New owner operators have more options than ever, especially in a hot market. For those going independent and running the load boards, there are 3 common plays for starting a trucking company. Which plan is best is up to you. The one that brings the most income could make you miserable.
These certainly aren’t the only ways, but they are time tested and have worked for thousands of truck owners all over the country. Let’s break them down.
Follow The Hot Lanes, Wherever They Are.
Regardless of where you call home, you’re going to head into the hot markets. Hot, under-served markets shift for several reasons.
- Seasonal harvests
- Storms and severe weather
- Natural disasters like earthquakes and fires
As these lanes become hot, trucks are on their way to take advantage of the higher rates.
- The good, it’s not hard to identify these spots, head towards them and ride out the higher rates. You should see a higher rate of return for your trucking business.
- The bad, thousands of other trucks are headed the same way. Even a few mega-carriers use this strategy.
Obviously, you’ll be away from home a bit longer with this strategy. That may be good or bad. It’s your call. The trick is to pay attention and know when to leave. You leave when that market cools and another is getting hot.
Learn The Best Lanes Close To Home
- Using load boards, connect with brokers for outbound and return loads. Be creative. You may find a tri-haul out or back, or even both can highly increase your average rate per mile.
- Make a habit of posting your truck and build relationships with the brokers who treat you right.
- Pay attention to hot spots and tri-hauls heading out in several directions. If you live in Green Bay, going to Chicago and back, St Louis and back, or Fargo and back, will have have different rates, but those rates will go up and down, not necessarily at the same time.
- The Good, you’re closer to home and you gain a better knowledge of particular lanes. You’ll learn the better brokers to work with, the niches that pay better, and the kind of equipment that might be worth buying in the future.
- The Bad, you’re still at the mercy of the freight brokers. The market shifts could easily hurt you more than if you had your own customers. Their loyalty lies with their brokerage and the customers belong to them.
Learn Those Lanes, But Find A Few Direct Customers
You’re still starting out with the load boards, but you’re always looking for your own customers. Finding your own customers for outbound freight is a great goal. The brokered loads will get you home.
The goal should be at least 50% of your loads being booked direct. The rest may still be brokered, but at least half of that should be from them calling you. Now the load board isn’t just finding you loads, it’s helping you keep those shippers honest by knowing your lanes.
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Related post: 7 Tools To Finding Better Paying Truck Loads
The Rest Of The Show
- CARB Buyback goes haywire. Overdriveonline.com
- Man Swipes Van… Over And Over Jalopnik.com
- Seinfeld’s Porsche Woes MotorTrend.com
- In depth reality check on autonomous cars and trucks
- The algorithm decides who lives and dies
- Alternative to paid parking – keep it driving. or, Jalopnik.com
- Fuel tax, road tax and other fees
- Batteries and environmental impact
What did you learn?