Contributing author Joey Slaughter is the owner of Blue Ridge Transport, LLC. A Ringgold, VA based carrier. Joey started his company in 2010 after serving time as an unhappy employee with a local trucking company. The time spent there was not fun but, in hindsight, was a turning point that propelled Joey into the wonderful world of being an entrepreneur. Please visit JoeySlaughter.net for more insightful blogging.
I know of no fairer way than supply and demand to dictate rates in a free, market-driven economy. A hotel is worth less on a Tuesday night than it is on a weekend. If you don’t believe me, just try to get one in the same city as the next Super Bowl for that very weekend. I bet you could get it for a lot less right now.
Trucking in the spot market, that is the 10% or so of trucking that happens outside of the contract market, is heavily affected by supply and demand. The contract rate for certain lanes and truck types are a guide, but the simple law of supply and demand tells us what a truck is worth on a particular day, in a particular place.
One of my best paying loads in the last 6 months was last week. I had a truck positioned in the right place to move two 8′ steel castings for a rock crusher that went to a rock quarry. The load was tiny on my 53′ step deck, but it did weigh 18K#. It’s hard to believe that this little load paid more than some of my recent over-dimensional loads that are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in product value. Being in the right place at the right time makes all the difference. Study the rates in your preferred lanes and learn to have your truck in areas of high demand.
If you move freight in the spot market like I do, you have to be very competitive. Back about 6-8 months ago, the demand for trucks was higher and the spot market rates were higher because of it. Now the demand for trucks is down and the contracted haulers are taking care of most of the freight. The spot market is extremely tight right now for independents and small carriers so every thing we can do to reduce our cost is imperative.