It's a Team's Life
MATS 2020 - Is Expediting for You?
This is where we can be found on Saturday, March 28th, from 1:45 to 2:45.
In the past many years, we have presented workshops to people considering becoming expediters that knew nothing about trucking. This time we will be presenting to other truck drivers information about becoming an expediter.
More of a challenge than I initially thought.
These drivers already haul freight, understand HOS, and know how to drive a truck. So, what is the difference between those that haul truckload freight from dock to dock and us?
When we started many years ago, we were often told: "Expediters are the 911 call of the trucking industry". I am sure that the Expedite trucking companies could tell you the numbers of loads that are ASAP pickup and delivery. We haul very few of these types of loads any more. We were also told Expediting was just in time delivery to automotive plants that did not want to warehouse their supplies.
Call in an expediter and have what you need delivered overnight. Now there are a few expedite companies where their main freight is automotive.
Much of what we are familiar with is working on the customer's time frame, and they tell us what time they want their freight picked up and delivered. These customers want exclusive use of the truck and often want special services. The more services they want, the more that pay to the drivers. At times these customers are not as concerned about how fast their shipment can be delivered; they want their fragile freight handled with kid gloves with a driver that is knowledgeable in freight securement. Most of the companies have a freight damage clause, with the first amount taken directly out of the driver's pocket. The damage can cost the driver a few thousand dollars before the company pays the rest. None of us want a product damaged on our truck.
Often our loads are very light. Our truck is capable of hauling 15,000 pounds, and yet most of our loads are less than 2000 pounds, and they are small in size. Many of the loads we haul could fit in a van, but the customer wants a dock high truck. Expedite companies vary on how they classify straight trucks or, in other cases, do not classify trucks. The classification is not on the size of the truck; it is on the weight the truck can carry.
Expedite customers want their freight picked up at a certain time and then can be delivered straight through to their customer by a team or by a certain time by a solo. Other times customers request us to pick up their freight inside a building, on a certain floor, and deck the floor so as not to damage it, blanket wrap their product, and seal the truck to be unsealed by the customer.
The customers that use expediters are to us as different as from going to a McDonalds as to a Salt Grass Steak house. Customers that use expediters expect a different type of service, and most expect us to be involved in the loading and unloading of the truck.
Our loads are varied, and one day we can have a load of girl scout cookies, and the next day it might be slot machines. We never know what direction the next load will take us or how far we will have to travel.
As a team or a solo, we need to be ready to run anytime day or night as long as we have the hours. My favorite saying is that we need to be able to run hard and to sit hard. Often, we sit over the weekends or will wait a few days between loads, and we need to be able to sit and not fret and yet be able to run 4000 miles with no problems when the phone rings.
The joy of being an expediter is the unknown of what we haul next, where we will go, and at some companies how much the load will pay. For those expediters that run for a percentage, the rate per mile is varied and can be exciting, or when the rate is seen, we shake our heads as we say no to the load. The downside of not knowing where we will go next is that it is harder to get home and can often include a long deadhead on our dime.
In the business of Expediting there is no guarantee that we will succeed and become profitable.
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.