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Fuel for Thought

Expediting is trucking. Expediting is not just trucking.

By Greg Huggins
Posted Feb 4th 2018 8:20PM

Expediting is trucking. Expediting is not just trucking. Expediting freight is just like truckload, 53 foot trailer trucking, but it is not exactly like it. Many truckload carriers may expedite loads, but expediters will expedite loads. Trucking is trucking, but for those considering a career in expedite trucking, if you want to be successful at it (and who wouldn’t?), expediting tends to blend a lot of different aspects of trucking with a lot of variables and you can research all you want before getting into it, but there will always be aspects that you may not have considered as well as new variables in the ever changing world of trucking.

Proper research and training for any career are crucial elements to help ensure your success. Becoming an owner operator of an expedite trucking business is no different. A background in the trucking industry can certainly help, whether it was a dock worker, company driver, dispatcher or mechanic. Just being around trucks, truck drivers and the business side of trucking can give you a leg up to transition to an expedite owner operator, but, as the old saying goes, don’t just learn enough to be dangerous. That means you have learned enough to inspire a change, to try to better yourself with a small business as an owner operator. It also means there is much, much more to learn to be successful at it. No one wants to fail, don’t jump in too soon and unprepared. Proper research will be the general industry you wish to enter (trucking), proper training will be the division you choose (truckload, LTL, expedite, etc.), as well as the discipline within the division.

Trucking in general will be all the commonalities between the different divisions, like best practices or requirements for:

  • Fuel purchases
  • Maintenance
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Permit
  • Tags
  • License
  • Money management
  • Lease to a carrier or own authority
  • Understanding regulations
  • IFTA
  • Hours of Service
    And this is just a short list.

Then there are the different divisions of trucking and even different disciplines in each division:

TruckLoad

(TL)

Less than TruckLoad

(LTL)

Expedited

(TL & LTL)

Dry Van Local  Van
Tanker Regional Hotshot
Flatbed Straight truck
Step Deck Tractor trailer
Oversize
Heavy Haul
Refrigerated


Which division and discipline do you want to do? In general, if someone is pulling a dry van and wants to get into hauling Oversize/Overweight loads, they will need to learn about that side of trucking to be successful at it. Expediting is no different. Just because you drove a tractor trailer doesn’t mean you know about expediting or vice versa, but with proper research and training, you could. Just don’t try to bring your van experience to the tanker world and expect it all to be the same, just a different trailer, that is not how it works.

If you were having vision problems, you wouldn’t go to the proctologist, would you? You would most likely go to an optometrist. Both are doctors, but of different disciplines.

Expediting is not necessarily dock to dock, but can be. It is not always time sensitive, but most often it will be. It is a blend of specialized handling, time sensitive, securely loaded and temperature sensitive freight that needs to be on time, every time. Unlike regular truckload with delivery windows of days, expedited freight will have very small windows of time for deliveries to be made that are crucial to the customer’s business to stay in operation. While many loads can be the difference in whether or not a factory shuts down, others are critical for keeping power plants running at capacity or hospitals and pharmacies supplied with vital equipment and medicines to help save lives. There are also loads that may not be instrumental in saving lives or businesses, but equally important to the customer that the freight is secured and handled in such a way as to not damage sensitive electronics. Any of these types of loads can also require liftgate use by the driver or drivers to unload at a facility without docks. Maybe they require a team to make the trip, either for security or time sensitive, practically non-stop delivery of the freight. While still other expedite customer’s loads are less concerned with time, but more focused on the special handling of their freight. This is another area where expediters excel.

If you are planning to enter the expedite arena, let that be your focus of your research. Expediting is trucking, but like all the other forms of trucking, it has many characteristics that are not shared with other divisions. And all of this just leads up to a little more research, once all that is done, now you have decide on which carrier suits you and how their system operates. If you choose to lease to a carrier, each one has different operating procedures and policies and your business goals may not fit well with all carriers. Don’t try to make the carrier conform to you or you will just make it harder for yourself, instead partner with a carrier with like interests, similar business goals or at least one that operates the way you do and you will settle in faster. 

 

See you down the road,

Greg

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