If you don’t make more money trucking in 2018, you’re probably doing something wrong. 2018 shows all the signs of being a banner year for all those involved in the moving of freight. Call it the perfect storm, the aligning of the stars or the trucking ducks in a perfect little row. Any way you name it, 2018 should rock for trucking.Call it the perfect storm, the aligning of the stars or the trucking ducks in a perfect little row. Any way you name it, 2018 should rock for trucking. Click To Tweet
The ELD Mandate
I’m sure there are still a few holdouts. Fewer brokers will be able to wait until the last minute and book a load that needs to travel 750 non-stop miles to be on time. As for those who can’t make a living running legal, they were criminals in the first place. I have no sympathy for them. Neither should you.
A Booming Economy
Production is up in nearly every segment of the American market. The amount of freight is going to do nothing but climb in the upcoming year. We have several reasons to expect this increase. The new tax laws, billions of dollars being repatriated into the American economy and less government regulation are a large part of the reason for the expected growth. Housing, automobiles and consumer goods will grow. This puts a bigger demand on the transportation infrastructure.
Tightening Load To Truck Ratio
It looks like the rise in freight will far outgrow any rise in trucks. Most fleets will add trucks, but cautiously. And for every truck they add, 2 to 3 trailers need to enter their fleet to accommodate the drop-and-hook accounts.
Finding And Retaining Quality Drivers
This is going to be a growing problem. Of course we have the usual issue of driver churn, but we have a few other factors. Drivers CSA scores are becoming more of an issue as companies answer to the insurance companies. And that medical card in your wallet is practically worth it’s weight in gold. They’re getting harder and harder to get and retain.
Dependability Of New Trucks
Diesel particulate filters have been around over 10 years now, and DEF systems are going on their 8th year. Although the new trucks are more expensive, the dependability has certainly improved. It’s not just your cost per mile that will make or break you. It’s being able to predict that CPM and stay at or under that number. With less breakdowns and better service, your odds of keeping costs predictable are considerably higher.
Used Truck Prices Are Stable And Affordable
The new truck market is tight, but used trucks are still plentiful and affordable. My personal thoughts are to stick with 2013 or newer with the emissions trucks, but that’s up to you. The bottom line is a California compliant truck is well in reach of the owner operator. Truck technicians have a better understanding of how these trucks work and can do a better job of keeping you rolling.
Buying an older truck with less emissions equipment is still a viable plan, but know your lanes. California will be off limits for your old ride. You also want to know who’s going to work on it.
Fuel Prices Are Low And Stable
It looks like the lower fuel prices we’re enjoying will be around for quite some time. The fuel surcharge should isolate you from being hurt by increases, but it doesn’t always work out that way. There’s always a catch up game, and brokers like to be piggish with the up-charges they passed on to the shippers.
Two Things To Keep In Mind With Fuel Prices And Surcharges
- As long as you’re getting better mileage than the base mpg for the surcharge, higher fuel puts more money in your pocket. The surcharge is usually based on 6 mpg. If you get a surcharge based on 6, but get 8 mpg, it’s more money in your pocket.
- That 6 mpg base won’t be around forever. We’ll see that number climb sooner or later. The day will come when that big nosed classic with the C15, tall rubber and the wrong gears just won’t compete on the open market.
The Big Carriers Aren’t Going Crazy With New Truck Purchases
The big trucking companies learned a few things back in 08. Knowing the diesel exhaust filters were just around the corner, many companies purchased a large number of extra trucks. Several companies had hundreds of new pre-emission 07 trucks, parked in storage lots. It tied up a huge amount of capital. Fuel prices climbed, the economy took a dive and the rest is history. Many of these companies collapsed.
The bottom line is you absolutely should make more money trucking in 2018. Companies are raising pay to employee drivers and owner operators. Nearly everyone in the supply chain is also working on better efficiency in load times, detention pay and unloaded miles. If all of this doesn’t affect you for the better, you’re probably doing something wrong.If all of this doesn't affect you for the better, you're probably doing something wrong. Click To Tweet
Trucking The Way You Like To Truck
Above are 7 reasons you’ll make more money trucking in 2018. To be fair, there are 2 sides to this coin. I will certainly make less than I did last year. But the dynamics discussed here are part of why I’m doing this. We talked about this back in Episode 120, Trucking The Way You Like To Truck. Give it a listen, or listen again.
The pressure on wages has caused my 4 on, 4 off job to pay more. Kris and I also choose to drive older, paid for cars. To top it off, we’ve purchased a very modest home in a nice neighborhood. This combination of the bright future of trucking and our living on less than we earn has allowed us a certain amount of freedom.
Quite possibly, you’ve been looking at jobs with better home time. This could be a great time to take a second look at these opportunities. If you do, start with PTI, the company that sponsors the show. They’re also the premiere sponsor of The Trucking Podcast. Be sure to tell them you heard about PTI from Buck and Don.
You Should’ve Asked Buck And Don
I thought this would be a great way to start the year. “Should I lease/purchase a truck through fill-in-the-blank? The recruiter said I can make $2,200 a week.” Don and I will blow holes in this one. It’s all a mater of what drives you.
Duct tape on the flashlight. I found this one on a cop blog, and thought it was a great idea. Most of us have a Mag Light style flashlight in our truck. It’s one of those go-to tools we can count on. Somewhere on that light, wind a foot or two of duct tape. In the case of the officer, he worked in a large city. Anytime he had to be “buzzed” in, or had to pick a lock, he could take a few inches of tape and cover the latch. This allowed backup to get to him quicker.
I can see where this would be handy for quick repairs, makeshift hand cuffs, or anything else you can think of.
More show notes
- Lyft and Uber overcharging drunks with hidden fees
- USPS subsidizing Amazon – Freightwaves.com