Retrying the Case For Mandatory Collection

It starts out relatively simple. Time has value. The more time you have the less valuable that it is. The less time that you have the more valuable it is. Economics 101 teaches us that when supply is decreased and demand remains the same, the value of that commodity (time) should rise.

The truckload industry is more complicated. Our industry is an example of amonopolistic competition economic model. We have many buyers (shippers and consignees) amd ,any sellers (trucking companies). Niether side has perfect information regarding rates, or loading times. The mega carrier is largely mythical. The top 10 truckload carriers are less than 5% of the industry. The industry is made up almost entirely of small companies. 

We have all dealt with customers who did not give a rat's hinder about our time. Why? Because it doesn't cost them a dime. I remember one shipper. They built cabinets. My "appointment" was set up for 08:00. When I arrived, they were no where close to finsihing building the cabinets. Ordering the truck before the freight was ready was standard operating procedure for them. They told me that is the way they always did it. They had the truck and driver there, and did not have to pay for it. 

Obviously, I will not go back there. The problem is that someone else will and there will always be a someone else. With over 100,000 trucking companies and our turnover rates, this shipper can use a different carrier everyday forever. Even if we had detention put into the contract, it may be impractical to collect. How much time and effort should you put into collecting a $200 detention fee?

The government has given us a stick with the ELD mandate. It can seriously harm the small buisness trucker. That trucker could go into that contract with the best of intentions. If that shipper takes 6 hours to load, the trucker was stuck with 2 bad choices. Deliver the load on time, by building flexibility into their logs or lose money. Now, it is just lose money.

A lot of small business truckers believe that congress and the FMCSA have hurt their business with the ELD mandate. The government supposedly did this in the name of safety and to reduce dock time. It is their version of supply side economics. That is only part of the solution. The other part is to enact mandatory detention, with a collection device that will make it impractical to waste a professional drivers' time while guaranteeing that those drivers get paid. We deserve that.

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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