If you are planning to start a small trucking company you will need to understand the way freight rates
work. Without knowing the cycle of things you might just be in for a surprise that will come up behind you and mug you out of the blue. In other businesses the scheme of things work on supply and demand more so then they do in trucking. Here’s what you can look forward to.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to create a sense that going into the trucking business is a mistake, I’m simply not going to sugar coat it like so many people do. By knowing how things really work you will be better prepared for the volatility that goes hand in hand with trucking. While the rewards can at times be fruitful, at other times it’s similar to ramming your head off a brick wall continuously. You have to be stubborn and have a firm backbone to survive these times or you might go mad.
When you read reports that freight tonnage is on the rise in America you might get a little excited thinking that immediately you will start seeing higher freight rates, but that is false hope. Like seasons of the year trucking runs on a cycle. It’s not set in stone when these cycles will kick in, but once you get the feel for it you can adjust your operations accordingly to make it through the rough patches easier.
Usually it takes 2-3 months for freight rates to rise when consumption is on an incline. Your main cost involved with moving freight is of course fuel. Fuel prices have no rhyme or reason and more often than not when freight rates are down the oil companies are looking to maintain profit by raising their prices. I know it makes no sense, but this is normally how it happens. As freight rates start to rise and trucking companies begin buying more fuel then the price of fuel will drop again, but much slower than the time it took to rise.
Because of this effect what happens is there are several sweet spots throughout the year that are short lived pockets of higher profits. The freight rates rise slowly and the fuel prices fall slowly and eventually meet at a point where they float for a moment in perfect harmony.
When you learn to get the feel for this happening then you can be ready to jump on the market like an old school fake wrestler off the top rope. Don’t get discouraged, trucking is a big boy/girl ride full of extreme twists and turns, but when you learn to take advantage of the good times you will be better prepared to crawl through the bad.
Speaking of being prepared to take advantage of a market in your favor you should check out how ExpressTruckTax makes it a trucking company owners market all year when it comes to your trucking taxes.