Load availability

Discussion in 'Ask An Owner Operator' started by blessedman, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. powerhousescott

    powerhousescott Medium Load Member

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    I am with you, we are down on the miles as well, but our margin is actually up. The rate per mile average is down by a few cents vs. last year, but the cost of fuel is also much lower. We held pat to our rates, just pulled fewer loads, but made more profit overall.
     
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  3. ReeferOhio

    ReeferOhio Medium Load Member

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    I actually only haul steel two maybe three days a week now. The last few years was hammer down, not anymore. I'm lucky to have van customers whom I've been growing easier and faster than flatbed work with better margins. So Im not complaining to much, I'm still getting the rates I ask for with my clients and often times thats just as good if not better than what I get for my flatbed on the same lanes. The brokers see it differently though. They are making a killing right now low balling lanes, remember they have most of their lanes with set rates and adjust what they offer in response to the market, so they have great margins right now.
     
  4. powerhousescott

    powerhousescott Medium Load Member

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    tell them it cost the shipper $1.58 - $2.01 to move a truck without a driver or the price of fuel. Then ask them to tell you what the price of a driver and fuel would be per mile. Then tell them to add 20% to that number for the trucking companies profit. Then they can add their 20% on top of that if they can get the shipper to bite. That is how it should be working.

    Here is how that works:

    $2.01 baseline rate
    .50 per mile driver
    .50 per mile fuel
    $3.01 subtotal
    .61 trucking company proit
    $3.61 per mile to trucking company
    $4.33 per mile to broker (20% markup not cut)

    Everybody would be happy except the shipper.
     
  5. Jimmbuds

    Jimmbuds Medium Load Member

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    I have mixed emotions about hanging out in the industry much longer. Part of me wants to stay hoping there will be some payoff coming my way and then a greater part of me is ready to move on. I just dont know how much longer financially I can hang on and do this. Running 30,000 miles this year has been nice but I have financial goals that I have failed to meet for the last 7 years. After a while it starts wearing on you. I want to run and make money but I am not going to run to make a dollar. I would be ignorant to do something like that. I just dont see much hope. Even after the ELD's come into play I dont see much changing. I just dont see the incentive of hanging out going into debt waiting for things to improve.
     
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  6. ReeferOhio

    ReeferOhio Medium Load Member

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    I really don't think you can make it if you run only brokers, I'm sure I'll get some push back on this, and everyone has their own definition of success and what making it means. Constantly having to negotiate rates, lanes, and other trucking firms is way more trouble than its worth. If your not willing to run a business with direct clients only using the brokers as a fill in from one point to another occasionally then financial success, IMO, is not going to happen. If it's slow even with my direct clients and I have established a nice group then I hit the streets and knock on some doors and find the money. It's easy to just turn to the web and run for a few bucks, but invest in yourself and your business, find the success. When I bought my first truck two years ago (yes I'm very new) I already had two direct customers before I even had the equipment. I had a plan and stuck to it, and in two years I've used brokers five times. And regretted every time. IMO, take it with a grain of salt, get it done. Good luck.
     
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  7. powerhousescott

    powerhousescott Medium Load Member

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    With over 4500 customers and growing to choose from on any given day. I have modeled my business based upon mercenary style trucking. It works for us, found out a while back when we had the supposed magic customers. Everything was going peachy until (you guessed it) another trucking company came in and underbid us. About six months later a broker underbid them. Service went to the crapper and the customer called us back, but was taken aback when our prices had increased by another $1.75 per mile.

    I informed him that the best thing he ever did for me was make me learn how to become a mercenary. Now we get to name our prices per load, each day. You would be surprised at how many will pay more money for the truck that is going to get the job done without any problems.

    As far as brokers vs shippers, we have found that if you tell the broker straight up to take your price and add 20% to that and go to the shipper and tell them they have a truck ready right now. Often times they get the rate you want, who cares if they make 20% on top of my rate, more power to them for doing so. I have given brokers accounts because the shipper wanted more capacity than we could provide.

    Is it tougher right now than just a year ago, yes it is, the economy is slowing down, an election year is coming up. Been there before in trucking as well as building houses. Do you think the price for us to build a new house got cheaper because there was less demand for the house? Does the margin that your trucking company needs to make goes down because there is less freight to haul?
     
  8. rollin coal

    rollin coal Road Train Member

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    I disagree with that sentiment ReeferOhio. There's a lot of operators who agree with you. Working exclusively with brokers is not for everyone but there is very good money in it for motivated individuals. What I'm doing on 6 to 7 months of working off load boards in a year is not going to impress many with a higher gross but I often wonder who has the better net. And if I was willing to work 10 to 11 months out if the year I could probably put together some "respectable" (to others - I am happy with my current lower gross higher net) numbers on a much higher gross. Sometimes I think I would like to work with direct customers but I have a bad habit on a lot of the outbound freight I book to really piss people off what I'm charging.
     
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  9. ReeferOhio

    ReeferOhio Medium Load Member

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    Like I stated just my opinion and I do understand yours @rollin coal. I guess it really comes down to your business model and what you define as success or your vision for your specific goals. I've gotten good rates off of the load boards the few times I've used them, and maybe I shouldn't speak of them for I do not use them enough to really appreciate them. I'm just stating that while I'm a very small carrier their are things I don't have to fight for on a daily basis when dealing with directs. I think you'd be surprised what rates I get running direct, especially for van and they are always the same. Other carriers coming in and cutting rates is also absolutely true, it happened at the end of last year with another competing steel hauler. Came in dropped the rates at minimum .10 per hundred up to half on some lanes and then turned around and permitted the lanes on top of that. I guess in their mind the less pay for the more weight makes up for the lost revenue of cutting the rate to garbage. I just moved on I will not be bullied into a rate, lane, or load. So I do understand the need for brokers, and boards.
     
  10. Dan_chicago

    Dan_chicago Bobtail Member

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    Aug 31, 2015
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    How do you even find direct shippers? I've tried calling local business near me and never even got a callback. And no, I didn't quit after 2 phone calls.
     
  11. powerhousescott

    powerhousescott Medium Load Member

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    They typically call us, have had 20 phone calls this morning for our trucks. It takes time but you will gradually get the shipper directs one by one. I have not called any shippers direct to get the business, we just did our job, they liked our trucks and operators, they in turn called us, we established our rates, and operate on a as needed basis. It works for us, that does not mean it is for everybody.
     
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