When to take a vacation and other insights from trucking data

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Updated Sep 19, 2015

Do you need to closely follow all the economic news and the accompanying analysis? Not really, argues Richard DeForest of ATBS, the nation’s largest owner-operator financial services provider.

Richard DeForest is vice president of fleet sales for ATBS.Richard DeForest is vice president of fleet sales for ATBS.

In this brief video excerpt from DeForest’s presentation at Overdrive’s Partners in Business seminar, during the 2015 Great American Trucking Show in Dallas last month, he explains how widely available trucking data gives you a heads-up on the national economy, as well as provides you with key information to run your business.

For example, as many of you know from experience, one obvious shipping pattern is that freight’s heaviest period is generally March through November. Smart owner-operators know they “have to hit it hard” then, DeForest said, and use the other months for scheduling vacations or other downtime.

And if you really need a break in the midst of those heavy months? There’s a predictable freight lull, conveniently in the middle.

“Every July 1, freight dips,” DeForest said in a post-GATS interview. “Freight starts to pick up after that.”

The July slump is due largely to three factors, he said. One is the July 4 holiday. Another is that automotive manufacturers often schedule plant closings in July for maintenance, model-year line changes, inventory reduction and consolidation of workers’ vacations.

The third reason is that freight traditionally gets heavy at the end of the first three quarters, as shippers try to hit quarterly goals, then slacks off as the new quarter begins. Since the second quarter ends June 30, the first week of July fits that cyclical slowdown.

Partners in Business is produced by Overdrive and ATBS, and made possible by sponsors Goodyear Smart Fleet, Ryder and Truckstop.com.