When young we consider jobs by learning from a friend where they work and what they do, attending college, or learning about a job and what it requires before choosing a career. When considering becoming a truck driver many choose what they see out on the road or the most common areas of trucking. Then one day they meet someone, or they see a little truck, or they read about expediters in an article. Before jumping into expediting it is best to do a lot of research and educate yourself. Read, ask questions of expediters, and attend the Expedite Expo held in July. Don’t jump into the deep end without a plan or knowing how to at least float.
Expedite companies usually do not own trucks and use contractors or contractors that are fleet owners. Driver for a fleet owner or owner there is no guarantee of income and the miles are anything but steady. One week we might run our behinds off and the next week run one load. We have to be prepared to save money when the going is good and have a healthy reserve of cash for when the loads are not there. Have the knowledge of how long to sit waiting for a load and know when to pull the plug and dead head to a better area.
In 2003, we took notice of one of those “little trucks” going down the interstate and then not to soon after that were in a truck stop and this couple said they were “Expediters”. At the time, I did not put the “little truck” with the “expediters” and had no clue what this couple meant as they continued talking about the same subject we were and at the that time we were in a tractor trailer. After we left the restaurant I turned to Bob and said “What in the world is an Expediter?” He had a hard time explaining and I was still baffled. Finally, with a little research I put two and two together or in this case small truck and expediter and learned what they meant.
Expediters in straight trucks follow the same regulations and HOS (hours of service) as the “big” trucks. We all haul freight but we tend to go about it a little differently. Usually the expedite loads are light and they need a lot of load securement to stay in place. Often our loads are not on a dock but at someone’s office, someone’s home, or out in an open area the might have a forklift. Many of our loads require a lift gate so that we can create our own dock to load the freight. Most expediters are over the age of fifty, expediting is a second career, and are teams.
The more I read the more I liked the idea and we attended our first Expedite Expo in 2004 with a lot of questions. Now many years later as we are still attending the Expedite Expo and I can easily spot the couple that were like us wandering around and asking lots of questions. These people have a tablet in hand, many prepared questions, and they take lots of notes. They talk to everyone recruiters, current drivers, and others like them who are researching. The one thing everyone wants is a guarantee that they will succeed and that is not something they will get. While this is not exactly a leap of faith it is a leap of a lot of learning, education, and networking. Bob and I created a series of You Tube Videos explaining why and how we got into expediting at the Freightliner Team Run Smart channel under our name.
Expediting is a business and there is not guarantee of income; driver or owner operator. Each person or team has to work and learn and ask a lot of questions. The questions do not stop at the Expo they continue on as long as anyone is involved in “Expediting” as someone has figured out a better way to do something or they know of a new regulation. Someone always knows more than we do and it is up to us to take the time to learn from them.
Expediting is the 911 of the trucking industry. Expediters are expected to solve problems when the freight is not sitting on the dock but in someone’s office upstairs. Expediters are expected to protect the freight and that often means bundling it up like a new born baby to transport across the country. The refrigerated units can have many sensors in the box that the customer can monitor to guarantee that their freight was never out of a certain temperature range. One of the biggest differences is that Expediters work on the customer’s time schedule of when they want to freight picked up and delivered not on what a shipping company has for a schedule.
As I eluded to in the previous paragraph we work on the customer’s schedule and that equates to unpredictable freight. We can sit for days or we can run back to back loads and we need to be ready at a moment’s notice to be able to run 50 miles to over 3000 miles straight through as a team. Solos can be dispatched morning, noon, or night and they also have to be ready to pick up a load and go.
The best place to learn about expediting is at the Expedite Expo held each year in Lexington, Kentucky in July. Attend the workshops, talk to recruiters, talks to truck salesman, and best of the best talk to current expediters and ask millions of questions and take notes. The more you learn the better your chances of becoming a successful expediter in one of those “Little Trucks”.
To learn more about the Expedite Expo and to register