It's a Team's Life
Playing the waiting game of loads
Today was one of those DAYS where we took a pre-assignment load that paid ok BUT then after unloading and waiting a day to pick up this load we get a call from an agent with a REALLY great paying load picking up ASAP. It was hard to say "sorry" we are already booked on a load but now knowing you have loads in this area we will check with your agency first next time. Once a load is accepted it is ours to finish with professionalism as if it was the highest paying most valuable freight on our truck. In a recent conversation with an agent he talked about drivers taking one of their loads and then getting a better offer and taking it. Once this happens to an agent this truck number and driver is usually put on the do not use list ever. Not a good place to be as many of these agents find freight in unusual places and can keep us moving. When a load is accepted, it is ours and even though the next offer could pay twice as much it will not be considered.
Over the years, we have learned which is really a good load and which just sounds good but is not really good for a team operation. Sometimes when we hear $10.00 or higher a mile we get pretty excited till we hear the load only moves 25 miles. If the load runs first thing in the morning and we will be done by noon we will usually say "yes". The loads with more miles are usually offered in the afternoon. If a short load is offered in the afternoon our usual answer is no unless we have another load in the works for the next day. In an earlier blog I talk about the roller coaster ride of income for the expediter. Riding the Roller Coaster of Income
There are all kinds of disappointments in trucking and one is taking a low-priced load and then seeing the high dollar load come out a little later. The other is taking a great load after waiting all day or even waiting more than a day to pick it up and having it cancel at the last minute. Another that really made my day go bad when we first started trucking was get a load to someplace I really wanted to go or towards family and then have that load cancel. Now it is not a "load" until it is on the truck and we are rolling down the road. After the load is on the truck I will allow myself to get excited about the drive, the destination, and often the income.
We work much harder to get loads then we used to and sometimes it can feel as if we are beating our head against a blank wall. We make phone calls and send out flyer's and no load offers come our way. I get to thinking about all of that work, time spent, no results, and wonder why I bother. While attending a meeting a group of agents where talking about working to get loads and their frustrations. They talked about how they have to bid so much faster than they used to due to the competition. They have to really be the best of the game to big the right price to get the load and then get a truck to accept that load at a price where all can make money. They have to have knowledge of where the load is originating and what the going rate is in that area for that commodity. They talked about working all day to get one load, get it covered, and how many people they might have to talk with. All of the sudden my work sending out flyers and calling them sounded pretty darn easy.
We, like the agents or brokers walk a fine line finding a load that is profitable, gets us either into a good area, pays enough to get out of, and one where we have the hours to complete. We just spoke at a meeting with a group of agents and one of the ladies afterwards came up to me to say how much I had inspired her. My mind went blank to how that could have happened. She went on to say that sometimes she gets very impatient with truck drivers that were running late or where grouchy. She went on to say she never thought about what a truck driver goes through after he/she picks up the freight and has to maneuver through traffic, being cut off, detours, road construction, or not being able to find the pickup or delivery. She said now before I speak I will think of all the things that could have went wrong in this driver's life and give him or her a chance to explain.
Run with what you know and be a professional at all times even though that income would have been really nice on that great load.
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.