Nothing really besides a dip in economy, drop in price of oil, and simple changes in supply and demand. Don’t let your business down as an Owner Operator because of all the wrong decisions you may be making lately.
We all know how frustrating it is to haul the same freight for less and less every day. To some drivers this could be the breaking point in the decision to leave the business. Let’s put all the ambitions and anger aside, and figure out how to keep on making money. The bad news is, freight rates went down significantly, no matter if you work for the giants of the industry or some no name company. There is some good news as well, you can still easily make $2500-$3500 a week (take home money, after fuel and all other expenses).
This is the time when your relationship with your company and dispatch is more important than ever. There is no way it can work without understanding the business nature and nothing is more important than teamwork with your dispatch. We all want to make money for the work we do, and your dispatcher works harder than ever to get you the top rate for the load you haul.
Now let’s talk about what is a good rate: Good pay per mile rate is not a fixed amount, the sooner you understand this the sooner you will be making money. While your competitors are screaming their lungs out and fighting the reality, ruining relationships with coworkers and customers. For example if the lane pays $1.50/ mile and your dispatch manages to get you $1.55/ mile that is a good rate, and if you end up getting $1.40 this is a bad rate. We are in a simple supply and demand business and currently it is not in the favor of carriers.
Staying profitable as an Owner Operator in bad market conditions is no longer about the pay per mile. It is about the strategy, efficiency and minimizing the down time. If you allow your trucking company to book loads back to back with a good weekly pay per mile average, and great strategy; you will bring home a good check no matter how bad the market is. The biggest mistake you can make is to limit your dispatcher by your expectations, – If a truck driver expects to get $2 per mile no matter what, he will end up going all the wrong places, limiting options and loosing valuable time until he reaches the dead end.
We had a dispatch and accounting meeting 2 weeks ago, we analyzed the payroll of different drivers with different work strategies, and the conclusion was simple. A driver who drove around 3000 miles while allowing his dispatcher to choose the strategies ended up at $1.71 per mile and took $3100 check home after all expenses. Another driver was very much sensitive who expected $2 per mile, which limited his dispatchers options to very short and strategically complicated trips. This driver ended his week with only 840 miles at $2.24 per mile and he took home $1115 dollar check after all the expenses.
You can always make money as a lease on truck operator, just keep your options open and allow your office team to do what they do best. Sometimes it’s less miles for more money and other times it’s more miles for less money. Your best bet in any market conditions is to discuss the strategies and options with your dispatcher.
Please note the date of this report is 10/19/2015, freight rates are always changing.