ARE DOUBLE WEEKEND LOADS REALLY WORTH IT?
Through the texts on our website, we reveal little secrets of what the world of the commercial trucking industry in the USA looks like. This is exactly how it will be in this text, where we will deal with the topic of double weekend loads.
If you don’t know what a “load” is, let alone what a “double weekend load” is, you can easily find out if you log in to our THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE ONLINE COURSE FOR A TRUCK DISPATCHER IN USA and watch 4 free lessons we have prepared for you.
Through these four free lessons in our online course for truck dispatchers in the United States of America, you will get basic information about the course itself, the course mentor, but also about the basics of the “OTR” (On The Road) transport industry.
And now, let’s dive a little deeper into our topic.
EVERYONE PULLS THE ROPE TOWARDS THEMSELVES
It is a well-known fact that brokers push for their cargo to be picked up at the last minute with their catchphrase that they “pay out of pocket” just so they can show their clients that they have done everything in their power to ship their cargo.
Brokers are often willing to offer a seemingly insane amount of money for shipments that have fixed delivery dates in facilities that have 7 days rescheduling policy if the original appointment was missed. As well as for loads for which the transit time, in order to achieve the unloading appointment, cannot be achieved neither legally nor illegally at the moment the broker offers it to you.
The catch is that they wanted to cover such a load cheap until the moment when it could no longer be done.
Only then, in the eyes of their client, they could shift the blame to the carrier for not being on time to load or unload and “provide quality service”.
NOT SO FAIR PLAY TOWARDS THE CARRIERS
In addition, it often happens that they resort to not-so-honorable actions (although they are not illegal, so this is somewhere in the gray area of business) where they state the unloading time for the delivery on the rate confirmation, which they themselves know is not true, but is sometimes set for several days in future.
Especially if the unloading contact is not listed on the rate confirmation and cannot be found on the internet, so you cannot call and confirm the actual work hours and schedule for offloading with the receiver.
This is especially true for loads that unload on weekends at large distribution centers that have centralized loading and unloading appointment offices that themselves do not operate on weekends.
Then you call the broker and of course he doesn’t answer or gives curt answers about how they are “trying” to solve the situation with their client, and so on until the actual delivery date, for which they have already prepared to pay fees for layovers. Unfortunately, that means nothing to you compared to the money you had on the next load that you lost because of this. Or the lost potential of expected future capacity utilization, significantly reducing your weekly/monthly earnings.
ECONOMIC PROFITABILITY OF DOUBLE WEEKEND LOADS
Every business in this world comes down to its economic profitability, because if it is missing, then we leave the business realm and move into the realm of hobby.
Of course, since the beginning of the business world there has been business competition with oneself and others, comparison of business balance sheets and success, keeping statistics of the economic profitability of the business entity, of the business unit within the same entity and the employee as an individual within that business entity (or within one team).
In a trucking industry where maximum capacity utilization are paramount, all parties involved are looking to squeeze every last possible hour and minute out of a driver’s available time on tachograph, as well as every available dollar that can be grabbed.
The work environment that was built decades ago has turned everyone involved in any phase of the business into numbers on paper. Not only in this industry but globally in all industries today. The human factor is mentioned more as a syntagma for error than for the positive exchange of ideas, aspirations and needs of an individual within a work environment.
WHY IS IT POTENTIALIZED TO GO WITH DOUBLE LOADS OVER THE WEEKEND?
Accordingly, it is not surprising that many companies require their dispatchers and drivers to drive as many loads as possible during the working week in order to maximize the utilization of the available capacity and obtain the highest possible weekly and monthly gross (turnover) per work unit.
Where the problem is encountered is when those boundaries are pushed to their extreme limits. The ultimate limits of drivers and dispatchers as well as the ultimate limits of the current state of supply and demand on the market.
One of the most common examples is the following.
Promotion on loadings that take place on Friday and unloading on Saturday or Sunday with reloading after unloading, which would then be followed by unloading on the following Monday. In this way, a 50%-100% higher gross would often be made compared to one load that would pick up on Friday and deliver on Monday.
IN A PERFECT WORLD EVERYONE HAS “A” IN MATH.
In that perfect world, where all the pieces of the puzzle fit together such as the loading and unloading times of potential weekend loads, with no delays on either side and the mandatory weekly reset of the electronic tachograph for that driver fitting perfectly, that individual would potentially be able to make 52 more loads per year.
There are roughly 52 weeks in a year and if we say that in that perfect world the driver would be able to get one extra load every weekend where all the stars aligned, and his dispatcher was so clever to find him such loads that fit into his work hours and with such rates that please the company.
Of course, the calculation is rough and we take into account non-stop work and no rest, which is not possible.
Even if the driver and the dispatcher are able to do this every other weekend, that means in 50% of the cases, we still end up with 26 additional trips per year.
That number doesn’t sound big considering there are 365 days in a year, right?
But if we consider that one month has an average of 22 working days, and that most drivers drive 22 loads per month, 12 months a year, then the figure of 26 additional loads per year does not sound that small, does it? It’s a complete potential month of additional traffic, which is measured in tens of thousands of dollars.
As one dispatcher takes care of an average of five or six trucks within his group, and in this perfect world he manages to replicate this example with each one of them, we get an additional 6 months of traffic within a year.
The mathematics of a perfect world is very simple and clear.
IS IT WORTH RISKING WITH DOUBLE LOADS OVER THE WEEKEND?
Even when the market is in its full glory and the wheels of the economy are spinning at full steam, every step out of the ordinary everyday life carries with it certain risks.
Workers in the USA are among the highest paid and most protected workers in the world. Through many revolutions, strikes and the establishment of trade unions, they achieved their rights to live honestly from their work.
Consequently, overtime hours, especially the ones on weekends, are paid extra and in most industries there is simply no room for that extra expense. Especially when talking about the supply chain fixed costs of storing and handling goods. This is also one of the main reasons why the vast majority of warehouses do not work on weekends.
Through many years of experience, we have come to the conclusion that over 80% of warehouses do not work on weekends. In many companies, sales department and maybe some other services will work on weekends, but the receiving and shipping of goods will still have to wait until Monday.
This directly affects the need to receive or ship goods over the weekend resulting in far fewer weekend shipping inquiries.
Even the very broker with whom you arranged the load will not work on weekends. If you run into any problem and call the broker’s office over the weekend for help, the best chance is that you will get through to someone from their skeleton crew operating on weekend who will advise that you have to wait until Monday for that situation to be resolved.
Often when you call a broker on the weekend, they tell you that only the “skeleton crew” on their end is available. That is a small team of workers on weekend duty in some internally determined order and there is little chance that someone who is not exactly in the subject, even though they are from the same company, will help you at a given moment.
WHEN TO TAKE DOUBLE WEEKEND LOADS?
As we already know, it is necessary to roll all the dice in order for the driver to be able to perform the weekend load.
That he has enough hours left on the tachograph for that week, that the distance between loads is such that he can arrive at them without delay and that he can reset the weekly cycle before unloading on Monday.
If all these dice match, and the dispatcher manages to agree on satisfactory monetary compensation for those two loads, immediately after receiving the work orders from the broker, I suggest that the following should be done.
Immediately call the loading facility and the unloading facility for both loads, ask to speak directly with someone who works in the warehouse and check with them the loading/unloading schedule and related numbers.
If we hypothetically say that we took two trips over the weekend, where one loads at one loading facility on Friday and unloads also at one unloading facility on Saturday, and the other loads at one loading facility on Saturday and unloads also at one unloading facility on Monday, that means that we are basically four phone calls away from confirming that everything should go smoothly over the weekend.
If the phone numbers for the place of loading and unloading are not indicated on the work order, and if they cannot be found on the Internet, you have every right to ask the broker to provide them so that you can personally confirm whether the loading/unloading will actually take place on that date and within the agreed hours. If the broker delays or does not want to provide this information, return the load and do not haul it.
Another option when weekend loads can also be taken would be, if the load that picks on Friday and unloads on any day of the weekend is paid well enough, and in relation to the current state of the market on the day you book it, is among the best in relation to your specific search and you would haul it as such even if it unloads on Monday.
In that case, the extra weekend load that you take after this good paid load is just icing on the cake and if it doesn’t happen, you still have the whole cake. Which is not a little.
Be that as it may, keep your eyes open and check all the information you get from the other side. Sometimes the foul committed by the other side is not intentional, but simply a mistake due to handling a large amount of information.
Everyone makes a mistake and it’s not a terrible thing.
It becomes terrible if that mistake is repeated week after week and damages the company financially and in terms of reputation.
Through our online course in which we will teach you how to become a dispatcher, you will get all the secrets of this trade and not only that, but also a proven way of working according to the turnkey system, created through decades of experience, how to perform this job very successfully.
So that other people’s mistakes don’t cost you money, and so that you don’t damage any party you work with, enroll in our dispatcher course and use our experience on how to do this job the right way and create a safe future for yourself.