198 and see how Direct Freight can help!    

Brokers: Why You Need a Freight Board

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So, you decided to become a freight broker.  What was the reason? Was it the flexibility?  Wanting to become your own boss? The ability to turn hard work into a 6-figure income?  The prestige in being part of the supply chain that keeps America running?

Whatever the reason, you took the plunge to become a middleman between shippers and carriers and went through all of the processes of structuring your business and filing all of the legal forms to make your business possible.  (If you haven’t, more details on the process can be found here.)  Now what?  Where do you begin?  How do you get a list of shippers?  Do you know any truckers? You’re the middleman, how do you get in the middle?

Sure, you can use Google to search for names of shippers, and you may even be able to find some truckers, but it’s a tedious process that takes a lot of time.  And as we all know, time is money. Load brokers rely on their contacts for work and most people don’t have a handy Rolodex of direct shippers sitting on their desk, certainly not when first starting out.  But you can have one at your fingertips.  Load boards are your Rolodex.  

That’s the beauty of them.  Load boards give you all the information you need from shippers who need loads shipped to truckers looking to drive loads.  Even if you do have contacts that you can utilize, load boards can help you fill in gaps and keep trucks on the road when your regular contacts have nothing for you.  
Load boards have other advantages too.

  • They’re inexpensive.  For a small monthly fee you can have full access to their updated lists of shippers and carriers.
  • They’re convenient.  Because most of them these days are web-based, they can be accessed from any computer or mobile device 24/7 so there is no costly software requiring constant updates.
  • It reduces deadheading.  That’s when there’s a load going in one direction but not the return one.  The most successful freight brokers will keep trucks full, picking up loads for the return trip for efficiency.

  Okay, we’ve fully established that the success of your brokerage business depends on you finding a freight board.  But which one? There are so many of them out there and it’s important to find one that works for you. Many load boards have lots of bells and whistles and their main function gets lost in the mire.  Look for an interface that is straightforward with the load/truck search engine as the main feature.

Your main goal is to find concise, current loads and trucks, but there are a few other features that some load boards have that can help your business be more efficient.

  • Credit reports.  Know who you’re dealing with ahead of time.
  • Deadhead and Trip Miles.  Know your miles full and empty.
  • Weather Reports.  Know the weather where your trucks are.
  • Store and Send Documents.  Fax, email, or text with one click.
  • Email Alerts.  Get alerts on loads and trucks.
  • Load organization.  Keep everything organized so nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

DirectFreight has everything you should be looking for in a load board.  With its clear-cut interface, you can easily navigate your searches along with customized features like important saved documents and emails.  It not only provides up-to-date load and truck information, it helps your business to be more organized and professional. Check it out for yourself with a 15-day free membership at DirectFreight.com and make your freight brokerage firm prosper!

Why Load Boards Are a Shipper’s Best Friend

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When it comes to finding a dedicated loyal friend to help through busy times or when you need to find a new carrier, the freight shipper need not look any further than a good load board.   

 

What is a Load Board?

A load board is a web-based system that allows shippers to list a load that needs to be transported somewhere.  The shipper gives details such as “from” and “to” locations, freight size, type and other details, and carriers who can meet the requirements can apply for the job.  

Even if you are a shipper with contracts with established carriers, load boards can be a useful tool if problems arise and you need to find a new carrier quickly, or if your number of shipments is growing faster than your carrier’s capacity is, a common occurrence in our improving economy.  A load board can help you find one that is reliable and has a good credit record, as well as a good driving record. With the right load board, you loads can be viewed by thousands of drivers across the country. By putting all of the information out there, on both shippers and carriers, a marketplace of moving goods is created, for everyone’s benefit.

 

Why Would Shippers Use Load Boards?

For shippers, load boards are a way to ship freight and save money on the middleman (or middlewoman), i.e. a freight broker.  Freight brokers take care of load postings and find carriers for you. You pay them a percentage, of course, and they take care of finding a reliable carrier to move your freight.  They may have their own, independent contracts, but they often use the same load boards to find truckers that you would.

So why, then, would you use a freight broker when you could do it yourself?

You will save money by doing it yourself and many do, but ask yourself this:  “How much is my time worth?” How much time would it take for you to find a carrier, negotiate a price, and track your shipment and payments?  Multiply that time by the number of loads you have to ship. While a good load board, like Direct Freight, will streamline the process, it will still take time that you may use for other aspects of your business.  

For some, it’s worth the savings.  For others, using a freight broker gets that part of the job off their proverbial plates so they can concentrate on other ways to make their businesses successful.  With all of the useful information included on them, load boards help shippers make decisions that are less risky and more efficient.

Load boards are win-win.  Shippers learn whether or not the carrier has a good driving record and has the proper licenses,  and the carrier learns whether or not the shipper is reputable and pays carriers in a timely manner.

If you’ve got freight to ship and you don’t have a way to ship it, are unsatisfied with your current carrier, or have more freight than your current carrier can handle, go to www.directfreight.com and try our free 15-day trial and start posting those loads today!

Looking for Loads in All the Right Places

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The shipping industry of today is a trucker’s market.  There’s a shortage of CDL drivers which is good news for drivers looking for loads―there are a lot of them out there.  However, to be a successful owner/operator in the trucking industry, you have to find the right loads. It’s not just a matter of finding any load but finding the right one.  For that, you need more than just any load board.

Before you begin your search, think about what kind of client you’re looking for.  The goal is to find high-paying loads that are actually going to make you money. If you have an idea in your mind about what you’re looking for, you’ll increase your chances of finding it.  Are you looking for a large, well-known company? One with a good reputation? A client that you can work with on a regular basis? One that ships in areas where you want to work? Do you want to work with a freight broker?  Do you offer specialized services such as moving oversized construction equipment or refrigerated services?

With the answers to these questions in mind, it’s time to peruse the multitude of load sites out there but where should you begin?  There are so many load sites available online that it’s difficult to know where to begin. Free load sites are tempting, after all, why pay for something when you don’t have to?  There’s a good reason for that. Free load sites have to make money somehow, and they usually do it by having lots and lots of advertising on their websites, selling things other than load information.  Some free load boards are just lists of free load boards. Most loads that are found on the free sites are not posted directly to the site from shippers or brokers; they come from a load sharing service.

Load sites that charge a reasonable monthly fee will generally give you what you’re looking for instead of trying to sell you things you’re not.  While they all offer loads and shipping details, it’s important to find one that’s simple to use and that has all of the details you need to narrow your load search.  Some of the things you may need to know other than load weight, ship date, and trip distance are:

  • The age of the listing
  • Full or partial load
  • Trailer type
  • Number of “deadhead miles” or miles from your location to where you pick up the load
  • Is the poster a member of TIA (Transportation Intermediaries Assoc.), i.e. a broker that agrees to a high standard of business ethics?
  • Credit rating that includes credit score as well as the number of days it takes them to pay for services
  • Mileage calculator that includes tolls
  • Up-to-date fuel prices

With this information in hand, you’ll be able to find the right loads.  You’ll also be able to maximize your time by scheduling loads for your trips back too.  If you want to land these jobs, however, you have to make sure you’re the right driver.  

Begin with your insurance.  A shipper wants a driver with good insurance that includes freight insurance.  They’re trusting you with their freight and want to be covered if anything goes wrong.  

Insurance goes hand-in-hand with your safety rating.  A driver with an excellent driving record and safety rating will be hired over one with poor ones any day.  

Always be professional and be mindful of your reputation.  Drivers with a good and dependable reputation will get the higher-paying jobs.  

If you’re looking for a load site that’s not just any site, Direct Freight is the place to go.  It matches loads and drivers by using pertinent information so you can maximize your driving time and your earning potential.  It uses state-of-the-art tools to make the system work for you, including alerts via text or email for when new loads are posted.  Direct Freight is so sure that their service will be a tremendous benefit to you that they offer a free trial for 15 days.

Go to DirectFreight.com or call (888)894-4198 to find out how you can get started finding the right loads today!