Ten Commandments of a Successful Expediter
I received some interesting feedback from my last blog, “Are you in or out?”...and it was either all good or all bad!
Some people told me I was unfeeling in not understanding the problems that an Owner Operator has in making a good living so that he can pay his bills on time and keep his insurance in force. Other people said that it was a topic that has been like the “elephant in the corner” for too long, and appreciated that it was discussed.
The latter responders tended to be the industry standard of “successful” Expediters for various Motor Carriers. They had steady work schedules, excellent bill paying histories, and have established themselves in our Expediting Community as leaders. So I thought I’d ask them to kick in on this blog for what they think makes a successful Owner Operator. Here are some ideas in no particular order:
1. If you’re new to Expediting, drive for a Fleet Owner for 12 months to be sure you LIKE the Lifestyle. THEN make the major expense of buying a vehicle....and NEVER use your house to secure a loan.
2. You are a Business Owner not just a Driver, so set short and long term goals for YOUR BUSINESS.
3. Your Customers are the Carrier you're hauling for, the Shipper and Consignee.
4. Don't second guess runs...take ”˜em as they come because there's no crystal ball of where the next one will lead. One run does not make a week, so don’t try to make top dollar on every one.
5. When you’re knowledgeable of Carrier procedures, dependable and easy to work with including a willingness to help out on less than profitable runs...it will pay off when you’re the first O/O that Dispatcher calls.
6. A “can do attitude” always wins. Always be polite even if the customer is not, and contact your Dispatcher if problems arise and let them mediate for you. Follow your orientation training.
7. A large part of Expediting is waiting...so best to get used to it! But you can also be proactive by learning the freight lanes of your Carrier, knowing your board position and move if necessary.
8. Pride in your vehicle is pride in your work...and YOUR appearance is a reflection of the value of your service. If your truck and/or you are dirty or dressed inappropriately, the Shipper may not call the Carrier again.
9. Budget your income and take the time to constantly review
and shop ALL your major expenses. Know your CPM (Cost Per
Mile) to operate your truck. There are fixed expenses and
variable expenses to consider. Take a portion of each revenue
check, usually $.02 to $.05 per mile and put it away in a
maintenance fund for unforeseen repairs as well as regular
maintenance. Remember, the primary objective is not how much
money you make, but rather how much money you keep.
10. “Serial Jumping” from Carrier to Carrier will leave you spinning your wheels, take the time to learn about your Carrier BEFORE you contract with them. Changing Carriers is very expensive and not always the best way to correct problems. Becoming a Motor Carrier yourself is not a panacea, either. There is no “magical load board” once someone obtains an MC number, and the overhead is FAR larger than that of an Owner Operator.
Thanks to everyone who helped with this end of year blog.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Warm Regards, Shelly
Shelly Benisch, CIC Shelly@myCISagent.com
Commercial Insurance Solutions, Inc. (CIS) www.MyCISagent.com