Lately I have found yet another way to capitalize on trying to be the best at what other dry van operators don’t care for doing. This type of mentality has led me to some pretty good niche hauls throughout my career and still rings them in to this very day. Looking at these pics of a couple places I have been picking up and delivering to that are in close proximity to each other, just might make you wonder exactly what a truck might doing out there in the first place. A very hostile “no man’s land” that lies near the western gateway of California’s Death Valley has been a frequent origin and destination for some of the loads that I have landed lately, simply because a lot of carriers don’t want to do them.
The two places I am referring to in general are the China Lake Naval Base just outside of Ridgecrest, CA and the little mining town of Trona, CA in the Searles Valley of California’s High Desert. Without any major manufacturing or warehousing operations to speak of, there is little for most dry van carriers to haul in or out of these locations. That’s where a little rate negotiation and creativity come in when planning these round-trips!
As with a lot of scenarios, the load in (metal floor tiles) pays better than the load out (refined and bagged earth deposits). The gap is not as significant as one might think though, since there is a general lack of “all trucks” in this desolate area and doesn’t have just a flood of inbound freight like we see in places like Denver out here in the west, leading to severely unbalanced inbound/outbound rates.
Pinpointing the exact fair rates and coordinating the appointments then becomes the hardest part as all non-haz earth deposits ship outbound before 12pm, not leaving a ton of wiggle room for receiving woes on the military installation that I have been delivering metal floor tiles to prior. Lucky for me the guys on the base site are pretty quick at getting those off the truck!
I seem to have found yet another sweet-spot of doing what others don’t want to tackle in this “no man’s land” freight zone, as I am getting repeat business from both the inbound direct customer and the broker on the outbound loads. Looking at things from another angle and trying to make this scenario work that most found too difficult, has once again proved to me that no freight lane is impossible and a good profit can still be had if you are willing to put in the extra effort to figure out how to make it work. Communicate with your customer and let them know why you are charging what you are quoting, devise a solution that will create smooth transactions for all parties involved, then deliver on your plan in a way that exceeds customer expectations and you too can find niche freight in your own “no man’s land”!