Starting any business is risky. It takes time to build steady income as well as a reputation. New businesses most often start at the bottom, not the top, and work their way up.  Just because you buy a truck does not mean that truck is going to make enough money to make the payments and provide the owner with an acceptable income.

Running for a company that is not forced dispatch or first in first out will take time and effort to build a reputation.  The goal is to create a positive reputation so that when the freight is slow, you are first on their list to call.  People have told me in this type of business that you must “kiss the @@@ of the person with the loads” to get one of their loads.  Does that make any sense?  The people that book the loads want a truck and driver to pick up and deliver the load; on time, looking professional, with a clean workable truck.  They want their customer to be so impressed by the truck and driver that they had to cover their load; they will not hesitate to pick up the phone and call the broker again with their next load.

Some brokers get their loads off of the load board and are not as concerned about how the truck they sent to the load looks; they want to get the load covered so they can move on to the next one. These brokers are great when a truck gets stuck in an area as they usually have freight everywhere. Will it pay top dollar? Probably not, but it will pay enough to get into a better area.

The beauty of the broker system is that everyone is vested in getting the freight covered and delivered. There is no going home and passing it off to the next shift worker.  If the load is having problems, no one gets paid, including the person that booked the load. Each entity involved will do their best to get the load delivered safely and on time.

What’s hard about this business model is getting your foot in the door for high-paying loads. There are ways to market yourself to these businesses and to be persistent. Once you get a load, it is your turn to shine and do a perfect job. Is that first load high dollar? Usually not, as they want to see how you will perform.  The key is not to give up, keep knocking on that door, and showing what you can do.  Remember, you are a new business to them, and they will want to try you out before they hand you their top-dollar customers.

When there is an abundance of freight, that is the time to prove yourself by doing a fantastic job. When there is more freight, then trucks don’t be an extortionist as you are still trying to prove yourself.  Everyone needs to make money, and the extra rate you ask for comes directly out of the pocket that you will later be asking a load from when times are slow.  Respect that everyone needs to make an income, run the great loads, and the not so great loads.

Will it work to send a little thank you card to these businesses?  Sure, as long as you follow up with doing an exceptional job.  When everyone does what they say they will do, the opportunities are limitless.  When freight is slow, your reputation is often what gets the next load booked.  During these slow times, we as truck drivers are not the only ones feeling the pressure, our brokers are also. The brokers are scrambling, trying to get loads in a fiercely competitive market so that we will all make money.

Your reputation is what either opens or closes doors.

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Linda Caffee

Bob and Linda started their driver careers after their children left home for college in 2000. Bob started as a driver for a large motor carrier with Linda as a rider. They decided to enter the Expedite industry as team drivers in 2005 and purchased their first Freightliner. Both, Bob and Linda have had their Class A licenses since the early 80's starting out driving in the oil field and hauling grain as fill in drivers where Bob worked as a diesel mechanic. Linda worked at the local country courthouse in data processing.

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