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Owner Operator 411

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15 March 2009

7) What You Need to Know About Loadboards for the Owner Operator

2000 Pete 379


How to Become an Owner Operator

7) What You Need to Know About Load Boards



FAQ for the Owner Operator
Pictures
Anti-Idling Regulations
Definitions and Industry Terms
Blackrock Auxiliary Power Unit (APU)
Interactive Cost per Mile (CPM) Calculator Spreadsheet
Privacy Policy
1) Owner Operator 411 – Welcome
2) Income and Expenses
3) Financing and Credit
4) Operating Authority or Leasing?
5) Equipment
6) How To Do Bookkeeping and Other Necessary Paperwork
8) Companies That Lease Beginning Owner Operators
9) What You Actually Need to Get Started - Licenses, Permits, Insurance, and Taxes
10) Truck Driving Schools


One of my readers asked a question about loadboards, so I decided to do a separate post on them. See Coupon Mommie's comments at Owner Operator 411 – Welcome

One reason 123loadboard doesn't seem to have very much freight is because it has dropped off dramatically. A year ago, if I did a search from Ohio to Texas, I would get about 100 loads returned, now I get about 25 - on a good day. It is the same on the Members Edge load board. My dispatcher tells me theirs is the same way.

Be aware, though, that a lot of the loads posted on the free loadboards is not as complete as the loads posted on the expensive loadboards the companies use.

As I told you, I use (and pay for) Members Edge , they are part of 3SixtyFreightMatch. I just found out that the company I am leased to uses 3SixtyFreightMatch. They get all the loads I get on Members Edge, but they also get loads I do not. The loads posted on MembersEdge seem to be "leftovers". They are all cheap freight. Very few of them pay even $1.00 a mile, much less more.

My point being, there may be a lot of freight posted, but is it anything you would want to haul?

One other thing I did not think to tell you, both of the load boards I subscribe to show the rates, but the companies seldom post them. They are like used car dealers, they just say, "Call."

Now that I have answered Cookie Mommie's question, I guess I should explain for you new to this what a load board is. A load board is a place where companies post available loads and/or available trucks.

Some load boards are free and some have to be subscribed to. Some are public and some are private, that is they are only for owners leased to that company.

Almost all of them let you search in various ways.  Some have alarms or alerts that let you know when a new load that meets your criteria becomes available, either by a sound, email or a text message to your cell phone.

In the old days before cell phones and laptops, if you took a load to Houston, TX for instance, and wanted to get back home to Richmond,Virginia, the only load boards were in truck stops.

Here is how it worked. You would go to a truck stop and there would be a TV screen with a list of available loads, the broker who had it, their telephone number, what type of trailer, and the origin and destination.  This list would scroll endlessly.

There would be a lot of drivers (up to 20 and 99.9% men) standing around watching that board with a pen and paper in their hands. Every once in a while, the board would go, "DING", meaning a new load had been posted. All eyes would swivel to see what it was. Everyone would furiously scribble down the phone number, then run (fast paid off) to the bank of pay phones to call the broker. Hopefully, you got to the phone before everyone else, and had change in your pocket. You would then call the broker to see how much it paid, and any other particulars.

If you weren't fast enough, or if the load didn't suit you, then you would go back to board and start all over. Usually there weren't any chairs, so you had to stand. If you left to get a drink, more change, or to pee, the perfect load would come up and be taken while you were gone.

Often you would get excited when you saw a load going to your hometown, only to realize that it was for a reefer and you were pulling a flatbed.

It was not unusual to stand there from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and have to start over the next day.

My, my, that sure was fun!  I really don't miss "the good ole days".

Now days, you sit in your truck with your laptop, tell the load board that you want a load for a flatbed from Houston to somewhere near Richmond, and it will sort out all of the loads that match. If you don't see what you want, it might still go "DING", but now you pull out your cell phone and make your call.

It may easier to look for a load, but it isn't any easier to find a load. Some industries are still doing well, of course, but freight is really slow, and the rates keep dropping. It gets harder every day to make a dollar.

Next post: Companies That Lease Beginning Owner Operators


I am sorry I have to do this, but due to spam "comments"  I feel I need to moderate comments from now on.
I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause to my legitimate commenters.

27 comments:

Coupon Mommie said...

Me again. I noticed you've made a few changes to the blog. Not sure what you might have clicked but your post is linking to the blogger home instead of the actual post. I had to pull the post up via your blog archive to get to this comment section so let me know if you need some help reconfiguring if you don't know what happened. LOL. This blogging is fun, right!

Coupon Mommie said...

I really like what you've said about the loader boards because it is exactly what we've been noticing once we subscribed and started calling.

Everyone paying around $1/mile had us concerned which is what actually brought me to your blog in the first place. I was googling around for a blogger to talk to and get some helpful suggestions.

I have emailed a request for more information on the 3SixtyFreightMatch so hopefully we will hear something from them and I will pop back over and update you.

Dan said...

I read over your blog, you may also try
Trucks Suppliers Network for more information.

Regards
Mac

Road King said...

Mac,

Good site. Thanks for the information.

Anonymous said...

Hey I'm new. Great forum. Just found it on AOL. Thank u 4 the Awesome community we have here :)

Road King said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for your positive comment and welcome to my blog. Enjoy!

NIGEL said...

I stumbled on to this site looking for some info to start formulate my business plan. The just is, I am currently in the Army, about to retire in a yr or two. I am in Afghan currently, and due back in the States in Nov timeframe...YEAH!!!

I been looking into starting my own transportation business. It looked promising, until I read this info about freight/load boards. I have pretty much finalized my plan, but the only thing that I am in the dark about is the freight. So I recently subcribed to Truckload.com and Membersedge to see what is out there and to see what kind of rates/CPM on average I can look forward to. I am getting mixed reviews on my findings in regards to getting a general CPM computations.

Truckload is posting from Savannah, GA to Houston at $1.73 plus a $.38 fuel surcharge totals $2.11 per mile.

Memberedge is posting for a comparable trip around $1.40-$1.60 and made no mention of a surcharge.

I read the posting on this site and I see that $1 per mile is the going rate, and I would lucky to get that.

So now that I am all confused, I am asking for anyone that frequent this site to shed an light on the current rates they are seeing on average. I know with differ lanes come differ rates, but those are some significant variances I cannot make a plan from.

Any insight anyone....?

Thanks, Nigel

Road King said...

Nigel,

First, Thank You for serving in the Army. I am sure all of my readers appreciate what you are doing over there. Glad you will be coming back to the states soon.

Man, you hit the nail on the head. $1.00 is the AVERAGE going rate. Some loads pay as little at 80¢ a mile, while others may pay as much as $3.00 a mile. If you use $1.00 per mile to figure your income, you should be fairly safe in being able to get a close estimate of your income. If you end up making more, then you are ahead, but if you try to base your estimates on, say $3.00 per mile and you don't make that much, then you are screwed. Making a business plan is kind of like playing the stock market - buy low and sell high. You need to figure your income at a minimum and your expenses at or near the maximum. In truth, that is more like how you will realistically operate.

You are smart to check out the load boards. When you made the comparisons, were the rates you quoted for the same load, or the same type of load? Rates often vary by commodity or equipment, even to and from the same destinations. Rates also vary from carrier to carrier, and even day by day. That is why it is so hard to get a loan, for instance. You can't walk into a bank and say I will pull 5 loads a week at $700.00 a load, because you don't know what you will be able to get.

Even if you have a contract with a dedicated run, what if you get sick and you can't deliver your load, or your truck breaks down?

Do I sound discouraging? Good. As I have said before, owner operators can and do make money, but it isn't as easy as a lot of people tell you.

Come on Readers! If anyone out there can help Nigel, please post your comments and give him another point of view.

Dalton said...

Thank God for you.Since my local driving job has slowly gone down hill like alot of other companies, I've been thinking seriously about going OTR and owning my own business. This is the most honest and knowledgeable information I have ever found on the internet. DALTON

Road King said...

Dalton,

Thank you for your positive comments. I am glad this blog proved to be beneficial for you. I'm curious, have you decided to become an owner operator?

Anonymous said...

hi, new to the site, thanks.

Road King said...

Anonymous,

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hey Road King,


I've been reading all the info in your OwnerOperator411 blogspot. Very informative and helpful. Thanks a lot.
One comment on the declining CPM:

With the prices of fuel, maintenance, repairs and parts going up, it is a real wonder that Owner/Operators can't get more buck for their trips.
$1.00/mile is an outrage! a slave salary at best. We have no one to blame but ourselves. There was a time when no one would even think to offer a load for less that $2.00 and do you know why? Because no body would pick-it up. That's why. With the economy being what it is, many owner operators are letting themselves to be abused. What would happen if no one picks up a load at $1.00/ mile? The price will go up. I for one, won't move my truck for less than $2.00/mi. If we want the price to go up then, we need to choose loads that pay, and ignore the rest.

Thanks for the 411.

Pappa Smurf

Road King said...

Pappa Smurf,

Thank you for your comment and validation of what I have been trying to get across to the newbies and wannabes. You would not believe how many comments I get telling me I too pessimistic, or unrealistic, or just a plain liar. I know, as you do, that there is some good paying freight out there, but not every load that moves pays well, and that is what I have tried to impress on others with this blog.

I like you, can afford to wait on the good (?? well better) paying loads, but not everyone thinks they can afford to do that, and I have to admit I have hauled some cheap freight too. I agree that rates have only gone down hill. I live near the East Coast and I remember when a load to Houston that paid less than $2800 was an insult and if it had been offered to me, I would have laughed at the dispatcher. Now they want to pay you $1000 to $1200 for the same load and wonder why you don't want to take it. Frankly, if my company didn't get a decent fuel surcharge and pass 100% on to the owner operators, I don't think we could make it all.

People don't believe me when I tell them that freight rates are less today than when I started (or even 20 years ago). Deregulation has really killed the rates.

Sadly, there will always be someone to haul that $1.00 a mile (or less) freight and things will just keep getting worse.

Thanks again for writing. I always like hearing what others are thinking, and it makes me feel good knowing that someone thinks this blog is helpful and informative.

Lynn (Road King)

Chris said...

great page I am a dispatcher / broker and am looking to purchase my first truck soon very good information in regards to load boards I personally use internet truck stop and it has worked exceptionally well for me.

Road King said...

Chris,

Thank you for your positive comment about the blog.

It is nice to see that someone who actually uses something (load boards) thinks this information is useful.

Thank you for informing the readers about Internet Truck Stop. I have heard of it, but never used it myself, so I could not recommend it. I'm glad you passed this information on.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! I think you've encapsulated the mission of this blog and our challenge.

Road King said...

Anonymous,

Thank you for your comment. I am very proud that you found it "Excellent". I do try to meet the challenge.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, this was really useful. thanks!

Road King said...

Anonymous,

Thank you. As always, I am pleased when someone finds my blog useful.

Anonymous said...

Just saying hello. Here from Texas

Road King said...

Hello to Texas!! Thanks for the howdy.

Anonymous said...

I want to be an owner op

Road King said...

Anonymous,

O.K.

Anonymous said...

I'm an o/o and pull flatbed. It is very hard to make a living rates are all over thr place I may get a load for $2.25 pm then get another one for $1.70 pm. Its very hard to make a plan but all I can do is keep on keepin on. Thank you for your service friend and good luck.

Anonymous said...

Road king, thank you for the time spent on this blog it's very helpful. I'm an o/o out of Utah and I'd really like to see rates come up. I try not to haul anything for less than $2.00 p/m but I've cought myself in a pinch a few times. It's really sad to see what trucking has come from, to were it's headed if the young up and comers don't change. Heck I was at a port in wy a month or soago and there was a driver in there that couldn't write in English and could barely read or speak it. And my guess was he was hualing for next to nothing. Any way thank you so much for your time and effort. Keep up the great work.

Road King said...

Anonymous,

I am answering the last two comments together, as they are so similar.

Thank you both for validating what I have been trying to get across in this blog -- it ain't easy to make a living today.

Rates are at the bottom of the barrel. People (except the old timers like myself) don't believe me, but freight rates are actually lower today than when I started in 1972.

I agree with what you said about the young up and comers.

Many owner operators are OO's because we want to be independent. It is hard for us to join a cause, or stick together, but if something isn't done -- and soon, there won't be any of us left.

The most important thing we can do is to turn down cheap freight. Don't tell me why you take it: it gets you home, cheap, is better than nothing, etc. I know them all. I have even been guilty of hauling cheap a few times. The more people that haul cheap, the more rates will drop. That is what has caused this crisis, and it is getting worse.

What can we do? Join OOIDA, and know your CPM. If you are going to break even (or worse yet), lose money, turn that load down!!!

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