Monday, February 25, 2013

Finding Loads


How we find loads:

The carrier we are leased to has a simple system.  For the purpose of this post I will be calling brokers and load planners agents.  The agents go knocking on doors and acquiring customers then the customers call the agents with loads and the agents dole the loads out to the drivers who will take them.  We have our own load board, but there are similar load boards out there which work the same way.  Most of the solo freight that the agents give the drivers is done on a relationship basis.  As an agent who wants to make the customer happy, the loads need to be delivered on time and without damage.  A new driver will have to earn the respect of the agent or the trucking company.  This can take a year or so, but usually 6 months is enough time and then there are still other drivers who are in the running for the same freight so sometimes seniority comes into play.
Supply and demand is very evident here as the customers need things moved on a time table and the type of equipment that is needed is not really up for negotiation.  When the customer needs a double drop trailer and you have one, then you get the load.  The more specialized your equipment, the less people you have to compete with, but the more time you might have to wait in between loads and the more empty miles you might have to drive.  Since there are many types of trailers, you have to find what works for you.  There is also being too specialized where you might only haul one or two loads a year with your equipment if at all.  There is a balance that you have to find.

A typical load will look like this:

P/U          FROM:                                       TO:                                          MILES:   TRAILER:

2/10
EAST CHICAGO, IN
VALLEY CITY, OH
309
Full
Flatbed
2/10
EAST CHICAGO, IN
PERRYSBURG, OH
214
Full
Flatbed
2/10
EAST CHICAGO, IN
BELLEVUE, OH
261
Full
Flatbed
2/11
EAST CHICAGO, IN
KENTON, OH
243
Full
Flatbed
2/10
EAST CHICAGO, IN
COLUMBUS, OH
334
Full
Flatbed
2/10
CHICAGO HEIGHTS, IL
MIDDLEFIELD, OH
370
Full
Flatbed, Step Deck

 

The many load boards out there demonstrate how simple it is to find freight.  It IS very easy.  Finding it is quick, but competing to win it is a little more difficult and in many cases simply being in the right place at the right time is half of it.  Once you have narrowed down who has the freight, the next time you don’t have to get it online.  You can just call the agent and negotiate a rate.  After you have a done a few loads and proven yourself, you can ask for a better rate.  We have gone through a transition lately where the entire old school phone to driver networking that was done has been replaced with the internet and sites like U-Ship.com and Getloaded.com.  The relationships are important and I take my job as seriously as a good doctor does his or her practice. 
Delivering the freight on time and damage free is priority number one.  If you can accomplish this on a timely basis week after week, you are one step closer to having a successful trucking operation.

6 comments:

Dave Sanderson said...

I know you have a lot more to say on this particular subject Ed. Will there be a part 2 or 3?

Ed said...

Dave, I can do a few more posts about this, sure enough.
-Ed

Scott said...

Do you go from A to B...then just look for the best rate going anywhere? Or do you prefer to prefer to keep to lanes? Seems like you guys like to do cross country. Flatbed is a little different because you have to figure the time to tarp if needed..and I assume sometimes tarping is easy money and sometimes not worth the rate.

Ed said...

Scott,
As there are numerous lanes to run back and forth on, we don't really do that mostly because we don't want to get stuck in a lane. That can change though. We typically will just bounce around where there are good paying loads and we try to stay in decent areas where we know there are loads. There are no guarantees and even though we are in an area that historically has good freight, it can die off for weeks at a time. Because of our truck sleeper, we can sit and not incur too many expenses. Tarping is usually at least $150.00, but if it is a small load or only needs one small tarp and it isn't going far, I can sometimes charge less. Many times the tarp pay is no where near enough and then I don't haul it. The tarps are expensive, heavy, and many times require at least an hour to apply.

dianne said...

I thought doctors were greedy bad guys? Just as you provide consistency and reliability to your agents, you should endeavor to be as consistent and stable in your political musings.

Ed said...

Dianne - I didn't say any such thing about doctors being greedy. You might want to go back and re-read that post. I said, that's what the documentary revealed. In this post, I said "good doctor". Also, this post isn't political at all. I don't understand your connection.