There have been a few threads about this and I just wanted to share a few things maybe it will help someone.
First of all if you are a new owner operator or if you are just an owner-operator joining ooida is one of the best things you can do.
I had a situation that a broker owed me money and it did not look like he was going to pay me.
I called ooida and a lady there told me she was going to call that broker.
In 5 minutes she called me back and told me that they are releasing the money. We will see if they will or if they won't, and maybe it was just coincidence that they were going to, but that was really helpful.
In addition to that they can help you with compliance questions permit getting your Authority whatever it is that you need.
Now when I spoke to this lady I asked her about these broker agreements.
She laughed and said they're all in favor of the broker. That's it. That's the way it is.
If you really can't deal with that then you have to get direct Freight.
But what she did say is that any detention policy layover policy truck order not used has to be in writing either in their agreement or on the rate con. Also payment terms.
If the policy is spelled out clearly including rates, you have a much better chance of being able to collect that. If not they'll pay you if they feel like it or not.
Some guys say they cross things out and they give them their own agreements, which maybe sometimes you can do that, especially if you're in more of a specialty niche.
In general most likely no. You can give them your agreement you can ask them to sign it you can negotiate it... but she's right it's all in their favor let's put it that way.
However I have been asking them to put their detention policy on the rate con and I've been specifically asking them what it is, and that does bring about some interesting responses.
Be careful doing intrastate loads, you cannot go after their bond.
Be Careful What You Haul, because even if it goes interstate and it is an exempt commodity, you cannot file on their bond.
For example, I think she said Christmas trees are exempt among other things.
Probably not a lot of new information but maybe that will help someone.
Hmmm. Very interesting about exempt commodities. I never think of that, but I try not to haul food or any other perishables. I bet the lawyers have rigged that against us as well. It would be cool to see a list of the common 'gotchas' on those.
I'm lucky I've never been burned with a non payer but I know it will happen. I just hope it doesn't happen on a load in the thousands. I'm pretty careful about reading reviews and doing a lot of research lately. The game changed for me when I paid off my equipment. I just decided, hey, this doesn't have to suck. Be very careful. Ask lots of questions. Up the game on research. Don't worry about losing what at first glance looks like the perfect load. There is always another.
There's another trick I've learned about the first load with a new broker. I rarely ask about terms. I'm ok with 30 day and on about half I get quick pay. I don't even bother asking the broker about that when I book a load. I look at the contract and if it's not specific I assume 30 days and check them on DAT. Then, while I'm on that load and I get a check call or something I ask the broker for their accounting phone number/email. 99% of the time they give it in a hurry to get me off the phone. Then I get in touch with them ask my questions. If they don't respond or are otherwise unhelpful I make a mental note that I might have trouble getting paid and unless they turn out good I don't use them again or very often.
Once you get a specific name and extension of someone in accounting they are usually really helpful. If they treat you like a number from the start they will in the end. I can't roll that way as an O/O.
Worried about exempt, just download the PDF file from the FMCSA. List's all exempt products. Just because the major portion of the load is exempt does not mean the whole load is. Up to you to determine what is/isn't.