Get your 3 o’clock hustle on!
This is an excellent time of the year to score some really high-paying loads, and to be the one who saves the day for your customer. I am getting excited, because it’s been two years since we’ve seen such strong demand for trucks, and that demand is incredibly important when you get ready to hustle.
What is the 3 o’clock hustle?
When demand is high, truckers get less excited about hauling at the current market rate, and a lot of freight deliveries get rescheduled to the next day. As pressure continues to build, and rescheduling is no longer an option, that’s when 3 o’clock becomes hustle time.
You’ll know it’s hustle time when there are more team runs posted than usual. You might also see what looks like the same load posted by multiple brokers. That’s because shippers lose patience with that one broker who failed to bring a truck to the dock, and the shipper may give that same load to several brokers until one of them can secure a truck.
You can save the day
If you’re a carrier and you want to hustle in this high-demand market, remember that it is your responsibility to save the day. If you have a good relationship with a broker, you can save the day by committing to the load, so your broker is the one who wins the shipper’s business. Other carriers might decide that the load that pays the most is the one that needs to be saved the most.
I personally have benefited in the past two years from relationships I’ve established, so I want to serve those brokers who have kept me employed during the slow times. We all know the spot market can be like a roller coaster, so you can choose how to manage the highs and lows.
The ultimate setup for the hustle
Here’s how you’ll know when conditions are perfect for the 3 o’clock hustle:
1. There are a lot more loads than trucks posted on the load board within a 70-mile radius of your truck.
2. There are a lot more loads leaving a market than coming into the market.
3. Your truck is one of only a few left in the truck stop parking lot at 3 o’clock. This is a sign that an urgent call could be coming your way.
Be prepared, have patience, and don’t get discouraged if you didn’t get a decent-paying load in the morning hours. If the setup is predicting high demand for trucks, there will be another wave of freight with higher rates, and that wave will hit the load board at 3 o’clock.
Post your truck at 3 o’clock, with precise details of what you’re looking for. Include information in the notes: My truck is empty, I can be there at 4:30, my preferred destination is…whatever. (Check out my earlier blog post for more tips on finding great loads.)
Quote every load, no matter how ugly it is. You might be the only one that quotes that load, and if it has to move, you’ll be in a great negotiating position.
Now, do the hustle!
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Note: This article was adapted from DAT’s blog post. It was first published in May, 2017.