Freight Forwarder vs. Freight Broker

They may sound the same but a freight forwarder and a freight broker serve different purposes. The logistics industry is made up of many key players to ensure that freight gets to its endpoint on time and in flawless condition. While the process of moving freight involves many steps, it is important to know the difference between the roles of a freight forwarder and freight broker.

Key Roles of Freight Forwarders and Freight Brokers:

The Responsibilities of a Freight Forwarder:

A freight forwarder has a very hands-on role in the shipping process. Freight forwarders are companies that specialize in arranging storage and international shipping of freight on behalf of their customers, the shipper. Although the freight forwarder does not actually move the freight itself, they arrange the transportation of the goods from one location to the next whether by land, water or air. In other words, the freight forwarder acts as an intermediary between the shipper and transportation services as they oversee the delivery of the freight to its final destination.

The freight forwarder negotiates rates with the shipping company and also prepares all the necessary documentation needed to transport and clear shipments. They typically ship freight under their own bill of landing and provide insurance services for their client to ensure if items do arrive damaged, they will be reimbursed.

The Responsibilities of a Freight Broker:

The freight broker, on the other hand, has a less hands-on job but still very important. Like any other broker, they act as a middleman by connecting shippers and carriers to one another. In exchange for their services, they receive a small commission of the total cost of the transaction. They are accountable for keeping a line of communication open to update the status of a shipment. Although the role of the freight broker is to bring both parties together, they are more than just the middle man.

Shippers usually work with freight brokers because they help them find reliable transportation for their freight while carriers work with freight brokers because they help them find additional loads besides the ones. Like freight forwarders, freight brokers also have more bargaining power to negotiate lower rates. Simply put, freight brokers help save carriers time finding quality carriers and helps carriers earn more money with quality loads.

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Key Differences

One key difference between a freight forwarder and a freight broker is that the broker never has physical possession of the items being shipped so they are never directly responsible for it. A freight broker is able to run their business remotely unlike freight forwarders who need warehouses and people to oversee transportations up until its final destination.

Also, generally brokers do not own their bills of landing as some freight forwarders may. In the U.S., freight forwarder companies that work with domestic freight must register with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Knowing the difference between a freight forwarder and freight broker is important if you are a carrier. It will help you make the decision on if their services will contribute to the betterment of your business.

All truck drivers occasionally need extra capital to keep their route going as smooth as possible. When you need cash for gas, maintenance or other trucking needs, turn to freight factoring.
Not sure where to start? That’s okay. Let us help you find the best freight factoring company for your needs!

Have questions? Just give us a call. We have factoring experts ready to answer whatever questions you may have about the factoring process.

Spot Market Rates in Trucking

Spot market rates in the trucking industry have become more popular in recent years. Owner-operators and freight brokers are becoming more interested in turning to spot market rates for work when it is convenient. These rates alter up and down by the day depending on the climate of the market.

Defining Spot Market Rates in the Trucking Industry

 

Spot market rate, also known as spot price, is defined exactly how it sounds. Simply put, it is a one-time shipping price quoted in real time. Spot market rates in trucking are the shipping prices that exist right now. They represent how much it costs to ship cargo if you were to get contracted on the spot.

The rates signify what a broker is willing to pay a carrier to haul a load.  Many factors influence spot rates such as the current condition of the market, overall weight or size, distance traveled and supply and demand. The supply and demand are represented by the truck-to-load ratio.

When there are more loads than trucks, rates go up. When there are more trucks than loads, rates go down. Spot market rates in trucking are measured daily, even hour by hour. Freight professionals use third-party tools such as DAT and TruckStop.com to measure and understand the direction of the market.

Spot Maret Rates vs. Contract Rates

In a nutshell, contract and spot market rates in trucking represent fixed vs. fluctuating rates. Spot market rates are quoted one time on the spot, for single use and is usually paid by brokers. These transactions take place immediately.

Contract rates are negotiated between the shipper and carrier based on the volume of the shipment in advance of any freight move. It is basically a future contract. The rate quoted is typically held up for a year. Contract rates open up negotiation opportunities that are otherwise fixed with operating in the spot market.

What’s Right for You?

There are both risks and rewards with contract and spot rates in trucking. On one hand, spot contracts can be a high-risk strategy for truck companies because rates are constantly changing hour by hour. Because of this, opting to strictly use spot rate market rates is a gamble. Spot rates are based on how much one is willing to pay and how much one is willing to accept at that moment. On the other hand, there is potential to make money when the climate of the market indicates low rates.

Although contract rates are pushed out farther ahead, they tend to be more secure. You know what you are getting with contract rate because the rates are what you agreed on. For truckers, contract rates allow them to maintain business all year-round without necessarily having to worry about the climate of the market.

It is important to note contract and spot market rates in trucking can coincide with one another. Shippers under contracts can still use spot market rates and vice versa. This is because shippers under a contract rate are not obligated to move all shipments under the contracted rate. As long as minimum freight volumes are being delivered.

Get into Spot Marketing through Freight Factoring. 

While there are many challenges to working with spot market rates in trucking, cash flow should not be one of them. Thankfully, freight factoring is a straightforward way to boost your cash flow. Let us take a load off your shoulders, so you can focus hauling your loads. Contact us today to get started!

9 Different Types of Truck Driving Jobs

are there different types of truck driving jobs

Working as a truck driver has a lot of benefits, but one that often goes unnoticed is the variety of work one can do with a CDL. There are several different types of truck driving jobs that veer away from what many consider a traditional truck driver to be.

Truck Driving Job Categories

Dry Van Hauler

Most types of professional drivers start out their careers by hauling dry van shipments. ‘Dry Van’ is a common nickname for the rectangular trailers hauled by semi-trucks. They normally are filled with dry, easy-to-transport goods packaged in pallets or boxes. Those who drive dry van trailers are normally not required to unload the goods they’ve transported on their own.

Freight Hauler

Freight hauling is a type of truck driving job that covers all of the areas and cargo that isn’t housed under the umbrella of dry van hauling. Those who drive freight haulers may be expected to transport certain hazardous, liquid or oversized cargo that dry haulers are not licensed to carry.

Flatbed Hauler

Flatbed hauling is another different type of trucking service that is often overlooked. Flatbed haulers carry dry products or machinery on their open-air trailer that may be too large or awkward to fit into a dry van trailer. The loads will often be irregularly shaped or oversized, making the trek to take them to their destination more difficult and require more skill and experience.

Flatbed haulers must be experts at tying down oddly shaped objects. Due to the risk involved in this sort of hauling, flatbed haulers often are paid more than dry van haulers.

Tanker Hauler

A tanker hauler is one of the most dangerous and in-demand types of trucking services of the modern day. Companies are willing to pay top dollar for drivers looking to brave the road and transport liquids. Drivers of tanker haulers need to know how to handle their truck masterfully. The liquids tanker haulers transport can be either non-hazardous or hazardous – which means if they are the latter and something happens, drivers need to know how to respond to the situation quickly.

Refrigerated Hauler

It takes a special type of truck driver to haul refrigerated freight. Because the goods that are being hauled have to stay at a certain temperature, some hauls will have freezer shipping containers and the truck driver must be able to make certain time and distance requirements.

While the trailer the haul is being transported in is temperature controlled, the driver must still be cautious of quickly delivering the load to its destination. Since the driver of a refrigerated truck must know how to successfully set and check the temperature of their trailer, they do get paid more than dry haulers do.

Less Than Truckload Haulers

Another popular type of professional driver is the LTL, or less than truckload, hauler. LTL haulers often are dry van haulers that drive smaller, more localized loads. This specific type of truck driver is normally required to load and unload their own shipments.

These truck drivers usually get paid less per load, but often times take several loads in the course of a day.

Local/Regional Haulers

Local and regional freight haulers are similar to those that drive LTL loads. These drivers choose to transport freight over a shorter distance, often taking multiple loads per day and coming home every night instead of driving for two weeks non-stop and staying in hotels.

Hotshot Haulers

Hotshot haulers are drastically different than the normal hauler. Instead of driving around a semi-truck body with a trailer attached, they normally drive a class 3 or 5 truck paired with a small trailer attachment. Goods are expected to be delivered as fast as possible, and multiple loads can be taken per day depending on the distance needed to transport said goods locally or regionally.

Auto Haulers

Another type of professional driving job that those with their CDL can do is drive an auto hauler. Auto haulers are specially designed carriers for transporting cars from one place to another. They’re most commonly used to transport new cars to their respective car lots. Due to how heavy these haulers can be, only certain trained drivers can maneuver them correctly. These drivers typically make more money than an average semi-truck hauler would.

types of trucking services

All truck drivers occasionally need extra capital to keep their route going as smooth as possible. When you need cash for gas, maintenance or other trucking needs, turn to freight factoring.

Not sure where to start? That’s okay. Let us help you find the best freight factoring company for your needs!

Have questions? Just give us a call. We have factoring experts ready to answer whatever questions you may have about the factoring process.

Trucking with a Cat – What You Should Know

trucking with cats

Life on the road gets lonely, that’s a proven fact. If you’re a trucker looking to potentially bring a furry friend along on your drives, consider getting a cat! Trucking with cats can be simple and rewarding if it’s done right, but if you are planning on bringing your kitty along, it would be a very wise choice to invest in some cat insurance in case anything unsuspected happens to your travelling companion while out on the road.

Benefits of Trucking with a Cat

  • Cats are low maintenance. They eat once or twice a day, are comfortable in contained spaces and don’t require being let out every few hours like a dog.
  • They offer companionship. Once a cat warms up to you, they’re extremely loving. They crave human attention and enjoy nesting themselves close to you, wherever you are. Bringing a feline friend on the road is a great way to prevent being homesick.
  • They’re obedient. Cats can be trained to walk on a leash, sit on your shoulder or perform tricks if you have treats and patience.
  • They’re protective. If something sounds weird or looks off, your cat will let you know. They might not be as intimidating as a dog, but they will still alert you to dangers.

How to take your cat trucking

Before you just stick your cat in your truck and take off, you need to do some preparation.

Cat-Proof Your Truck

You’re going to need to make some slight additions to your truck if you’re planning to bring your cat along.

First things first, make sure you have bowls for food and water. Some drivers like to attach Velcro to the bottoms of the bowls so they’ll stay in a certain place then the truck is moving. Try and purchase bowls that are deep so water doesn’t splash out while you’re on the road.

If you want to take your cat trucking, you’re going to need to get a litter box. Contrary to popular belief, litter boxes don’t always smell. If they’re tended to correctly, your truck nor your clothes will smell like cat excrement. Use scoopable litter, clean it once a day and deep clean it once a month. For added smell protection, sprinkle in a box of baking soda.

Trucking with cats is no different than living with cats. That being said, make sure there are a few comfy spots in the truck where your feline friend can hang out while you’re driving. Put a blanket in the sunshine, have a few toys lying about and bring some treats along. Making your truck feel like home is a big step toward getting your cat to consider it one.

If your cat has claws, consider purchasing a scratch pad. They’re relatively inexpensive and will go a long way in keeping your trucker cat happy and your semi rip-free.

Train Your Cat

Most felines aren’t going to hop into a semi and happily drive off with you on the first try. It takes a little bit of work to get your cat assimilated to the movement of the truck and life on the road.

Start putting your pet cat in your truck while it’s off. Place their favorite toys and blankets inside the cab and let them play and explore. Reward them with treats if they’re being good.

Once you’ve done that a few times and your cat appears more comfortable, turn your truck on. The noise itself might be startling at first but reward them with treats and affection until they become used to the noise. This is a good time to also place a litter box in the truck. Place your cat inside and give them treats, so they know it’s an OK place for them to go.

The next step is taking your truck out for a short and slow drive. This is your feline’s first attempt at being a trucking cat! It takes some animals longer than others to adjust to the movement and feel of the semi, so be patient. Your cat should eventually warm up to being in the space and associate being in the cab with hanging out with you and getting treats.

Hit The Road!

If your truck and cat are both ready, it’s time to hit the road! Make sure to have your trucker cat’s papers with you, you never know when you might have to stop at the vet. Also bring extra cleaning supplies! Your cat sheds, the litter box granules escape, etc. You’ll thank yourself later.

taking your cat trucking

If you need money to fuel up while traveling with your feline from point A to point B, consider truck factoring. Truck factoring lets you sell your active invoices for a cash advance, allowing you to transport your goods where they need to go without pulling money out of your own pocket. Have questions? Give us a call. Our factoring experts are ready to answer any question you might have.

 

 

 

14 Ways to Save Money as a Truck Driver

How to save money as a truck driver

Being a truck driver is hard, but being a broke truck driver is even harder. This is why many have started to look into how to get free money online. One thing that doesn’t have to be difficult is saving money. Follow these 14 simple money saving tips for truckers if you’re trying to lower your trucking expenses and keep more of your hard-earned cash in your bank account.

How to Cut Truck Driving Costs

1. Make a budget and stick to it

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s on the top of the list for a reason. Creating a trucking budget is your biggest asset when it comes to saving money on the road. It does take some work to get your budget started – estimating how much money you are going to spend monthly, weekly, etc. is harder than it sounds. But once that step is done, you’re in the clear. Just log how much money you spent out of your allotted budget each time you purchase something. You may find it too hard to keep on top of things like loan repayments if you don’t budget. If you have multiple debts like this then you might find it to be of use to you to visit debtconsolidation.co to make payments easier.

Let’s use food for an example. Say you decide you’re going to give yourself a $150 budget for fast food per month. You log when you spend money eating at drive-throughs and check it weekly. Halfway through the month, you notice you spent over half of your fast food allotment. From there, you decide to start planning on cooking meals in your truck so you don’t go over your budget.

Not physically seeing where you spend your money makes it more difficult to keep track of how you’re spending it. By keeping a budget, you can easily lower your trucking expenses. If you want to start budgeting, but don’t know where to start, check out this pre-created income and expense worksheet or this make-your-own-budget website.

2. Take advantage of gas stations

Gas stations are a haven of resources for truckers. Lower your trucking expenses by taking advantage of everything they have to offer. Take a shower, fill up your water bottle, indulge in an inexpensive cup of joe. If they have a lounge, connect to their free WIFI and give your family a call. Check your emails and revisit your trucking budget.

If you are at a rest stop or station that offers a fitness station, work out a bit. Do your laundry if there is a laundromat. There are tons of novelty rest stops across the United States that offer unique entertainment and amenities, so don’t be afraid to scope them out!

3. Limit spending on food

Buying and preparing your own meals is the number one way to save money as a truck driver. Think about it this way — An average meal at a fast food chain restaurant is between $5 and $7. If you eat out twice a day for a week, you’ve already spent close to $100. Do that for a year and it’ll cost you anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000. That’s a hefty chunk of change.

Eating at fast food chains and restaurants may seem like a necessary evil when driving cross country, but they aren’t. Truckers can easily save money on the road by investing in ways to make their own meals. According to AOL Finance the average cost per meal if you make it yourself is significantly lower at $1.50 to $3. Invest in a trucking-specific microwave, crockpot or refrigerator and watch the savings add up.

4. Avoid breakdowns and expensive repairs

Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance! Caring is repairing when it comes to taking care of your truck. Make sure it is in tip-top shape every time you make a drive. Take time at stops to inspect the source of any weird sounds or troublesome rattles. Oftentimes, a minor issue is the cause of a huge problem, so find and fix as much as you can. Doing so will save you thousands of dollars.

You want to be saving money on the road, not breaking down on the side of it. If you run across an issue you don’t know how to repair, just ask another trucker. They’ve most likely experienced it and know a quick fix. Worst case scenario, consult YouTube. It might not be as reliable as another driver, but it will keep your truck running until you can get it back to the shop.

5. Ask about and use CDL discounts

You already have your CDL, why not put it to work for you? There are hundreds of places that will give you a CDL discount if you ask. Hotels are known for giving out discounts for truckers, but there are tons of other places that do as well.

Insurance companies often have special rates or plans specifically for CDL drivers. Some places require the driver to know a certain code or have a specific document, so ask your fellow drivers in-person on online on a trucking forum.

6. Avoid getting tickets

Tickets can add an unexpended expense to your route, so avoid getting them at all costs. Most, if not all, tickets come with an attached fine. The price of said fine depends on what you’re getting ticketed for and what state you’re in.

Getting ticketed for a serious offense like driving under the influence or leaving the scene of an accident can result in the automatic loss of your CDL. Receiving several tickets in a short amount of time can also result in a suspension of your CDL. For specific information, check your CDL handbook. The standards for driving a commercial driver are higher than regular drivers – be extremely cautious on the road. You can’t save money as a truck driver if you’re not allowed to drive!

factor freight bills

7. Use WIFI as much as possible

WIFI is a trucker’s best friend. Many drivers are turning away from CB radio and instead turning to their phone and computer for interaction while on long hauls. Texting and calling are normally free with most cell phone plans, but internet data is something you’re going to have to pay extra for. Unless you have unlimited data, going over your internet limit means serious fees for most providers.

Save money on the road by making sure your phone is using free WIFI as much as possible. WIFI is offered pretty much everywhere you go at this point, so it shouldn’t be hard to find. Some places offer internet but have it password protected. Don’t be afraid to ask for the password – the worst thing that could happen is you get told you can’t have access. With WIFI, you can browse the net or video call your family as much as possible without breaking the bank!

8. Use your phone to pay bills

If you’re a long-haul trucker, you may not be at home for weeks at a time. If you’re getting your bills sent to you house and aren’t there to pay them, you’re going to rack up some serious late fees. Setting up automatic bill pay or electronic bill pay is a great way to make sure you pay on time.

Most companies offer automatic or electronic bill pay when you sign up. If you’re a long-time customer, you can easily switch your billing preferences in-person, online or over the phone. It’s a five-minute process that’s guaranteed to help you lower your trucking expenses by eliminating accidental fees.

9. Exercise (safely)

A great way for truck drivers to save money is by exercising. According to the New York Times, 86 percent of all truck drivers are overweight. In 2008, $149 billion dollars was spent treating obesity-related healthcare problems. Fighting obesity by staying healthy on the road will save you an unbelievable amount of money in prescriptions and medical bills.

It’s not difficult to up your activity level, but it does take a continued effort. If you don’t have any workout ideas for yourself, check out YouTube. Drivers are constantly sharing trucking-specific workouts that don’t require a lot of equipment. Start out slow and work your way from there. Exercising is important to staying healthy, but if it is done incorrectly, you can risk a trip to the hospital.

10. Use cruise control

Gas is a huge expense for truck drivers – save it by using cruise control whenever possible. Using cruise control keeps your truck moving at a steady speed, therefore eliminating the need to constantly speed up or slow down to stay within the limit. Each time you adjust your speed manually, your truck has to work. Especially when it comes to slowing down. It takes a decent amount of gas to get a multi-thousand-pound hunk of steel moving after it has been brought to a stop.

It also prevents you from accidentally going too fast, which is the biggest waste of fuel. Going too fast could also mean a ticket, which means a fee and possibly the loss of your CDL. Use cruise control and watch how much less you need to stop for a fuel up.

11. Pay your insurance as a lump sum

When purchasing insurance, opt to pay for it yearly (or in full). It might be a commitment, but it will save you a hefty chunk of change. If you choose to pay your insurance quarterly or monthly, you will have to pay a familiar annual percentage rate, or APR.

Let’s say insurance for your truck is $5,000 per year if you pay in full, $2,750 if you pay it quarterly and $500 if you pay it monthly. You’d be paying $500 more for the quarterly plan and $1,000 more if you chose to pay monthly. See why paying in full is important to saving money as a truck driver?

12. Do your taxes properly

Another tip for truck drivers looking to save money – make sure your taxes are done correctly, especially if you are an owner-operator. Keep your receipts so you can claim certain deductibles, such as supplies, meals and lodging.

If you think you can handle tax duty on your own, download tax preparation software and have at it. If you’re not, consider hiring a professional. They pretty much pay for themselves in this industry.

13. Use your own containers

Here’s a great tip to save money – use your own containers. Purchase a large reusable water bottle or coffee canister online or get one from your local gas station. Some places offer a discount on drinks if you bring your own cup, so take advantage of that if it is an option! Bring plastic containers with lids so you can save all your leftovers from cooking in your truck.

An added way to save money on the road – bring your own chips and snacks in resealable bags. Most areas have a bulk grocery store where you can buy snacks in extra-large servings. Take them back to your truck and place them in resealable bags or containers to keep them fresh. After you eat one bag’s worth, wash it out and use it to store something else. It reduces your waste and prevents you from buying snacks at every stop.

14. Factor your invoices

If you find yourself in a position where you need money for expenses but don’t get paid until you drop off your load, consider factoring your freight bills. By doing so, you’ll get paid in as little as 24 hours and won’t have to take out a loan. The money you receive from factoring can cover expenses, such as meals, and anything else you encounter on your trucking journey. Most factoring programs can offer fuel cards as well, which is a cost-effective way to fill up your tank.

A money-conscious trucker will be concerned by any financial setback caused by an accident on the road. Therefore, some may want to consider reaching out to a law firm, like Tate Law Offices, to assist with coming to a settlement.

All you need to do is decide what factoring company is best for you and your situation, give them a call or fill out a form and watch the money be deposited into your account. We can help you get started.

Can You Believe It? The Most Surprising Facts About Semi Trucks

They’re everywhere you look on the highway, you can’t miss ’em, right? People know what semis look like, but you might not believe what they’re capable of, where they came from, or what they can do.

If you’re a truck driver, you obviously know how to operate a truck, and you can probably do it pretty well. But, do you know everything about the 18-wheeler you’re driving? Check out these interesting facts about semis that might shock you.

10 Most Interesting Facts About Semis

1. It all started in 1898.

The first semi truck was invented in 1898 and was manufactured the following year. In Cleveland, Ohio, Alexander Winton was a “horseless carriage” manufacturer (to us, that’s making cars) and when his business sold their first carriages, they wanted a more efficient delivery method to get them to their customers.

So all the auto-haulers out there, your semi-trucks are the originals.

2. Only 80,000 pounds?

The maximum weight an 18-wheeler can hold is 80,000 pounds. To put this crazy fact about semis into perspective for you, that’s about 23 small-sized cars, or roughly 450 people.

3. Watch them on the big screen.

There was a period of time in America where semi-trucks were popular in movies. In the 1970s particularly, Smokey and the Bandit, Duel, White Line Fever and Convoy were all released.

Convoy was arguably the most popular and it was based on a song that has made it onto Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Country Songs of All Time.

4. They can have up to 18 gears.

Just like the number of wheels, semitrucks can have up to 18 gears! This is an especially shocking fact about semis for non-truck drivers who rarely even operate a manual car with just four gears.

Not only do truck drivers have 80,000 pounds to maneuver, they potentially have 18 gears to get through.

5. Part of that 80,000 pounds is liquid…

The tank of a semi-truck itself can hold between 100 to 400 gallons of fuel. An even more interesting fact about semis is that the fuel tankers that actually take the gas to a gas station are holding about 9,000 gallons!

6. …because semi-trucks are thirsty.

Most get about 5 to 6.5 gallons of fuel per mile. No, they’re not the most fuel efficient vehicles, but refer to #4 to see what they have to do. You’d be thirsty too.

save time and money

7. If it’s so massive, why is it a “semi”?

The actual part of the semi-truck that is thought of as the “semi” isn’t a truck at all, it’s basically just a huge box full of stuff if you think about it. So, that part, plus the part the driver sits in and steers the vehicle with (the “truck”) equals a semi-truck.

This isn’t the craziest fact about semis on our list, but if anyone asks you why, at least you’ll know the answer!

8. It’s not a popularity contest.

If you were wondering who would be the most popular if it was… As of 2017, the most popular Class 8 truck manufacturer in the United States is Freightliner, with over 37% of the market share.

Coming in second is Peterbilt with 15.9%, followed by Kenworth (12.5%), International (10.9%), Volvo (10.5%), with a few others sharing the rest.

9. Why diesel?

For a vehicle this large, diesel is actually more efficient to ensure that the engine has enough energy to function properly. Engines that run on diesel have a longer life expectancy than engines that run on gasoline, and with the sheer size, amount of miles put into operating, and price of an engine in a semi, those things should be kept in good shape for as long as possible.

10. They’re expensive.

This one doesn’t change, a definite fact about semis is that they’re pretty pricey vehicles. A brand new semi can range anywhere in price from $120 to $200,000 per truck.

You can get a used one for a lot cheaper, but check out our guide to purchasing a used truck before you do.

If you’re in the trucking business and could use some cash for a new truck or simply want more flexibility with you cash flow, you should be factoring your freight bills. With no minimums, high advances, flat fees and fast funding, how could it get any easier? Contact us to get started with a free quote.

 

APU Weight Exemption Guide

APU Weight Exemptions by State

APUs (Auxiliary Power Units) make it possible for truck drivers to remain comfortable while their parked and reduce fuel usage. For example, APUs can be used to power heat and A/C, a mini refrigerator, a television, hot plate or coffee maker.

It’s helpful for truckers because they can still be comfortable while parked, but APUs weigh hundreds of pounds. This makes it difficult for drivers to use them, especially if they’re close to the maximum weight limit.

Laws regulating the weight of trucks can be confusing and they change frequently. It’s important for truckers to understand APU Weight Exemptions in each state to ensure law compliance, while staying comfortable.

Track Your Truck created this helpful table to allow truck drivers to easily understand how much weight is exempt throughout the United States.

APU Exemption Guide

While APU weight exemptions can be confusing, but truck factoring shouldn’t be. Learn more about freight factoring or get started with a free quote to get the best rate with the lowest fees.

Pros and Cons of Leasing a Semi-Truck

Are you in the transportation industry and thinking about leasing a commercial truck instead of buying one? Weigh the pros and cons of leasing instead of buying before you decide what is right for you, personally. Perhaps, you would also like to invest in a ELD Device, you can check out The 10 Best ELD Devices – Reviewing 2019’s Top E-Logs, which will help you decide the best one to get after reading this guide! This guide to leasing a semi truck will be dependent on your personal financial situation, your future plans as a trucker and many other variables, but the general pros and cons are definitely worth considering before making your final decision.

“Should I Lease a Truck?” – The Pros

Pro: Lower upfront cost

Obviously buying a truck is expensive, but if you lease you might be able to put little to no money down. This means you could have your truck sooner than having to save your money for months or trying to qualify for a loan. If you have less than perfect credit, you might not even be able to get a loan at all, so leasing can be a better option. This is also the case when considering leasing a car for business use, so you might find a site like Intelligent Car Leasing useful in providing you with more information.

Pro: Shorter commitment

If you decide to lease your semi truck, it’s far less of a commitment than purchasing a truck, just like if you were to lease a car from somewhere like Conklin GMC. If you’re new to the trucking industry, it might be a better option to lease in case you end up wanting to switch career paths. If you purchase, you have to go through the challenge of selling a truck rather than just terminating your lease if you decide that trucking isn’t for you.

Pro: Less risky

Leasing a semi truck instead of buying your own is financially less of a risk. You’ll know the set amount every month you’re expected to pay when you lease and it offers you more flexibility in years to come rather than purchasing and owning a truck. If you’re slightly unsure about owning your own truck, leasing might be right for you.

Pro: Less maintenance

If you decide to lease a truck, it might be newer than the truck you would be able to afford if you purchased your own, so there should be fewer and less frequent payments for maintenance purposes with a leased commercial vehicle.

Pro: Can upgrade easily

Who doesn’t want the latest and greatest technology? If you lease your commercial vehicle, you’ll be able to upgrade your truck to include features you might not be able to implement into your truck if you own one.

“Why Shouldn’t I Lease a Truck?” – The Cons

Con: It’s technically not yours

Remember how much you loved your first car, even if it was embarrassingly old or ugly? Some drivers love their trucks just as much as they love their pets, kids or spouse (maybe even more!). If you purchase your own, you might not be able to upgrade the technological features as often, but it’s yours to make your own. You can’t really modify a leased truck like you could if it were your own.

Con: You might end up paying more

Although the amount you need initially to purchase a truck is a lot upfront, if you don’t end up buying a truck at the end of your lease, it might end up costing you more than it would have if you just bought one from the start.

Con: Lease agreements can be tricky

If you lease your semi truck, make sure you carefully read and examine the lease agreement before you sign. If you lease from the company you work for (if you aren’t an owner-operator), you might not be eligible for health benefits. They might even deduct the cost of the leased truck right from your paycheck, which isn’t necessarily horrible as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into.

In addition, some contracts will make you set aside specific amounts of money for different types of repairs, but the money set aside might not even be used for those repairs. As Truckers Report explains it, “If your tire escrow account has $1,000 in it, but the carrier requires a tire repair expense to be at least $500 before you can tap into it, you will be forced to pay most tire-related expenses yourself.” This might be frustrating if the situation arises.

So, should you buy or lease?

One of the biggest factors to consider when deciding whether you should be buying or leasing a semi truck deals solely with your financial status. Learn more about how freight factoring can help you get the funding you need to buy or lease a truck. Contact us today to start factoring your freight bills and to make sure you’re getting the best rate in the trucking and transportation industry.

What Would Happen If Trucks Stopped

Why are truckers so important?

Trucking is the beating heart of the U.S. economy. Truck drivers deliver 10 billion tons of every commodity consumed and transport over 671 billion dollars’ worth of goods every year. In fact, 70 percent of all freight moved in the U.S. ranging from the food industry to healthcare is done by trucks.

Many people may not think twice about a truck passing them on the highway, but that truck could be delivering essential medical supplies to save someone’s life. If trucks stopped, the economy and life as we know it would fall apart.

If this were to happen, Americans would be in life-threatening situations from major delivery shortages in no time. Due to their time-sensitivity, there are seven industries that would suffer immediately if trucks stopped moving. These industries include food, healthcare, transportation, retail, manufacturing, waste removal, and banking.

With increasing truck driver shortages, you can only be left to wonder what would happen without truckers? That’s why we compiled an exact timeline of events if trucks stopped today.

One Month without Trucks

Within the first 12 hours

  • Fuel becomes scarce
  • Manufacturing delays an product component shortages
  • Hospitals and nursing homes begin to run out of food and medical supplies
  • U.S. mail and other package delivery services come to a halt

Within 1 day

  • Fuel availability will decrease, which leads to skyrocketing prices and long lines at the gas station
  • Manufacturing comes to a halt and thousands are out of work
  • Food shortages start to develop

Within 2 to 3 days

  • Gas stations are completely out of fuel
  • Without fuel, police, fire, rescue, and other public service vehicles are unable to perform duties, which further endangers public safety
  • Container ships and rail transport is disrupted and comes to a standstill
  • Food shortages escalate, leading to consumer panic and hoarding
  • Essential supplies – such as bottled water, canned meat, and powdered milk – will disappear at major retailers
  • Garbage starts to pile up, which creates breeding grounds for insects and bacteria
  • Medical waste and hazardous material start to release toxins and infectious diseases into living environments
  • ATMs run out of cash and banks are unable to process transactions

Within a week of trucks no longer operating

  • Automobile travel will come to a full halt
  • Hospitals start to lack oxygen supplies

Within 2 weeks

  • Sources of clean water run dry

Within 4 weeks

  • The clean water supply is exhausted and water will only be safe for consumption after boiling
  • The number of gastrointestinal illnesses increases due to lack of clean water, which further exhausts the already weakened health care system

However scary it may sound, this timeline of a world without trucks only shows the direct effects of a freeze in the trucking industry. Secondary effects of a trucker shutdown can also be taken into consideration, such as reduced law enforcement, increased crime, inability to use telecommunications, increased illness and injury, higher death rates, and civil unrest.

When trucks stop running, it will only be a matter of time before all our nation’s regular functions stop, which would trigger a series of events that will change the way we live.

Hopefully, this timeline gives you some newfound appreciation for truck drivers. The country truly wouldn’t be the same without their dedicated efforts. If you’re a truck driver, you should pat yourself on the back. You provide a very important service to this country.

A trucker’s job is essential to the continuation of the modern world as we know it. However important they may be, trucks are still dangerous vehicles to be around. If you have been involved in an incident, you could consider speaking with South Carolina Truck Accident Attorneys.

Since we know the consequences would be great if trucks stopped, make sure that you keep yours on the road. Thankfully, freight factoring is a straightforward way for truck drivers to get paid sooner. Give us a call today to boost your cash flow, in order to keep performing your important work. After all, when trucks stop, America stops.

How to Battle Homesickness on the Road

Dealing with homesickness as a truck driver

A truck driver’s life sounds like a country song: open roads, working hard, deadlines to meet, lone soul getting it done. The reality is that while trucking is a great career, it often comes with long days away from home.

Even the most seasoned truck driver will feel pangs of homesickness from time to time. How do you cope with missing home when your job is, by definition, away from home?

Homesickness for truck drivers can present itself in many forms, such as being irritable, anxious, tense, or just constantly thinking about home. It has been known that some truck drivers drink alcohol to forget this homesickness and some get caught and prosecuted with a DUI because of it. If you feel you have wrongly been issued with a DUI visit the Cambell Law Firm or someone similar for advice. Whereas these feelings may just be an annoyance to other professionals, they can present a serious risk to a truck driver’s quality of work. Any type of distraction can impact the overall experience very easily and significantly in a job that requires vigilance, long hours, and technical precision. Consequently, attending to your wandering mind is in your best interest as well as those around you. Don’t become a distracted driver!

Trucking should be a career you enjoy, so hopefully our 10 tips will help you deal with homesickness on the road.

10 Tips for Truck Drivers who are Homesick

1. Take your feelings seriously

Downplaying your homesickness is just as ineffective as ignoring it all together. Without proper attention, these feelings could linger around for days instead of hours. It may feel silly to acknowledge that you’re homesick when you’re trying to focus on work, but remember that many truckers have to cope with homesickness.

Humans are naturally drawn to routine and breaking from that can be stressful. Truck driving, by nature, is breaking from routine and overcoming that is impressive, whether you’re a newbie or a veteran.

2. Skype and call daily

Call your family or friends daily and ask them how their day is going. When possible, hit the free Wi-Fi spots on the road, so you’re not only talking but also seeing each other. Try to make these daily calls a family thing, for instance by reading stories to your children over Skype. If you each have the same books, you can even read together. Nothing beats homesickness for truck drivers than a little bit of quality time with your family.

3. Send pictures to family and friends

If you or your family can’t schedule a time to call, keep in touch by sending each other pictures throughout the day. It will make you feel like you’re right there even when you’re miles apart.

4. Send postcards to your kids from different states

Children hardly ever get mail with their name on it. Fighting homesickness becomes easier by imagining their faces light up when they get a postcard from their mom or dad from a totally different state! Moreover, this is a great learning tool to teach your children all the states and capitals.

5. Carry pictures of your family in the truck

Not only can you show off to other truck drivers with photos of your beautiful family, but looking at these pictures from time to time while driving will also put you in a better mood. It’s a good reminder of who you’re doing this work for and that every mile driven is one closer to them.

6. Make your cab feel like home

Because you’re spending a lot of time in the cab of your truck, try to make it as cozy as possible. A nice mattress and bedding already goes a long way. Fight homesickness by bringing your favorite pillow or blanket that smells like home or your spouse. Additionally, these items will give you a good night’s sleep, which will make you feel a lot better the next day.

You can also make your cab more fun by hanging up some curtains and placing a few posters of your favorite movies or sports team. You can also bring a coffee pot or crockpot to brew coffee or cook meals.

7. Be kind to your body

Feeling great physically can help fend off even the worst pangs of homesickness, whereas feeling sluggish or sick can magnify them exponentially. Drink water, eat balanced meals, snack when you’re feeling lightheaded, and sleep as much as possible. Don’t skip meals, but try to avoid the cheeseburger and fries at fast food restaurants.

Furthermore, physical activity releases endorphins, which helps improve your mood and release negative emotions. It may be challenging to find time to work out on the road, so stop at rest areas when possible and stretch your legs by walking for 15 minutes or so. Stay healthy for your wellbeing and to help overcome your homesickness!

8. Get a hobby

Take your mind off missing home by listening to a fun podcast or watching the newest movies and shows on Netflix. You can even channel the secret bookworm hiding inside of you by picking up a book.

9. Bring someone along

Homesickness for truck drivers is made worse by the long hours spent alone. Thankfully, some trucking companies allow for drivers to bring their significant others, close friend or even pet. A little one on one quality time with a person you care about works wonders for your relationship and homesickness.

10. Talk to other truck drivers at stops

You’re all in the same boat, so why not talk to the other truckers at the stops or even reach out over the CB for a quick chat with fellow drivers. A work family can be almost as great as your family waiting at home.

The independence and open road are major rewards that come with the trucking profession. There is good reason for why truckers are so proud of what they do. It may be impossible to never feel homesick, but hopefully these tips can make it a little easier.

While there are many challenges to working in the trucking industry, finances should not be one of them. Thankfully, freight factoring is a straightforward way to boost your cash flow. Let us take a load of your shoulders, so you can focus hauling your loads.