Sunday, March 3, 2013

Picking Loads


Picking the right load is important because it will determine how much money you make.  Not all loads are picked based solely on the money.  Sometimes there are loads that are more interesting than your standard load of toilet paper.  For instance, sections of the buildings from 9/11 were transported out of New York City by various carriers and for many of the drivers it was not about the money.  There are even carriers that move food for charity and bring supplies to the people who are in need because of natural disasters like hurricanes and floods. 

Since this is not about operating a truck for charity I will explain some of the other factors in finding loads.  Every type of trailer is used for something and every type of truck is used for something.  For instance a day cab truck with a 600 HP engine and a 150,000 lbs. capacity trailer will need to find loads that pay more per mile because they will have to deadhead hundreds or sometimes thousands of miles.  A 500 HP truck with a van trailer can make less per mile because there are plenty of loads and they are close together. 

Loads are usually concentrated based on a number of factors such as where the carrier has its customers, where the freight for the type of trailer you have is located, and how often it needs to be moved.  After you have figured all of that out, the next step is to figure out if you can make a profit moving the freight.  Most of the people in the US live east of the Mississippi river so a majority of the freight is also east of the Mississippi river.  Since we are only talking about one truck and not a fleet of trucks, your needs are simplified as you only have to find enough freight to keep one truck busy.

You might find that one carrier has all of its loads out west, in Texas, or in Wisconsin.  Most carriers will have a hiring area where they can get you home on a regular basis because that is where their freight lanes are.  In order to be profitable you must stay where the freight is and keep from buying too much while out on the road.  The longer you are away from home, the more it costs to operate.  There used to be constant freight in and out of Detroit for the auto industry that made many drivers very profitable.  The internet has opened many doors for people that they otherwise wouldn't have access to. 

Simple math is used to find loads as well.  You must get the rate per mile and compare it to the other freight out there.  Then you must figure in the deadhead miles to get the load.  Then you figure the fuel costs and then figure in the time needed to complete the entire load from deadhead to delivery.  Then you see if the area that the load is going to is going to require you to deadhead a long distance to get another load.  You also see if the loads out of where the load is going are paying well or not.  Some areas are considered to be back-haul areas.

A back-haul is where you make good money going there, but then take a back-haul which barely covers fuel to get you back to a good area.  I don’t believe in the back-haul system as it cuts rates and that back-haul is someone else’s front haul.  I rarely haul anything that is considered to be a back-haul.  These loads typically pay little, weigh a lot, and come with demanding customers who want far more than they are paying for.  If you are going to work, then make sure you are working smarter not harder and make sure that you are getting paid for your time. 

1 comment:

june in florida said...

Like playing chess, you got to know 5 moves ahead.