The “sweet” spot market temptation

Trucks parking Lot

I am concerned for many operators who are leaving long range goals for the “sugar rush” of the short term spot market.  The following article addresses the importance of keeping your eye on your long term goals, avoiding the temptation of focusing only on the “sweet” spot market. If not, that sugar rush could end up in a sugar crash.

Understand and prevent a problem before it IS a problem for your operation . Many a stock broker looked like a hero in a bull market … However the real test is of they are a hero in a bear market !

Last year in 2014, the spot market increased significantly from previous years. Many drivers and small fleets gravitated toward this highly lucrative freight. Rates are higher than many long term contracted lanes. Therefore, it is the perfect time to make some extra income. Many forces are at play when talking about the spot market in our industry. The carrier has the upper hand when the spot market is hot. Let’s keep in mind that the shipper is not just going to sit back and wait for the rates to drop. At the same time, they too are trying to secure long term contracts.

For me, I look down the road and ask myself…”how long will this last” and can I afford to stay in it for the long haul. I think any business requires steady and consistent business from which to build a firm foundation. Once that’s established then you can go after some spot market business in order to capitalize on opportunities. A business needs a well-balanced diet just as our bodies need proper nutrition for the long haul.

Below, is an article which I wrote several years ago in regards to how I built my business to survive the ups and downs of the economy.

Is The Icing Good?
During my time in business, I’ve often compared how I organized my operations to baking a “cake.” You may ask “what does a cake have to do with the trucking industry?”

If you have too much icing than cake, you may become ill. Let me explain: when developing my account base, I first went after businesses which offered year round stability of shipments. These were small to medium sized companies. Only after having a secure foundation did I go on to look for the icing portion of the cake. The icing refers to shipments which were “seasonal, short-term and offered higher pay.”

Often times it seems easy to chase after the icing first. You may get a big “sugar rush” which can fall off when the immediate project is over. Therefore, I find it better to develop the cake first which is solid, then go after some icing to round out your business.

Now all we need to do is figure out how to have our cake and eat it too!

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Henry has been driving since 1983 and started his career hauling freight on the east coast. He started driving a straight truck in the food service industry and then graduated to pulling a flat bed with a private carrier. In 1996 Henry got his own authority "Albert Transport" with a brand new FLD 120 70" mid-roof with a flat bed trailer. In 2007 Henry was recognized by Overdrive as driver of the month and went on to become Trucker of the Year. Freightliner created a new program "Slice of Trucker Life" and Henry was one of the original three drivers. The program evolved into "Team Run Smart" in 2012 and Henry was the first member of this new program. Henry is known for his professional appearance and his ability to get phenomenal fuel mileage out of his 2013 Cascadia Evolution pulling his 53' dry van trailer. He has shown many other drivers ways to improve their fuel mileage and their image. Henry can be found at many of the truck shows demonstrating how he has improved the aerodynamics of his trailer to compliment the all ready aerodynamic Cascadia Evolution. As a business owner Henry decided in 2005 to step up his all ready nice uniform by adding his signature tie. He immediately saw a difference not only in how his customers treated him but how the general public perceived him. His attitude on appearance starts with the person we see in the mirror and is spreading and helping others to experience what he has all ready found.

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