There's one piece of advice that I'd give to any carrier running the spot market. It's advice that can significantly increase the amount of money they make on loads.
Post your truck.
This is the 80/20 rule of load boards. I get 80% of my loads, and 80% of my revenue, from phone calls I received because I posted my truck. The other 20% of my loads come from calling on loads that I found in a search.
Some owner-operators don't like to post their trucks, because they work alone and they find it hard to manage incoming calls. But what if answering those calls will make you more money, without costing you a lot of extra time?
When you get a call from a broker, it's because he or she wants to use your services. You can decide whether or not to take that load by asking only a few key questions, so if you don't want the load, the conversation won't take long.
But when you call on a load post, you're making a request of the broker, and asking for permission to do that job. It's the broker who will ask those screening questions, to decide whether or not you and your truck are a good fit.
Life -- and rates -- are a lot better when you are wanted.
Fact: Not all loads that get posted have to be picked up on the same day. Some loads can be moved several days later. However, another 80/20 rule is that 80% of the incoming calls you get will be for same-day pickup. That sense of urgency means the rates are likely to be lot better.
The most important rule for me is that 80% of my favorite brokers rarely post their loads. Maybe they want to maintain privacy from other brokers, or they just want to find the perfect truck.
The biggest complaint from owner-operators is that posting a truck generates too many phone calls about loads that don't interest them. If they post their truck to a specific destination -- a city, state, region, or group of regions -- then brokers will call only with loads to those areas. As time goes on, you can narrow down your list of destinations so you get calls for loads that fit your plan.
Bottom line: To make the 80/20 rule work for you, you'll need to post your truck.
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 11,000 members, including owner-operators, truck drivers, and other transportation and logistics pros.