With today’s technology full of tracking devices via GPS there shouldn’t be a reason you shouldn’t know where your equipment is located at all times. However, guys starting out in this industry that are either smaller carriers, or owner operators with an extra truck or two never feel the need to invest money into tracking their trucks. Often you find yourself with a driver that seems knowledgeable, has experience with a clean record and you feel that you shouldn’t have to worry about your truck and trailer. Unfortunately, you can never know what type of a driver you hired until it is too late. He may have depression issues, alcohol or drug addictions, or even be a complete sociopath. If your equipment is ever abandoned is can become a nightmare real quick, and it can be costly to recover it.
Reasons Why Truck Drivers Abandon Semi Trucks & Trailers:
- Compensation: There are carriers and owner operators that don’t compensate drivers what they worked for. At the same time, some drivers may feel that they weren’t compensated as much as they thought they would be for the reason of driving a longer route in belief that extra miles they drove will be paid, when there was no reason to do such a thing.
- Lanes & Home Time: If a driver doesn’t like the lanes and routes you are offering him, chances are he has been looking for a new job, and is ready to abandon your truck and trailer as soon as he is 100% he has a new truck to drive else where. If a drivers feels as if he hasn’t had enough home time, or finds a reason that he needs to go home, chances are down the road once he saves enough money, or secures another line of work, he will abandon your truck.
- Forced To Drive Illegally: Never force a driver to break laws, especially HOS rules and regulations. Anytime a driver is forced to do so, and has proof that you have forced them to violate HOS rules and regulations he may feel entitled to abandon your truck.
- Drugs & Alcohol: There are drivers that appear to be friendly, happy guys. Dark side of them is only on the road. You will noticed patterns of low communications, repeated illness, excuses for poor performance such as late deliveries. At this point they will ask for cash advances, and are ready to take a month or two off and do drugs or soak in alcohol. Instead of returning the equipment, they tend to simply disappear.
- Being Fired: When a driver knows he is being fired for late deliveries, being put out of service for no good reason, or threats, they will leave the equipment because they don’t believe that they will be paid, and also in some cases may try to hold it hostage instead of returning it to the terminal that you asked them to leave it.
What Can Happen To My Semi Truck That Is Abandoned Or Held Hostage By A Truck Driver?
- Driver may sell parts such as your tools, fuel, spare tires, or even brand new tires to swap with old tires with an owner operator that’s low on money, or a small time shop. Any parts or accessories in the truck that belong to you may be taken and sold via craigslist, or in truck stops for low.
- If you aren’t sure where your truck is abandoned it may be towed or impounded. By the time you find where it is you may have a lot of charges for the truck to be released, or the impound lot may put a lien on your equipment.
- An angry driver may cause a lot of damages such as dumping gravel, sugar in your fuel tanks. Pouring water in the engine where the oil goes. Cutting up wires, stealing batteries, unscrewing lug nuts, cutting holes in the air lines, and more.
What To Do If My Semi Truck Has Been Abandoned Or Held Hostage By A Truck Driver?
- Immediately notify the police. Report the equipment stolen and possible damage. Share the equipment’s last known location, and provide the drivers information and your equipment’s description.
- Shut off any fuel cards, or any credit cards that might be in the driver’s possession.
- If you have located the equipment immediately go recover it! Once you are in possession of your equipment again check the oil, lug nuts, wires, air lines, batteries. Call local police to get a report, of what you have found missing, and also while your search to make sure there are no drugs, or sign of drugs that might get you in trouble down the road.
Best way to avoid such headache is to make sure you have a GPS tracking device on your equipment. At this time if a driver is driving a different direction than advised call the state police or a scale house where your driver is headed towards, and report it stolen. They will be more than happy to pull the driver over. Report the incident on driver’s DAC record to ensure they don’t cause the same headache to another carrier,and next time check their DAC report to make sure you avoid any chances of getting one of these drivers. Typically these drivers look to run for owner operators, and small carriers and they will ask you to pay them on a 1099.
Want Better Rate Per Mile?
Rather you are a driver that books his own loads, or a dispatcher at times it’s tough to find better rates. You may hear from some folks that their rate per mile on loads is something that you find hard to believe. Maybe you are selling yourself short. There are 100’s ways to get a better rate per mile, but for now I will share only 5, which should be common, and veterans in this industry use it as common practice. To get a better rate per mile you must stand out from other carriers, truckers, and dispatchers.
#1. Offer Quality Service (with your value)
While a broker does want to make as much money as possible by getting a cheap truck, many of them also know the important values a carrier can bring such as excellent service. If you are calling on a load, ignore the price mentioned by a broker, and also ignore the question of “how much can you do it for?”. Find all the details about the specific load such as weight, distance, commodity, pick up and delivery schedules. Now find a value that you can ensure the broker that he is getting first class service. Do you have new equipment? Use it to your advantage. Explain to the broker that you are offering brand new equipment which reduces a chance of potential break downs which can cause delays, or even worst product damages. Offer on guaranteed deliveries, daily updates, and paint a picture of what they would have if they hired you to move their load. In a situation like this, a broker will give an extra $400 for example much easier than a guy just asking for extra “$400”. When people are spending more money, they like to know what they will get in return. There are a lot of service values that you have and may not know it. It blows my mind how a team with brand new equipment can’t use a strategy such as “guaranteed delivery on time or a $1000 deduction”, when for a measly extra $200-$800 or more depending on the commodity and transit can save so much headache for a broker, and his customer. Too many carriers call just asking for a price, but not offering much of service. Use your values to sell high service, and explain what you have to bring to the table and for how much. To break it down for you, an extra $200 a day is an extra $1,000 in a 5 day week just by spending an extra minute on the phone selling your service in a detail. Don’t sell a service you can’t deliver. Your value may be great safety rating, great equipment, insurances, and so much more. A good broker in this industry knows the value a great carrier can bring, and they will want to work with you further down the line, but without knowing, you’re just another number that called asking about a load.
If you have not heard of a win-win situations what rock have you been under? Win-Win is where each party wins. Maybe you need to get home, but the rates are so cheap heading that way. However from where your home is, the truck capacity might be really tight. Many guys will decide to dead head because “cheap freight can rot on the dock”. However, any smart business man knows how important it is to cover costs over taking a loss from a profit. In a scenario like this, you may offer your truck to the broker from the good market, for a load he has hard time covering in return for you to get a respectable rate to go that way. It’s highly advised that if you can come to an agreement, that you stick to it, because you want to always have open doors for future loads. Not only would this ensure him he has 2 loads covered, but also it ensures you for the next few days you are rolling, and making money as well.
#3. Develop Relationships
Besides just asking about a load and rate, ask questions what are the states they typically have loads for, which lanes do they do most, and what’s the most they are busy with. You’ll be surprised how many brokers will share what they will have within the next month, and which area that they KNOW they will need help with. By discussing this, they will feel more comfortable giving you a better rate because they will need you down the road when they have 1000’s of loads and every broker is competing with your truck. It’s a good thing to always share where your trucks or truck maybe empty, and always check on any upcoming loads they might have in the near future.
#4. Go On Mute
Anytime you are unsure if you should take the load or wait place the phone call on mute. Sometimes you will hear them say how they need your truck to their office buddy, or sometimes you will hear them getting other phone calls, which should indicate if you should either take the load, or push for a little more money on the rate.
#5. Don’t Feel Pressured
I have seen this so many times, where a broker puts pressure on a dispatcher to take the load. It’s actually magical how it happens, and if I could hire those type of brokers the White House would be in my backyard. You should know what your operating costs are, what type of money you need for that load, and when you feel that you are being PRESSURED take that as a best feeling in the world. That feeling raises alarms, flags, horns are tooting, because if a broker is pressuring you to take a load, it means he NEEDS you rate. Instead of folding, and wanting to get off the phone quickly as possible, continue the conversation and return that same intensity of pressure by going over how much money you need, and why, but remember at this point you can only come down from your initial price, and sometimes even a $100 less can make the other party feel that their pressure accomplished something, which it really did, but so did yours which goes back to the win-win situation.
Never let a conversation get unprofessional. Sometimes you will come across individuals in this industry that will push your buttons. However it’s always good to keep an open door for business because even the lowest rate paying brokerage may need your services, and they will dig into their pockets for you because they’re confident in the value that you bring to the transportation industry. Subscribe for more tips!
Step #1: Register As a Legal Business
It’s very important for you to have a legal business, especially in the trucking industry. You can start by registering a corporation(INC) or a limited liability company (LLC). It’s very easy, and the costs are below $250. You can do this on your own by using services such as incfile, or legalzoom. It’s important that you have a EIN numbers, which works for IRS filings, having business accounts, and more.
Step #2: Learn About Trucks & Freight
Many believe they can make a phone call, send it to the driver and collect money from their homes. This is not true, and you will not succeed unless you take a bit of your time and learn about the trucking industry. Learn the map of USA. It sounds cheesy, but it’s important to know the distances between states. It’s region of USA has it’s markets for freight depending on the season. You have to learn these to know where the good freight rates are. Besides knowing where the good rates are, it’s also important that you must know what a good rate is. Besides knowing what the good rates are it’s also important to know what rate is good for what equipment. You must know equipment such as vans,reefers,and flatbeds for starters. Down the line, you can learn more about other equipment used for transporting goods through USA. You want to learn products as well, it’s a big difference between hauling cart boxes and frozen beef. All these lessons will help you negotiate better freight rate for your client (trucker or a carrier that uses your services). Or you can call, and blurt our numbers that sound good to both parties (brokers and carriers), which you won’t get far in this industry, and you will call it quits.
Step #3: Laptop or Desktop, Fax Machine, Phones Are a Must!
You have to have those 3. They will be your best friend. Internet, ink, and paper, a lot of ink and paper actually!
Step #4: Access To Load Boards
You can sign up for a lot of load boards, but the main ones that are being used, and the best ones on the market are DAT, and ITS. To sign up for these you will need a carrier that will allow you to use their MC/USDOT number. After all, you are representing their company. This is where you will find loads from load boards. However, if you are really good at what you do, you can get direct freight, but it can not be under your name. By law it’s for a carrier that you represent, and the direct shipper’s freight must only be given to them.
Step #5: Power Of Attorney/ Contract Agreement
This is to protect you, and also the carrier that you work with. In this agreement it should state what you are held responsible for, and what you are not held responsible for. It should also state what type of terms and conditions such as payment type, and how much of a payment is being charged for your services.
Step #6: Marketing: Put Your Dispatch Services To Work
Now that you have a grasp, and everything in order you need TRUCKS! This is where many people fail because they don’t know how to reach out to people that may need their services. First, always have a business card, and a website explaining what you can do, and how you can help your clients. Too many people talk, but have no information to provide to potential clients. Second, find ways to get clients by making friendly cold calls, or connecting with them through social media. There is always a 1 man trucking company that needs this service. Some guys that have 5-6 trucks do too, because they simply hate dealing with paper work, and negotiating. However, make sure your services are good. Every client is different and may need a different type of work. Some clients only need paper work being filled out and faxed. Some clients may need you to book loads, and also do all the paper work for them.
Step #7: Get PAID!
It’s important to finally get paid based on the agreement with a carrier. Remember, the carrier always does the billing can you can’t pay the carrier. The carrier has to pay you. You have to find a way for a carrier to pay you. Maybe a direct deposit, paypal, moneygram, and those sort of options will work for both of you. What if a client doesn’t pay you? There are things that can be done, but not much. However, giving good services to your clients will make them pay, otherwise their operation might come to a stop. 90% of the time you will be paid if your dispatch services satisfy the client.
How To Market Your Trucking Services ( Trucking Company Website)
Rather you just started your authority, or perhaps have had it for a while chances are you’re depending on load board freight too much.
Maybe you have bought a couple of trucks and are pulling your hairs out spending money on Facebook ads, and searching through over crowded Craigstlist ads in hopes you can land some good drivers.
Constantly you have to explain how your trucking company works, and what you offer.
You really want to work with direct shippers,and you tried started cold calling from yellow books but you’re having a hard time landing them. Did you notice what has been happening? You have been looking for people to either dispatch in your company, drive for your company, or give you freight for your company to transport. In today’s world where technology is so demanding the people you are looking for, may also be looking for you. However, where can they find you?
You Need A Website For Your Trucking Company.
Having a website for your business now a days is a very important aspect of attracting customers, drivers, and potential investors.
80% of carriers do not have a website or even a business card!
Out of the 20% that do have a website, 50% of them have a website that looks like it has been designed in 1998. YIKES!
How Does Having a Website Help My Business?
Let’s say your carrier is based out of Houston, TX. You specialize in Reefers, Flatbeds, and Dry Vans. Your carrier name might be “trucking56”. You would have a www.trucking56.com website address, and on your website you would have your location based out of Houston, TX showing all your services to potential customers that are looking for a carrier in Houston, TX or a driver based out of Houston,TX that’s looking for a company to drive for.
Once a driver or a shipper googles “trucking company out of Houston, TX” your company would be right there for them. Having a website that shares information about your trucking company, services, and driver benefits makes potential customers and drivers feel more comfortable and build a desire to work with you.
What Should Your Website Have?
Your website should have these vital pages (but not limited to):
- About Us: You want to share some background history about your company, and the owner of the company.
- Services: You want to share what equipment you specialize in, which states, and any extras such as Hazmat, teams, tracking.
- Driver Opportunities: A page dedicated for potential drivers what type of miles, pay structure, lanes, benefits your company offers, and also what your requirements are for drivers to be able to join your company.
- Contact: You should have contacts for dispatching, recruiting, and sales. Not only should you have emails listed but also phone numbers.
Your website should show why your company is growing, and why it’s a good idea to work with your company. On time services, growth, safety, and more! Your trailers should have your website names for easy advertising. To advertise your website on your trailer the price should cost you no more than $30 per trailer, but imagine the exposure your company will receive.
I have been wanting to share this for a while but the problem has been that I also wanted to include a good source to design a website for you. Searching around the internet I have found that majority of web designers are asking for thousands and thousands of dollars to make a generic website! After digging through the internet for a website designer I have found the right person!
If you are interested in having your trucking company website designed I would highly suggest Larry Smith. I found Larry by having a dispatch service asking me if I would like their services. Always being curious I decided to check out their website: www.sunnysidedispatch.net .
I was more curious in who designed their website and they recommended me Larry. Larry specializes in trucking company websites among other industries that he designs websites for.
Reason I recommend Larry is after talking with him he understands the needs for a trucking company when it comes to appeal of having social presence and his prices are way cheaper than other web design companies I have looked into!
Services that he offers are:
- Trucking Company Logos
- Trucking Company Business Cards
- Trucking Company Websites ( includes designs, hosting, SEO, etc)
- Trucking Company Resumes
- Trucking Company Gear Designs (Custom Shirts, Hats, etc)
- Trucking Company Banners/Flyers
To get into contact with Larry for price quotes, and more information his email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscribe to our blog for more marketing ways for your trucking services!
Trucking Scams To Be Aware Of.
You would think with so many laws,rules and regulations it would be hard to pull any scams in the trucking industry.
However, majority of these rules apply to truck drivers, and the safety of their equipment.
Here are the scams that we all know about, but never do anything about.
A company that’s suppose to be a carrier books a load from the broker. Once they have all the information and a price set, they look for a carrier that will haul this load for cheaper. Carriers also do this with their own independent contractors.
There are carriers that do not have a fuel surcharge program at all. Most owner operators do not know about it, and don’t care about it.
But the biggest scam companies pull are giving you their “fuel cards”, as an owner operator.
They want you to fill up only at certain truck stops. There is a reason for that.
They have a discount at these truck stops, which YOU DO NOT SEE.
The fuel price may be 2.84/gallon. However, there is a .30 cent discount that works like credit card cash back rewards. As you fill up, and pay for the fuel, these discounts add up, and the carrier cashes them out. With enough owner operators, filling up everyday and .20 cent a gallon average discount carriers put a pretty nice paycheck in their piggy bank.
Those are your typical scams, but let’s get into a scam of all scams.
Honestly if you’re a scam artist, or a con artist, basically if you are a FRAUD this is one of the scams that blew my mind. Only few brokerages, and carriers will cover their butts from it.
Brokers can be greedy, and carriers can be greedy. Everybody wants the mighty dollar. At certain times of the year such as the produce season when every broker is trying to make as much as possible, especially the seasonal brokers, and every carrier is trying to get as much as possible, nobody thinks of being scammed. Biggest worry is load cancelation and covering loads or trucks.
A con artist will get a phone call from a broker named Broker Z.
Broker Z calls and introduces himself as:
This is John with Broker Z and I see you have a truck in Atlanta, GA.
Con Artist: Yeah I do, what you got?
Broker Z: I have peaches weighing at 38k pounds picking up outside of Atlanta, GA heading to Jessup Maryland. Showing about 680 miles all loaded. We are trying to move it for $2200.
Con Artist: Are you able to do $3,000?
Broker Z: The most I can do is $2,500 and that’s all I have in it.
Con Artist: Ok hold on, let me check with my owner operator.
Puts the broker on mute..on his throw way flip cell phone.
Con Artist: Hello?
Broker Z: Yes, I’m here.
Con Artist: Ok my driver will take it but can he get a cash advance of $500 upon pick up?
Broker Z: Yeah we can do that, soon as he picks up, we’ll issue him a comcheck.
Con Artist: Ok shoot it over and I’ll get him dispatched.
Broker Z send over the confirmation with all the pick up information.
Now the con artist calls a carrier and represents himself as the Broker Z.
Con Artist: This is John with Broker Z, I see you have a truck in Atlanta, GA.
Carrier: Yeah what do you have?
Con Artist: I have peaches weighing at 38k pounds picking up outside of Atlanta, GA heading to Jessup Maryland. Showing about 680 miles all loaded. We are trying to move it for $2200.
Carrier: We can do it but we need $3,800.
Con Artist: *SIGH*, can you guy do $3,000?
Carrier: We can do $3,500?
Con Artist: Ok but I’m going to need the driver to fax me the BOL soon as he picks up so I can put it into our system.
Carrier: Ok, send it over.
The con artist can use PDF editor, or other softwares to make a “rate con” where he changes the original pricing, and call back information.
Once the driver picks up, and sends over the BOL, which original carrier might need to issue a comcheck for “cash advance” of $500, the con artist calls the original broker, BROKER Z, and get’s a $500 cash advance.
If he does this with 20 carriers a day at $500 that’s $10,000 a day.
This sounds insane. I agree.
However,this has been done and this is done very quickly.
Broker is busy, and is thinking of covering the load and pocketing as much as he can. The carrier is busy and is thinking of making as much as he can. The shipper doesn’t care, his load is being moved.
The Con Artist is connecting these two together by giving them what they both want. People like to get what they want, it’s how shit works.
Con Artist is using throw away cellphones, and cheap motels room to make sure he doesn’t get caught. At $10,000 cash a day you can assume this person can afford a $1,000 on multiple throw away phones, and motels, and so on. Even worse, fake ID’s to cash these checks at random truckstops.
What happens after?
Once the carrier has sent into the billing invoice of the price they thought they were being paid, the broker pays them what he thought he was paying. They will argue, and whatever else. However by the time the load is delivered, the paper work is sent out, recieved, and sent for billing, it’s been atleast a WEEK. By that time the CON ARTIST is on another phone, with another carrier, and another broker, making another cash advance deal.
Why doesn’t no one want to catch this person?
Sure the Broker Z had to argue with the carrier over the price, and sure the carrier wasn’t happy, but they still got paid money to cover their expenses, and also make a profit. They just tend to move on with bittersweet taste. Neither of them would think such thing happend.
Few carriers and brokerages protect themselves from these type of situations by having secret codes, and so on. However this is the most brilliant and ruthless idea that con artists do. I should probably be lynched for explaining how it works, but as a carrier or a broker you should also run a secure business.