Load boards and the spot market go hand in hand. Spot market freight is a today business. No bids. No fuel surcharge. Just down and dirty freight rates. Many variables are within the broker’s control, and the rubber meets the road at the load board.
Unlike contract freight, the rate paid to the trucking company isn’t determined until the load is booked. This is usually a few days to a few hours before the actual load appointment.
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Load Board Scenario
Meet Billy the Broker. Billy took a load from a shipper, a 750 mile haul for $1,775. The freight is a live load at noon Monday, and delivers delivers Tuesday at 3:30. That’s a tight window, but it can be done legally with a little planning.
The problem lies in the broker’s willingness to pay a decent rate, say $1500, (a 15% profit) and book the load Thursday. This would give the independent owner operator a chance to plan his Monday and run the freight legally.
But Billy the Broker is playing the spot market game. He wants to book the load for a lot less. He’s probably not going to step up to the plate until Monday morning, if he hasn’t booked it for considerably less on Friday. It may be on the load boards earlier, but he’s going to hold out for the lower rate.
If you’ve been around trucking business and load boards for long, you’ve played this game. With 8 or 9 hours of driving time already logged, you take the load at the last minute. You sit for another couple of hours to load, then drive all night.
There you have it. Plan A and plan B. Take the load for less or run illegal.
Remember The Broker’s Goal
The key word here is BACKHAUL. The goal of any freight broker is to find a trucker that needs to be somewhere. He needs to be at that somewhere bad enough to take a low paying load.
Enter The E-Logs
The electronic log book is a wet blanket on the fire of plan B. If the broker holds out too long for that lower rate, he will have a tough time finding someone to run the load legally. He will either have to pay up for a team or fail his load time commitment to his customer.
Stack The Deck With The Right Data
The independent trucker’s best friend is information.
- Know the load to truck ratio of the area your in, and where you’re going.
- Know who that broker is, and know if and when he pays his bills.
- Know what the average spot market rate is on that lane.
One Load Board Puts It All At Your Fingertips
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