As a hotshot driver, the most critical business decision you will make today is whether to accept the load you are being offered. All successful expediters have a decion making process for load acceptance. In the first installment, of this blog, we'll share our approach in Belief and Art of load refusal.
Belief: From experience, trial and error, and our personal belief paradigm, we routinely accept all loads that are offered us, but we do use a decision making model to identify those loads that are clearly a bad choice. We drive for Panther Expedite, and based on their critiea for load refusal, we only refuse about two loads a year. In fact, in 2011, we refused zero loads. We believe in the “mystery” that Life offers and with each decision there are always an infinite array of outcomes, consequences, and possibilities. We are incapable of predicting the future, so declining a load offer that on the outset looks like poor choice may be keeping us from a great opportunity and adventure that awaits us after we deliver that “favor load” across town
We are optimists who believe in the extraordinary power of thought. Those who seem to be constantly whining and complaining are setting themselves up to be the victims of their own life experience. Those who are optimistic and positive thinkers see themselves as creators of their own life experience. The victims see others as responsible and themselves not accountable for what is happening to them. The creators see themselves as responable and accountable for what is happening. Yes “stuff happens” and “life’s not fair” but that’s simply called living. We do get to choose whether we are victims or creators. Through experience, we have demonstrated to ourselves that by accepting responsibility as creators of our life enterprise, which involves a Higher Benefactor, we will experience success. And, each load offer gives us another opportunity to enjoy the “mystery”.
Art: Experience is the greatest teacher in most careers and businesses and certainly the OJT aspect of expediting is no exception. In reflecting on our first year on the road, there was not a day that we didn’t learn something new about this business and about ourselves. Certainly knowing where the expedited freight is and isn’t throughout North America seems to takes about a year to figure out for a newbie. Like the excitement of taking a 2,800 mile load to Edmonton, Alberta, but then the downer of having to drive 1,200 miles back to Minneapolis to get in line for the next run. We live in Medford, Oregon and learned very quickly that expedited west coast freight really sucks and our times at home where going to be few and far between. The positive side of that is we are, in a sense, forced to be available a great many days of the year. Mother Panther keeps track of days we are available for loads and they average about three hundred and thirty days a year, and all of those are days away from home.
We enjoy driving the west and western loads usually average significant mileage, but then there is the down time waiting for the next call. After delivery to a location out of the freight lanes, especially on a Thursday or Friday, we’ve learned to ask ourselves the question, “When we wake up Monday morning where do we want to be?” The answer will generally lead us to relocating over the weekend and asking our carrier for some help to cover the fuel costs. From experience, we don’t do “backhauls” (conventional freight boards). If something is going to go wrong and get crazy, it seems to happen with these loads. If we accept a load out of the freight lanes based on the belief that a “backhaul” will save us, then that is a suckers bet. If we are taking a load to nowhere, we negotiate some return options with our carrier.
We appreciate that this might sound a bit preachy or woo woo to some, but we’re needing to share this in order to be faithful to our process. In Part ll of this blog, I will discuss the science of accepting a load.
Check your mirrors and keep’r between the lines
gary and barb