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It's a Team's Life

Decisions Decisions

By Linda Caffee
Posted Mar 1st 2018 12:03PM

Before taking any load, a driver must already have knowledge of a few things. Am I likely to get another load near my delivery; if not, how far must I deadhead to a respectable freight area? What is my business cost of deadhead? What is my daily business cost of layover?

1)    Is the delivery city in the middle of nowhere?

    a)     Which way will we deadhead to a better city?

    b)    If that city is also not the best but close to where there is sometimes freight how long will we wait?

       i)      If on a weekday we will wait a full working day

       ii)     If on weekend we have to decide do we give it till Monday night or reposition over the weekend?

2)    Have we got freight out of that area or know of others that have? If so we give it the working day.

3)    Another consideration in the winter is the weather.  

    a)     Is there a storm heading into the area we deliver?

       i)      If there is storm coming the last thing we want to do is get snowed in for several days, we move out of the way.

4)    What about taking a cheaper paying load to get into a better area? Do I deadhead on my dime or someone else’s?  

    a)     If we can dead head on someone else’s dime and it fits our schedule we would much rather do that.

5)    What if we deliver into a decent area and there are a lot of similar trucks with our company?

    a)     First, we ask ourselves how hot is the area?  Is there a lot of freight to fit all of these trucks?

    b)    If the answer is yes then we stay and enjoy visiting with so many people.

    c)     If the answer is no we do a truck search and deadhead to a better location

6)    Knowing when to move is also important.  As a team, we prefer to move at night to be in a better location where a solo will probably move in the daytime to get their           ten-hour break at night.

7)    If a load is offered and the dead head makes the load mediocre consider where the load is going?  Will you be bettering your position or making it worse?  

    a)     Knowing where that load offer is delivering and the rate per mile has to be considered carefully.  Usually, it is not worth a low rate if you are going to end up in an                 even slower freight area.

 Each of us has different costs and profit goals and knowing what we need to make per day, per week, and per month helps to make decisions.   How much does it cost us to sit and wait for a load?  How much does it cost for us to move to a better location?

Look at how much it costs you in fuel to deadhead 500-mile to a better area:

Ten MPG Average

Fuel $2.95

500/10 = 50

50*2.95 = $147.50

Total cost in fuel to move:  $147.50

The longer we sit and wait for a load demanding that we get a certain rate per mile the more it costs us and after a time there is not many loads that can make up for the time spent sitting.  It seems to me as a team we have a broader range of areas we can deliver to and still be available for freight and get to a better area without running out of hours.  A solo that delivers to a slow area has to also consider the loss of time to get back into the freight zones.

There are times when accepting a load into a known slow area is very profitable as they usually pay very well.  The icing on the cake is to get a load back out of that slow area if that does not happen make sure the load paid enough to get back out.


Bob & Linda Caffee


Saint Louis MO

Expediters since January 2005


Expediting isn't just trucking, it's a lifestyle;

Expediting isn't just a lifestyle, it's an adventure;

Expediting isn't just an adventure, it's a job;

Expediting isn't just a job, it's a business.


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