Surviving becoming an Expediter
Making the decision to be come a straight truck expediter is not a decision to be taken lightly. While the straight trucks follow many of the same rules as the tractor-trailers there are still some major differences. Here are a few suggestions to make the transition as easily and painlessly as possible.
The first step is to spend hours reading the Expediters Online Forums and absorbing everything possible about expediting. Read about all sizes of vehicles from cargo vans to tractor-trailers with all companies. Almost all of the expedite companies do not own their own trucks they use owner operators or fleet owners to move their freight. The other huge difference with expediting is that most of the companies do not have directional dispatch so it is much harder to get home on a regular basis or to make appointments.
Expediting is also a very volatile business meaning one week we will run till we run out of hours and the next week we could sit all week. Another tidbit is that it is much more difficult to make it as a solo driver in expediting as almost all loads are straight through pickup to delivery. Our overall miles for the year are usually comparable to a hard running solo driver but the main difference is our length of each straight through from pickup to delivery load.
In our case we decided a D Unit dry box straight truck or a truck that was 40′ long and could haul 13,000 lbs. would give us the most opportunities and fit our lifestyle. Our truck has a lift able pusher axle, a lift gate, a pallet jack, appliance dolly, and all the equipment necessary to pick up our freight inside a building off of a customers desk or pickup a priceless object and carefully blanket wrap the freight. Expediting has dry boxes as well as refrigerated boxes and the rate per mile reflects what services the truck can offer.
There are several ways to learn about expediting through workshops and also the Expedite Expo. There are three workshops held around the country each year held in the evening that have several speakers. The highlight of the year though is the Expedite Expo held in Wilmington, OH. During the Expo it is possible to speak with recruiters, drivers and others who are considering the change to expediting.
Many people who enter expediting are coming from a non-trucking background and are enamored by the size of the truck and the income potential. Another plus is that a Class B license with airbrakes endorsement is all that is required to drive a straight truck with air brakes. Potential class B license holders must still pass a pre-trip test and I suggest that they also take the HAZMAT test and get their tanker endorsement.
Once expediting has been thoroughly investigated and the decision is reached to enter this niche of trucking there are several steps that must be taken. If entering truck for the first time I suggest driving for a fleet owner and decide if trucking is for you. While the idea of driving a smaller truck and seeing the country is appealing this is still a stressful job and with many rules and regulations. Unlike the popular believe we are anything but brain dead steering wheel holders. New drivers without a good network of drivers often find that all of the rules and regulations are overwhelming and end up giving up, going back home, and try to get their former jobs back.
Former long haul truck drivers also find it difficult to embrace expediting, as the mindset is it is not about the miles it is about the income. Successful expediters discover ways to stay busy while sitting waiting that next load and do not get frustrated. One of my favorite sayings is “Expediters know how to drive hard and sit hard”.
In conclusion if you are interested in expediting learn as much as possible about this industry by attending workshops, the Expedite Expo, talking to drivers, and looking at your own situation. If you can handle sitting for sometimes a day or two and then with one phone call be ready to drive within ten minutes on a cross country load this might be the job for you.
To learn more about expediting research Expeditersonline.com
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