Category: freight board

Steps to Become an Owner/Operator

steps-to-become-an-owner-operator

To buy a truck or work for a carrier as part of their fleet is an essential question most truck drivers ask themselves at some point in their careers.  Both options have pros and cons and either choice could be a good career choice.

Advantages to Working For a Carrier:

  • The truck belongs to the carrier, and associated costs and maintenance are their responsibility.
  • Benefits like group health insurance and paid vacation time.
  • There’s less financial risk.
  • Less worry.  Your job ends when you’re done driving.
  • No overhead.  The money you earn is the money you get.  No need to pay for repairs, maintenance, etc.
  • It’s easier to quit your job to find a more suitable company.
  • No start-up costs other than your CDL.  Just get in the truck and go. 

Advantages of Becoming an Owner/operator:

  • More flexible schedule.
  • While it’s not always the case, there is a potential to earn more money.
  • Built-up equity in your truck.
  • Not sharing a truck with other drivers.  Some companies do this and you may be left cleaning up after someone else.
  • You’re your own boss.
  • There could be tax advantages.
  • The truck is customized to your liking.
  • More choice of loads.

 There is no right answer to the question, only what is right for you.  Do you want to be your own boss with all of the responsibilities that go along with it or do you prefer the security of working for someone else?  

Becoming an Owner/Operator

Before taking the steps to become an owner/operator, take the time to examine the pros and cons of each.  It’s a huge financial step.  There’s nothing wrong with spending your career working for someone else.  Once you’re sure you want your own truck, you can begin taking steps to make it happen.

Obtain your CDL.  You need that for the “operator” part of becoming an Owner/Operator.  Some people pay for their CDL by taking advantage of programs that some carriers have where they pay for your CDL as long as you agree to work for them for a specified time period.  If you do this, you’ll have to meet those obligations before becoming your own boss. 

Get Money.  Any business needs start-up money and yours will mainly be for buying a truck.  If you don’t have the money, you can take out a loan or lease a truck.  

Get Licensed and Registered.  If you plan to operate as an interstate (across state lines) carrier you will need a USDOT number to transport cargo.  You can obtain  a USDOT number by registering online through the Unified Registration Program on FMCSA’s (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) website.  You most likely will also be required to have an MC number which is your authority to operate, also found at FMCSA. There is a one-time filing fee of $300.  Depending on the weight of your truck, you may be responsible for paying the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax.  More details can be found here.   

Get Insured.  The FMCSA not only requires insurance, but it also requires different types of insurance depending on your load, i.e. hazardous, etc.  Of course, if you are planning on hauling hazardous materials, you must obtain a special endorsement for your CDL too.

Find Loads.  Once you’re legitimate and ready to roll, how do you get loads?  A good load board can help you find lucrative loads that will help your business get off the ground.  You can search by type of load and region, and because you’re in it to make money and not drive around an empty trailer, load boards can help you fill those deadhead miles to maximize your profits.  

Becoming an owner/operator isn’t for everybody.  It’s definitely something that you have to be in it for the long haul, so to speak.  If you have what it takes, owning and operating your own truck can be a profitable and rewarding career choice.  

If you’ve decided to become an owner/operator, Direct Freight Services is the only load board you’ll need.   Direct Freight is a full-service load board that allows truckers to find loads and companies to post their available loads. The Direct Freight website also has many useful features such as a mobile app, credit reports and scores, mile calculators, fuel price data, weather conditions, turn-by-turn truck-specific routing, and more.  To see everything Direct Freight has to offer Owner/Operators, go to DirectFreight.com today!

Sources:

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/get-mc-number-authority-operate

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/hvut/mod1/whatishvut.cfm

Tips for Night Driving

tips-for-night-driving

Night driving is a big part of driving a truck, especially if you’re a long haul driver or you make early, before-sun-rises deliveries.  Having fewer vehicles out on the road is a definite plus but there are many dangers that can come with driving at night.  

Dangers of Night Driving

Lower Visibility

Unfortunately, humans are not like cats and we don’t have night vision.  We can’t see as far at night as we can during the day which means we may not see an animal like a deer run out onto the road which is more common at night.  Add to that a slower response time and you’ve got an increased potential for an accident.  Even a mild rainstorm at night can decrease visibility significantly. 

You’re Sleepier

If you’re someone who doesn’t drive the same night route every day, your body will be tired when you’re driving at night.  It takes some time for your body to get on the natural sleep rhythm of being awake at night.  

Deliveries are More Dangerous

Night also brings with it an increase in criminal activity and the threat of being robbed for your money or  freight is a real danger. 

More Drunk Drivers

If you’ve driven a semi at night for any length of time, you’ve seen your fair share of drunk drivers on the road.  It’s important to be extra alert and aware of other drivers who may be impaired.   

Night Driving Can Be a Pleasure

Dangers aside, driving at night is preferable for some drivers.  They’ve pretty much got the road to themselves and don’t have to worry about traffic slowing them down.  While parking at night for over the road drivers is a constant challenge if you are doing deliveries in a city, it’s much easier to maneuver a truck through empty streets.  Road construction activity is usually at a minimum, and if there is nighttime road work, drivers usually breeze right through because there are fewer vehicles on the road.  And even with lower visibility, the views from the road at night can be breathtaking.

Tips for Safe Night Driving

If you’re driving at night, here are a few things you can do to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.  

  • Get enough sleep.  Try to get yourself on a regular daytime sleep schedule if you’re going to be driving a nighttime truck route.  Drowsy driving is a major problem in the trucking industry that leads to many fatal accidents.  Some tips on how to stay alert while driving can be found here.  
  • Increase visibility.  Make sure that your headlights are all in working order including high beams and that they’re not dirty.  Also, clean your windshield and dim your dashboard lights to improve your visibility.  Keep up with regular eye exams to make sure your eyes are doing the best job they can.  
  • Stay alert.  Don’t use your phone while driving or do anything else to distract you from being able to keep a close eye out for animals or drunk drivers.  
  • Use your high beams.  Instead of only using low beams when there is oncoming traffic, some drivers will just drive with their low beams on all the time.  High beams allow you to see further and you should use them when you can.
  • Look away from the lights.  Staring right into the headlights of oncoming traffic can be distracting and impairing.  Look at the lines of the road instead.  

Trucker Search is a vital tool for finding a great company to drive for.  On Trucker Search’s website, you can post your résumé as well as search the comprehensive database of companies looking for drivers.  It’s a great resource for any driver looking for a great place to work.

Improving Driver Retention

improving-driver-retention
For carriers, keeping good drivers can be a challenge.  Whether there’s a driver shortage or an abundance of them, trucking companies want to keep drivers who are dependable and are going to stick around.  Carriers need to look for new ways to not only find reliable drivers but also to keep them happy.   Hint:  it’s not just about the money.

The trucking industry has been on a rollercoaster ride with a trucker shortage, massive layoffs, and a pandemic, and that’s just in the last year.  The coronavirus has left carriers and drivers alike closing up shop with their return uncertain.  Drivers who deliver food and essential freight are working overtime while others can’t find any loads.  When the dust has settled on this economic shutdown, drivers everywhere may be scrambling for work, giving carriers a good crop to choose from.

The Money

For most people, money is the most important part of their job.  After all, people need to support themselves.  Offer good pay, benefits, and bonuses.

Give Them Time At Home

If possible, give drivers a schedule that allows time at home.  This is particularly important when recruiting new, young drivers as hours away from home are the main reason that they turn elsewhere for employment.  Life on the road doesn’t appeal to everyone and for people with young children, long hauls are a deal-breaker.  One of the most underutilized groups of drivers are women and looking at ways that drivers can have shorter hauls may open up interest from younger or female drivers.  Many companies are now offering shorter routes and flexible schedules so employees can have more balance between work and home.

Show Them Respect

People want to feel respected.  If you treat drivers with respect and let them know that they are valued members of the company, they’ll take pride in the work they do for you.   Your place of business should be professional and welcoming to both men and women.

Create a Safety-Conscious Environment

Understand the safety concerns of all employees because their safety on the road isn’t just about avoiding accidents.  For women, long hauls are particularly dangerous but there has been much concern with trucks being robbed on the road during the coronavirus shutdown. It’s important that safety procedures are in place to protect drivers on the road. Offer seminars and training on how to stay safe out on the road by carrying pepper spray, parking in well-lit areas and other safety strategies that they may not be aware of.

Create a Team Atmosphere

Creating a team atmosphere makes drivers feel like they’re part of something and may make them want to stay with your company.

High turnover costs carriers money but if it is viewed as a puzzle with many pieces, they can improve driver retention, save money and have happy drivers.

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.

Low Rates During the Coronavirus Pandemic Are Hurting Drivers

low-rates-during-coronavirus-pandemic-are-hurting-drivers

On May 1st, a convoy of more than 70 trucks gathered on Constitution Ave. in our nation’s capital to protest the low freight rates that are crippling an industry already damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Rates have fallen to unsustainable lows with truck load rates down from an average of $1.79 per mile in Feb. 2020, to an expected $1.51 in May.  The protesters aren’t asking for changes in the rates but rather, more transparency when it comes to freight brokers.  Drivers have the same overhead they had before the virus hit―truck payments, insurance premiums, fuel costs, repair bills, etc. It is all still there.  Despite the lowered rates, many freight brokers are charging the same commission as before so the protesters are asking for more government regulation.  The drivers are asking that Congress require brokers to provide transparent transaction records upon service completion and eliminate clauses that keep drivers from accessing them.  

There have been some ease of restrictions for drivers who are hauling freight that’s considered essential, the 14-hour limit has been waived so the restriction doesn’t prevent necessities from being delivered quickly, but it’s not enough.  With the closure of bars, restaurants, and many stores, freight isn’t moving like it was before the pandemic so there are fewer available loads and many carriers and drivers, especially smaller operations, are really struggling.  Drivers who can find loads are barely breaking even.  With the major hit to the number of loads, drivers are finding it more difficult to fill deadhead miles and are returning with empty trailers.    For others, it’s more profitable to park their trucks.  

Of course, those who do get loads are opening themselves up to getting the virus.  With so many drivers prone to obesity and who smoke, they may be at greater risk for developing severe symptoms or even dying from the disease. Many owner/operators have chosen to stay home over contracting the virus driving through “hot spots” in states where the virus is more prevalent.  

As we gain control over the virus and the country begins to open up again, there may be lasting damage to the trucking industry.  Even when demand grows in this country, much of the freight comes from overseas, leaving us dependent on the re-opening of other countries so recovery may be slow getting off the ground.  When it does, there’s a real fear that after businesses begin to reopen and the demand for drivers climbs that many drivers will simply not return.  

The protesters in Washington, D.C. are looking for fairness, that if load rates are less during this time, freight broker rates will be less too.  They aren’t looking for Congress to step in and do something about the declining rates because, even with all the punches this virus has inflicted on the trucking industry, there’s still the belief that with recovery of the American people, recovery in the economy, recovery of our nation, will come the recovery of the trucking industry.  

Direct Freight Services is a web-based load board that can make finding profitable loads easier.  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!    

Healthy Eating Tips for Truckers

health-eating-tips-for-truckers

When you drive a truck for a living, making healthy choices can be difficult.  Some days the only vegetables you may get are the tomatoes on your burger and the only exercise, climbing in and out of the cab of your truck.

Making bad decisions is easy.  Eating right and making time to exercise while on the road is hard.  Driving a truck is like sitting behind a desk all day. It is a sedentary job, obesity is a common problem for long haul drivers. 

A 2014 study by the CDC  revealed that 69% of all long-haul truck drivers were considered medically obese.  The study also found that 61% of the drivers surveyed had two or more additional risk factors for chronic disease including hypertension, smoking, high cholesterol, lack of physical activity, and inadequate sleep. 

Finding healthy food choices while on the road can be a challenge but it can be done.  Here are a few strategies to help you succeed.

  • Plan ahead. You’ll be more apt to grab a quick and easy fast-food meal if you don’t make some kind of a plan.  Start your day by researching and planning your stops so they include healthier options than the typical fast-food burger and fries.
  • Look at the nutritional information.  Even fast-food restaurants put their caloric information on their menus or make it available to patrons.  To maintain weight, the average woman should take in 2,000 calories per day and the average man 2,500. A medium McDonald’s Big Mac meal comes in at a whopping 1,100 calories, nearly half of your daily caloric recommendation.
  • Eat smaller meals more often. Having smaller-portioned meals more frequently rather than a few larger ones is better for your metabolism. Large meals cue your body to store it as fat. 
  • Drink water. A 20-oz. bottle of soda contains around 240 calories and is extremely bad for you. Water, on the other hand, helps with digestion, flushes body waste, helps maintain blood pressure, delivers oxygen and nutrients throughout the body via the blood, and helps skin look younger. 
  • Pack snacks. If you don’t have a mini-fridge for your truck, it’s a good investment for healthy eating. A fridge allows you to purchase healthy food when its available and save it for later when you may face limited choices. Pack fruits and veggies and hummus or other low-cal dips to snack on. 
  • Make better fast-food choices. If you must get fast-food, choose whole-grain breads or buns, lean meats like chicken or turkey, skip the cheese and creamy dressings, choose sweet potato fries instead of regular ones. 

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Being a truck driver doesn’t have to destroy your health but it takes some planning and willpower to prevent it. If you make better dietary choices, squeeze in time for regular exercise, and don’t smoke, you’ll feel better, look better, and have a healthier life.

Direct Freight Services is a full-service load board dedicated to helping truckers find loads and companies to post their loads. The Direct Freight website also has many useful features such as a mobile app, mile calculators, fuel price data, weather conditions, turn-by-turn truck-specific routing and more.

To see how Direct Freight can work for you, go to DirectFreight.com today!

Pic:  https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/unhealthy-vs-healthy-white-two-street-1650828448

Sources:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290814#benefits

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-many-calories-per-day

https://www.livestrong.com/article/312522-how-many-calories-are-in-a-big-mac-meal/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4511102/

 

Maintaining Relationships on the Road

maintaining-relationships-on-the-road
Long haul truck drivers are often away from their loved ones for days or even weeks at a time, making relationships of any kind a challenge at best.  Life on the road isn’t only lonely for drivers but is difficult for those who are left behind to carry on at home as well. These relationships can be healthy but like your truck, they require regular maintenance.

Spend Time Alone Together

When you’ve missed your family, there’s nothing that you want more than to spend time with all of them.  Even if you’re only home for a short time before you’re back out on the road, make time for one-on-one time with your significant other.  They are, after all, your partner in all this. Your children need some one-on-one time too. Talk about your plans together while you’re out on the road.  It gives everyone something to look forward to.

Stay Connected

Communicating with family while on the road has never been easier.  Call, text, and video chat whenever possible. Use video chat to have dinner with your family. It may not be the same but it’s the next best thing!  If you like video games, you can play apps or video games online with family during your downtime.

Bring Your Spouse Along

It’s difficult for someone who’s never been a driver to truly understand what it’s like to be out on the road for extended periods; hectic schedules, irregular meals, few stops, the stress.  Taking your significant other along for a run will give him or her a better understanding of what it’s like to be out on the road instead of filling in those blanks for themself. Conversely, when you’re home, be mindful of all the work that goes into running the household and all that needs to go on without your help while you’re not there.

Manage Your Stress

Being a truck driver is a stressful job.  Take steps to manage stress on the road like eating a healthy diet, getting exercise when you can, use meditation, listen to calming music―anything that helps to calm you.  The last thing you want is to go home with pent up stress from work. If you don’t bring your stress home with you, you’ll all have a much more enjoyable time while you’re there.

There Must Be Trust

Trust can be difficult when you’re away from home and infidelity is often a worry from both sides.  Doing a ride-along may be helpful so your partner can see that life behind the wheel is exhausting and not a big party.  Making time for each other when you’re home and talking frequently when you’re working will help to build a strong relationship with trust.

With work, long-distance, on-the-road relationships can be just as strong and healthy as those of couples who see each other every day.

One relationship you shouldn’t have to worry about on the road is with your load board!  Direct Freight Services is a web-based load board that 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 Driver app, Direct Freight helps you find the right loads. Go to DirectFreight.com and start searching for loads.  We’re always here to bring you the high-quality loads you need!

 

Catching Zzzzzz’s

catching-zzzzzzs
Getting enough sleep is difficult for the average person, let alone if you drive a truck.  Strict delivery schedules, night driving, and having to spend the night parked in a busy truck stop parking lot make good-quality sleep nothing but a dream for many drivers.  The problem with drivers who can’t get enough sleep is that it makes them a danger to themselves or anyone else on the road. Drowsy driving is a major concern for the trucking industry.   An estimated 10-20% of large truck or bus accidents involve drowsy drivers who are falling asleep at the wheel or whose reflexes and reaction time is drastically slowed due to exhaustion.

We all know that a good night’s sleep is restorative and feels great but there are numerous other benefits.  When you get the right amount of sleep, you have better mental focus, better mood, less risk of developing heart disease or a stroke, lower blood sugar, and a boosted immune system.

Here are a few tips that can help you catch those much-needed zzzzzzz’s while you’re out on the road:

  • Avoid using your phone or mobile device because the blue light can interfere with your body’s ability to produce melatonin which is so important for your natural sleep cycle.
  • Reduce outside noise by wearing earplugs, parking for the night away from other vehicles, and using a white noise machine.
  • Block outside light by wearing a sleep mask, using curtains, and sunscreens.
  • Instead of pharmaceutical sleep aids, opt for natural ones like melatonin, valerian root, magnesium, lavender, tryptophan, and L-Theanine.
  • If you’re tired during the day, pull over for a 15-minute power nap.  Sometimes that’s all you need to perk up for the rest of the day.
  • Sleep when it’s dark out.  While this may not be possible for those who drive routes at night, keeping your body on a regular day/night sleeping cycle is better for your overall health.
  • Before bed, read a book, listen to relaxing music, or do something else that calms you.
  • Make sure that the mattress in your sleeper is both comfortable and supportive.  A bad mattress not only makes it more difficult to get good, restorative sleep, but it can also cause or exacerbate back pain.  The long hours behind the wheel are damaging to your back. You need a mattress that is going to support your back to alleviate your back pain, not make it worse.

The importance of sleep is right up there with a healthy diet and regular exercise as being a vital part of your overall health and wellbeing.  As a driver, regular sleep is difficult but the more you can do it, the better your health and the more spring in your step!

Trucker Search is a tool you need if you’re looking for employment opportunities in the trucking industry.  On Trucker Search’s website, you can post your résumé as well as search the companies looking for drivers and job postings.  It’s a great resource for any driver in the trucking industry.

Sources:

https://www.ghsa.org/resources/drowsydriving16

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/benefits-sleep-more#1

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sleep-aids#section1

 

Truck Friendly National Attractions

truck-friendly-national-attractions

When you’re a long-haul driver, you see a lot of this beautiful country…from the cab of the truck.  Landmarks, scenic views, and exciting attractions pass by your windshield but you drive on because you have a deadline to meet.  But should you stop? Should you fit a little fun into your driving schedule?

Yes!  We all know that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so why not try to squeeze in some of the wonderful attractions that our amazing country has to offer?  Make your plans ahead of time so you can fit them in your schedule and check with your carrier. They may have rules against bob-tailing. Of course, you can always rent a car, or call a cab or a Lyft.

Whiskey-petes-hotel

Whiskey Pete’s

Whiskey Pete’s is a hotel and casino located in Primm, Nevada near the California border.  It’s part of the Primm Valley Casino Resorts. You can spend the night, play some slots or catch the whiskey band at Pete’s Place.  Primm Valley offers a movie theater, great restaurants, and you can even get in a round or two of golf.

Biosphere_2_Habitat_&_Lung_2009-05-10

Biosphere 2

Completed in 1991, Biosphere 2 was designed to be a completely enclosed, self–sustaining ecosystem to demonstrate how life could be sustained in space.  The 3.14-acre structure is located in Oracle, AZ. In 2011, it was taken over by the University of Arizona for research on the ecosystems on Earth and how they can be sustained in the future. Itand it includes an ocean with a coral reef, a rainforest, mangrove wetlands, a savannah, and living quarters and research facilities.  Tours are available for this unique attraction and its parking lot can accommodate trucks.

Double-O-Arch_Arches_National_Park_2

Arches National Park

Arches National Park is a red-rock wonder in Moab, Utah.  Park your trailer in the lot at the visitor’s center and drive through the park where you’ll see more than 2,000 stone arches as well as natural spires and balancing rocks.  If you have a bicycle, you could ride through the park or do some hiking.

Dean_Franklin_-_06.04.03_Mount_Rushmore_Monument_(by-sa)-3_new

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore’s majestic sculpture is more stunning in person than on a postcard.  It’s located in South Dakota’s Black Hills and is easily accessed by truck with parking in the visitor’s center lot.  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln will be happy you stopped by!

3Falls_Niagara

Niagara Falls

Niagara’s astonishing 167-feet tall falls can be viewed from the park, or from the Niagara Falls Observation Tower, or you can see it’s rushing waters up close on the Maid of the Mist tour boat or the Top of the Falls restaurant.  Parking Lot 3 can accommodate larger vehicles.

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South of the Border

This Mexican-themed attraction gets its name from its location being just south of the North Carolina border.  South of the Border is a rest stop that includes restaurants, gas stations, a video arcade, a small amusement park, minigolf, and truck stop.  It’s not Disney WorldDisneyworld but it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon.

15542198496_aba1754427_b

Route 66

This one is a drive full of attractions.  The historic Route 66 was the original highway that led from Chicago to Santa Monica.  If you can take this highway along your route, you’ll see attractions like the Uranus Fudge Factory, The Leaning Water Tower of Groom, TX, Meteor  Crater near Winslow, AZ, The Blue Whale of Catoosa, OK and lots and lots of diners.

The next time you’re planning your fuel stops and overnights, take the time to find a fun and interesting place to stop.  It’ll break the monotony and add some fun to your trip. After all, don’t we all need a little adventure now and then?

Direct Freight Services not only gives drivers a way to search for loads or post the availability of their truck, but it also has many useful features for planning your run like deadhead and trip mileage, weather, and turn-by-turn specific routing.  Try Direct Freight today and find a load and plan your adventure!

Sources:

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/las-vegas-apr-28-exterior-view-1413241208

https://www.primmvalleyresorts.com

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/circa-1992-biosphere-2-arizona-425312656

https://biosphere2.org/visit/what-is-biosphere-2

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/view-double-arch-arches-national-park-293792219

https://www.nps.gov/arch/index.htm

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/mount-rushmore-national-monument-south-dakota-240571879

https://www.nps.gov/moru/index.htm

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/american-side-niagara-falls-ny-usa-171241988

https://www.niagarafallsstatepark.com

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/south-carolina-usa-nov-11-2018-1423791755

https://www.sobpedro.com

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/us-route-66-highway-sign-on-544058587

https://www.historic66.com

 

The Driver Shortage and Recent Layoffs: Making Sense of It All

driver-shortage-and-recent-layoffs

Despite the shortage in certified truck drivers that has been raging on in recent years, last year brought big numbers in layoffs throughout the entire trucking industry.  Left and right, drivers lost jobs and carriers large and small closed doors. In December 2019, 3,500 truck drivers lost their jobs with a total of 6,600 for the year.  Many that managed to keep their jobs saw  rates slashed.

More Than Drivers Affected

Carriers aren’t only cutting drivers.  Many positions being cut in the trucking industry are administrative and non-driving positions.

The downturn in the trucking industry has a far-reaching impact. Carriers stopped adding to their fleets, purchasing 64% fewer new trucks than the prior year. Popular engine manufacturer Cummins announced that in Q1 2020 it will lay off 2,000 employees, and Volvo Trucks is laying off 700 people in January.

Ups and Downs

The trucking industry has a history of ups and downs, and often where the trucking industry goes, the economy follows. The economy has been on an upswing but a decline in the demand for trucks usually indicates that it’ll soon go the other way. The Great Recession that began in 2008 was preceded by a downturn in the trucking industry in 2006. Unfortunately, this is not a tried and true indicator of an impending recession. While a national recession is almost always preceded by a recession in the trucking industry, the reverse isn’t always true. In fact, the trucking industry experiences twice as many recessions than the national economy so trouble in the trucking industry doesn’t necessarily mean that the country will go through an economic recession.

Slowing in the Manufacturing Sector

Since the trade war with China reached a stalemate and tariffs were implemented, manufacturing has slowed.  Tariffs cost consumers and importers $1.4 billion a month with $165 billion in trade being directed to other countries, demand for goods has slowed and along with it, manufacturers aren’t producing, retailers aren’t buying, so carriers have less to ship.  Jobs up and down the supply chain have been affected.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Whether such a dramatic downturn will turn around quickly or we just see more of the same for 2020 still remains to be seen.  The hope is that 2020 will bring a light at the end of the tunnel. Talks with China are progressing.  If the US and China come to a deal on trade so tariffs are lifted and the U.S., Canada, and Mexico come to an agreement on NAFTA, there should be an upturn as manufacturing speeds up again to meet the demand, and freight begins to move again.

If you’re a driver who is looking for freight, Direct Freight Services can help you find loads to keep your truck on the road.  Direct Freight Services is a full-service load board that allows truckers to find loads and companies to post their available loads. The Direct Freight website also has many useful features such as a mobile app, mile calculators, fuel price data, weather conditions, turn-by-turn truck-specific routing and more.

To see how Direct Freight can get you back out on the road, go to DirectFreight.com today!

Sources:

https://www.businessinsider.com/trucking-bloodbath-truck-drivers-december-jobs-report-2020-1

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t17.htm

https://www.businessinsider.com/cummins-confirms-2000-layoffs-at-truck-engine-manufacturer-trucking-downturn-2019-11

https://www.businessinsider.com/trucking-bloodbath-truck-drivers-december-jobs-report-2020-1

https://cdllife.com/2019/volvo-announces-mass-layoffs-due-to-lack-of-demand-for-trucks/

https://www.businessinsider.com/trucking-bloodbath-ata-truckers-potential-2019-8

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/trump-trade-war-cost-americans-14-billion-per-month-last-year-2019-3-1028002357?utm_source=markets&utm_medium=ingest

https://www.npr.org/2020/01/16/797100293/china-trade-deal-a-truce-awakens

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/01/16/usmca-senate-vote-mexico-canada-trade-deal-replace-nafta/4471596002/

 

Rookie Freight Brokers: Find the Right Load Board

rookie-freight-brokers

These days, supply chains are more complex than ever and freight brokers are a vital piece.  They are the link between shippers and carriers and do all the planning, negotiating, and tracking to ensure smooth, on-schedule delivery.  It can be a fun, fast-paced career and lucrative for the right person who is willing to put in the work.

Becoming a freight broker requires a freight broker license, a bond, and more (which can be found here).  One of the most crucial aspects of becoming a successful freight broker is building a well-rounded list of contacts.  In the freight broker business, it’s all about the connections. The more you have, the more work you’re able to facilitate.  

A freight broker is only as good as his or her contact list.  Quality connections are what make a freight broker stand out from the crowd.  Unreliable truckers or slow-to-pay shippers are only going to bring down the business.  

Finding Leads

Finding leads isn’t difficult.  They’re all around. There’s an abundance of businesses around you that need to ship supplies or goods.

  1.  It starts with who you know.  Look at where your friends and family work.  Do they ship goods? Having a friend or relative at a potential lead is a good way to get your foot in the door.
  2. Look around you.  What businesses are there in your area that may ship goods?
  3. Get referrals.  Once you have some established clients, ask them for referrals.
  4. Look at your current loads.  Where are they being shipped?  You may be able to find companies in that city or area who have shipments coming your way.  Since you’re already shipping there, you may be able to win them over with a discounted rate and eliminate some deadhead miles at the same time.  Always be on the lookout for leads.
  5. Add a referral bonus at the end of your emails or correspondences.  What would a new customer be worth to you?  $100? $500? Be sure to include a disclaimer that the referral must lead to a paying customer. 
  6. Use the internet.  Resources like Produce Market Guide, Marketnews.usda.gov, and even the Yellow Pages are good places to look.  

When on the hunt for leads, be persistent.  Some businesses rarely ship freight and others may be hitting a slow period.  Don’t give up! Once you have clients, foster those relationships. Learn details about their business and ask about the family.  If you take the time to get to know and build a relationship with a contact, they’ll be more likely to continue giving you work and refer you to others.  

Being the New Guy (or Gal)

One obstacle of first starting out in the freight broker business is that nobody wants to work with a newbie.  You could have years of experience in the trucking industry under your belt, you’ll still be the rookie freight broker when you first start.  If you’ve only got a carrier or two in your contacts, you’ll be at a disadvantage. A freight broker needs to move fast and potential clients won’t want to wait around until you find someone reliable to ship to an area of the country where you have no drivers.  This is where a good load board comes in.

By using a load board, rookie freight brokers can build their connections quickly.   For shippers with loads to ship and carriers with drivers to drive, a load board can fill out missing coverage areas  fast. Direct Freight Services’ load board is a complete tool allowing freight brokers to build up reliable and ready to go contacts.  Direct Freight has credit reports and scores as well as information on how long it takes a shipper to pay, so you can make the right choice when building your list of reliable contacts.  Direct Freight’s easy-to-use load board allows you to find both trucks and carriers to fill your growing contacts list. Its mile calculators, fuel price data, weather information, alerts, and organizational features make it the perfect assistant for your blossoming  brokerage.  

If you’d like to see what Direct Freight Services can do for you, call (888)894-4198 or go to https://www.directfreight.com/home/ to sign up.  You’ll wonder why you didn’t check us out sooner!

 

Sources:

https://www.producemarketguide.com

https://www.marketnews.usda.gov/mnp/fv-home

https://www.yellowpages.com/