Daily interaction with owner operators at Status Transportation brings up very interesting topics about the transportation industry. A couple of weeks ago we had a very interesting conversation with a few truckers. We spoke about load boards and their take on previous experiences using them. The subject in question was whether Status Transportation pay was ultimately better than booking one’s own loads.
First, allow me to clarify, this is not a review article on what load board is better. We wanted to evaluate if covering your own loads with aid from load boards actually provided more independence as a truck owner. If it does, how would we maximize that?
Big corporation trucking companies use the phrases “booking your own loads,” “setting your own routes,” and “scheduling your week ahead” as selling points for more freedom. Advertisements like these sound and look great but do they really deliver more freedom? In order to answer this question, we need to analyze the pros and cons of covering your own loads. This should be done in terms of time and revenue.
It might sound like a cliche, but in the transportation industry the saying “Time is money” applies perfectly. As a truck driver, the less you wait for a load the more money you make. This is a guiding philosophy of the management here at Status Transportation. Pay is simply higher when one is moving versus sitting still.
Owner ops who use load boards have mentioned they have to scour over innumerable loads. Many of these were already covered causing them to lose valuable time by making unnecessary phone calls. Some drivers suggest sticking to the newest loads and constantly refreshing your browser window. To avoid losing time, others recommend not dismissing older loads buried in up to 15 pages back. The truth is that this is always a hit or miss situation depending on the load board and the brokers.
Like I mentioned before, this is not a case for evaluating different load boards. It is intended to analyze if it’s really worth spending your time looking for loads. The answer is not clear for many owner operators. In our experience, the solution has been obvious for years at Status Transportation. Pay at the end of a week is better when you do not have to spend time off the road.
Time is a scarce resource that you can not afford to waste. Owner operators only have so many hours during the day to pick up and deliver a load. With only 14 hours a day available to work that means you have to compromise. It comes down to either rest time or driving time to cover your own loads. If you compromise driving time, you may have to settle for shorter runs. You might take more time to deliver a load if that is even an option.
You need to remember that loads get canceled all the time. It’s good practice to set time aside to review your current load and any following loads. It makes sense to do this for loads scheduled in advance. Pre-scheduling loads have a domino effect, however. Failing to deliver one load on time it is going to affect all the following loads after that. Often that means you have to start all over again. Owner operators find their Status Transportation pay is more consistent with the help they receive arranging loads.
There is another very important thing to remember when booking your own loads. Frequently, the best-paying loads pop-up on load boards when owner ops are scheduled to deliver a load. What if you happen to be driving during that time? If your resting time doesn’t sync to good loads being posted you can be stuck with loads nobody else wants. Also, paying a high price for a load board subscription will not guarantee better-paying loads.
Having a dispatcher vs booking your own loads can also make a huge difference in terms of revenue. The less time you spend between delivering a load and picking up the next, the more money you are making. It makes more sense to have a dispatcher than booking your own loads. Your dispatcher has a broader vision of the market. Dispatchers spend over eight hours a day in front of a computer comparing rates. They talk to shippers and develop negotiating skills with the purpose of making you more money at Status Transportation. Pay is just bound to be better. No matter how many hours of your sleep time you spend in front of a laptop or your phone, you will only have a glimpse of a continuously changing dynamic market.
First of all, to book the highest paying freight you need to determine a strategy that will get you a good load to your destination and also get you out of a slow area. Status Transportation dispatchers trace different strategies or game plans with alternative scenarios in case something happens along the way to delivering a load. By being proactive dispatchers have time to negotiate and book a second load to reduce your waiting time and increase your owner operator profit margin. All this while you are focusing on what you do best which is being a professional driver.
Another factor you have to consider while looking for the best paying loads on a load board is that these are focused on benefiting the broker and not the driver. Load boards are designed with brokers in mind, they are a tool designed so they can get the greatest number of bids and reduce their cost of shipping goods. It is not uncommon to have a broker call the driver to cancel a load because they found another trucker willing to haul it for less money.
Brokers are focused on paying less whereas dispatchers are concentrated on getting their drivers the most money and be careful not to take them to low-paying areas.
As you can see booking your own loads is not more freedom because in reality, it requires more of your time. This adds another burden to your responsibilities, therefore adding more stress to your day. It is less stressful and safer for the driver to focus on the road and deliver on time than having to get to the next place without knowing where you are supposed to pick up your next load.
We have not even mentioned having to do all the required paperwork after you book a load or chase brokers for payment, but that is a topic for another time. With all this in mind, it is not hard to understand why owner operators who have been booking their own loads in the past decide to lease to Status.
If you are looking for a trustworthy company where you will be treated with respect – contact us at Status Transportation, pay is good and consistent here. One of us will be glad to answer all your questions and give you information about our different owner operator income programs.