During the last major slowdown in the spot market, back at the beginning of 2016, getting a load was challenging. And if you got too far from your residence, you might not find a load back.
One day I got lucky. A broker needed a truck promptly, and I was available. But it required a lot of deadhead miles. I gave the cheapest rate I was willing to go because I certainly wanted the load. My price was higher than what the 15-day spot market average in DAT Load Boards because of all the deadhead miles involved, but I was still given the load after explaining why my rate was as high as it was.
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The bad news about this load was that I would be a work-in at the receiver. The broker told me to let her know the in and out times, and she would take care of the detention. This was a new customer for this broker, so the load needed to be taken care of without problems.
It took three hours to get offloaded. I decided not to include $50 in detention in my invoice to the broker. The next morning the broker asked how long it took to get offloaded. After I told her three hours, she asked why didn’t I include it in the invoice.
My response was that I knew that this was a new customer for her, and I like this run because it is near my house. She called on my truck, which was far away. That means she was running out of options. “If you call me first next time, then I won’t have to be a work-in at the receiver,” I said.
Getting through the slow season
For the rest of that winter, the broker kept me employed with this same run. I earned good money during a bad market, and I got home every night. I still get calls from this agent asking if my truck is available.
I would never recommend not getting paid for detention when it is owed to you. I could have easily collected the $50 that the broker said she would pay. Still, if I was going to get this load again with my above-average rate, then I needed to make an unforgettable impression without sounding desperate.
The market should pick up for the rest of 2019, but we could see another significant slowdown after the holidays. This will be the best time to think of how you can turn each load into a standout experience.