While this time of year brings with it an influx of freight from stores stocking up for holiday sales, not all the volume out there is destined for big retail DC’s. During the start of this year’s peak freight season, I have actually had quite a good amount of success finding a few really profitable “one-off” hauls that were a little bit out of the ordinary. What was also interesting about these hauls that stand out to me, is that they all were far from what anyone would consider “truckload”. Aiming for these irregular, but very profitable hauls is actually a common goal shared by most successful local/regional haulers and hunting for these “diamonds in the rough” is more an acquired success skill than just luck.
The one that sticks out the most was one that happened to be advertised out to me as 2000 pounds of toiletry supplies. As backhauls from Las Vegas to Los Angeles are typically in short supply and even when found pay horribly, I was thinking that a backhaul of what I thought would be something like toilet paper for such a good rate would fit in perfect for me that morning. Was I sure surprised to find out that when I got to the shipper that I was not hauling toiletry supplies, but in fact was going to be hauling the toilets themselves! Lined up and waiting to be loaded were six clean and dry, handicap accessible porta-potties needing transfer to the shipper’s SoCal location. Like they say, “It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it!”
Another of these non-typical peak season hauls was some telecommunications equipment. I thought for sure that there was a mistake when the load sheet came over and stated that it was only going to be two pieces and would weigh in at 250 pounds, but was going to pay me almost double my typical truckload rate for a full trailer of freight. When I arrived at the shipper to check in, they asked where I was parked and said they would be right out. Not something you typically hear in the truckload sector of hauling dry van freight, I walked back out and opened my doors slightly puzzled. Like clockwork, out came the forklift not two minutes later with what is pictured below and set it on the tail of my open trailer. Trying not to act too excited, I proceeded to push it to the nose and strap it down for transport under dedicated seal.
The last one that I have to share fits slightly into the “holiday rush” category, being that it was being advertised as a dedicated truckload of children’s toys, which I typically like because even a full truckload of palletized toys is a light load. I actually called on this load out of sheer curiosity, since it had a rate on it that paid nearly triple my regular truckload rate to the same destination. I thought this might be a combination of two factors, that perhaps they needed these toys for some Black Friday sale promo and that it also paid more because it needed to be delivered on a Sunday. I thought it would be a good way to make a little extra money and booked it up, since my truck was actually not holding a load over the weekend like usual. When I arrived at the shipper I was asked to count the freight and was walked over to the staging area for my load. What is pictured below was the entire load of toys…35 cases of toys on one pallet! After a total of about five minutes of counting and loading the freight I was well on my merry way to deliver. On the delivery end I was just as happy with this load. Being that it was a big chain DC usually requiring backing into a dock and taking a couple hours even for one pallet, it was nice to be asked to just back up to the forklift ramp and they would take it right off if I could just push it onto the tail.
Not all peak season freight is “Big DC” or “E-Commerce” related. Although there is a good amount of that out there too, finding the odd haul here and there can still be quite profitable, if not more profitable. Perhaps there are so many carriers focusing on the increased truckload volume for the retail sector, that these oddball hauls actually have to pay more during this time of year to ensure they are getting their goods moved as well. Whatever the case may be, know that there is a good amount of money to be made even if not holiday related during this time of year. Not only can you score some good paying, light loads to haul. You can also find some long-lasting contacts by taking these one-off hauls during a critical time as well.