3 Success Tips from Top Expedite YouTubers
Imagine you could be in the same room with the expedited trucking industry's most popular YouTubers and ask them questions to get real-world advice on how to start and grow your business.
That's precisely what attendees got to experience in the "Q&A with Successful Expedite Drivers" session at Expedite Expo 2019 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, in July.
The panelists included:
- The Trucking Couple: Frank and Stephanie Rebelo, who were also finalists for Expediter of the Year
- The Crafty Trucker: Heather and Jason Hutchens
- Expediter Boogie: Jerry McCallister and Don Clute.
Here are three big takeaways from that discussion to help you get started on the right foot in expediting.
#1. There is no one-size-fits-all vehicle.
Which is better for expediting: tractor or straight truck?
The consensus from the panelists: It depends on what best fits you and your career goals.
"You're going to make a little less dropping down to an expedite [straight truck], but you'll also have [lower] expenses," says Jason Hutchens. "We've never done tractor-trailer, but I would think it would somewhat balance out just because of the [lower] expenses. Just the money savings alone from dropping down from a big 18-wheeler to a straight truck-the bottom line should end up being pretty similar."
Should you add a liftgate?
"The more, the better," says Hutchens. "The more you can haul [because of the liftgate], the better the opportunity to get a load. We've paid $12,000 for a liftgate and used it only a handful of times. But those handfuls of times we're really good paying loads. Those loads have pretty much paid for the liftgate."
Dry box or reefer (refrigerated) body?
That depends. If spec'd properly, a reefer body can expand your freight opportunities to handle both general and temperature-sensitive freight. But some carriers or customers don't allow for dry freight in a reefer body because of the condensation in the refrigerated unit.
Jerry McCallister, with FedEx Custom Critical, hauls both dry and reefer freight.
"It doesn't matter if it's an automotive part or we turn around and do [temperature-sensitive] pharmaceuticals," says McCallister. "There have been plenty of times where we've done a negative temp load (minus 5 degrees) and then, our very next one, we're picking up an automotive part or vice versa."
Frank Rebelo also runs with FedEx. "One of the things we've seen is that sometimes we'll do an electronics load, but the customer will say, 'There has to be 24 hours in between [loads] so the box can dry up,'" says Rebelo.
But there are no perfect answers to these [truck spec] questions, says Rebelo. "If there was one piece of equipment that would fit all the loads, then everyone would own that piece of equipment."
Pointing to the other drivers on the panel, Rebelo says, "What makes them strong and profitable is what they do. What makes us profitable is what we do. You try to maximize your profit potential with the equipment you have."
#2. Patience is a virtue-and critical to your profitability.
When it comes to choosing loads, be patient. Don't panic and take the first available load that could be bad for you financially.
"Be consistent. Be patient. Stick to your game," says Rebelo. "Don't have FOMO (fear of missing out). Don't let this fear get into your head. There are loads out there. Be patient. Wait for it. And it will pay off."
Hutchens agrees. "You really need the patience to be willing to sit in expediting. Because if you're just taking whatever you can get, you could be costing yourself money."
(Deeper dive: What Determines a 'Good Load'?)
#3. Be self-aware with your negotiating power.
Sometimes you can negotiate yourself out of a load. So, how do you strike the right balance?
"If you're sitting in Bute, Montana, chances are you aren't going to have any negotiation power," says Hutchens. "But if you're sitting where you know your company has a good customer, and there are no other trucks around in the area, you have more negotiation power."
When do you have more leverage to negotiate?
"If the load is going to a bad area, don't take it for a regular rate. Make sure it pays to make it worth going to Bute, Montana," says Hutchens.
(Deeper dive: Negotiation Tips for Expediters.)
The Bottom Line
While it's smart to get as much advice as possible before you start in this business, there's a lot you won't learn until you take the first step.
"It's in our nature to want to know all that's possible," says Rebelo. "But nothing is going to replace true life experience. There is no one answer to anything. You prepare yourself the best you can, but nothing is going to replace the experience of doing."