Many people view pinpoint decision-making as a requirement only for top leaders in large
corporate structured business, but owner-operators are faced with tough business decisions
everyday. They must understand the market, learn to master the tools of the trade, and
become expert planners. A successful owner-operator also has to train their instincts to
recognize the general movement of freight.
Hot Zones are regions of the country where there are more loads than trucks available to haul
the loads. In hot zones, rates are higher than most of the rest of the country and remain high
for a period of time longer than a day or two. It is a great benefit knowing where the hot zone
is for a particular equipment type on any given day, because this is where owner-operators can
make the most money on a load.
Knowing where the hot zones are located is only half of the decision as to where to pick up a
load. Owner-operators must take other factors into consideration when looking at hot zones. If
you don’t live in the hot zone, how long are you willing to stay in that region? Most hot zones
are in highly populated areas with regular traffic problems (longer periods on the road) and
possibly toll roads to contend with. Loading facilities in hot zones are usually more difficult to
get into and there is rarely adequate parking nearby, so good trip planning becomes crucial.
Having the proper tools for trip planning and communication is essential. Brokers and shippers
deal with greater load volumes and are better negotiators; therefore owner-operators must
hone their own negotiating skills.
Internet Truckstop provides several tools to find hot zones. PINTAC is an easy tool to use with
the most recent data, and is a decision-making tool that illustrates the load/truck ratio. Carriers
can quickly search North America to see which lanes have more loads than trucks, which is
where the owner-operator would have the most negotiating power. PINTAC also provides the
ability to look at all of the posted loads in the lane and sort by payment amount.
The TRANS4CAST newsletter, powered by Internet Truckstop, is also an excellent tool to
identify hot zones from the previous week. It provides critical data for better decision-making,
especially the Market Demand Index, which provides overall truck demand by week, and breaks
down which states were the hot regions. It also provides average rates by equipment type, and
critical fuel price information by region.

*Internet Truckstop is offering one 90 day free trial of CreditStop Broker OR FuelDesk Plus to Internet Truckstop/Team Run Smart Members. Click here for more information on how you can get this special offer. 

Comments (5)

Patrick Dickard

With over 25 years of experience in the transportation field, Pat Dickard brings a wealth of knowledge and application to the position of Corporate Trainer for Internet Truckstop. Transportation became a way of life as General Manager for a potato and onion packing and shipping facility in Oregon. He has experience shipping from Mexico to points throughout the US. Later years found Pat in the seat of a big rig traveling the highways of the country. By joining the staff at Internet Truckstop Pat is able to bring his experience as a business manager, business owner, truck driver, broker agent, and a shipper to the forefront to assist other folks in being more successful. Host of the ITS Business Development Webinar Series – Mr. Dickard covers subjects such as How to find new shipper clients, How to sell yourself and conduct a business meeting; Identity theft, theft of loads, fraud in the industry, How to qualify carriers faster with less risk, Insurance issues, tips and tricks of using the load board for best results, and negotiating rates.

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Thanks for the info concerning the free trial of IT. I am a car hauler and finding hot spots is more challenging for us since IT covers mostly van and flat bed freight. I'm considering on getting a membership to IT and watching hotspots and rates for certain types of freight.

October 18, 2012 17:52:47 PM

Great article. It also helps to find out what freight cycles the carriers normally run. For example, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. This too will enable you to take advantage of the Hot Zones.

October 16, 2012 13:09:44 PM

Great article Patrick. It is interesting how different operations utilize different rules and information to keep going. A hot spot for me is anywhere a wildland fire is buring so that makes my operation more reactive than an over the road operator who needs to be more proactive. Keep the information coming.

October 12, 2012 14:08:42 PM

Again I learn more from each article I read on Team Run Smart.Thanks

October 12, 2012 8:50:12 AM

There are several divisions within the carrier we are leased to. When we talk to other drivers within our carrier we compare notes on where the hot stops are for loads that are for our type of truck. We are a dry box and it does us no good to compare places to sit while waiting for a load.

October 12, 2012 7:11:16 AM