Small business truckers pondering fuel, rate miseries

| 3/17/2008

Carl Brown, Gainesville, GA, knows that brokers and companies pushing owner-operators to haul cheap is nothing new to the industry. But he said with costs so high, he’s amazed at how willing some truckers are to keep hauling cheap freight.

“I was offered a load to Dallas for 90 cents a mile,” he said. “I have not hauled anything for that in years.”

Brown said the load was on a load board and after only three minutes, it was snapped up by some driver willing to haul dirt cheap.

“I know because I was on the phone calling about it,” he said.

Brown is incredulous that truckers will take loads that cannot logically make money. He said it costs him 70 cents a mile for fuel only to run the truck.

The worst of it, Brown said, is that as long as somebody will take it cheap, the rates will not improve. He said that these drivers are only causing problems for other truckers, and in three weeks they’ll be bankrupt themselves.

Lisa Goodpaster, East Palatka, FL, said it costs her 75 cents a mile for fuel alone. She is paying more than $4 a gallon for diesel. She is tired of hearing brokers refuse her rate because “some dummy will haul it just to move.” Goodpaster said the truckers who haul cheap must not realize the costs have quadrupled and “you are now being paid less than a third of what it used to pay.”

Her message to those truckers is: “You are one breakdown away from being out of it yourselves.”

Heather Mock, Newmanstown, PA, and her husband run a small trucking operation. He drives, she dispatches. Heather said, “If things don’t start to change, a lot of owner-operators will not be running.” She cited the cost of fuel, brokers getting more than their fair share, and truckers too willing to haul cheap.

“We love what we do,” said Mock, “but we are really paying the price.”

– By Land Line staff