Detention Policies Need to Change in 2018

Posted: 29 Jan, 2018 by Chad Boblett


48 Comments

Categories: Best Practices and Benchmarks

Tags: CarrierOwner-Operator


Chad Boblett is the owner and driver of Boblett Brothers Trucking of Lexington, KY. Chad also founded the Rate Per Mile Masters group on Facebook, a communications hub for more than 18,000 members, including owner-operators, truck drivers, and other transportation and logistics pros. 

 

I am so hoping that 2018 will be the year when detention policies and practices change.

Some amount of detention may be unavoidable, and the broker can’t always influence what happens at the shipper’s or receiver’s dock. But carriers and drivers can still ask for fair treatment, including fair compensation for long delays.

What's reasonable and fair?


Waiting at the dock for the green light

Current industry standard:  Usually, the first two hours of waiting time are unpaid. Then the carrier gets $50 per hour for all hours after the first two. That means that when I sit at the dock for three hours, I’ll average $16.67 an hour.

Doing the math: I recently priced a new truck at $170,000, and last year I paid about $30,000 for a new trailer. That $200,000 worth of equipment and myself – an experienced, professional, certified CDL operator – will be sitting in a dock for only $16.67. That is not a good return on my investment or my time. 

Proof of detention: Now that all trucks must have ELDs, every driver can provide proof of arrival and departure times for every haul.

With ELDs, every hour of detention deprives the driver of an on-duty hour, and in some cases, a driving hour, that the driver could have used to move that load, get to his next appointment, or take a mandatory break.

Questions for the broker: If you ask a broker how long is the wait the broker will often say not to worry, “they pay detention.” My answer: Paying detention does not make this a good load. If I’m going to be held over at the dock, I need to negotiate a higher rate in advance. That way, I can justify missing my mileage goal for the day or the week. 

Detention drama: Getting paid for detention can involve some drama. I have experienced all of the following:

  1. The broker pays only after three hours of detention, not two – or he doesn’t pay at all.
  2. You have to remind the broker, repeatedly, to add the detention rate to your contract.
  3. The broker requires "in and out" times documented by the guy who signs the BOL, but that person won’t even speak to drivers. (Hopefully, this won’t be an issue with ELDs.)
  4. You did all the above, and more, but when the check arrives 30 days later, you realize the detention pay wasn’t included.    

How to avoid detention – or at least get paid: As an owner-operator, I have some control over my choice of loads. I want to avoid detention, as much as possible, so I can make the best use of my time. I make a point to always talk with the broker about detention, whether or not I expect to need it.

  1. Ask for specific pick and drop times. If the broker says “first come, first served” it means the customer does not pay detention. You could be in for some extended, unpaid waiting time.
  2. Read DAT Company Reviews. These have saved me so many times. Once, I read the reviews on DAT while I was waiting for the rate contract on a load I had just booked. Another owner-operator took the same load, and did not get paid after sitting for 6 hours.
  3. Set expectations. If I am working with a broker for the first time, I always have a conversation about my expectations for detention. If the broker doesn’t want to address it, and says “wait to see if it becomes a problem,” that’s a red flag. I usually assume the conversation is being delayed for a reason.
  4. Put it in writing. Don’t be shy. Negotiate your rate, and ask the broker to include the detention pay rate and terms in the rate contract. If the broker refuses to do this, consider it a warning sign, and move on to another load.

 

Prove detention times with KeepTruckin, the most affordable ELD for small carriers.

Leave your comments

  • profile

    Manny

    • 1/30/2018 7:13:30 AM

    I hope detention changes in 2018 good article and good tips. Brokers/customers need to read the "doing the math part" hell they need to read the whole article and I still think they would not understand. The higher up corporate employees have no idea how disgracefully some of their warehouse employees work and how disgracefully they treat their truckers. Will someone make a boring documentary on it some day filled with horror stories? Lets hope in 2018 it does not need to come to that.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Salvador

    • 1/30/2018 11:23:14 AM

    With the ELD mandate brokers need to pay more on every load, plus retention n lay over pay. Im owner operator.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Billygan

    • 2/1/2018 11:48:18 AM

    True you only make $16.67 an hour at 3 hours but, you make $25 an hour at 4 hours and $30 an hour at 5hrs.

    Reply 4 comments
  • profile

    Brad Boe

    • 2/2/2018 3:11:40 PM

    Shippers and receivers need to realize, we do NOT want detention pay! We want to be loaded and unloaded in a timely matter with respect, so we can pay our bills too. END OF STORY. How come a large shipperis still asking me to break the law and threatening me with a $3000 late fee if I'm late? I delivered on a legal log book, with no deductions. It's a new world. If Drivers have to adapt, so should the docks. We have covered for them for too long. It's time we get a fair rate on a legal log book, and they say thank you when I arrive safely!

    Reply 2 comments
  • profile

    Kim Tumlin

    • 2/4/2018 5:28:08 AM

    Very well said and good advice as well. Using resources to check out shippers and receivers is a great idea. Having been in charge of load procurement for the last 4 years for an Atlanta based van carrier I have of course learned the bad places to load and unload and just refused to load and unload at them but its hard to know a lot of times because brokers won't tell you their shippers or receivers for this exact reason and they require the driver to call them for dispatch so a lot of times the truck is loaded or has dead headed a number of miles to pick up before this info is available. They are getting smart too because they will use a different name for the warehouse because they know the problems and reputation of said shipper/receiver so try to disguise them. Also every broker has different rules to get paid. Some wanting to be notified 1.5 hours before detention starts so they want the driver to call a different number than what they called for dispatch 30 mins after arrival and in most cases do not tell the driver this when they dispatch them. With company drivers it is especially difficult to collect detention because we are required to pay them because it is part of their pay package but they aren't going to go out of their way a lot of the times or may make a call and feel they did their part but in a lot of cases couldn't get any one on the phone or get left on hold and don't want the headache to see it through. Can't blame them really because it is a hassle and is intentional by a lot of brokers. I know I have tried myself to call brokers and have the same thing happen or to find out no one is available after hours. Another issue is that a broker should not make a dime for driver detention. It is an insult to hear $25 or $30 per hour after 2 hours knowing that broker is getting $50 or $60 per hour. A lot of the bigger carriers do this but you know they won't allow their truck to sit for that amount. Its in their contract with their customer for the higher rate but they want to make money for our driver having to sit??? Stop pay is the same issue...why do they make money on the assorials at all? These type of issues have got to be corrected. Shippers and receivers that detain drivers are going to have to take ownership of their warehouses and fix the problems. Drivers must get paid for their time. There has been a driver shortage for all of the 25 plus years I have been in trucking and the ELDs are only going to make it worse. Unfortunately there is a downside to that as well because compensating the drivers will eventually trickle down to us as the consumers.

    Reply 2 comments
  • profile

    Mary Cernauskas

    • 2/23/2018 10:31:15 AM

    There was a time when we would get unloaded in an hour. Now shippers use trailers as their storage area making drivers wait the full two hours before unloading. I have come across large shippers who won't pay detention until 3 hours have passed. I recently received an invitation to bid from a large car manufacturer. They do not pay detention at all. When will truckers be compensated fairly? When will drivers or companies insist on being paid for their time? $50.00 an hour detention? What does that cover? Not much!

    Reply 1 comment
  • profile

    James Conyers

    • 2/23/2018 10:36:36 AM

    You a right in everything you said except the standard rate is $1.00 per minute/ $60.00 per hour if your company is telling you it's $50.00 They are probably skimming ten of it the top or the broker is. As long as people are willing to work at there office or dock job 2 hours for free then I will sit for two hours in the morning to get loaded and two more to get unloaded every day. Your right abou the cost of everything but you failed to mention insurance, fuel for heat and a/c. And the abuse of the equipment while being on and off loaded. Change has to come soon.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Lucas

    • 2/23/2018 10:41:06 AM

    I don't understand why $50 is a standard when they charge customer more... I now in fact hub group charges $600 for the first hour of delay on their containers. We sit in the dock not them and they are the ones collecting money. If you want to rent a truck with driver for local deliveries big companies charge between $80-$120 an hour and that is fair rate. If you are owner operator you thing you made $50 no you didn't you have to remember that you have diesel expense because most of us run their truck in a dock. Now what if you hire driver how much you will pay to him? Big companies pay they driver $15 an hour and it tops off at $100 for overnight. I can work in fast food for $12 and have not responsibility... what is the worst case scenario you forget to put ketchup on a burger? Problem is that we are easy to manipulate broker tells you he is making $50 on a load or not making money... If you would do it for free you wouuld be out of business by now. How come when they can't find a truck the rate is going up and up. Sometimes I wait till 5pm to get the load because they will pay a lot more than in a morning. On the end of the day it is your truck and you can charge whatever you want... you don't go to a store and tell them you will pay $5 for item that cost $20. On the end of the day we made it possible for them because when we ran on a paper logs you would of re-done the log book and keep going. Remember on the of the day it is your equipment... you own it and you can charge whatever you want but you have to talk about it before you book a load and have it on paper or email not over the phone...

    Reply 
  • profile

    Reggie Zu

    • 2/23/2018 10:41:39 AM

    I am an owner-operator with a major carrier out of Green Bay, WI. They don't pay me any detention until I have sat for 6 hrs. How's that for dignity and respect?

    Reply 1 comment
  • profile

    JEFF HEEREN

    • 2/23/2018 11:11:10 AM

    A three axle tractor with sleeper, driver, and a standard 53' van is worth $120/hour while sitting. A fork lift driver, or the person that checks you in, generally makes more/hour than the average carrier receives/hour for detention. Their investment, maybe, a lunch box? I wonder how long an employee would work if he was told he had work a third of his day without any compensation? Or before big brother stepped in.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Bigcitytrucker

    • 2/23/2018 11:44:18 AM

    Everything you said is 100% accurate, I was starting to feel I was the only one out here with some sense. Hammerdown!

    Reply 
  • profile

    Leander Richmond

    • 2/23/2018 2:18:04 PM

    Detention is only one of the things that aggravates me about this industry. My biggest gripe are carriers that insist or continue to haul Freight off of the east and west coast for a dollar a mile. My advice, never operate at under your cost when looping two loads together. But on the detention, I'd like to offer what works for us. Like many here have said don't be afraid to discuss it. Bring it up at the beginning as well as the instructions. Insist on a certain amount, it is not uncommon for us to get $75 an hour detention and in rare cases after 1 hour. This to our standard only came about as a one-hour unload + 1 hour reload as a part of the jit process that began in the 80s. Read your contract carefully and do not be afraid to scratch out things that you disagree with and send it back to them. Rate confirmations are a two-way street not one way. If they don't agree to your terms don't hang yourself, look for a new load. As ridiculous Clauses go, about 6 months ago I read through a contract with a broker that stated that if they did not receive a copy of the bill of lading within 4 hours of delivery that we forfeited 100% of our claim to any payment. Needless to say we did not sign it. Those things do exist and this new era of everybody wants to be a broker, watch yourself and don't be afraid to stand up and speak on things that you disagree with.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Fred martin owner operator

    • 2/23/2018 2:18:06 PM

    I've noticed lately more than one detention has not been paid.Iam on eld keep trucking.All that you said is true thank you.we need fairness and honesty in our business which is not there.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Leander Richmond

    • 2/23/2018 3:16:50 PM

    Detention is only one of the things that aggravates me about this industry. My biggest gripe are carriers that insist or continue to haul Freight off of the east and west coast for a dollar a mile. My advice, never operate at under your cost when looping two loads together. But on the detention, I'd like to offer what works for us. Like many here have said don't be afraid to discuss it. Bring it up at the beginning as well as the instructions. Insist on a certain amount, it is not uncommon for us to get $75 an hour detention and in rare cases after 1 hour. This to our standard only came about as a one-hour unload + 1 hour reload as a part of the jit process that began in the 80s. Read your contract carefully and do not be afraid to scratch out things that you disagree with and send it back to them. Rate confirmations are a two-way street not one way. If they don't agree to your terms don't hang yourself, look for a new load. As ridiculous Clauses go, about 6 months ago I read through a contract with a broker that stated that if they did not receive a copy of the bill of lading within 4 hours of delivery that we forfeited 100% of our claim to any payment. Needless to say we did not sign it. Those things do exist and this new era of everybody wants to be a broker, watch yourself and don't be afraid to stand up and speak on things that you disagree with.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Cosmic

    • 2/23/2018 7:09:17 PM

    I red some of the comments and agree with most of them. The question is, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT! We can comment all day long but if we don't act, then nothing will change. Owner-Operators have spoiled brokers and shippers from the beginning of time, thinking that they are slick by cheating the log, not realizing that they were only cheating themselves. Think about it. We have to make the brokers and shippers respect and appreciate the truckers, because we are ones that actually move the goods from point A to B, pay for fuel, deal with DOT and scale house, deal with the break downs just to name a few and all the existential stress that goes with the job. Think about it and let's get together and do something about it.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Vlad

    • 2/24/2018 10:53:01 AM

    Landstar trucks never sit at walmart dist centers unlike others sitting for hours, and if they late, they still gets taken and off loaded vs others reschedule next appointment which is in 48 hours. Point is that it all can be done and they dont have to schedule 100 trucks for delivery at exact same time. Sat at linage logistics in Edwardsville, KS last time for almost 28 hours loading. Broker said based on our contract he is willing to pay no more then $250 per day. Judge that!

    Reply 
  • profile

    Hurricane Tim

    • 2/25/2018 9:01:59 AM

    We pay $115.00 per hour for shop labor rates when our trucks are being worked on. Detention needs to be paid at the same $115.00 per hour after one hour of waiting.

    Reply 1 comment
  • profile

    Lee

    • 2/27/2018 1:44:53 PM

    Most of the time when I feel there might be long wait at the shipper/ receiver I google the place and read the reviews....Our company constantly having issues with the detention , so right now I am up to a point of creating our own accessorial policy for brokers to sign at the time of booking.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Nigel Dacosta

    • 3/8/2018 12:33:13 PM

    Problem is none of us have any BACKBONE so the government can do what they want when they want and we all just lay down and take it like a bunch of SPINE LESS WHIMPS

    Reply 
  • profile

    acajoe

    • 3/9/2018 8:21:55 AM

    Any broker that believes my trucks are going to sit around for a lousy 16.75 per hour need not call us.

    Reply 
  • profile

    PR C Transport LLC

    • 3/9/2018 8:24:32 AM

    In the time I have had this carrier company I have found some brokers that assist you on getting the detention time paid while others just do not care. I have learned that developing a good rapport with your broker can paid off. It is important to stay in touch with him/her all the time and make sure there is constant communication between the shipper and the broker, sometimes a simple phone call from the broker can expedite the loading process. On the other hand we have experienced that the shippers refuse to sign the in and out time to avoid pay for detention, hopefully the ELD will help with that. My biggest concern now is that with the pressure the ELD will put on shippers and brokers the loads will have more issues in the sense of shortages and excess and most of the time the driver is not allowed to verify the load. This is something that bugs me seriously and so far I do not see anyone fighting it, they want to make the drivers responsible for a load that was not count by him/her or even verified before it was loaded in the truck. Times are changing and I hope those changes are for better, our country depend on us to literally eat, and we the most important link on the chain are being abused and mistreated.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Nick

    • 3/9/2018 8:27:06 AM

    So which broker pays $50 an hour detention? All the major broker firms out there don’t pay more than $35 an hour. And that’s after 3 hours and some are 4 hours, depending on the shipper/receiver. I’ve been independent for about five years and I’ve come across only a few brokers who pay $50.

    Reply 1 comment
  • profile

    Rick Vogeney

    • 3/9/2018 11:07:06 AM

    What resources are available for carriers to easily rate and view info like detention at shippers and receivers?

    Reply 
  • profile

    gustavo aldana

    • 3/9/2018 11:45:17 AM

    its been a problem for years, I come from a family of drivers and nothing has change, we have to think about whats to be done, we have the power units to move the freight, its thousonds of us, lets stope hoping and creat change by.. setting a date,,,,stop moving freight,,, and than we ll creat change. When freight doesn't get delivered the shippers pocket will hurt and thats the only way to creat change. We all know what to do and how to do it. we can creat this change in a very short period of time, we just have to stand together.

    Reply 1 comment
  • profile

    Elizabeth Battenfield

    • 3/9/2018 2:40:43 PM

    When I saw the title, I just had to read the article. I was hoping for something that I hadn't tried, something to protect us. I agreed and liked your article. I have personally attempted to get agents and brokers to add the detention information to their rate confirmations only to have the tables turned on ME! Somehow they thought that I was going to try to pull something on them. Which of course made me angry and defensive. Now I just keep my fingers crossed and I try to keep away from loads that are known to have long detention with no pay and (unfortunately) deceitful brokers.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Wayne clontz

    • 3/9/2018 4:58:55 PM

    If you are an owner operater and det. Is paying 50 an hr and u say u are only getting 16 and some change of it.i think your mixing something up.thats why i dont lie ...lol..i really dont mind waiting .i think if you have been doing this a while you would know where to go and not go.i run northeast only.the rates on reefer freight are usually pretty good.reason being ,the wait.i get 300 mile loads for anywhere from 1000 to 1800 on average .they consider the wait and most do pay the 50 an hr after w hrs yes some are 3 but most are 2 .so i dont complain ,yea its consuming my truck but look at the rate .just got to learn how to run your buisness better in my opinion

    Reply 1 comment
  • profile

    elwood wolfe

    • 3/10/2018 9:07:26 AM

    Not sure about all of you but I fought with many brokers and to this day still haven't gotten paid for detetion they are quick to charge us hundreds of dollars if we are late. But when we are held for hours waiting to get loaded because a load wasn't ready and then told I may get 20$ hour for detetion ??? my truck cost me about 100$ to sit and these brokers don't care when I argued with one I got pulled off a load and it was given to someone else and I never got any money at all for sitting there waiting for hours when will someone start forcing brokers to start paying for delays like they should they wont sign any agreement on detetion and no one holds them accountable WHEN WILL THIS CHANGE

    Reply 
  • profile

    Curtis Hicks

    • 3/14/2018 6:22:25 AM

    Say you never mention the new dollar amount you should charge for detention. I wonder why. Is it some sort of secret

    Reply 
  • profile

    Eugene Z Trucker

    • 3/14/2018 6:46:20 PM

    Agree. The rules have to change soon. CH Robinson pays $30/h detention, Coyote Log. $35/h after 2 hours, but if you sit there 2h 50 min - you get nothing as its not a full hour. My friend works for a major broker and he says that minimum they can take from the load is $200. If shipper pays $500 - broker puts this load for $300. Very often he takes HALF of the rate, ie. shipper pays $1000, and they give it to the carrier for $500. They know that someone will take it. $1300 load goes to the load board as $700-800 load. Brokers make insane money. 40% of the profit goes to the brokers company and 60% to the person who sold the load to the carrier - everybody is happy (exept the carrier, who has to pay for equipment, fuel, insurance, IFTA and driver itself). I'd say it's a rip off. This industry mast be organized and regulated asap.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Humberto

    • 4/29/2018 2:55:50 PM

    What about if the detention time is 3 days ?? How much I should charge each day ?

    Reply 
  • profile

    Christine Shepard

    • 4/30/2018 6:07:32 AM

    🙌🏼 Very well put! I also think the factoring companies should allow us to show them our carrier packets we send to them with our terms and conditions along with proof of the ELD’S. If this was enforced I GUARANTEE YOU these companies would clean up their staff on our wait times.

    Reply 
  • profile

    Kymkym

    • 5/2/2018 7:36:41 PM

    Have you all ever thought about going on strike? That would fix everything!

    Reply 
  • profile

    Ricky Boyd

    • 5/23/2018 8:55:02 PM

    Detention rate of pay should be regulated penalizing the shipper or consigned for all time spent if not completed within the initial 2 hours at a rate of $125.00 an hour. This would be an Industry first that took care of the driver and owner operator. This timeout on the 14 hour work day is nothing more than a way to get the driver to put in a 17 hour day. That is truth at the forefront.

    Reply 
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