Got ELDs? Get Ready for Higher Rates

   

You can’t drive as many miles in a day when you’re running with an ELD. This is especially true when you have strict appointment times, when you’re detained for any reason, and when you need extra time to find parking.

If you’ve been using paper logs all along, you know that there are times when it’s really hard to make everything work without a little “editing” of the logs.

To be successful as an owner-operator, you need to cover your expenses. That includes driver pay, even when you’re the driver. There are two ways to do that: run more miles, or charge a higher rate per mile. The paper logs can provide flexibility,  up to a point, to gain just enough time to run those extra miles, but ELDs are not flexible. After December 18, the only solution will be to get higher rates.

Photo by ISAAC Instruments

Luckily there will be a lot of freight available, and there will be less competition. Trucks will run fewer miles per day every time a driver cuts his day short to find parking before the clock runs out, or a truck gets held overnight because the driver ran out of hours while waiting at the dock. It will happen thousands of times a day, all over the country, costing an hour here and there.

Brokers are going to need you more than ever, and they’re going to have more of certain types of jobs that you may not have handled before: power-only and team loads.

Power-Only Loads

The large mega-fleets have been preparing for the ELD mandate for years, by building trailer inventory at their big shipper customers. These are the same shippers that give loads to the brokers. Big carriers save a lot of time and effort when the shipper pre-loads the trailers and the driver just bobtails in for a drop and hook. If a broker calls you with one of these power-only loads, and you’re able to leave your trailer at home, it could be an opportunity to learn about this side of the business. I’m going to write a separate blog post with some tips on power-only hauls. Last year was the first year I pulled more of other companies’ trailers than I did my own. I made good money, and I didn’t waste valuable time loading and unloading.

Team Drivers 

My prediction: Team loads are going to be much more popular on hauls of 500 miles or more, especially if the shipper wants next-day service. A single driver may not be able to make that happen with ELDs. One traffic snarl or a poorly timed break could derail the whole operation, no matter what the speed limit might be. Team drivers can deliver next day. If you want to pursue team loads as an owner-operator, you’ll need to hire a driver, and that’s a big commitment. The advantage is that your team could specialize in long hauls and expedited runs.  

Expensive Appointments

When everyone is on the clock, and there’s no wiggle room, truckers are going to start charging more for anything that makes it harder to manage their time. Loads with strict appointment times will cost more. Brokers will pay a premium to secure a truck that can meet the shipper’s obligation. If the shipper detains your truck, you’re going to charge more for that, too. Ditto when your truck is ordered but not used (TONU). Get all the details written into the rate agreement. This will be a learning experience.

How to Win With ELDs

1) Reward shippers and brokers for flexibility in loading and unloading. Otherwise, charge extra when appointment times are strict or detention is excessive.

2) Plan in advance for breaks, fuel stops, and parking. When you run out of hours, you’re out. No more flexibility.

3) Most important: Start now to build relationships with professional, knowledgeable brokers. They’re going to need access to reliable carriers, and if they like working with you, they’ll call you first. 

Beat the ELD Mandate: Make sure your carrier business stays legal with KeepTruckin, the most affordable and driver-friendly ELD on the market.

 


Chad Boblett is the owner and driver of Boblett Brothers Trucking of Lexington, KY. Chad also founded the Rate Per Mile Masters group on Facebook, a communications hub for 11,000 members, including owner-operators, truck drivers, and other transportation and logistics pros. 
 

 

Real Women in Trucking partners with DAT to offer a special on the TruckersEdge load board to its members. Sign up for TruckersEdge today and get your first 30 days free by signing up at http://www.truckersedge.net/promo584 or entering “promo584” during sign up. This offer is available to new TruckersEdge subscribers only

 

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How to Take Action on a Local Level for Truck Parking

ooida-with-hope

How to Take Action on a Local Level for Truck Parking by Desiree Wood

The conclusion of the four regional truck parking coalition meetings held during 2016 occurred October 5, 2016 with a final event that was held in Grain Valley, Missouri at the Owner Operators Independent Drivers Association Headquarters. I was able to attend all four brainstorming events including the initial truck parking coalition meeting held November 2015 at the United States Department of Transportation in Washington D.C. thanks to the generosity of our members and mission support sponsors.

Remember that this organization was formed by working truck drivers. As a grassroots movement, we do not have the budget for many travel excursions but truck parking is something so important that these events had to be made a priority in order to make certain the drivers had a voice in the discussions. I was one of only two individuals that attended every truck parking coalition meeting that was held. To attend the final event at OOIDA Headquarters with Hope Rivenburg , champion of “Jason’s Law” was a milestone but there is still work that has to be done.

Through the course of these events I was able to learn that brainstorming innovative solutions alongside representatives from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA),  National Association of Truck Stop Owners (NATSO) , several State Department of Transportation representatives, and truck parking stakeholders there was still the looming issue of “selling it” to local communities who are not educated on how truck parking serves highway safety.

A number of problem solving initiatives were discussed during these meetings and I personally felt individuals that in the past had not expressed true understanding of the issues walked away with changed perceptions. The big message was that the government cannot fix this problem alone. Public and private partnerships are needed, public education is needed and creative approaches are critical to solving the truck parking shortage that has been identified as a crisis in every state.

A new term for me during these meetings was “MPO” which stands for Metropolitan Planning Organizations. MPO’s are responsible for planning metropolitan areas and this is where truck parking is the biggest problem. Currently, States have been tasked by the Federal government to do something they have never been required to do in the past, that is to create a freight plan. States must have an approved freight plan and freight network in place by December 2017 in order to continue to use their freight formula funds that were made available in FAST Act.  See Link: The FAST Act: The Freight Provisions

Truck parking is an eligible activity for FAST Act funds but it is not required. Truck parking is often overlooked as a necessary component to intelligent freight planning. Smart freight plans should be focused on alleviating highway congestion and part of that would be assisting truck drivers who must comply with federal hours of service requirements to prevent unsafe operation of a commercial motor vehicle.

  • Truck parking facilitates interstate commerce which must not be impeded by states and local governments
  • Truck parking improves highway safety

Hope Rivenburg has worked tirelessly to make sure that “Jason’s Law” for Safe Truck Parking, an initiative named after her murdered Husband would be recognized by the Federal government as a matter of safety. Hope took immediate and relentless initiative to take action for truck drivers. She proved that one person CAN make a difference and she got the ball rolling but now the ball is our court. Truck drivers must keep this issue relevant and they can do that by helping to write emails and making phone calls to educate state agencies that are not aware that truck parking is an eligible activity for FAST Act funds.

This is a call to action

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Use this link created by Allen Smith to the MPO Interactive Map to locate your State MPO contact information.
  2. Use the SAMPLE LETTER located on the MPO Interactive Map Link as a guide by using “cut and paste” and then revise the letter for your particular region and situation. You can use this link to download a PDF of the SAMPLE LETTER TO STATE AGENCIES. ( This letter is only a sample, it is not to be used verbatim, please personalize it to your situation.
  3. Send a letter, email it or make phone calls to the state agencies you have selected from the MPO Interactive Map to explain the pertinent information in a respectful manner that includes asking if “truck parking is in the freight plan” and if they are aware that “truck parking is an eligible activity for FAST Act funds and it is necessary in their region”.
  4. Identify to these agency heads in your letter or phone call that the funds “can be used on eligible projects until December 2017. After that, they can only use them if they have their freight plan in place”.  (Remember that eligible activities include truck parking and ITS type systems for information sharing and notifications).
  5. You can also help by calling State Motor Carrier Associations to make sure they understand that truck parking is an eligible project and asking them if they know “What’s in the freight plan?” for that State. The goal is to make certain that the agency representative comes away from the conversation with awareness that truck parking is needed and eligible for funds for their state.
  6. If possible, get involved in State and MPO area freight advisory committees.
  7. Ask the State agencies that you contact: “What have you done to improve on Jason’s Law data since the report was published”? 

If they have not heard of “Jason’s Law” ask them for their email address to share with them the following links:

FHWA DOT Jason’s Law

USDOT “Jason’s Law” Survey Reaffirms Nationwide Truck Parking Needs

Final Advice: Persist with your state by asking the question: “What is in your freight plan?” be tenacious but polite about getting answers.

REMEMBER! There are only 50 States, If you commit to writing at least 2 MPO’s from the interactive map we can make a difference. Stop waiting for everyone else to make a difference for YOU!

Listen to the Replay> Solutions to Improve Truck Parking with Host Allen Smith and Guests Nicole Katsikides Deputy Director of Maryland Department of Transportation Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering and Desiree Wood President REAL Women in Trucking, Inc.

Much Thanks to Nicole Katsikides for help in drafting this call to action for truck drivers!

with much gratitude,

Desiree Wood

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AUDIO: The History of Load Boards

AUDIO: The History of Load Boards

By Sarah Allen, Channel Program Manager, DAT Solutions

DAT is inching close to the big 4-0. We’re turning 39 next year, nearly four decades of pioneering load boards like DAT TruckersEdge. Our own Sandy Cahill chatted with Tom “Buck” Ballard of TruckingPodcast.com about the history of load boards and how truckers use information from them to run a profitable business.

“The way I see it, DAT is the iTunes of Load Boards.” – Tom “Buck” Ballard, TruckingPodcast.com

 

jubitz

Show Topics Include:

  • Who posts loads on load boards? It’s not just brokers
  • Free load boards vs paid load boards
  • Defining spot rates and how to use them to make more money
  • LTL freight and hot shot freight – both are in an upward trend
  • Building relationships
  • Negotiating with shippers and brokers

 

TruckingPodcast.com covers a variety of topics for truckers, and Buck is committed to helping drivers any way he can by sharing stories, helpful tips and advice for truckers on the road. Be sure to check it out. We hope you enjoy this episode and learn a few new things about DAT!

 

Real Women in Trucking partners with DAT to offer a special on the TruckersEdge load board to its members. Sign up for TruckersEdge today and get your first 30 days free by signing up at http://www.truckersedge.net/promo584 or entering “promo584” during sign up. This offer is available to new TruckersEdge subscribers only

Note: This article was adapted from the TruckersEdge blog post. It was first published in September 2016.

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