Rates hack: The spot market 3 o’clock hustle

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Got your own example of a do-it-yourself solution to a problem related to truck equipment or the owner-operator business? Send your story to tdills@randallreilly.com with the “highway hacks” subject line to be considered for this monthly feature.Got your own example of a do-it-yourself solution to a problem related to truck equipment or the owner-operator business? Send your story to tdills@randallreilly.com with the “highway hacks” subject line to be considered for this monthly feature.

Though it’s certainly lost some of its luster now that mandated electronic logging devices are putting more value on planning loads for maximizing time efficiency, this scheduling hack from independent Chad Boblett, with more than one variation on it out there from others, is simple enough. It hinges on an old cliché: The best things come to those who wait.

Lexington, Ky.-based owner-operator Chad Boblett is also the proprietor of the “Rate Per Mile Masters” Facebook group for biz discussion.Lexington, Ky.-based owner-operator Chad Boblett is also the proprietor of the “Rate Per Mile Masters” Facebook group for biz discussion.

Contemporary load boards are a treasure trove of information, Boblett knows. In any area where you know you’re going to be empty, two metrics in particular are helpful. Both are readily available via the major load boards, Truckstop.com or DAT: load-to-posted-truck ratio (the higher the better) and the ratio of outbound to inbound loads (a ratio of more than one indicates a likely demand in your favor — again, the higher the better). Depending on the platform you’re using, the latter may take some work to narrow it to your trailer type.

If both measurements indicate an especially hot market for your services, combine that with what you know about freight volumes in that area, available via the load boards and the wisdom of your experience. If freight is especially plentiful, rather than do a lot of legwork to schedule a load before you’re empty, wait for 3 o’clock local time.

“That’s when you can name your rate,” Boblett says, as brokers get nervous about covering a load at the end of the day. “If you’re the only truck left in a truck stop parking lot and it gets to 3 o’clock, you’re going to be able to name your rate.”

In the weekly cycle, Wednesday seems optimal for the hustle, Boblett says, since most of three days in a typical broker’s week have passed without the load being covered.

Hear more about this hack, and how mandated ELD days are affecting both Boblett’s and brokers’ behavior making it less useful, via this recent-past edition of the Overdrive Radio podcast: 

More Highway Hacks via this link.

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