5 Ways Trucker’s Edge Makes You More Money

Trucker's Edge to make more moneyBefore I talk about Trucker’s Edge, or any load board service, let’s take a quick look at how most owner operators work. I’ve been in the trucking business for almost 20 years. I’m always learning. Mostly questioning, trying to find out why some drivers do what they do. Especially owner operators. Trucker’s  Edge could easily help owner operators make more money. Although there are many ways to break this down, I find most owner operators go one of five ways.

5 Ways Owner Operators Roll

#1 Ready, Fire, Aim

This is by far the most common way most owner operators start out. With little or no cash reserves, they buy an older truck, usually on a payment plan. They see Trucker’s Edge, or any other subscription as a cost they can’t yet afford. On their own or leased on with someone, they always bust it. They hustle and they make money. Fear is a great motivator. The fear of not being able to pay the bills, or not having enough money for that first expensive breakdown.

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I know of quite a few who’ve started out this way. Broke from the start, they just hit the ground running. They usually make it because they aren’t afraid of hard work, but they rarely know their numbers. They have little idea of their actual fuel mileage, or their cost per mile. They generally focus on the gross rather than the net income.

We talked about buying an inexpensive first truck way back in episode 22,  Buying Your First Truck. Follow the link to hear the conversation. It’s a subject that comes up a lot on The Trucking Podcast.

#2 A Dedicated Head Haul

I’m one who loves the dedicated head haul. You’re at that same place every Monday. You may know every fork lift operator at every stop. The drops are quick and the money is good. You know how to get around the traffic and you know where to park. It’s a beautiful thing.

Who needs a service like Trucker’s Edge? The money is in the head haul. Many of these guys grab the first back haul they can find, usually the same low paying load every week. It’s cheap, it’s heavy, but it goes right by the house.

These guys are happy, but they could easily be leaving money on the table.

#3 The Guy who Doesn’t Mind Deadheading to The Highest Paying Load

I love this guy. He stands for something. He simply hates cheap freight. He has a number, and he is willing to sit or deadhead to the best paying load. At the very least, Trucker’s Edge would put a firm fix on whether or not he’s coming out ahead. After all, if you’re going to stand on principle, you should count the cost.

Sometimes you just do what you’ve got to do. I’ve hauled to Orlando more than once. You don’t sit and wait for a load to pop up. If you didn’t line something up prior to unloading, you are usually better off just dead heading north.

But what about other regions? Before you take that 300 mile dead head trip, know the cost of passing up what’s closer to where you are. Once again, knowing your numbers will get you there. The unpaid miles may be worth it, but math doesn’t lie.

#4 The Man Who Knows His Niche

Certain shipments require some skill. Things like oversize loads, loads with blind bills, high value loads with multiple stops or household goods. Even hot shotters, the guys with class 3 to 7 trucks, usually pulling goose-neck trailers. They have a niche and they serve it well.

I’ve watched these guys dead head over 1,000 miles for their next load. It’s worth it in many cases, and these guys tend to know their numbers better than most. Still, they may be leaving cash on the table.

#5 The Company guy, Leased On With Dedicated Freight

If none of these apply to you, you are probably one of those who are leased onto a carrier with full dispatch. You only haul their freight, or their contract freight. I know owner operators leased on with companies like Fed-Ex, Schneider and a few smaller companies. Most are quite happy where they are. Especially those with dedicated runs.

Others are still running company freight, but run irregular lines. The only loads they take are what the company dispatcher gives them. Whether you’re paid by the mile or by percentage, Trucker’s Edge is a great way to see how you’re doing financially, and if it could be worth the effort to get your own authority.

But Aren’t All Load Boards The Same?

No! Trucker’s Edge is not just a load board. It’s THE load board, with a whole lot more. DAT Trucker’s Edge is a part of DAT Solutions, a company that’s been on the cutting edge of matching loads to trucks since 1978.

Growing up in Portland, Oregon, I have to admit I do have a soft spot for this company.  You’d have to live under a rock to not know about Jubitz Truck stop. Starting out as Dial-A-Tuck, Al Jubitz revolutionized the freight matching business by posting loads on a screen rather than a bulletin board.  DAT Solutions calls itself the “Granddaddy of load boards” for good reason. There’s a good reason it’s the Internet’s biggest load board, and the first choice of owner operators.

Cost Per Mile

Although you can still make money, you really can’t evaluate where you’re at and what will improve your profits without knowing your cost per mile. If you don’t know where to start in figuring your true operating cost per mile, OOIDA has a great work sheet for you at ooida.com/EducationTools. You can’t tell a profit from a loss if you don’t know your break even point. How can you tell if you’re running at a profit or a loss if you have no idea where zero is?

The Old School Way of Finding Loads

It might be fun to take a look at how things were done in the old days before there were load boards. I wasn’t even old enough to drive a semi, but I’ve heard the stories.

Somewhere in the bigger truck stops would be a guy, a phone, and maybe a bulletin board. Usually this would be found near another room full of pay phones. No internet. No cell phones. No free long distance. Oh, and don’t forget that room was full of cigarette and cigar smoke.

We still have broker’s offices in or near some of the bigger truck stops, but it isn’t the same. And that’s a good thing.

Use Trucker’s Edge. Make Some Freaking Money.

Load BoardsIt’s easy to say Trucker’s edge will pay for itself, but what good is that? It’s pretty inexpensive. It should pay for itself many times over, every month. More than just a simple load board, this thing is full of tools to get you loaded and keep you loaded. It also comes with tools you can use to be sure you’re paid for your hard work.

Remember, these loads aren’t just posted by brokers. Loads are posted by shippers and carriers too. At the heart of Dial-A-Truck was a desire to simplify the system of matching trucks to loads. Trucker’s Edge fine tunes that goal to meet the needs of the owner operator and the small trucking companies.

#1 Trip Planning

We’ve all heard the old saying. You don’t plan to fail, you fail to plan. I did a little digging on this one. The exact quote,“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” is credited to Benjamin Franklin. It’s as true today as it was in Mr. Franklin’s day.

The days of grabbing that load and putting it in the wind are long gone. At least for the successful owner operator. How much better would your week be if you had your next load, and the load after that planned and booked? Instead of being the guy in the truck stop looking for a load, you unload then head straight to your next haul.

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Trip Planning Will Accomplish 3 things.

  1. Minimize your down time waiting to find a load.
  2. Minimize your dead head miles. Empty miles are a liability, not an asset.
  3. Give you a head start on finding the better loads.

Trip planning lets you map out that tri-haul. With Alarm Match Notification,  you’ll be notified immediately when a new load matches what you’re looking for. Multi-stop loads or partial loads to fill out your trailer can be searched and found ahead of time.

#2 Broker Spot Rates

Different lanes have different rates. We already know that. Want to know if a broker is giving you a fair price? With Broker Spot Rates you can see the average broker rate paid for that lane for the last 90 days. This gives you the edge when negotiating a rate. It also gives you the information you need to decide what lanes you’re going to run. Chasing the highest rate to the middle of nowhere might not be worth it when you can’t find a decent reload.

#3 Broker Credit Scores and Broker Days To Pay

Broker Credit Scores go from 0 to 100. Character counts when you’re providing the service up front. The average broker on Trucker’s Edge has a score of 94, so you’re dealing with trustworthy characters.

Broker Days To Pay tells you how long a broker takes to pay a load. Most brokers on Trucker’s Edge pay within 28 days. If you know you’ll be strung out for too long, you may choose to pass on the load.

#4 The Details

Trucker’s Edge comes with quite a few tools you can use every day, on every trip.

  • Optimize your route with their mapping service. Even if you decide not to run the skinny roads with the company trucks, you’ll know the cost of taking the long route.
  • Weather and road conditions for the U.S. and Canada.
  • Unlimited Truck Posting. Until you’ve got that next load booked, POST YOUR TRUCK! It’s free. This doesn’t just help you find that load. It keeps you in front of the people that you’re working with.
  • No contract. Just a month-to-month subscription.

#5 Building Relationships – And Not Just With Brokers

Finding and booking a good load is an art, and the art is in the relationship. As you find shippers and brokers you seem to get along with better than others, you have the chance to build stronger bonds. You’ll have an easier time getting a better rate as they learn you can get the job done well.

If you have a niche or a skill that stands out, let them know. Remind them every time you’re looking for a load. And don’t hesitate to call the good ones as you’re trip planning. You could easily snag the load that hasn’t posted yet.

I had a few things going for me when I was flat-bedding over the road. I’m always clean and presentable, have better than average customer service skills, and don’t mind multi-stop loads that pay. I also ran a light truck with an aluminum framed trailer. I could load 52,000 pounds legally.

It wasn’t uncommon to have a shipper tell me to just call them the next time I was in the area and skip the broker altogether. The higher the cost of the freight, the more this happened. And, in a pinch, being able to haul that much weight made a lot of “sorry, nothing right now” answers turn into “I’ll call you back in a few minutes.”

Not everyone wants to drive a light weight truck. I get that. But being able to demonstrate what makes you stand out above the crowd is to your advantage. It could be your equipment, your skills, whatever. As you talk to the same people a few times, make sure you bring your skill set to the table.

Try Trucker’s Edge Free for 30 Days

If you’re looking for loads, why not use the best load board and all the tools they offer? Right now you can try it free for 30 days. With nothing to loose and everything to gain you can start finding more loads, better loads and make more money. You didn’t but your own truck to be average. Trucker’s Edge will help you get loaded, stay loaded and make money. Go to Truckers Edge and get your free 30 days.





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