Thoughts from Your favorite Texas Trucker

Grab interest

This Page is dedicated to some of my personal thoughts on the trucking industry.  Experiences, Opinions, Beliefs, and general outlook on the state of the industry we love so much.  These are opinions.  I hope everyone agrees, but please don’t take them to heart too much if you disagree.

The Broker/Carrier Relationship needs to change

Social Media is a great tool.  I’ve used it for years, and its a great way to get an idea of what people are thinking. Unfortunately it tends to highlight the worst of us.

On Facebook alone in the transportation industry there are pages dedicated to carriers, and pages dedicated to brokers, and pages with a combination of both and invariably I see a huge amount of bickering between the two. 

There seems to be an animosity between brokers and carriers, with carriers convinced that brokers are cheating them and starving them, and brokers convinced that carriers are little more than trash.

The bottom line is that we need each other.  Brokers connect carriers with shippers where they do not have adequate shipper contacts while carriers fulfill the obligations that brokers make to the shippers they contract with.  It’s a symbiotic relationship but its not necessarily a symbiiotic relationship by choice.

There has to be a way for carriers to build trust with brokers and vice verso.  Carriers need enough money to survive on and to prosper on.  We are not out here doing this job just to break even and brokers need to understand that, but brokers are in this game to make money as well.  They are not in it to just break even either.  Both parties need to prosper for all to be happy.

I’m trying to do my part as little as that might be by providing the best communication and service possible and encouraging the people I know to do the same.  Ask yourself what you can do to strengthen these relationships, instead of tearing them down.

Without a doubt there are a lot of bottom feeder brokers and they should and probably will go out of business.  Same with carriers, there are a lot that should not be in business and they will probably fade away in time.  Meanwhile what can YOU do to make your partner in this industry feel like he or she has the best possible partner in you?

The Coming Mandate

As of this writing, the mandate is only a few days away and both carriers and brokers and shippers are very concerned about what effect this will have.  

For my part I’mpretty upset about it.  There is no benefit to my company being on elogs.  Ultimately the purpose of elogs is to streamline a companies operation so that they can more effectively manage a fleet of trucks.  With ELOGS you can track trucks, dispatch trucks, monitor a truck’s performance and so on...but my company currently has only one truck so I can manage it just fine since I do all of my billing, all of my dispatching, I fill out the carrier contracts, I contact the brokers, and I drive and do maintenance on the truck.  All of these wonderful features are a complete and total waste of money for me as I highly doubt I will use any of them.

For me it is simply a loss of revenue.  I have to pay for the elog device, I have to pay for the elog service, I have to pay for the internet on the elog device so it can use the internet based service.  It’s a completely wasted expense that simply costs me money.

Which means my rates have to increase. I can no longer spend time tapping loads, so I have to be pickier with loads I take.  I can’t deal with slow poke shippers, and so on.

That is going to have an effect on shipping costs as my rates increase the broker’s rates must increase which means the sale of the commodity we ship must increase.  No one is happy about it yet STILL to this day there are not enough voices to stop it.

The Federal Government says its about safety, yet we have had elogs since 97 and the leading Pioneer in ELOGS, Werner Enterprises has been deemed the most dangerous trucking company on the road.  Elogs have done nothing to increase safety; in fact, they have done a great deal to make it worse.

Obviously the biggest problem is not elogs themselves.  Beyond the additional cost (Paper Logs cost $4.99 per Month), no the bigger problem is an outdated idiotic Hours of Service law that tries to be a one size fits all solution to an industry that is so far away from one size fits all that its not even worth discussing.

Look Up Trucking On The Go on You Tube

About Rates

Its my personal opinion that the rates you work for say a lot about your business, hence the term “Bottom Feeder” which is a term in the trucking industry used to describe Brokers who pay sub Par rates and truckers who haul for sub par rates..

Obviously there is a conflict there between us as carriers, and Brokers and to some extent that conflict extends to the shippers themselves who ultimately want their products shipped for free.

So...what exactly is in a rate that a carrier charges?  Do you even care?

Shippers and Brokers say they want top notch carriers with good, dependable equipment, yet they don’t want to pay for it.  So lets look at it a moment?  

Every carrier’s expenses differ. Some trucks get 4 mpg, someget 9 mpg most fall somewhere between the two.  In a week’s time a single truck can generate $1,500 to $2,000 in fuel expenses alone.  If a truck uses DEF then that amount can easily increase another couple hundred dollars.  

Most trucks need oil and filter changes every 15,000 miles...roughly once every 6 to 8 weeks and for my truck with 3 oil filters, two fuel filters and an expensive air filter, atransmission filter and a coolant filer and needing 15 gallons of oil per service it can easily cost $500.  I could do 10 oil changes on my pickup for what a single service costs on my truck.

Tires on a big truck and trailer are exceedingly expensive at roughly $5,000 to $7,000 for the tractor and another $2,500.  Just changing out all my tires can cost more than most of you have spent on your entire car.

I just replaced 3 of my injectors at a cost of $850 per injector, I replaced a radiator at a cost of $2,000.  I hope you begin to see what I’m saying.  Add to those expenses the payment for the truck at $1260 a month, and the cost of the trailer at $875 a month then add to that the cost of insurance at $1,300 a month, Tolls, parking fees, and all of the minor costs including the load board, taxes on income, IFTA taxes, and then my personal income, replacing equipment like tarps, straps, chains, edge protection...these things all add up and have to be figured into the cost.

As I’ve said before, We are in this to make a profit, not just buy a job.  We don’t spend thousands of dollars a month just to get by.  We do it to put our kids through school, pay our bills and establish a future for ourselves and to that end we set our rates.

My rates Begin at $2.50 per mile.  That isn’t my Rate, that’s where it starts, where everything else builds upon.  The baseline if you will.  To that I add for bad areas and there are a lot of them. I add for mukltiple stops which consume my time.  I add for tapping which though I do well at it, I absolutely hate.  I add for heavy loads because it causes more wear and tear on the truck and more fuel cost. I add for the deadhead to get to your load because even empty miles are not free miles.

In return I go out of my way to give you what you pay for, the best possible service.  I communicate with you when I’mon my way to the shipper, when I arrive at the shipper, when I leave the shipper.  I photograph every load so if you want to see them they are available.  I contact you midway through the trip, when I arrive at the final, and when I leave the final.  I do that personally.  I don’t ask anyone else to do it, I do it myself.  

I’venever had a damaged load, never had a claim and I’m never late...though with Elogs I am definitely going to needto increase my delivery time.

I give you the best service and I expect to be paid for that.  I hope we can work together.

We Are a Family Owned Business

When you do business with us you are not dealing with a huge corporation, you are dealing with a family.  You are helping to pay my son’s tuition for college or technical school, you are helping my wife not have to work 70 hours a week like I do.  You are helping a Texas family build a future.  

What that also means is that you don’t have to deal with a compay’s Red tape and run around. You get  We don’t waste time getting our paperwork in to you, we work with you, we treat your customer well, we treat you like a partner.  You get my direct and undivided attention to solve your transportation problems because that is what we do. 

If it can go on a flatbed, We’ve hauled it.

Over the years there is so much variety in what we have put on our deck. That there isn’t much of anything we haven’t hauled.  We do coils, and rail, and I beams, and equipment, Airplane parts, reels, poly pipe, steel pipe, lumber, cardboard, and more.  e’ve hauled for Home Depot, and Lowes, and Menards. We’ve hauled Multch, and fencing, reels, and ties.  If it goes on a deck chances are good we’ve put it there and done a top notch job.  We’ve delivered to the middle of cities, and to the outskirts.  We’ve delivered to job sites and farms, and fields so far removed from civilization you could have filmed a Western Movie and never had to change a thing.  We’ve run dryvan, and Fran Sand and of course, what we specialize in: Flatbed.  We’ve done legal loads, overweight and over dimensional loads.  So one thing you can be confident in...I know my job inside and out and whatever you have, I can handle it.