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News

How to spot good loads in bad markets

  • 28 August, 2019
  • Chad Boblett

I have been a spot market pirate for almost nine years. As a pirate, you want to get in and get the good stuff. This means I use lots of tools to know where the most demand is for the trailer I pull.

If you look at entire Lower 48 states as a whole, then you will find that most of the time the market is not flooded with more loads than trucks, but you will find that there is always a good market somewhere. And it's always changing.

News

How to negotiate the best truckload rates

  • 31 July, 2019
  • Allie Lewis

Here's something that might surprise you: Spot market truckload volumes were 7% higher in the first six months of 2019 than they were in the first half of 2018, according to the DAT Truckload Volume Index.

For one, there's been a lot more trucks available this year, so load posts on the DAT Load Board are down in 2019 compared to 2018.

News

How to negotiate the best truckload rates

  • 24 July, 2019
  • Allie Lewis

Worried that you aren't getting the best price when negotiating a rate on a load? DAT TruckersEdge has multiple tools to help ease the process.

With your load board subscription, you can see what other carriers have gotten paid on that same lane, plus you can see where your truck is in high demand and where you might have trouble finding freight.

News

How much do hot shot loads pay?

  • 11 July, 2019
  • Allie Lewis

Running hot shots is one of the easier ways to start your own trucking company. A lot of owner-operators get into the business this way because of the lower cost of equipment. Instead of investing in a big rig, hot shot truckers use sprinter vans, straight trucks, 4x4 pickups with goosenecks, and other smaller vehicles to haul lighter loads.

Seeking out small-truck loads or LTL (less than truckload) loads has a lot of pros and cons, but one of the most confusing things about the business is figuring out what rate you should charge.

News

Secrets to trucking success: Find a need and fill it

  • 12 June, 2019
  • Chad Boblett

Author Earl Nightingale once said that to get rich, you just have to find a need and fill it. In the eight years I've been an independent owner-operator, that's how I've tried to run my business.

Other than being able to drive a truck, that's been my best skill when operating my business.

News

What are Trucking Freight Futures?

  • 22 May, 2019
  • Matt Sullivan

Trucking is undergoing a transformation, as new technologies, e-commerce, ELDs, and economic growth reshape the supply chain landscape and add volatility to the mix.

Launched in March, the exchange was created by DAT, FreightWaves, and Nodal, as a way for transportation companies and shippers to hedge against rising and falling truckload rates, providing a financial market to offset higher expenses or lost revenue.

News

Brokers improve net profits despite lower revenue

  • 14 May, 2019
  • Peggy Dorf

The first quarter was one of those "good news, bad news" stories for freight brokers. The good news was a big increase in gross margins, which rebounded to 16% from 13% in Q1 of 2018. The reason for this improvement was a sharp drop in spot market rates, which is what the brokers pay to hire a truck. When that cost of "purchased transportation" declined, the brokers got to keep more of the money that their shipper customers paid them for the service.

News

5 simple ways brokers can improve their credit score

  • 14 May, 2019
  • Pat Pitz

When a carrier searches for a load on DAT load boards, they'll often get dozens of results, especially on popular lanes. So how can a broker make that load post stand out from the pack? Posting an attractive rate will help, but beyond that, carriers want to work with brokers they can trust. And an important gauge of that trust is the broker's credit score and days to pay, which carriers see right next to the posting. That's why it's critical that brokers maintain good scores. But how do they do that?

News

Trucking scams: How brokers and carriers can protect themselves

  • 15 April, 2019

Working with a broker or carrier for the first time can lead to a successful and profitable relationship that will last for years.

"One of the most common ways thieves pull off scams today is to pose as a legitimate carrier or broker," said DAT Compliance Manager Tami Hart.

News

New ELD deadline: Will it trigger a capacity crisis?

  • 20 Mar, 2019
  • Donald Broughton

Freight markets were upended by the capacity crunch that followed the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate in December 2017. The next phase of the mandate begins in December 2019, and it may end up being just as disruptive.

The new milestone expands the regulation in two dramatic ways.

News

Pros and cons: Brokered vs. direct shipper freight

  • 08 Mar, 2019
  • Chad Boblett

The kind of freight you choose to haul, whether it's through a broker or direct from a shipper, is an individual decision that is determined by a person's wants, needs and goals.

Every month I compare my average loaded rate per mile with the national average contract rate.

News

Driver shortage or truck surplus?

  • Feb 27, 2019
  • Mark Montague

You've likely heard reports that there's a shortage of drivers in the trucking industry. There have also been reports that a record number of heavy-duty truck orders from last year is creating a capacity surplus.

So, which is it? How can we have a surplus of trucks and a shortage of drivers? It can't be both, can it?

News

Winter storms bring rapid changes to freight markets

  • Feb 05, 2019
  • Peggy Dorf

Last week's Arctic weather stalled freight movement in and out of key markets in the Midwest. But the storm passed in just a couple of days, so it didn't have a big impact on national rate trends for the week as a whole.

Take Chicago, for example. It's a major freight hub for trucking and railroads. Snow is not exactly rare in the winter, but last week's sub-zero temperatures were a bit extreme, even for hardy Midwesterners.

News

How the best shippers manage capacity challenges

  • Jan 31, 2019
  • Pat Pitz

What can shippers do to make their freight attractive to carriers? Three shippers answered that question during a panel discussion at the 2018 DAT User Conference in Portland, OR. Here's what they had to say.

Based in Pittsburgh, Armada manages supply chains for some of the nation's largest restaurant chains, with a focus on refrigerated and frozen foods.

News

Trucking wins business back from railroad

  • Jan 16, 2019
  • Donald Broughton

Last year rail intermodel took away loads from over-the-road trucking, but now the pendulum is swinging back the other direction.

Diesel prices are dropping, which makes dry van transportation more attractive and reduces the cost advantage of rail intermodal for domestic freight.

News

5 regulations to watch in 2019

  • Jan 15, 2019
  • Pat Pitz

The ELD mandate transformed the trucking industry last year. The dust has finally started to settle, but more changes could be on the horizon.

While there likely won't be any new regulations that are as transformative as the ELD mandate, transportation professionals should keep an eye on these five regulations that could have big impacts on trucking in 2019.

News

Top 10 markets for freight in 2018

  • Jan 07, 2019
  • Matt Sullivan

What do you get when you combine an economy that's growing like gangbusters and a truck shortage? That'd be 2018.

The surge in truckload demand led to record-high rates last year, as freight brokers and shippers routinely had trouble securing capacity. For comparison, there were 161 million loads posted on the DAT Load Board in 2017. Last year, there were 260 million loads posted.

News

6 rules for making money in the slow season

  • Dec 31, 2018
  • Chad Boblett

The spot market will likely be the same as it is every year around this time: From January to about the end of March, it will most likely be slow. There won't be the volatility that we saw at the beginning of 2018, because that was a result of the ELD mandate. Don't expect to see as many loads as we did in early 2018.

Just because there are fewer loads doesn't mean the world is coming to an end, though. It's just that time of year.

News

6 ways truckers can lower their 2018 tax bill

  • Dec 17, 2018
  • Sean Bryant

The year is coming to an end, so the clock is ticking on a few things you can do to take advantage of the new tax laws and pay less in 2018.

There are several ways carriers and owner-operators can lower the amount they owe to Uncle Sam, but below are the six things you can get started today.

News

Truckload spot and contract rates tell different stories

  • Nov 20, 2018
  • Mark Montague

There are really two truckload rate stories this year. For one, spot market rates have declined sharply this fall. In the second story, contract rates have mostly held up, and in some cases may still have room to climb higher. Those two stories from 2018 lead to two different rate forecasts for the first half of 2019.

News

Contract rates will rise more slowly in 2019

  • Nov 15, 2018
  • Donald Broughton

Capacity is becoming more available, as small fleets have mostly adjusted to electronic logging device (ELD) and strict enforcement of the Hours of Service rules.

At the same time, new trucks are everywhere, which has caused the average age of trucks in service to decline.

News

The high cost of free shipping

  • Nov 15, 2018
  • Peggy Dorf

I'm doing my holiday shopping early this year.

That may seem overly cautious, considering that everybody and his brother is suddenly offering free shipping. Order before December 22, and shipping is free. Some retailers have even guaranteed free, two-day shipping until that date, with no minimum purchase requirements.

News

Regulatory changes brokers can't ignore

  • Oct 16, 2018
  • Pat Pitz

In a year where capacity has been historically tight, building out carrier networks has been particularly difficult for freight brokers.

Making sure you have access to the capacity needed to serve your shipper customers also means your brokerage needs to be able to adapt to changing regulatory climates.

News

5 steps to get 'pre-booked' for loads

  • Oct 8, 2018
  • Chad Boblett

When demand for trucks slows down, like it does every year during this time, the trend among many owner-operators is to pre-book loads to stay employed until the really good stuff comes out in later in the year. If it's a broker's market, then I try to spend less time getting a really great one-time rate and more time finding value in multiple loads.

News

5 ways to avoid driver fatigue

  • Oct 04, 2018
  • American Association of Owner Operators

Having trouble shaking off the cobwebs when starting your day? Trucking can take a toll on your physical, mental and emotional health, and a lot of truck drivers fight that sluggish feeling almost daily.

There a variety of causes for driver fatigue, but you can put yourself in the best position to feel awake and alert by focusing on these 5 areas.

News

4 lessons I learned on the road with my trucker husband

  • Oct 04, 2018
  • Rebecca Cervantes-Kling

When I married my husband Will in 2002, I thought we'd be an active duty military family for at least 20 years, but that didn't happen. Life had other plans for us. After four years of being a navy wife, we moved our family back to my home state and settled back in as best as we could to civilian life.

News

Expect rates to rise as Hurricane Florence relief begins

  • Sep 18, 2018
  • Pat Pitz

While the winds of Hurricane Florence have subsided, the effects of the hurricane will be felt for weeks and months to come. More than 30 people have died in storm-related incidents and several towns remain flooded. Some rivers have not yet crested, which could bring more damage. In North Carolina alone, more than 1,000 roads are closed and the city of Wilmington—a port town—remains cut off with no road access in or out of the city.

News

What to do when shipper demands "Where's my load?"

  • Sep 18, 2018
  • Pat Pitz

If you're a freight broker and your customer calls and demands "Where's my load?" you'd better have an answer. And it better NOT be, "Let me make a few calls and get back to you."

A new feature in DAT OnTime — DAT's load tracking platform — enables brokers to send their customer a link that will show the current location of the load on a U.S. map.

News

Hurricane Florence path includes 4 port cities

  • Sep 13, 2018
  • Pat Pitz

Although the coastal towns in the path of Hurricane Florence are generally at the receiving end of the distribution chain, there are 4 port cities in the hurricane's path.

Port of Wilmington, North Carolina - This port is right in the center of the hurricane path and is expected to be the hardest hit.

News

How Hurricane Florence affects freight

  • Sep 11, 2018
  • Matt Sullivan

When disaster strikes, trucks are needed to get emergency supplies where they're needed most. But as has been the case with Hurricane Florence – which is anticipated to make landfall on the mid-Atlantic coast later this week – we're seeing how trucks are a big part of the preparation process before the storm, too.

News

Senate considering National Carrier Hiring Standard

  • Sep 06, 2018
  • Pat Pitz

Legislation intended to protect freight brokers when hiring carriers is making its way through Washington.

The so-called "National Carrier Hiring Standard" has been included as an amendment within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization funding bill and approved by the House of Representatives. The Senate is now considering its own amendments to the FAA reauthorization, which expires September 30.

News

4 ways truckers can get more time at home

  • Aug 15, 2018
  • Chad Boblett

When I first got started working with freight brokers in 2011, I was averaging more than 200 nights away from home each year. My primary strategy at that time was to go from one hot market to another hot market, chasing the highest-paying loads. At the beginning of 2015, the spot market demand for trucks slowed down and I needed to change how I use the load board.

News

Life before load boards

  • Aug 14, 2018
  • Pat Pitz

Mark Boyer has spent his whole career in the trucking and logistics industry, with a front row seat for all kinds of new technologies, including many products from DAT.

As DAT celebrates its 40th year, we reminisced with Boyer, who serves as Vice President of Brokerage for Keller Logistics in Defiance, Ohio. Keller is an asset-based brokerage with a 150-truck fleet, plus packaging and warehousing services.

News

Expect truckload market volatility to continue through the fall

  • Aug 03, 2018
  • Donald Broughton

To say that the first half of 2018 was "a period of both extreme volatility and unprecedented imbalance between capacity and demand for trucking services in North America" at first sounds like hyperbole. But if you ask anyone who lived through it, they'll probably tell you it's an understatement.

That raises two basic questions: What created the environment of extreme volatility and unprecedented imbalance?

News

What Does it Cost to Run Your Trucking Company?

  • May 30, 2018
  • Chad Boblett

I love trucking, but let's be honest: I am in this business to make money.

The only thing I like better than making money is keeping it. There are two factors that are in my control and that could destroy my business as an owner-operator: my health, and my ability to cover my expenses.

News

Get Your Carrier Authority - Ignore the Myths

  • March 19, 2018
  • Chad Boblett

This is Part Two, the follow-up to my first three myths about getting carrier authority. These myths, fears, and unknowns held me in place as a company driver for years. I wish I had gotten my authority sooner, and I hope other drivers can learn from my experience.

News

Getting Your Carrier Authority - Myth and Reality

  • March 15, 2018
  • Chad Boblett

My biggest regret about getting started in this industry was that I didn't get my authority sooner. It was the myths, fears, and the unknown that held me in place as a company driver for years. If you ever meet me at a dock or a truck stop, you might find me talking to another driver about getting their authority and working with brokers.

These are three of the myths that get discussed the most when getting started as a carrier.

News

How Did Truckers Find Loads 40 Years Ago?

  • March 13, 2018
  • Pat Pitz

Gene Schultz has been in the trucking business for nearly 60 years.

Schultz got his start in the trucking industry working for his father's produce-hauling business in Rochester, Minnesota in the 1950s. When his father died in 1959, Schultz took over the business. At that time Schultz Transit had six trucks. Schultz grew the business to 235 trucks, 242 drivers, and back-office staff of 42, including warehouse and cross-border operations staff in Laredo, Texas. He liquidated the business in 1991, and in 1997 he and two other partners started another trucking company, Hiawatha Transport, which they later sold.