You can’t be successful in the trucking business if you don’t get jobs.  This of course leads to the question: how do I get them?  And that leads to the art and science of bidding for loads.  New drivers often approach this topic with a mix of fear and confusion, but in truth, it’s nothing to be afraid of.  Let’s look at the process step-by-step:

  1. Before knowing how much to bid, you have to know your expenses.  This includes setbacks for maintenance, truck and trailer payments, insurance, fuel, and other related costs, not to mention the fee for which you are willing to work. Trucking expense software helps you to total these costs easily.
  2. Figure in a premium for a “hassle fee.”  For example, hauling flowers from Kansas City to Dallas in June will cause a lot less wear and tear on your rig (not to mention your body) than transporting heavy machine equipment over the Rockies in November.  Also, if taking the load means navigating your way through New York City or some other heavily congested urban area, consider raising your bid as compensation for the aggravation you’ll be dealing with.
  3. Remember that you have to get back from the destination where the load is delivered.  You might make great money during a run from Atlanta to L.A. but once the freight is dropped off, you will either have to hightail it back to GA or pick up another job nearby.  All those deadhead miles can cut deeply into your profit margins, so they should be figured into your bid calculations.
  4. If you want to know what your competitors charge, contact them and ask for a rate sheet.  If it fits within your financial situation, you can try to under-bid.  Just don’t go crazy and charge so little that you’re barely surviving.  Trucking is a high-stress profession, and currently there is a nationwide shortage of drivers, so use those facts to your advantage.

Now that you know the basics of bidding on loads, let’s look at how to find them.

  1. Thanks to the Internet, finding work is easier than ever.  Websites like getloaded.com or truck-driver-jobs.net are excellent places to locate jobs across the country. Visit them and see how many loads you can find; you’ll be encouraged by the number of opportunities out there.
  2. Use any personal contacts you may have.  For example, if you have relatives or friends who work in distribution centers, you might have a direct line to the manager who assigns freight carriers.  If you have connections through a civic group, church, or some other organization, you could inquire among those as well.
  3. Consider niche jobs in the trucking industry where demand is very high.  One of these is “hot shot” trucking, in which drivers haul partial loads that are time-sensitive.  For example, a high-end food store in Chicago may need a load of organic produce from San Antonio delivered ASAP. Jobs like these can be stressful, but the pay can be excellent, and you can stay as busy as you want to be.

One thing every trucker needs is fleet maintenance software.  After all, you won’t make much money off of your rig if it’s always in the shop, so making sure that all preventative work is done on time is crucial.  That’s why you owe it to yourself to check out our TruckingOffice software.  It’s affordable, easy-to-use, and makes keeping up with scheduled maintenance a breeze.  Plus, it can help with scheduling loads, keeping fuel tax records, and other aspects of the business.  Take TruckingOffice for a free 30-day test drive and find out for yourself how it can help you become more profitable and successful than ever!