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How to Avoid Deadhead Miles

27 November 2019



How to minimize deadhead miles

Empty miles are high on the list among shippers’ and truckers’ biggest annoyances. A full truck is a lucrative one—and when your truck isn’t full, you’re not generating revenue. Not only do deadhead miles eat into your ROI; they also contribute to wear and tear on your rig and add harmful greenhouse gases into the environment. And most important of all, deadhead trucking is dangerous: due to the massive change in weight distribution, you’re more than twice as likely to crash driving an empty trailer.

Savvy drivers and shippers will know just how to avoid deadhead trucking—and since you’re here, you’re clearly doing your homework on how to maximize each and every load you carry. So here are some tips and tricks to avoiding empty miles on your next haul.

Be proactive

If you’re a driver, the single most important thing you can do to avoid deadhead miles is to seek and plan your hauls ahead of time. Always having a return load organized, before you even leave for your initial trip, guarantees your trailer is always full.

This also includes the biggest buzzword in business: networking. The more connections you make with people in your field, the more opportunity you have to get first dibs on a route and load you prefer. 

Stay on schedule

Some slowdowns are simply unavoidable—poor weather conditions, unexpected traffic holdups, and mechanical issues are usually out of your control. But sticking to schedule as much as possible will reap dividends for your bottom line.

Missing a delivery deadline leaves you in danger of making your next pickup as scheduled. Even though a load is ready and waiting for you, you won’t be there to transport it, and your journey back will be with an empty trailer. One easy way to avoid this situation is researching and knowing your route ahead of time, including potential backroads to take in the event you encounter traffic delays.

Bundle Your Lanes

For carriers, one way to ensure your trucks are always full and moving is to make your routes as appealing as possible for shippers, so that you have consistent business. To do so, consider bundling low- and high-volume lanes together at a discount. The reduction in price is a far better situation than the lost revenue from completely empty trucks, and you earn the loyalty of shippers who can count on you for an affordable haul. This also allows you to create closed loop routes, so that shipments are always in motion on your lanes.

Pool your shipment

If you only have a few pallets to ship on a single truck, the likelihood of deadhead trucking on the return trip is all but guaranteed. But what if you could avoid sending your goods out on a half-empty truck in the first place? Enter: FlockDirect®.

Using our sophisticated logistics algorithm, FlockDirect® pools shipments that are traveling on the same route together, transporting goods via shared truckload service. Flock Freight is the only logistics provider that guarantees shared truckload shipping, and, thanks to our transparent pricing without hidden fees, you only pay for the space you use. Not only do you avoid paying for a truck that ultimately ships air, but your shipment is far safer, since shared truckload avoids the hub-and-spoke model completely and ensures the driver only unloads freight upon delivery. Without frequent offloading at terminals, the risk of damage is virtually eliminated—saving you even more money in the process.