White Glove Equals Increased Revenue
The term relates to the handling of items requiring special handling; in the furniture-moving field, it relates to pieces that need special crates or items unassembled then reassembled and antiques. In the expedite industry, this type of freight might be delicate medical equipment that requires special padding, art works that require specific temperature controls along with special securement or a delicate part to keep a nuclear reactor running.
White glove freight requires the driver to have specialized equipment, pallet jacks, furniture pads, furniture dollies, hand trucks, tripod dollies, lift gates, multiple securement devices and usually temperature controlled units. Special box door locks are required. Drivers are taught the standard operating procedures required by their company and have to faithfully follow them; they also have to have hazmat endorsements and governmental clearances.
Secured parking is a must on most white glove loads. To provide this, special tracking devices and GPS is used to monitor the truck 24 hours a day providing geo fences for the truck when parked, most white glove operations are team, one driver has to remain with the truck at all times. Some companies like FedEx who have secure terminals across the country, provide their white glove trucks secure parking.
ATeam, a poster on the ExpeditersOnline.com forum points out the pros and cons of white glove freight in a post, “The disadvantages of White Glove include dealing with very particular shippers and handling high value freight. The main advantage of White Glove though, is the loads you get that you otherwise would not. We've come to enjoy meeting many of those very particular shippers and handling the very interesting freight they often have.”
Another poster from the ExpeditersOnline.com forum, RichM, tells of the qualifications required to work white glove freight, “You will be required to do inside deliveries and pickups. This means unloading the cargo by hand and bringing it to the site where the customer wants it. You will be required to take training in Radioactive Materials and Explosives in addition to the normal Hazmat freight. You will also be required to pass a US Government DOD security clearance in order to haul classified freight. If you get a cargo claim from damage you will probably be let go from white glove services.“
Does having white glove status within a company increase one’s revenue? Linda Caffee who runs with her husband Bob for FedEx Custom Critical and is white glove certified, says, “Yes, the loads pay more to the truck, but where one really makes the money is in diversification. If one is certified to haul all manners of freight, then there are more load options which cuts downtime.”
While the initial investment to get into white glove services to buy the specialized and extra equipment required to handle the freight might put off some from entering white glove services, according to most, it does not take long to recoup the expense. FedEx is advertising for white glove tractor only teams and is offering $2.10 a mile for all miles and a $1,000 sign on bonus for teams, excellent rates in today’s trucking world.
In an article from Overdrive Magazine, David Pike of Express-1 points out the differences found in between expediting and regular freight, “In general, most owner-operators see the potential for boosted pay in the expedited segment as its chief attraction. To produce $280,000 to $320,000 in yearly truckload revenue, a team might have to turn 6,000 to 7,000 miles a week. In expediting, the same revenue is available on 12,000 miles a month, bringing in $25,000 to $30,000.”
White glove can bring in more than those averages with some owner operators getting as much as 59% of the load if they choose percentage over mileage. For the specialized white glove loads, long deadheads are not unusual. It takes a sharp business person to figure if the load will generate enough revenue to cover deadhead expenses with no deadhead pay on percentage pay plans. Linda Caffee tells of one white glove load with a 1000-mile deadhead for 300-mile run, “You really have to know your operating costs to see if the load is worth it to take.”
White glove is the elite part of expediting with stress on excellence; excellence of the drivers, the truck and the service provided. It often appeals to those who want to experience types of freight and destinations that are out of the norm for most truckers; nuclear power plants, museums and even, as the Caffees experienced, a professional sports person’s home to deliver an antique soda machine. All that and increased revenue too, what a deal!