Blog Archives | A STRONG GROUP

Category Archives: Blog

flatbed freight

10 best areas for Flatbed Freight

Truck drivers either love or hate Flatbed freight, mostly because of all the tarping that comes with it. A lot of drivers are drawn to Flatbeds for their higher rates compared to Dry Van and sometimes even Reefer loads.

Usually, Flatbed freight requires a few months of training if you’ve never done it before because the loads on Flatbed can be a serious danger on the road if not handled correctly.

Even though Dry Van loads can be of a much higher value, flatbed rates are always higher due to the higher skill needed to deliver them.

Flatbed freight volume across the US

When compared to the same month last year, Flatbed freight volume went down by 43%, while rates went down for all three types of trailers by around 12%.

The biggest volumes currently are in:

  • Mississippi
  • Arkansas
  • Alabama
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Montana
  • Wyoming
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin
  • West Virginia

The lowest volumes are in:

  • California
  • New Mexico
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey

Advantages of Flatbed freight

While the clear advantage of Flatbed is better rates when compared to Dry Van freight, it also has an advantage over Reefer freight as well.

Usually, Reefer freight and Flatbed freight rates are quite similar, but with flatbed loads, you don’t have to worry about the temperature and settings of the Reefer unit.

Flatbed freight is usually comprised of crude and heavy material, and other non-sensitive freight.

Once the load is tarped and strapped, the driver doesn’t have to worry about it too much.

One more important advantage is loads of building materials that usually need to be delivered across a lot of miles.

So at the same time, you score a lot of miles with a single load and get a better rate on average when compared to Dry Van freight.

The best lanes and rates for Flatbed freight

The best lanes for Flatbed freight this year were in and out of Midwest constantly.

Even now, at the years’ end, Midwest is still the best place for Flatbed loads.

As for the rates, the highest rates recorded for 2019 were $2.36, and the lowest $2.11 as the national averages.

Market researches and trucking industry experts say that all rates should go up in 2020, as soon as mid-January.

Giving the recent news that we should finally end the trade war with China and that we are close to a mutual deal agreement, rates have already got a small jump.

If the agreement happens by the end of the year, or at the beginning of 2020, we can expect a bigger jump in rates, as the inbound freight volume goes up from China.

Conclusion

Across the entire year, volumes and rates had small ups and downs, and even if they were lower on average when compared to last year, they kept a steady pace.

Hopefully, 2020 will be a year of much better rates and volumes, and all data and analysis show that they, in fact, will be.

 

free load boards for flatbed

Top 5 Free Load Boards for Flatbed

Load boards are the window to the flatbed owner’s profit. Operating independently requires a tool to hunt and seal the deal on the most profitable loads out there.

Most fresh independent O/O’s tend to use free load boards for flatbed before they decide which one to buy to give them the possibility to find good loads as soon as possible.

The faster the load has been found and the deal has been sealed with the broker, the less time is wasted, and therefore the more revenue generated.

So whether you’re in a search of a good free load board to test out or use it daily, there’s plenty of options out there. We tested them all out and selected the best ones.

How many free load boards for flatbed are there?

At the time of the writing, there are more than 30 load boards for flatbed available in the US.

That’s a big number, considering that they are all similar one to another. In this figurative sea of load boards for flatbed, it’s hard to take one out and give it the title as the best one.

Out of all 30+ load boards, we selected the top 5 free load boards which stand out.

Here’s the list of top 5 free load boards for flatbed you can use:

Trucker Path

It’s one of the most intuitive out of the bunch. Probably because you get the limited version of a premium board.

It’s very easy to use, you get to select the origin and destination, along with the equipment type, flatbed in this case, and the pickup date.

free load boards for flatbed

After you make your choices, it will bring up a list of available loads that match your criteria. When you click on the load that you like, it will give you all the details with the route specified on the map.

free load boards for flatbed

free load boards for flatbed

From there you can click the big blue button to call the broker, and you’re ready to go!

You will see a couple of premium board posts that are only visible if you use the premium version of Trucker Path. The great thing is that there are a lot of free loads you can take without paying a single penny!

User interface: 5/5 User experience: 5/5 Information: 5/5 Mobile Friendly: 5/5 Overall: 5

Trulos

Trulos is a completely free load board for flatbed without the premium version. They rely on donations and advertisements in order to make money.

Once the website is loaded, you will have to scroll through a bunch of ads. It looks like it’s broken, and it’s very difficult to use.

It says you should select the equipment, but the option to make the selection seems to be missing.

free load boards for flatbed

When you select the state you want to search for loads, then it lets you choose the equipment. If you want to use Trulos on a mobile device, you won’t be able to see a good portion of information, because the website is not mobile-friendly, and the info for the load is extremely basic.

free load boards for flatbed

Overall it’s useful but very basic and cluttered with ads, and not enjoyable to use.

User interface: 4/5 User experience: 3/5 Information: 3/5 Mobile Friendly: 1/5 Overall: 2.75

DSSLN

This one looks very outdated, but it’s fairly easy to read. It’s completely free and there’s a lot of loads posted daily.

What makes it not the ideal choice is that there’s no way for you to select the type of equipment or the place of origin and destination. You can only sort the loads by date, and that’s it.

free load boards for flatbed

The website is not mobile-friendly, but at least you can scroll right to see all the info.

free load boards for flatbed

User interface: 3/5 User experience: 3/5 Information: 4/5 Mobile Friendly: 2/5 Overall: 3

Load Up

Load Up is completely free but completely empty, al least it was couple of times we tried it out. It’s very easy to use, and it’s mobile-friendly as well.

As for the info, it’s hard to give it a rating or even judge it, when there’s no info to look at. It seems like not a lot of people are posting on this board.

free load boards for flatbed

There were couple of Dry Van loads, but none for Flatbed.

User interface: 3/5 User experience: 4/5 Information: 1/5 Mobile Friendly: 4/5 Overall: 3

Freight Finder

Freight Finder has a couple of ads right on the top, so you will have to scroll through them. The interface is very nice, you can choose between the intrastate and OTR loads.

free load boards for flatbed

You can select the type of equipment and you will get all the loads available! For the best possible results, leave the date field empty. After a couple of tests, we found that this is the best solution do get all the loads you can.

Freight Finder flatbed load board is easy to use both on PC and mobile devices. As for the info, you get very basic info on the listing, but when you click on the date, it will open up all the additional info for the load along with the route on the map.

free load boards for flatbed

free load boards for flatbed

User interface: 5/5 User experience: 4/5 Information: 4/5 Mobile Friendly: 5/5 Overall: 4.5

Should you even use the free ones as your primary choice?

You could use free load boards for flatbed as your main source, but only in a few isolated cases.

You might be missing on a lot of possible loads if you rely on free load boards for flatbed that are not that populated or usable, as you saw in the reviews above.

If you’re just starting to use them and want to get familiar with them, you can use any of the ones listed, but choose wisely.

Once you decide it’s time to handle all the loads by yourself, get a premium one, it will be a good investment.

What’s the difference between free and paid versions?

Most of free load boards for flatbed have very basic and limited info. Some more, some less. Some won’t give you even that basic necessary info you need to decide should you take the load or not.

The paid versions have a lot of useful things you need to be more efficient. You get all the details about the load you need, weight stations marked on the map, parking areas, navigation, etc.

Premium flatbed load boards

Along with free load boards for flatbed and those that start free, but can be upgraded, you can take a look at some that are considered the best of premium versions.

We’ve seen some load boards that look pretty well made and that can compete with the top tier ones, so why would you pay the premium?

There’s one simple answer to that – the number of loads posted on them. Premium load boards are being used by the biggest companies and brokers because they are willing to pay the premium to get the premium experience and support.

Therefore, premium versions of load boards tend to have a lot more load posted than others in comparison.

Premium load boards for flatbed:

Conclusion

Free load boards for flatbed are a good way for upcoming and new Owner Operators who want to dispatch themselves and get their own authority to get familiar with them.

Hopefully, we helped you select the one that will serve you well, and get you the loads you’re looking for!

Dry Van for rent – Get the best trailers at Strong Group

An increase in Dry Van loads spiked the demand for Dry Van trailers. We are witnessing an increase of Dry Van loads over the Flatbed loads on the spot market and the owner operators in the industry are acting accordingly.

As we received a number of calls and emails from owner operators looking to work with us recently, we noticed that a lot of them were interested in renting a Dry Van trailer from us.

We would like all of our future partners to know that we do have Dry Van trailers for rent available upon your request.

You can get more details about our Dry Van trailers by following this link.

What should you look for in a Dry Van trailer for rent?

Focus on the quality of the trailer, first and foremost.

There are a lot of used trailers available for rent offered by various companies, and not all of them are in great shape.

What we can guarantee is that all of our trailers are of top quality and in great state, even the used ones.

What are the best brands to keep an eye on when looking at Dry Van for rent?

American-made trailers should be your top choice.

There are a lot of good Dry Van trailer manufacturers in the US, but these are amongst the most popular:

You won’t go wrong with any of these, as they are all top quality and American-made. You can also pick from any of these three when you want a Dry Van for rent from us.

What are the requirements and conditions for renting a Dry Van trailer?

If you want to work with us and you want a Dry Van for rent, you can get in touch with our team at 855-787-6644 and they will arrange everything for you.

There’s plenty of good arguments to partner up with us, as you will get:

  • Great Dry Van trailer
  • A lot of miles
  • Best pay in the industry!

 

53' dry van dimensions

53′ Dry Van dimensions and specifications

53’ Dry Van dimensions and specifications:

Dry Van trailers can differ in dimensions, but the width is almost always the same.

The standard dimensions of Dry Van are:

  • 53’ in length
  • 8’6’’ in width
  • 9’ in height

One of the best and most trusted manufacturers of Dry Van trailers are Utility, Wabash, and Vanguard.

53' dry van dimensions

Utility is one of the oldest and most recognizable brands in the trailer industry.

Their trailers proved to be reliable and well-made, which is why they are one of our top 3 choices.

 

53' dry van dimensions
53' dry van dimensions

Vanguard National Trailer manufactures a long lasting and quality trailers with great performing Dry Van units.

53' dry van dimensions
53' dry van dimensions

From the moment it became a small startup to this day Wabash maintains the top position in the trailer market.

53' dry van dimensions

When you see a Strong Group truck on the road, it will haul the load in one of these three trailers.

We also have brand new models of all three brands available for rent!

Dry Van trailer rental – What is your best move?

Dry Van trailer rental is usually the first thing a fresh Owner Operator will do after getting his own truck. Trailers are not cheap by any means, and most owners won’t rush into buying their own trailer right from the start.

What’s the best thing for you to do in today’s market? We will try to help you decide right now!

Should you get into Dry Van trailer rental or purchase?

The answer lies in the simple question: can you afford a new trailer, or a used one at least? If you’re on a tight budget, then dry van trailer rental is probably the best way to go, until you save some money to buy one.

There’s a couple of good points of why it’s better to rent than to buy. One of them being the long term investment problems.

If you buy a used trailer, it might be refurbished, and initially, you might not even know what exactly. You can’t know exactly how many times it broke down and how many days it was sitting in the repair shop.

You can’t predict how many times it will break down and how much money will you waste on repairs.

The only time when purchasing a trailer is better than trailer rental is when you buy a new one. Most of the companies (including us) will offer you brand new trailers for rent.

All of our Dry Van trailers for rent come with insurance. Sure, you can get insurance when you buy a used trailer, but you will waste a lot of time waiting for it to get repaired or getting a substitute one (most insurances don’t offer substitute trailers).

If any of our trailers you rented brakes down (very unlikely), you will get another trailer to replace the broken down in a heartbeat!

How much does a trailer rental cost?

It depends, every company has its own pricing.

We offer Wabash and Vanguard Dry Van trailers for rental, for $250,00 per week. We guarantee you a trailer that you will be completely satisfied with.

At a total of $1,000.00 per month of the rental fee, you won’t have to worry about wasting time or breaking the bank for a refurbished used trailer.

How long does it take for you to get one?

Dry Van trailer rental process is fairly short. Sometimes it only takes a single day to get a rental program started and a brand new Dry Van trailer to arrive.

It depends on the number of currently available trailers for rental in-house and the demand at the supplier.

We do our best to provide you with a trailer ASAP, and we start the process immediately once you get in touch with us!

Conclusion

Dry Van trailer rental doesn’t have to be a complicated, expensive and lengthy process if you have the right team with you!

If the time is still not right for you to buy one, rental is a great start to keep hauling loads without worries for the downtime or the load you’re hauling.

 

Owner Operator VS Company Driver – Which is better for you?

Owner Operator VS Company Driver, who wins? What are the pros and cons of both of these and which career path should you take? We will dig into this subject to find out the details you need to conclude which way you should go.

Should you be a company driver?

You like driving and the money that trucking business has to offer you, but you are not prepared to do most of the things on your own.

You like to get in your truck, haul your load, enjoy the road and get paid at the end of the week. You think that your driving skills are the focus of your carrier and your main duty, everything else should be managed by others in the company.

You want your dispatch to keep you busy, so you don’t have to deal with that, after all you are a professional driver and that’s what you do.

If this description fits you, than a company driver position is probably your best fit.

Should you be an Owner Operator?

You like your company driving position, but you think you can do most of the things by yourself. You want to have your own truck, and make more money than you’re making now.

The only person who should be in charge of your schedule is you. The freedom is something you value very much, but at the same time you are comfortable with the extra responsibility that comes with it.

You are ready to be your own boss, and to take matters more into your hands, and all the money that comes with it.

If you feel this way, then it might be a good time to become an owner operator.

Advantages of company driver

The biggest advantage of a company driver when it comes to owner operator vs company driver comparison is the lower level of responsibility he has.

Everything except driving is being taken care of, you only need to be on time, accident free and cover as much miles as you can weekly.

You have your dispatch team providing you with loads, you have a company truck and trailer ready for you and the schedule to follow.

Your job is to sit in the truck, deliver the load, and enjoy your time on the road.

Advantages of an Owner Operator

The first and most important advantage is the revenue. Much more money will be coming your way. The flexibility of the schedule and freedom comes right after.

You decide when and what are you going to haul. You own your equipment, you don’t have to wait for the company to give you an upgrade, that’s all on you.

In the owner operator vs company driver debate, an owner operator will always come on top when it comes to earnings and flexibility of the schedule.

Owner operator trucking jobs, although not for inexperienced drivers, are superior in many ways.

Owner Operator vs Company Driver Summary

If you’re ready to take on the challenges of an owner operator, then it would probably be better to take that route.

If not, then keep on trucking as a company driver!

Whatever the case may be, we work with both, contact us for great earning opportunities!

 

how to become owner operator

How to become owner operator?

How to become owner operator is one of the most is one of the most raised questions (or concerns) among the drivers who have more than one year of experience.

They heard that the status of an owner operator helps them make more money and they want to get those owner operator trucking jobs and own their own truck.

How to become owner operator and when is the best time?

Before starting the process of becoming an owner operator, one should ask himself is now the right time for them to do it.

The best candidates for owner operators are experienced drivers who are ready to operate on their own. Usually, they have around 3-5 years of experience.

These drivers already know how the industry works and are capable of being independent. But, this doesn’t have to be the case for all. Some drivers advance faster and some slower, if you think you got what it takes to become independent, then let nobody stop you!

What do you need to start?

First, you need to get a USDOT number and MC number.

Next, you need to get all the required insurances, you can check that here. Since you will be owning your own truck, you need to have your own ELD. Or if you want to be an owner operator and work with us, you will get our ELD, so you don’t have to worry about that.

Of course, you will need a starting capital to pay for all the expenses and the equipment you need. If you find yourself overwhelmed with everything but you have all the money required, then you could try and find the service to do everything for you.

Managing the expenses

As an owner operator you will have a lot more earning potential than a company driver. When you become one, the profit should be on your mind from day one.

But, however, to maximize profit, the expenses have to be minimized. Regulations, liabilities, maintenance, insurance, and fuel are just some of the expenses you will have to deal with.

Reducing the operating costs should be your focus when you become an owner operator. There are a couple of ways to reduce those costs. For example, you can reduce your fuel costs just by going a bit slower.

If you keep your speed around or below 65 MPH mark, you will increase your fuel efficiency by up to almost 30%! That’s not a small increase in efficiency!

Or go even further by contacting the company that can provide you with lowest fuel prices in the

US, and offer you fuel discounts.

How to get your own truck

The thing that a lot of drivers who are wondering how to become owner operator don’t think about too much is the financing for the equipment. You can’t blame them since today there are a lot of options to get the financing.

You will have 2 options: using your savings if you have enough to cover everything or bank financing.

Trucking equipment is not cheap by any means, and this is why most people get bank financing. Pick the bank carefully, take your time and find the best possible deal you can, the lower the interest rates the better.

Choosing a bank can be stressful, costly and time consuming so it might be a better option for

you to go through a financial advising company that will do all the work for you and connect you

straight away with the best bank.

Also, simple rule and useful advice: if your down payment is bigger, your monthly payments will be less. Balance the two according to your possibilities.

Calculating your success

The formula for your success is pretty simple.

Once you’ve calculated your expenses per mile, you will know just which load is a money maker and which one isn’t.

Once you subtract you expenses per mile from the revenue per mile you will get the number of your gross revenue.

Once you remove the taxes from gross revenue, you will get your net profit.

Conclusion

How to become owner operator? Well, now you know all the basics you need. When you become one, be sure to give us a call! We work with a lot of owner operators and together we make great money!

OTR leasing – Should you do it?

OTR leasing – a doorway to a significant gross increase. Owner operator trucking jobs bring a lot more money than company positions and OTR leasing programs are a great starting point.

Misinformation about lease purchase programs is often a barrier between company driver and his future as an owner operator, which is why we came up with this guide to give all those company drivers interested in OTR leasing a hand.

How is OTR leasing different than the company position?

As a lease operator, you will be owning the truck you drive, which gives you a lot more flexibility, freedom and a lot bigger earning scale, depending on the lease program you choose.

When you own your truck, you get to pick your own loads and keep the bigger piece of the cake for yourself.

Depending on the carrier you decide to work with, that piece can vary in size. But, when compared with the earnings of a company driver, you will be getting significantly greater amounts of money.

What can you expect?

You can expect a better working schedule since you will be the one who is creating it. You pick the lanes, the rates, load and home time as you please.

From that moment on, when you sign an OTR leasing program, you are your own boss and you decide how, when and what will you haul.

As for the income, you’re looking at $140,000.00 NET yearly and more, depending on the carrier you lease on to.

Even when you put lease purchase payment into the calculation, you still end up with more money and you have your own truck in the end.

What do you need to apply for the OTR leasing program?

The conditions vary from program to program.

When it comes to our lease purchase program, we require that you have at least 2 full years of OTR experience with valid CDL class A, and 24 years of age at least.

As for the downpayment, depending on the model of the truck, the downpayment can vary from $5,000.00 to $20,000.00.

You can lease the truck without any downpayment, but we require that you work with us as our OTR driver for 3 months prior to the OTR leasing program, just enough time to get to know each other.

The best lease purchase program so far

Our OTR leasing program is among the best ones that you can find – guaranteed!

We offer 88% of the load, 99% no-touch freight, dedicated dispatcher, cargo and liability insurance, no-forced dispatch, fuel cards, parking spot, repair shop and much more.

We got your back on everything!

And the direct deposit is every Friday.

Conclusion

85% of carriers in the US have started as lease purchase operators, and now own up to 6 trucks!

Our OTR leasing program is one of the best opportunities you can have at the moment to earn more, rest more and be your own boss!

Gret in touch with us, and we can give you the list of trucks we have available for lease purchase that you can call your own.

CDL Jobs Class A – Open positions!

CDL Jobs Class A positions open!

CDL jobs class A currently in the offer:

TYPE OF DRIVER

TRAILER TYPE

EXPERIENCE REQUIRED

AVERAGE SALARY

OTR Solo Driver

Flatbed

2 years

$1,900.00 net per week

OTR Solo Driver

Dry Van

2 years

$1,700.00 net per week

OTR Team Drivers

Flatbed

2 years

$4,000.00 net per week

OTR Team Drivers

Dry Van

2 years

$3,300.00 net per week

Owner Operator

Flatbed

2 years

$6,500.00 gross per week

Owner Operator Dry Van 2 years

$6,000.00 gross per week

We’re looking for drivers who love to make money to fill out our CDL jobs class A applications! Several positions are open due to the expansion of our fleet. We have a lot of loads, a lot of miles and great new equipment (trucks and trailers) to offer.

Our average driver does around 3,000 miles per week, and that’s the minimum we expect from all of our new drivers.

APPLY NOW!

ALL MILES ARE PAID (EMPTY & LOADED)

The loads are here, the best rates in the US are here, the only thing that’s missing is you!

Flatbed rate for solo drivers0.70 CPM (0.75 CPM for teams)

Dry Van rate for solo drivers0.60 CPM (0.65 CPM for teams)

Owner operators – 3 payment options:

  • 88% gross revenue (not included Cargo & Liability Insurance, trailer
    rental and IFTA)
  • 80% gross revenue ( Cargo & Liability Insurance included)
  • 70% gross revenue ( included Cargo & Liability Insurance, trailer rental, and IFTA)

There’s a great lease purchase program available if that’s what you would like as well.

99% no-touch freight with a lot of benefits and help from the company, $2,00 – $3,00 for empty or loaded miles!

We often post CDL jobs class A in search of the best of the best drivers in the country who are capable to deliver all the miles we can provide.

When you take a look at the average truck driver salary today, coming on board with us will be a no-brainer, because you can get even double that amount here.

It is in our core belief that the synergy between dispatch and safety teams and drivers is the key to mutual success.

You can rely on our dispatching team to give you the best loads and to keep you busy, no time wasted! Working together to create an influx of 3,000 miles on average is the routine around here.

Forget about changing companies, and going around in circles trying to find the right one, here you will get what you deserve, finally!

 

Dry Van – Is this the trailer to go?

Dry Van vs Flatbed, which is the better choice today?

Dry Van division at Strong Group is one of the highest-earning divisions in the US. Most of the newcomers even hesitate a bit and find it hard to believe that our Dry Van division drivers make more money than most of the Flatbed drivers of other trucking companies in the country.

Even right now with the current state of the market, our drivers are still getting 0.60 CPM with 3000 miles a week on average.

How is Dry Van different and in what aspects compared to Flatbed today?

According to the DAT trucking industry trends, the demand for Dry Van is much higher than Flatbed today.

While in the past month the demand for Flatbed dropped for 17.6%, the demand for Dry Van went up for 8.2%.

Although the industry is a bit slow at the moment, the Dry Van loads are 50% more in supply compared to Flatbed.

Just to be clear, Dry Van load supply didn’t jump for 50%, but they’ve had a significantly smaller drop when compared to Flatbed loads.

In the last two months, there have been a lot of ups and downs, and every single time Dry Van loads were on top of Flatbed in performance.

It remains to be seen how the recent fuel price changes will affect all divisions since there’s a lot of speculation that diesel prices will continue to rise.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • This trailer can be used to haul almost every load. Its versatility is its strongest trait. If you focus on it, you will miss only oversized and hazardous loads.
  • Your load will have great protection against weather, theft, and damage.
  • With this trailer there’s a good chance that you can get short hauls, giving your schedule a lot of flexibility.

Cons:

  • With this trailer, you won’t be able to haul food (you’ll need Reefer trailer for it), perishables and fine art.
  • These trailers are used to transport a lot of valuable goods, that often mark them as a target for theft.

Flatbed pros and cons

Pros:

  • Easy to load, usually higher-paying rates.
  • It can be used for oversized loads, it’s not limited by the dimensions of the load.
  • A variety of Flatbed trailer types to choose from to fir your hauling needs.

Cons:

  • The load doesn’t have much protection.
  • In some cases, you will have to do a lot of tarping
  • Hauling loads in bad weather conditions can be quite challenging

Which is the best choice for you?

It all goes down to one simple choice. Do you want more money or more flexibility?

If you want to be paid more, then the obvious choice would be Flatbed.

For more flexibility, go for Dry Van.

Now you’re probably thinking how can we recommend Flatbed when in the previous text Dry Van proved to have a better supply of loads.

Simple, we have plenty of loads for all trailer types, and we offer 70 CPM and 60 CPM rates!

Contact us or apply online to get the best rates in the industry with more than 3000 miles per week!