Make the Most of Your Time: Back Hauls

Tuesday, Nov 17 2015 admin

dry-van-truck-sunset

Whether you work for a carrier or for yourself, empty miles means lower pay or even empty pockets in trucking jobs. So instead of hauling an empty trailer home, find back hauls or re-loads. A back haul is a load for another distributor going in the same direction as your home base or to another pickup. A re-load is a load from the same company you just hauled for.

Many carriers and drivers offer to take re-loads and back hauls for less than their going rate per mile since they were going to be empty anyway. This is a win-win for the distributor and the carrier or independent driver, and depending on what you're willing to accept, could open the doors to additional contracts with certain distributors.

Drivers and carriers could even pick up more than one back haul or re-load. For example, if a home base is in Seattle and the original load is going to Miami; and a distributor in Miami needs a load delivered to Charlotte, a driver could pick up the back haul in Miami and deliver it to Charlotte; and could then pick up another back haul to Seattle or any destination in between.

Even if the destination isn't all the way to the home base, the trailer is not empty for most of the trip and the carrier or independent trucker is earning more money for a trip that would have cost in fuel and on-the-road living expenses.

Think Outside the Box

To increase the possibility of a back haul, a carrier or driver could sign up for a service such as Ghostruck. This mobile app links those who need their things moved with truckers and carriers who may have an empty load or a partial load. The app finds a driver or carrier willing to pick up the items the person is moving to take it to the same city or area the truck is already traveling to. That way, the driver gets paid for a full load instead of a partial load, or gets paid for a back haul.

If you are an independent driver or a small carrier with a few distributors you could also use several available apps to find additional back hauls – and these just may lead to large contracts with distributors.

Stop Deadheading: Make the Most of Your Time

Whether you are a large carrier or a small independent trucker, use your down time to find distributors who often have back hauls available. Keep a log with these companies' names and numbers so that you can give them a call while you are on the road. You may have a partial back haul that was unexpected, but if you have the ability to call another distributor, you may get another back haul for the rest of the trip.

Create relationships with additional distributors so that they are more willing to give you extra and unexpected hauls. These relationships could have the distributor calling your carrier to see if any trucks are going along the route for the distributor's load.

Things to Watch Out For

If you're new to the industry, whether you're an independent or a small carrier, be sure that you know the cost of running your truck when figuring back hauls. For example, if you normally charge $2.30 per mile and your truck costs $1.10 per mile to operate, you could take a back haul for the $1.10 per mile so that you're not costing yourself for driving back to headquarters; but you don't want to shoot yourself in the foot by hauling a load that is less than what it costs for operating costs unless you absolutely cannot find anything else. Don't forget to figure in your meals, insurance for the truck, gas and anything else that costs you while you are on the road.

Other things to watch out for are distributors who require special handling or require you to unload or help unload the truck. You'll definitely want to be sure your pay is enough to cover the extra labor.

Increasing Your Bottom Line

When you are able to pick up re-loads or back hauls, you'll not only be more productive, but you'll increase your bottom line. An increased bottom line, whether you work for trucking companies or you are an independent, gets you to your goal a lot quicker. An employee may be further on his or her way to becoming a carrier and an independent could be well on his or her way to that second truck, the repair shop or even additional drivers and more trucks.

Keep all of this in mind when determining what you'll accept for back haul, re-load or using a service such as Ghostruck; especially whether the load increases your bottom line, keeps you even or may cost you because of problems associated with the distributor or the load itself.

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