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Pigeon Post

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I began subscribing to Sylectus about 6 months ago with the goal of expanding my local delivery business into new areas. While I got my insurance and authorities in order, I managed to get a few intrastate jobs here and there, and was somewhat encouraged by the results I was getting in terms of making connections. I got the lay of the land as far where the freight was, and developed a game plan to start with a Sprinter and add straight trucks as we got more established with brokers and bigger carriers. We filled out carrier packets for a couple dozen different entities hoping to hit the ground running once our insurance issues were wrestled down, got Landstar approved, got a good driver, outfitted the van.
So now I'm bidding every job that pops up on Sylectus to try to get my Sprinter out of Arizona at near break-even rates, and the bids that aren't completely ignored are met with "covered", and nothing else in the body. I've managed to get 2 intrastate jobs (one through Sylectus) to try to keep my driver's hopes up that he'll be able to get a good run to the midwest, but I'm really beginning to think that there's just nothing here. The truth seems to be that there is a glut of Sprinters all bidding on limited volume of freight in this area. While that's not all that surprising to me at this point, I'd really hoped that $1 a mile would be rock bottom. I began bidding at around $1.40 p/mi, and I've landed at $.80p/mi. Pretty close to break-even rates to get east, and I'm still bring ignored. And even if I can get to where the action is, I'm not convinced that Sylectus will sustain him, or make it worth my time and investment given the last couple of weeks.
I'm considering just sending the van out to a higher traffic area and taking the hit on a long deadhead, but at this point, I'm not 100% convinced that many of the jobs on Sylectus are even legit. Or are rates just so compressed that $.80 a mile from an asset-based carrier on Sylectus is still too high a rate? If that's the case, I may be punching out sooner than I'd planned.
Just opening this up for comments. I imagine there are plenty of you who want to vent, and just as many who want to bust my balls for not being cut out for this business. I'll give you my pre-emptive response. I'm not cut out for a business that isn't viable.
 
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Turtle

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Well, several things. One, the lowest bid doesn't necessarily get the load. Carrier rankings and a reliable history is often more important than the rate. Loads on Selectus will often be awarded to a carrier who the posting carrier is familiar with. Two, entering the business up front with your own authority and running the multi-carrier model instead of leasing on with a good carrier is generally the least viable way to succeed in this business. Trying to run your business primarily off Selectus boards is a sure road to failure. You're literally running your business off leftovers and scraps. Three, you can sometimes get loads out of Phoenix or Nogales, but generally speaking your best bet is El Paso.
 
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Murraycroexp

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If you're in Phoenix or Tucson, give it two days, then move to ELP. Then get ready. Every bid you make MUST include you're INS, MC & W-9. Some of the brokers that post out there are different than the regular "freight junkies". They don't know you. Be nice. Be polite. Don't beg. It's doesn't do any good. They don't care. None of them do. They aren't in the begging business.
Just keep trying.
But the ratio in ELP is better than the ratio out in the "conference area".
It'll be cheap. $1.40 is laughed at.
$1.00 is scoffed at.
Just keep plugging away.
 

Pigeon Post

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Hey thanks to both of you. This is good info. I've got another 3 months to wait on my MC anniversary before I can lease to Fedex CC, Landstar doesn't lease Sprinters anymore apparently. So in the meantime, I think scraping by on scraps might be my only option. My actual cost is about $.72 p/mile, so even if I can get $.90 I can live with it for a while. Once I sign on with Fedex, I have to get loads exclusively through them, isn't that right? Now I'm having even more trouble justifying paying for Sylectus if that's the case.
Needing to include Ins, MC and W-9 is news to me. I thought that was the point of pre-filling the carrier packets, but I suppose not every dispatcher or broker would have access to that info at all times. I'll keep this in mind. For some reason, I thought adding attachments would land me in junk mailboxes.
I feel like I've got somewhat of an advantage with the Sprinter I'm running because it's got a 1300 lb large platform lift gate and my cargo capacity is 3200 lbs even with that hanging off the back. The "conference" area. Interesting again. I'd never really contextualized this area that way, but now that I've heard the phrase, I understand that categorization.
I've tried the nice and professional route, but I have to admit, with my limited success going that route, I've gone more for brevity. Rate, equipment, ETA. But I guess I can try being warmer. I'm just beginning to feel like a sucker.
 
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Murraycroexp

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Hey thanks to both of you. This is good info. I've got another 3 months to wait on my MC anniversary before I can lease to Fedex CC, Landstar doesn't lease Sprinters anymore apparently. So in the meantime, I think scraping by on scraps might be my only option. My actual cost is about $.72 p/mile, so even if I can get $.90 I can live with it for a while. Once I sign on with Fedex, I have to get loads exclusively through them, isn't that right? Now I'm having even more trouble justifying paying for Sylectus if that's the case.
Needing to include Ins, MC and W-9 is news to me. I thought that was the point of pre-filling the carrier packets, but I suppose not every dispatcher or broker would have access to that info at all times. I'll keep this in mind. For some reason, I thought adding attachments would land me in junk mailboxes.
I feel like I've got somewhat of an advantage with the Sprinter I'm running because it's got a 1300 lb large platform lift gate and my cargo capacity is 3200 lbs even with that hanging off the back. The "conference" area. Interesting again. I'd never really contextualized this area that way, but now that I've heard the phrase, I understand that categorization.
I've tried the nice and professional route, but I have to admit, with my limited success going that route, I've gone more for brevity. Rate, equipment, ETA. But I guess I can try being warmer. I'm just beginning to feel like a sucker.
I just mean you may run into a different set of broker out there. That's all. If it's a new to you broker, include it.
 
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Pigeon Post

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That's helpful, I appreciate it. At this point, I've got nothing to lose so I'm gonna go ahead and take your advice and send my guy to El Paso Sunday night. It'll cost me a couple hundred bucks, but luckily I've got a driver who has no problem being out 5-6 weeks at a time.
 
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jelliott

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Sylectus is a transportation management software. Yes it has a load board but if you signed up based on using it as a freight source....I doubt you will see a financial gain. That is the biggest misunderstanding out there.
 

Pigeon Post

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John, I think someone should inform their sales staff of that. Hah. All kidding aside though, it's not quite as compatible with my current operation as I thought it would be, but it gives me something to grow into. And I've got a good foundation to grow on, so it'll happen one way or another. I'll squeeze what I need out of it.
 

sundog01

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I am about to lease on to a carrier, but am limited by not being able to afford over $11,500 a year for insurance but have done much research. Being as you have your own insurance if it is 1 mil in liability and 100k on cargo, there are many companies that will lease you on from .85 to 1.10 per mi. Also some of them will let you sign on with more than one carrier to keep your van full. When you are running for one you just put yourself out of service for the others.
Just a thought, when you are committed to one carrier you are at their load mercy.
 

Treadmill

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I am about to lease on to a carrier, but am limited by not being able to afford over $11,500 a year for insurance but have done much research. Being as you have your own insurance if it is 1 mil in liability and 100k on cargo, there are many companies that will lease you on from .85 to 1.10 per mi. Also some of them will let you sign on with more than one carrier to keep your van full. When you are running for one you just put yourself out of service for the others.
Just a thought, when you are committed to one carrier you are at their load mercy.
Actually when you are running multi carrier you are bidding against yourself. I'll take running for my carrier all day every day over the multi carrier system.
 
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Pigeon Post

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I am about to lease on to a carrier, but am limited by not being able to afford over $11,500 a year for insurance but have done much research. Being as you have your own insurance if it is 1 mil in liability and 100k on cargo, there are many companies that will lease you on from .85 to 1.10 per mi. Also some of them will let you sign on with more than one carrier to keep your van full. When you are running for one you just put yourself out of service for the others.
Just a thought, when you are committed to one carrier you are at their load mercy.
Yeah I've got the benefit of a few years of good history with my local business, so I'm catching a break on insurance. At this point I'm gonna have my driver go out for a month and lose us some money before we get on with another carrier. According to the guy I've been talking to at FedexCC, they're having trouble covering work in the southwest. Of course that could just mean they'd prefer to have the same type of overcapacity the rest of the country is operating with so they can squeeze rates down. I dunno. We'll see. Sometimes school costs money.
 

Turtle

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if it is 1 mil in liability and 100k on cargo
It's not. For a cargo van it's $300,000 not $100,000.

Actually when you are running multi carrier you are bidding against yourself.
Yeah, the whole "... to keep your van full," thing sounds good, but it's largely a myth and doesn't produce any more revenue than someone leased to a decent carrier.
 

Pigeon Post

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It's not. For a cargo van it's $300,000 not $100,000.

Yeah, the whole "... to keep your van full" thins sounds good, but it's largely a myth and doesn't produce any more revenue than someone leased to a decent carrier.
I've got 1million/100k already because I'm planning on buying a straight truck soon anyway.
 

Turtle

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Sometimes school costs money.
Another costly lesson it appears you are on the way to learning is you shouldn't gravitate to a particular carrier because the name is familiar or because they're big or for any other reason other than because you'll make money there. The carrier you keep mentioning has not for years been a particularly good place for vans and Sprinters. There's a reason why van and Sprinter drivers (and straight truck drivers, for that matter) have been leaving that carrier in droves over the last few years. So you might not want to too quickly dismiss other options.
 
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Pigeon Post

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Well here's some more background on notions I have that you may want to disavow me of. I'd planned on being a partner carrier with "that company" in November with the idea that I'd have a nice straight truck with a sleeper, and I'd get good freight from them. Then it came to my attention that partner carriers get about the same access to loads as Sylectus subscribers, if not only marginally better, so I've been considering leasing a unit to them. I guess I have been figuring that if I leased a sprinter to them, the sparsity of work would be such that they'd allow me to get my own freight as well. And my further hope was that over the next 3 months, I'd get myself well on my way toward developing a good enough reputation with the work we do for them that we could jump right in and get some decent work once the straight truck comes online.
I appreciate that it's expected I'll do my own research to find out who the good companies are. I've got a pretty good idea at this point, but I'm comfortable with a trial by fire for a while. I learn my best lessons from being burned.
 

jjtdrv4u

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Hey thanks to both of you. This is good info. I've got another 3 months to wait on my MC anniversary before I can lease to Fedex CC, Landstar doesn't lease Sprinters anymore apparently..
when and if you do sign on your fleet with one of the big companies that you mentioned, then you prolly will not be able to use Sylectus anyway...a lot of broker/carriers will not allow their leasees to work with any other company but themselves exclusive...and if they do allow it, then they may take a per centage of each load that you get with another source....so, just saying in my opinion, Sylectus does not sound like it is right for you...although their sales people are very good at selling it to people who do not need it, like yourself...
 

xiggi

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I am about to lease on to a carrier, but am limited by not being able to afford over $11,500 a year for insurance but have done much research. Being as you have your own insurance if it is 1 mil in liability and 100k on cargo, there are many companies that will lease you on from .85 to 1.10 per mi. Also some of them will let you sign on with more than one carrier to keep your van full. When you are running for one you just put yourself out of service for the others.
Just a thought, when you are committed to one carrier you are at their load mercy.
There is a reason the multi carriers have been dropping in numbers and it isn't because they keep trucks loaded. You will probably make less than being signed on with one good carrier. Also buying insurance through a carrier will save you thousands of dollars a year.
 
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Turtle

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Then it came to my attention that partner carriers get about the same access to loads as Sylectus subscribers, if not only marginally better,
"Partner" is deceiving, because you're not really partners. Partner carriers get the scraps and leftovers that the carrier cannot cover with their own trucks, nor the loads they cannot get covered with their "second choice option" of calling or e-mailing a preferred, trusted carrier (one of the other well-established carriers). The "third choice option" becomes some independent "partner carrier" (you), and if you're not in the area and available, the loads go to the Selectus boards. So, "marginally better" is a good way to describe it.

so I've been considering leasing a unit to them. I guess I have been figuring that if I leased a sprinter to them, the sparsity of work would be such that they'd allow me to get my own freight as well.
Panther lets you obtain your own loads, but the loads will have to go through Panther and they get 15% for using their authority, insurance, and collections. Few other large carriers allow this. I don't know about FedEx, but I'm sure someone can answer that one.

And my further hope was that over the next 3 months, I'd get myself well on my way toward developing a good enough reputation with the work we do for them that we could jump right in and get some decent work once the straight truck comes online.
Unless you screw up, a carrier won't pay much attention or much notice their "third choice option," so as a the third choice it would take many, many more months than 3 to establish anything remotely approaching a good reputation. They only know your work with them, they don't know your body of work, and your work with them is such a small samples size as to render it useless for developing any kind of reputation. You can develop a bad reputation in one day, though, as you screw up and they'll remember that forever. But if you're leased onto them, they'll know your entire body of work and your reputation will quickly develop accordingly.

If you know the industry very well and have access to lots and lots of freight opportunities already, then having your own authority and running as a carrier isn't a bad idea. If you don't know the industry very well and have access to lots and lots of freight opportunities already, then trying to run as a carrier with your own authority is one of the baddest bad ideas there is in this industry.

Here's a few things to think on that may change your thinking. Unless you have lot of your own customers who can provide you with enough freight to sustain your business, forget about having your own authority and just lease on with a good carrier. They will shoulder most of the headaches, hassles and stress. While it's certainly cheaper and less risky to enter this business with a cargo van or Sprinter, the rewards match the risk exactly, as van freight is few and far between in relation to the gazillions of vans out there who got into the business because it's cheaper and less risky. If you want to truly make some real money in this business you need to be running straight truck teams, as straight truck teams are the royalty of expedite, and carriers will keep those trucks loaded and happy.
 

jjtdrv4u

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I began subscribing to Sylectus about 6 months ago with the goal of expanding my local delivery business into new areas. While I got my insurance and authorities in order, I managed to get a few intrastate jobs here and there, and was somewhat encouraged by the results I was getting in terms of making connections. I got the lay of the land as far where the freight was, and developed a game plan to start with a Sprinter and add straight trucks as we got more established with brokers and bigger carriers. We filled out carrier packets for a couple dozen different entities hoping to hit the ground running once our insurance issues were wrestled down, got Landstar approved, got a good driver, outfitted the van.
So now I'm bidding every job that pops up on Sylectus to try to get my Sprinter out of Arizona at near break-even rates, and the bids that aren't completely ignored are met with "covered", and nothing else in the body. I've managed to get 2 intrastate jobs (one through Sylectus) to try to keep my driver's hopes up that he'll be able to get a good run to the midwest, but I'm really beginning to think that there's just nothing here. The truth seems to be that there is a glut of Sprinters all bidding on limited volume of freight in this area. While that's not all that surprising to me at this point, I'd really hoped that $1 a mile would be rock bottom. I began bidding at around $1.40 p/mi, and I've landed at $.80p/mi. Pretty close to break-even rates to get east, and I'm still bring ignored. And even if I can get to where the action is, I'm not convinced that Sylectus will sustain him, or make it worth my time and investment given the last couple of weeks.
I'm considering just sending the van out to a higher traffic area and taking the hit on a long deadhead, but at this point, I'm not 100% convinced that many of the jobs on Sylectus are even legit. Or are rates just so compressed that $.80 a mile from an asset-based carrier on Sylectus is still too high a rate? If that's the case, I may be punching out sooner than I'd planned.
Just opening this up for comments. I imagine there are plenty of you who want to vent, and just as many who want to bust my balls for not being cut out for this business. I'll give you my pre-emptive response. I'm not cut out for a business that isn't viable.
this is where those much scoffed at rates of .50 come into play, lol.
 

jjtdrv4u

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Sylectus is a transportation management software. Yes it has a load board but if you signed up based on using it as a freight source....I doubt you will see a financial gain. That is the biggest misunderstanding out there.
to the small to medium size carrier, Sylectus is generally their main or sole freight source....especially to the ones like the one russian companies out there that would not exist without it...

to small carriers, Sylectus plays a big part on both sides of the ledger, its a large expense, and also the source of income...not only that, Sylectus plays a big part in all parts of the smaller business, from aiding and how to conduct and run the business...it also is involved from its big role as a leader in the expedite transportation business and thru various business entities...

so, that is quite a job for a transportation management software company that is based out of canada.
 
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