How to Build a Profitable TriHaul

You already have a load from Point A to Point B – let’s say it’s a weekly van load from Chicago to Dallas. You need a backhaul to Chicago, to re-position your truck in time for the next outbound trip, but that lane doesn’t pay much. This is a great opportunity to experiment with TriHaul™ routing. Why? Because almost any TriHaul route will offer a better rate than a straight backhaul.

Here are three steps to increasing your revenue, using DAT RateView

1. Research Lane Rates
Begin by searching for rates from your Chicago to Dallas lane for a Round Trip. RateView gives you a wealth of information about the Chicago to Dallas lane, including the average line haul rate for your lane, plus fuel surcharge. RateView also provides monthly lane history, which includes historical data on load-to-truck ratios and rates. This can be helpful information in seeing how your rates stack up against the market and when the lane is the most active (and has the highest rates). Here you can also view current load-to-truck ratios and view Hot Market Maps by clicking on the “Daily L/T Map”. The Rate Calculator feature allows you to factor in or adjust rates, including accessorials.

2. Compare Your TriHaul Options
RateView automatically shows you the rate for the return trip Dallas to Chicago. RateView also gives you some suggestions for breaking the trip up into two loads to turn an unprofitable back haul into two more profitable trips. In the “Alternate Route Options”, the top option for a TriHaul route is displayed, but there are several other suggestions as well, click the “Compare Options” link. A pop-up will appear with up to five different route suggestions. Here you can see the additional mileage that would be added and the additional revenue you would earn with the new route when you get loads at the market rate on those lanes.

3. Prioritize & Analyze Your Options
You’ll now have several potential choices for your mid point and you need to prioritize.

While RateView gives you a quick glance at the highest potential revenue via a TriHaul, you’ll need to factor in your costs, mileage, and find the loads. In our Chicago-Dallas example, Madison was our top suggestion the day we looked as it will produce 29% more revenue for you versus your original backhaul. However, it will also add 212 more miles to your trip (11% more than the original backhaul), whereas a trip to Oklahoma City will only increase your mileage by 77 miles and will still increase your revenue 25% over the original backhaul.

If your fixed costs are $1.75 per mile and you add 212 miles going to Madison, you generate an extra $911, but when you factor in your costs, it is an extra $540 compared to your original backhaul. Going through Oklahoma City and adding just 77 extra miles, you would actually net $639.25 over your original backhaul. How the longer trip and extra loading and unloading impacts the number of days it will take you to get back to Chicago is also important.

Once you’ve determined the most profitable routes your next step is finding the loads. Use a DAT load board to find the loads you need. The potential midpoints were sorted in part by load availability over the last month on DAT load boards, so you have a head start finding the loads. You many end up deviating from the suggested mid-point cities based on where the loads take you, but it is easier than starting with a blank slate. Start searching for loads in the cities with the best bottom line. Check your load board and talk to brokers, then compare rates. When you take a load from a broker going in the head haul (higher paying) direction, ask about return trip loads and return trips with two loads. They have every incentive to keep you moving when they can. When you’ve got two loads to cover your return trip and they add up to more money than you would make on a straight backhaul – you’ve got yourself a TriHaul.

If you’re interested in learning more about how RateView can help you build profitable routes, call 800-551-8847 or contact us.