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Truck Topics

8 Cliches About Expediting

By Lee Kurtzman
Posted Aug 11th 2013 4:21AM

cliches.jpgCliche, /klE-'shA - 1 : a trite phrase or expression; also : the idea expressed by it
2 : a hackneyed theme, characterization, or situation
3 : something (as a menu item) that has become overly familiar or commonplace

Expediting has it's own set of cliches and truisms that all of us will resort to when asked about the business by a prospective driver.  Just because they've been used a thousand times before doesn't make them any less true.

Perhaps it's a good idea to take another look at some of those stock phrases we answer the wannabes' questions with.  There could have been a number of  cliches we listed, but we tried to boil them down to these eight.

1. Drive for someone else first.
It's one of the first things that a prospective expediter hears.  Don't make that big investment in a truck and equipment before you give the expediting business and the lifestyle a test drive. 

If you decide that this is the career for you, there will be plenty of time to sink some serious dollars into that great-looking truck later on. Driving for an owner first will also give you an opportunity to try out at least one truck make/type before you buy - if you're driving an owner's XYZ model and you hate it, well, right there you know of at least one truck not to buy.
And, when you're ready to buy, that brings us to number 2 cliche.

2.  Consider buying a used truck first.
Unless you're entering this business with a trunk full of money, (and that would bring up the question of why you're working at all) you need to be on a very tight, conservative budget and that can mean foregoing that shiny, new truck in favor of the not-so-shiny "experienced" or "previously owned" truck.

If you can find a good, mechanically sound, used truck to run for your first year or two in the business, you'll be able to better handle those start-up costs that can stretch the budget in the beginning.  And, assuming that the truck requires no more than regular preventive maintenance those first couple of years, you should be able to save towards that hefty down payment a new truck will require.

3. Seriously consider running a single income team.
Another cliche of expediting is that teams make more than singles.  Yes, they do.  If there is a possibility that you can persuade your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend to travel the scenic highways of North America with you while being paid to do so, it will be well worth your while. 

Not only does operating a single-income team offer the best revenue scenario in expediting, but professional driving can be a very lonely business and it puts a whole new face on it when you have someone to share your road and travel experiences with.  That's assuming that the two of you can get along in a metal box the size of a truck cab and sleeper.
 
4. Save your money.
This one alone is worthy of it's own article, so we'll just try to hit the highlights.

*Speeding - It amounts to money out the stacks for fuel, excess tire wear, excess engine wear, excess stress on the driver.

*Poor maintenance practices - Many breakdowns can be avoided by preventive maintenance and pre-trip inspections.

*Video games - Those quarters add up over time; at $2 per day, a year's worth of quarters could buy 500 gallons of fuel, or a year's worth of truck washes.

*Truck accessories and toys - You have to ask yourself if that hunk of chrome or that electronic gizmo will help make you money.

*Impulse buying and truckstop shopping
If you are going to keep your money as an expediter, you must be able to walk through a big truckstop and not come out the other side with a bag full of stuff that cost you twice or three times as much as it would at Wal Mart.  You pay heavily for the convenience.

*Eating on the road - When you eat out 24/7, you're at the mercy of somebody else's cooking. You need good food, lots of it and you need it quick, making fast food and all-you-can-eat buffets tailor-made for a driver.  Are you a snack addict? Do you eat $6 worth of coffee, snacks, soda, bottled water a day? Sounds cheap, but that's more than $2,000 a year.

*Credit cards - Buy-now, pay-later credit card mantras sell a lot of merchandise, but they also get a lot of people in hot water with more debt than they can handle.  Credit makes buying things too easy.

5.  Develop relationships with dispatchers.
The relationships we're talking about here are open and above board, based on business principles.  If you make it a habit to help a dispatcher(s) with those difficult loads, then you will probably develop a reputation as a team player, and that could pay dividends.

6.  Communicate with your company.
You can easily find yourself distanced from your carrier because of distance.  It's a good idea to make the occasional appearance at headquarters to remind them of who you are and what you look like.  Communication by phone and/or satellite is essential too, primarily to let them know that you're available for work and ready to go.

7.  Be a businessperson first and a truck driver second.
It's easy to fall into the image of the cowboy out there on the highway, but in reality, the expediter is a businessman who sits behind a steering wheel instead of a desk (at least, most of the time).  Any decision he/she makes should be with the bottom line in mind.

8.  Try to stay up do date with technology tools.
There's a whole load of technology available to the truck driver nowadays, and the smart businessperson/driver takes advantage of those tools.  You can use laptops, GPS devices, cell phones, PDA's and other devices to your advantage and it's tax deductible as well.  Make your life more efficient and easier as well.

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