Bottom Line
Hauling Produce
Charge what you can for layovers
You should always know who's paying for the freight before you haul the load

Question: You are constantly publishing layover rates of between $100 and $250 per day when truckers have to wait. I think you are doing a disservice to the industry, as this amount is too low. I charge (and get) as much as $750 per day in some cases, but never those low amounts like you recommended. Basically, I charge what it costs me to keep my truck off the road for a day. Care to comment?

Answer: First of all, I don't recommend charging $100-$250 per day. I just stated that this seems to be the norm in the produce industry. I recommend charging all you can get. If you have a layover, someone has breached the contract and you should be compensated for it. I stand by my comments that layover fees are still very tough to get in the produce industry because not enough truckers play hardball when the situation presents itself. Not enough brokers stand up for the truck to negotiate a fair fee. I fully believe that if a truck is forced to lay over due to no fault of their own, they should be compensated for the amount of money they are out of pocket for that delay. If the shoe is on the other foot and the truck is late for reasons that are his/her fault, the receiver is certainly going to make that claim against the truck. Why shouldn't it work the other way too?

Question: I am owed for a load by a broker who keeps telling me they billed the receiver who now won't pay. The broker says the receiver is telling him the shipper is the one who should pay the freight. What can I do?

Answer: How was the contract worded? The broker should not be allowed to bail out on this one, even if he was a collect and remit broker. It sounds to me that there may be more to this one than meets the eye. I would tell the broker that the contract you had was with him and you expect him to pay you, or you are going to sue him. As we have discussed in other columns, with produce, the broker does not have the responsibility to pay if he does not get paid in a collect and remit situation. However, a judge may find otherwise, so I would supply the threat if I were you. You should always know who's paying for the freight before you haul the load. The broker may be rated pretty well but the receiver may not be paying anyone. If you don't know information like this, you're headed for trouble.

Question: My broker has a $10,000 surety bond. Doesn't that protect me if he disappears or goes out of business?

Answer: That depends on several things. Have you ever extended more than $10,000 in credit to the broker? If you have, then no, you're not totally protected. If you are extending less than $10,000, then you are assuming that you are going to get there to file before everyone else does. The thing about a $10,000 surety bond is that I know of very few businesses that get in trouble for $10,000. Most owe five to 10 times that amount when things come to a head. This means that if you aren't one of the first ones to file against the bond, there isn't going to be anything left when you get there. Knowing that a broker has a $10,000 bond is nice, but it won't help too many creditors in the event the brokerage fails. I think it is much more important to get a credit report from us or whomever you use to make sure the broker is reputable and paying his/her bills. And, if you are filing against a bond, do it quickly. The slightest delay will cost you your freight.

I would like to state again that Red Book Credit Services is only as good as the information we receive. If you have had a problem with someone in the produce industry, report it to us. It will immediately become part of that company's credit profile. So, when anyone inquires, this information will be reported. You can call us at 1-800-252-1925 or fax us at 913-438-0690 or e-mail us at rbcs@rbcs.com. Your information will be kept confidential. You do not need to be a subscriber to report information to us as long as you can document your report. Remember that we work for you. Help us to deliver the best information we can possibly deliver regarding truck brokers and the produce industry.

Aug/Sept Digital Edition