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Backhaul strategy

Backhaul is a very commonly used term in the trucking industry. Truckers are able to make more money with these types of loads. Leveraging backhaul helps optimize their cargo-carrying opportunities to reduce unladen miles in order improve bottom line when running a trucking business.

When you have a backhaul, this means that you are hauling a load from Point B, which would be the trucker’s first destination, back to point A, which could either be some point in between the destinations or the actual origin. Essentially, you are driving back from that direction anyway, so it makes financial sense to take a backhaul whenever possible. 

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There are costs associated with a backhaul. Anytime you are using your commercial motor vehicle to haul a load, it does cost you money. The key is for you to calculate their operation costs before you can figure out how low on rate you can go with the brokered freight. Before you accept a backhaul, you need to understand what your base rate is to be making money on that particular backhaul load.

You then need to compare taking a backhaul with deadheading, which is essentially pulling an empty trailer back to the point of origin. You will obviously save money via better fuel economy (since you are not pulling a load) and add gross weight to the commercial motor vehicle. On the other hand, you are not being paid any money to drive during that time, unless you are paid by the hour, which would not be the norm. 

That being said, many larger trucking companies do some form of deadhead pay for truckers. This pay is typically lower than what the trucker would receive for hauling loads, however, it is better than not getting paid at all for a trucker’s driving time. 

When you are operating a commercial motor vehicle, you are burning fuel and oil, and are depreciating the value of the truck. You are also adding wear and tear on the vehicle, so anytime you are putting your rig on the road, you want to make sure it is generating revenue as optimally as possible.

A backhaul is the best option because it helps a trucker keep their trailer full, provided the rate of pay ensures that revenue exceeds costs. Essentially, you will benefit from getting two loads for the price of one. Some truckers and carriers feel that backhauls are lower in price than regular loads; however, this does not have to necessarily be the issue. 

BigRoadFreight-DriverAcceptance-SmallIf you are looking to secure a backhaul on the way back home, you can leverage BigRoad Freight to identify the type of load and the specific destination you are going to generate more revenue. 

BigRoad Freight app personalizes loads based on multiple parameters: driver’s equipment, vehicle type, weight, capacity, current location and destination, as well as available drive time (HOS) to be able to deliver the new load.

The ideal way to leverage a backhaul load is to understand what round-trip rates are when deciding on whether to accept a backhaul or not.  

 

 

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About the Author: Marc Moncion

Marc Moncion

Marc is the Head of Safety, Compliance & Regulatory Affairs for Fleet Complete. Marc is an author and industry subject matter expert that has worked in numerous senior transportation management roles for over 25 years, including an Inspector for the MTO. Marc sits on several Federal/State/Provincial regulatory bodies, and frequently provides commentary on emerging technology, best practices and regulatory affairs. In addition, Marc is a commercial driver’s licence (CLD) holder, and can drive all types of commercial vehicles in North America.