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Overdrive Extra

Max Heine

Four ways to erode your profit

| November 13, 2013

I learned more this week about one of the countless teeth-gnashing situations in the world of owner-operators. It comes from Marlaina-Gayle Betnaza’s excellent Life With No Fixed Address blog.

Marlaina-Gayle Betnaza notes this business name might be in jest, “but small businesses go broke all the time, the majority don't survive two years.”

Marlaina-Gayle Betnaza notes this business name might be in jest, “but small businesses go broke all the time, the majority don’t survive two years.”

Her post is about the difficulties small businesses, including owner-operators, have in trying to compete with large corporations. She lists four “profit-killers” that owner-operators need to be alert to so they can avoid being underpaid or incurring unnecessary costs. 

One of the four is “truck ordered not used.” Betnaza tells of how she and her team driver husband went to pick up a hazmat load. Even though they had been clear about their payload, the shipper had failed to include pallet weight in the order. The 16 pallets would’ve put them 2,000 pounds overweight, so they declined the haul — after deadheading almost 500 miles to get it.

Following a month of phone calls and emails, they finally wrangled a $250 payment for truck ordered not used. Even that amount, though, doesn’t fairly cover the wasted fuel and the lost opportunity to earn money. Betnaza’s recommendation for defanging this profit-killer: negotiate a $500 TONU fee on the front end or decline the load.

You can read further about Betnaza’s suggested solutions for three other profit-killers, as well as her thoughts about small-business success.

A former blogger carried on Overdrive, Phil Madsden, also has written about a TONU experience and how he began to address that risk.

Anyone out there have TONU incidents they can share?

  • Vrahnos

    For ten years I worked as an o,o.under lease.I finely got so tired of all the crap (i was pulling flat beds at the time)that I hung up my keys and worked as a driver.Money was about as good as when I o.o.and far less headaches to deal with.When done park the truck and go home till I hit the road again.Couldn’t do that as an O.O..

  • JETaratuta

    A friend worked as a dispatcher for a month. Two trucks were dispatched for one load: whoever was $50 less got it and the other driver was told the load was “cancelled” by the customer. He quit after a month. Not everyone deals like this, but one is too many . . .

  • Coffeeclue

    If the shipper tells me that actual weight is 2000 lbs over the weight on confirmation, I will still let him load the truck. After that I would call the broker and either have him pay the TONU or take excess weight off. In either case, I would get written confirmation of what the shipper is going to do. Also, 500 miles deadhead??? Who does that? strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.