I am often asked what are the pros and the cons of expedited trucking versus standard trucking. The lists are long. While most people know about the “standard” trucking world, the expedite industry can be very different. I often refer to it as the ambulance fleet of trucking. Often, expeditors live a hurry up to sit tight and wait way of life.
Types of Expedited Freight
Expedite freight varies immensely:
Auto and Heavy Truck Production
Government and defense
High value items
And the list goes on and on. We have moved everything from a critical bag of donut mix to a critical shipment of special baby formula to a movie star’s personal gym shipped to every location shoot.
Types of Expedited Equipment
Equipment in the expedite world varies quite a bit as well. On the small end, you have vans like the Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit and Dodge ProMaster. Vans are utilized to haul 1-3 pallets across the country. Drivers are usually not required to have a CDL to operate one, and they do not operate under the FMCSA hours of service requirements unless hauling hazardous material.
Next up is the sleeper straight truck. Many of these are husband and wife team drivers. We have seen many Class A CDL drivers move from the tractor trailer to a straight truck later in their careers. They are generally easier to operate due to the smaller size. Additionally, many drivers will then have their wife join them. They train their spouse, so they can run team together. Many of the straight trucks are equipped with larger custom sleepers. Drivers often enjoy seeing the country together and getting paid for it rather than retiring and driving a motor home around. Fortunately, many straight trucks are equipped with hook ups like a motor home. Drivers will often take time off at different locations and park at a motor home park. They hook up and relax like a vacationer.
Then comes the classic tractor trailer. For expedite, we operate both dry vans and curtain side flatbed trailers for a variety of expedite needs.
Expedite drivers learn the art of patience. They often sit and wait for loads versus being preplanned like traditional trucking. I am often asked why this is…. Best analogy is back to the ambulance reference. No one generally calls in an ambulance until you absolutely need it. On the plus side, every day tends to be something new and a new destination. Home time will vary dramatically as with expedited freight you just never know where the next load is heading. Another differentiator from standard trucking is expedite carriers tend to be all primarily owner operator based versus company equipment. Load One is a blend of both.
Expedite Drivers’ Income
On the pro side, compensation is generally much higher than other segments of trucking. Some companies pay per mile while others pay a percentage to the truck. At Load One, we pay our fleet on a percentage basis. While the market heats up and cools down periodically, we have found the trucks earn more in the long run using this method. I often refer to is as shared pain and shared gain!
Other Considerations for Expeditors
Expedite drivers must also be savvy about the loads they take and where they position themselves when they get unloaded. Many will keep records of the loads they move over the years to try and determine the best locations. We have tried to set ourselves apart by building technology that allows our expedite drivers to share in our business intelligence. They get load data on a historical basis and on a real time basis right on our proprietary app. Technology continues to shape the future of the industry and will be a big factor in the industry and carriers’ success or failures over the next decade. We believe that same technology will help our owner operators and drivers succeed in the long run over our competition’s drivers and owner operators.