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It's a Team's Life

How long do you wait for a load?

By Linda Caffee
Posted May 15th 2017 12:36PM

Don’t take cheap freight as you are driving rates down.  Sitting waiting for the perfect load can send a person to the poor house.  When I hear that someone has waited a week turning down loads I cringe at their frustration and how much money they have lost.  Than the other story makes me cringe of trolling for a load, not finding anything as they travel thousands of miles. 

The expediting game is not for the feint hearted and this is one example of playing the waiting game.  Take the first load offered, wait for a better one, or do not get any offers.  Some companies will pick what they consider a better area and pay a truck a small amount per mile to move to that location and with others it is up to the owner operator to make the decision to move.

Every day we are on the road costs us money and that is a very important figure to know and in my thoughts, it is more important to know than cost per mile.  Our fixed costs do not stop when the truck stops.  When we sit, and wait for the perfect load we are often shooting ourselves in the foot with our fixed expenses.  Balancing our pay per mile and our day pay can be challenging but it does not have to be.  Day pay is easier to figure then income per mile needed as miles change each week and each month. 

The easiest way to figure day pay needed is to take last year’s expenses and divide by per diem days or days away from home.  If you are new to this business and do not have history to consider you can still come up with a reasonable cost.   Using a spread sheet or on paper figure your monthly bills and total, then write down any bills that only happen yearly, quarterly, or every six months and figure them down to what they would cost you a month.  In your monthly bills add what you need to live on as well or salary.  Then when you have all of those numbers add them together and either divide by how many days out last year or how many days out you estimate you will be on the road for a year.  That equals what you need every day you are away from home.

Very simple process and easier in many ways then figuring what you need per mile.  You can take the figure you came up with for day pay and divide that by miles traveled the previous year or estimated miles you plan on traveling to get an estimate of cost per mile.   It is easy to see when looking at your cost per day to see that sitting a week looking for that perfect load can really hurt your income and keep increasing how much you will need per mile on that next load to cover expenses. 

Look at what is needed for day pay and combine that with pay per mile and make an educated decision on the next load offer.


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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