11/10/2023 by Christine Morris
Sitting trucks cost your business money, so why not look into dedicated freight?
Do you have times when your company’s trucks aren’t moving? Are you tired of working for different people, transporting different kinds of freight, and your drivers running different routes every day?
For carriers looking for consistency in their schedules and stable revenue, dedicated freight is the key to keeping your trucks moving, developing strong business relationships, and steady earnings.
Dedicated freight is a contracted arrangement between a carrier and a shipper or freight broker. This differs from spot freight because the carrier agrees to haul consistent truckload shipments in the same lane and at a fixed rate for a specified amount of time – often three to six months or a year. Contract or primary freight are other names for it.
In a dedicated contract, the carrier commits a certain amount of their driver capacity to the shipper and often must meet minimum service requirements, like on-time pickup or tender acceptance, to keep the lane. In turn, the shipper commits a certain amount of consistent freight to the carrier, with usually at least one load per week. Unlike fluctuating spot rates, contract rates stay the same, excluding any fuel changes.
That depends on the market.
If it’s a “carrier’s market”, one in which there is more freight available than carriers, the spot market often pays a higher rate than dedicated.
If it’s a “shipper’s market”, one in which there are more carriers than freight available, then the spot market often pays a lower rate than dedicated since its pricing is locked in over the length of the contract.
The biggest takeaway with dedicated freight is its consistency. Dedicated freight is steady freight with a locked-in rate, so you’ll have stable revenue, no matter the market conditions. Because of this, most carrier businesses aim to have a mix of spot and dedicated freight to get the best of both worlds.
Many carriers think that you need to have a large fleet, but that’s simply not true. There are many companies with 50 or fewer trucks hauling contracted freight.
While there’s no set limit to how many trucks you need to handle dedicated opportunities, most find that around 15 trailers or more is what’s needed to be able to manage a shipper’s needs.
Consistent freight to haul and a stable payday aren’t the only benefits of running dedicated freight.
Consistent freight in the same lanes means your drivers are going to get familiar with their routes, the facilities, and the staff. They will quickly learn how to better navigate their journey, reducing their risk of getting lost, and being less prone to accidents. On top of this, they’ll gain a more predictable schedule, meaning they know exactly when they should be getting home to their families. This also means it may be easier to keep current and recruit new drivers for your business.
Your dispatchers will be happier too! Having dedicated lanes frees up time for your dispatchers to focus on finding tougher backhauls, keeping your drivers happy, and getting reimbursed for any accessorials.
Have you ever seen a load that you were ready to book on a load board only to find another carrier snagged it first? With dedicated freight, there will be no more fighting over posted shipments since the tender goes right to you.
Working with a consistent customer means you can build a strong relationship with them and possibly gain repeat business.
Since your drivers will become more familiar with their route and freight, your business will become more efficient in the process.
By having long-term agreements for steady shipments, you can budget and forecast your company finances more easily.
With dedicated freight, you don’t have to worry about the fluctuating freight market. You’ll have more time to manage the rest of your business and look into growing your fleet.
It can be difficult to find and win dedicated freight opportunities alone. That’s why it’s beneficial to work with a third-party logistics (3PL) company, like Trinity Logistics, to easily open the doors to them.
Currently, carriers in the Trinity Logistics network move over 1,400 shipments each day. While most of what gets moved is on an as-needed basis, we constantly encourage our shipper relationships with consistent freight to try dedicated contracts.
Now, you know your business best. That’s why we have a Carrier Development Team that works to better understand your company, your needs, and your business goals. This helps you out so that when we gain a dedicated freight opportunity or bidding opportunities on behalf of our shipper relationships, we know what carrier relationships to send them based on criteria such as location, equipment type, or visibility through tracking.
So, if you’re already a carrier with Trinity Logistics, make sure your carrier profile is up to date. If you’re not sure whether yours is, send our Carrier Development Team a message at email@example.com.
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