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The key to a successful trucking business is to create a system for consistently getting good trucking loads. Once you master the art of finding profitable freight, you will find that trucking is highly lucrative.
Various approaches exist for finding good paying freight and the right one for you will depend on your specific situation. Generally, there is no single solution that works best in all conditions. However, it is not a good idea to be too picky when looking for loads.
Owners and operators that only look for the best-paying loads may end up spending too much time searching rather than moving freight. Note that the recession and the current slow economy have created a much tougher situation in the trucking industry than existed before.
The competition for the highest-paying freight is very tough with too many drivers fighting for the same jobs. In order to get out in front, you need a strategy that will consistently help you in finding good loads first before everyone closes in on the same job.
Sometimes it is better to search for the loads that are not moving because maybe the rates are not as high as elsewhere. Of course, you do not want to go too low, but find jobs that can still make you enough money to pay the bills.
The idea here is to create relationships with companies. If you do good jobs for them, in the future they may come to depend on you. Additionally, they may be willing to offer better pay especially when their business is flourishing.
In the same way, create relationships with brokers so that they come to see you as a reliable “go-to” person. Build up trust and become an asset to their business. If you let companies and brokers know that you are interested in their success, then you are more likely to create a mutually beneficial relationship.
Do not simply look to make the best deal for yourself, but always look at providing value for customers and brokers. In the vast majority of cases, they will reciprocate when possible. The return may not be immediate, but if you are a little patient, you should see the fruits of this approach before long.
Improve your chances of profitability
Before looking for good loads, reexamine the way that you do your business. Are there any opportunities for you to cut down on your costs? For example, can you reduce fuel and maintenance costs?
Additionally, look at ways of increasing value for your customer that are not too expensive. In the end, you need to think about the bottom line, the point at which you break even with revenues equaling costs.
One way to reduce costs is to pre-plan your schedule so that you are always moving freight and not traveling to freight with an empty truck. Not all of this freight needs to pay well, but at least one job should allow you to turn a profit.
For example, you could schedule a job from your home base at a lower rate to get to a job that pays very well. Now, once you complete moving this latter job, you schedule another job to get you from the last location back to your home base. Again, this last job may not pay all that well, but you do not have to drive back without any freight at all.
Sometimes, it may be necessary to find a number of transition freight loads to make it to a location that will make the whole venture profitable. However, this extra work in preparing, so that you have a load on each leg, is worthwhile and it will increase your net profit.
Some other ways to reduce costs include:
• Lower fuel expenses – In some cases, you can negotiate deals with brokers for cheaper fuel. Another option is improve the fuel efficiency of the vehicle. Even the way the trucker drives can have a significant impact on fuel costs. Accelerating too fast and driving at higher speeds consumes more gas. Drivers should try to anticipate stops as much as possible to avoid excessive braking and shifting.
• Reduce insurance premiums – Shop around for lower premiums or negotiate a new deal with your current provider.
• Reduce maintenance costs – Again, driving style can influence maintenance costs. Drivers should turn off engines rather than let them idle. They should drive in a way that they accelerate and brake as smoothly as possible.
Getting good paying loans means getting up early in the morning and working harder than the competition. You must be ready to look longer and to be more persistent to get ahead.
In many cases, you will need to contact brokers and potential customers repeatedly before getting any business. In fact, in most cases, you will need to make a half dozen or more contacts before you can get a job. Therefore, you really need to be resistant to rejection, which is just part of the game.
Keep coming back repeatedly and you will find opportunities. There is bound to be a point where a company will need any available trucker and you want to be there when that opportunity arises.
Using freight load boards
The Internet makes finding loads easier than ever especially if you use mobile devices like the iPhone, Android smart phone or the iPad. Laptops equipped with mobile broadband dongles also allow you to access the expanding 3G and 4G mobile Internet networks. Additionally, you can access the Internet from any location with a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The mobile Internet is great for truckers because it allows them to search for freight from a great variety of locations. The freight load boards are available in free and fee-based options. Some of the more popular boards are Pickatruckload.com, GetLoaded.com, DirectFreight.com and Freightmail.com.
These freight load boards typically allow users to search for jobs using a variety of tools that allow them to narrow down results. For example, they will be able to search by keyword or to browse by topic. When they have search results, they can further narrow down options by using filters and sorting options.
For example, they may be able to sort by rate or date, or to filter out jobs that pay below a certain rate.
Another option that many freight load boards provide is the option of setting match notifications. What this involves is setting up criteria for jobs that you will accept. For example, you could set the minimum pay scale for acceptable jobs. You might set the starting or ending locations for the jobs. Once you have set your criteria, then the system automatically notifies you by email, messenger or some other form of communication when a match appears on the freight load board.
Some boards also provide additional features like routing tools that allow you to optimize for the best mileage.
Look at the different boards so that you will know which ones routinely offer jobs that meet your special requirements. By scanning at least the free boards, you have a better chance of finding good deals. Better yet, set automatic notifications so that you do not miss opportunities should you not have time to check all the freight load boards.
Another approach to getting good paying loads is to build up your personal network. Often, good local jobs are available and you can learn about them through others in your network.
In the old days, truckers often needed to meet in order to exchange leads, but now it is much easier to do this over the Internet. Staying in contact with other truckers can often lead you to good opportunities.
Trucking companies typically use special financing firms known as factoring companies to meet short-term expenses. These factoring firms provide cash in exchange for the trucking company's receivables.
Once the company gets the cash from the factoring firm, they can hire truckers to move the loads. Often trucking companies are waiting for this cash flow to come in and once it does, business really picks up.
Truckers can alert others in their network when these types of changes happen. In this way, they can beat others to the best jobs. Of course, in order to get included in the best networks, it is necessary to reciprocate and to notify the network when you find that a company is suddenly offering large numbers of freight loads.
Finding good loads requires energy and persistence. Often, truckers must make repeated contacts with a customer before they can land a job. If you do not have enough cash flow,make sure to use a freight factoring company. Not all factoring companies for trucking are the same, 1st Commercial Credit is a specialized factor in the trucking industry that provides fuel cards, receivable financing and online credit checks.
Truckers should look at ways to improve their profitability. One strategy is to take lower paying jobs in order to travel at minimal costs to higher paying, but remote freight loads.
The freight load boards offer a great service for finding work and you can use these boards from any location that offers Internet access. Networking with other truckers is another important approach for finding high paying freight loads.