How to discover more freight opportunities in the bulk commodity sector

Connectivity can be a key to success, especially in today’s world. BulkLoads.com utilizes this line of thought in their online community by virtually connecting those with materials in need of transport to truckers ready to haul. Jared Flinn, Operating Partner for Bulk Loads, spoke on the Successful Driver Podcast about how this network of shippers, brokers, and carriers can help a driver find success.

Jared shared the testimonial of a driver who had been on the verge of bankruptcy prior to finding BulkLoads.com.

“[He] found some freight, found some established contacts and now he’s having one of the best years he’s had in his business. For us, he went from one spectrum to the other in his business lifecycle.”

Operating within the bulk commodity niche, BulkLoads.com serves the industry by forming the connections needed to streamline business. To date, $4,087,252,260 worth of commodities have been moved through Bulks Loads in 2021. Jared says the difference is “that they’re finding connections, that they have more connections and that they even have more work than they ever need to do. That’s how we know that we’re doing our job.”

BulkLoads.com makes finding and maintaining these connections easy with their community-driven website. The site offers a variety of helpful tools, including (but not limited to); a load board, a truck board, and a forum. To make things even easier, Bulk Loads’ mobile app helps you find loads on the go.

 

Visit BulkLoads.com to explore their offerings, especially if you’re looking to haul grain, feed, fertilizer, aggregate, or any other bulk commodity. Interested in learning more? Listen to Episode 23 of the Successful Driver Podcast. Dive further into the conversation by checking out Bulk Loads’ Podcast, we suggest you start with Episode 155, featuring Arrow Truck Sales’ own Trae Viser.

How DEX Heavy Duty Parts Helps Keep Drivers on the Road

There are three types of parts offered by DEX Heavy Duty Parts: renovated, recycled, and surplus. One of DEX’s main goals as a company is to eliminate as much down time for a trucker as possible when a breakdownn or accident occurs. It’s no secret that time spent waiting on repairs is money lost for a driver. That’s why DEX’s parts solutions can be so pivotal when a trucker is faced with time off the road.

Darin Redmon, Manager of Operations at DEX Heavy Duty Parts, spoke about this issue on the Successful Driver Podcast, saying, “in the event they do have down time, we’re focused on that solution to get them back up and going.” DEX understands that their success as a company is determined by the success of their customers and, in order to be successful, a trucker’s wheels have to be turning.

“If they’re not moving, they’re not making money,” Darin shared with us. Knowing this, DEX focuses on this company motto; “we don’t sell parts, we sell Dexperiences.” The Dexperience, according to Darin, leans heavily on efficiency. Since time is money for a trucker, the total repair experience goes well beyond a part. That’s why DEX wants to make sure the process they offer is as streamlined as possible.

Curious to learn more about what DEX Heavy Duty Parts has to offer? The Successful Driver Podcast is featuring them in a five-episode series. The series continues this week with our third installment. Check out our DEX series playlist now to catch up on our previous episodes and make sure to subscribe to Arrow Truck Sales’ YouTube channel to get updates when a new episode goes live.

 

Operation Safe Driver Week 2021 is Approaching!

CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week starts on Monday, July 11th! Throughout the week, law enforcement personnel will be on the lookout for commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in risky driving. Identified unsafe drivers will be pulled over and issued a citation or warning.

Data shows that traffic stops and interactions with law enforcement help reduce problematic driving behaviors. By making contact with drivers during Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement personnel aim to make our roadways safer by targeting high-risk driving behaviors.

The emphasis this year is on speeding. “When you look at the data, speeding has gone up,” said Kerry Wirachowsky, the Director of CVSA’s Roadside Inspection.

The event doesn’t just focus on trucks but any vehicle on the road. “Operation Safe Driver is a little different in that it doesn’t just take into consideration trucks, but also cars around large trucks,” said Wirachowsky. “When the police are out their patrolling they’re looking for cars cutting off trucks, it’s a lot of traffic enforcement.”

For more information on Operation Safe Driver Week you can check out the CVSA website: https://www.cvsa.org/programs/operation-safe-driver/operation-safe-driver-week/

We talked to Kerri Wirachowsky, the Director of CVSA Roadside Inspection about the event and so much more!

Planning for the future is a key to truck driver success

There are variables in a truck driver’s life that can affect his or her monthly income. A lot of successful drivers have found ways to navigate the variance in income with forward thinking. Some months may be more lean than others, but if you’re planning and budgeting for the future, it can help take some of the potential volatility out of it.

“Sometimes freight pay really well and you’re doing a lot of miles,” said Arrow Truck Sales’ Jason Church. “Setting money back is tough to do sometimes.”

“Planning for the future is a really big key and something that’s hard to do,” he said.

The intermingling of personal and truck finances can make things difficult at times, but planning ahead to maintain your unit is crucial, says Church. “When your tires are wearing thin, and the check engine light is on. You do need to keep up the equipment so you can lean on it. That’s what makes your money.”

Proactivity with maintenance can help save money – especially if you’ve purchased a used commercial vehicle. “Waiting too long to make a repair typically can snowball into something much worse – and very costly,” says Church. “Consistently putting a little money back (is important). A used truck will break. A used truck has used truck problems.”

You can watch the full episode of the Successful Driver podcast with Jason Church here:

What one finance and insurance manager sees in successful drivers

Arrow Truck Sales – Philadelphia’s Finance and Insurance Manager Carrie Shingleton has never been a truck driver. She will be the first to tell you that. However, in her role at Arrow she works daily with owner-operators to help them set up their business for success in their most recent purchase with the company. She sees a lot of different of people from a variety of backgrounds – representing a variety of industries in trucking. Here are some of the key things she thinks are important for successful drivers.

Equipment Research
“Your business is on wheels. You don’t have an office. You really have to put a lot of thought into it – starting with the equipment,” says Shingleton. “You have to have a reliable truck. You need to think about protecting your truck. It’s an investment in your business. If your truck goes down, you’re not making any money.”

Budgeting
“Another big thing is budgeting. You can’t have money coming in and out and not really think about where it’s going. You might have your truck payment consistent but you have other stuff going in that can fluctuate depending on how much you’re driving or how much diesel you’re using,” say Shingleton.

Being meticulous about the dollars and cents – even smaller expenses can go a long way. “Even little things like eating,” Say Shingleton. “It sounds like nothing but just throwing money at things and not thinking about it – not having a system in place to track all of your money. You can lose out if you’re not thinking about it.”

Support system
Having people with a vested interested in your success can help you achieve your goals.

“One of the under talked about aspects of being a successful driver is the importance of a support system, says Shingleton. “Whether it’s a business partner, accountant or significant other that has some system in place to ensure you are successful. Because if you’re just haphazardly doing things – you could be in trouble.”

Haul source and networking
“Haul source is crucial,” says Shingleton. “There’s a lot of people out there promising things to drivers and they don’t deliver.” Reaching out to connections in the industry can help you get answers. “You need to be networking – figuring out who has the best loads and what they’re paying. If you’re doing the load boards are they taking a percent of your money? You have to think things through and research them. Networking is amazing because if you talk to other people and get the truth.”

It’s a unique perspective from someone who is so intimately involved with driver success. You can see our whole discussion with her here:

5 Winter Driving Tips for Truckers to Stay Warm on the Road

Winter truck driving presents harsher conditions on the road than other times of the year. Not only do you drive in hazardous weather conditions like snow and ice, but you constantly deal with cold weather. A truck can only provide so much heat and comfort while on the open road.

Continue reading “5 Winter Driving Tips for Truckers to Stay Warm on the Road”

Security Basics for Truck Drivers

Every job comes with its own occupational hazards, and truck driving is no different. For instance, truck malfunctions can pose a health and safety risk. And just like a homeowner, a truck driver also has to take security precautions against vandalism, robbery, and similar criminal events.

Here are some of the basics of security concerns and precautions for truck drivers.

Why You Should Take Notice

Truck driving means that you’ll be isolated a lot of the time, and your truck will often be carrying valuable cargo. This can make criminals such as robbers consider you a worthwhile target. If thieves come after your cargo, you could sustain injuries in addition to suffering the financial loss of being robbed.

What Tools Can Help Improve Security

Improving your security on the road starts with awareness. According to the FBI, cargo theft incidents may cost up to a total of 30 billion dollars annually. Awareness of how cargo thieves and robbers operate can help you to keep your eyes open for any fishy scenarios and inform you of what to guard against.

Some tools to help you improve security include monitoring tools, locking tools, planning tools, and emergency tools. For example, GPS tracking is a monitoring tool that can help keep track of your truck at all times. It can be invaluable if your truck is ever stolen. You can also have GPS installed separately on the trailer of your truck in case thieves take just the trailer.

Other tools that can improve overall security include:

  • Camera systems that can catch video footage of traffic incidents or robbery, which could help apprehend criminals
  • Apps that provide community feedback on truck stops and parking locations, so you can choose the safest places to stop
  • Alarm systems for semitrucks that can provide sirens, panic buttons, starter kill switches, and other tools to fight truck theft

Combining several of these tools can provide a lot more options to not only prevent thefts but also help catch thieves if they do target your truck.

Which Precautions and Habits Can Thwart Criminals

Simple security precautions can help you avoid potentially dangerous situations and keep your truck from looking like easy pickings. In addition to using tools to enhance security, you can improve your situational awareness and establish habits that will help protect your truck from criminals.

Some examples of precautions and habits to use include:

  • Choosing only truck stops with a good reputation
  • Locking up securely every time you step out of the cab (including when you refuel)
  • Carrying plenty of insurance on your load
  • Parking your truck tail to tail with another truck so thieves can’t open the doors

Tandem driving may also help reduce vulnerabilities. When you have a second driver along, one of you can stay with the load at all times and thus avoid situations where your truck is unattended. In addition, you’ll be less isolated if you tandem drive.

Why Being Prepared for Emergency Situations Is Important

Your vehicle could be an easy target for cargo robbery if you end up stranded in an isolated location. Staying on top of emergency preparedness can help you avoid being stranded alone on the side of the road for long stretches of time.

The better prepared you are with tools and equipment, plus knowledge and technique to help you quickly get back on the road, the less likely you are to present an obvious target. So keep your toolbox well-stocked at all times in case your truck ever needs minor repairs, and make sure you have contact information ready for a reliable truck recovery company.

You should also be prepared for situations where someone else asks for emergency help. Never leave your truck to help someone out, since it could be a trap to lure you away from your cargo. Instead, offer to call 911 or a roadside assistance company. Criminals sometimes pose as stranded drivers in order to scam or even rob other drivers on the road.

What to Do if You Experience a Theft

Security advice often focuses solely on how to avoid being targeted for criminal activity. However, you should also prepare for the (hopefully very small) possibility of actually undergoing a robbery. If someone actually does target you and steal some of your cargo, your first priority should be personal safety: don’t do anything that would put you at risk of bodily harm.

However, if you ever do find yourself in this situation, there are several things you can do that could help bring the criminals to justice later. For example:

  • Watch and listen carefully so you can give the police a helpful statement later
  • If the criminals have a vehicle, check for a license plate number
  • Call 911 first, even before calling your dispatcher, as soon as the criminals leave

While truck driving will always come with some security risks, these steps can help you to bypass or minimize many of them, providing better protection for yourself and your truck. If you’re looking for a protection plan, get in touch with Arrow Truck Sales to discuss the extended warranties, roadside assistance plans, insurance, gap protection, and other plans we offer.

5 Tips for Better Sleep in a Long-Haul Sleeper Semi-Truck

When you’re on a long trucking journey, you must take the time to park, snooze, and get fully rested for extended driving on the road. As you plan your next big trucking trip, consider some tips to sleep better.

Whether you’re looking for a new semi-truck or need to change your habits, these tips can dramatically change your sleep schedule for the better.

1. Seek Out Sleeper Cab Features

A long-haul sleeper semi is built for sleeping on the road and becomes an essential part of cross-country trips. When you’re shopping for a truck, be on the lookout for a few key details. The first is the length of the bed. If you are a tall person, you do not want to cram your body into a small space.

Your legs will ache, you will not get the best rest, and it could negatively impact your whole trip. Find a sleeper cab with emphasis on the width and length of a bed so you can fit comfortably and sleep well.

You should also consider a sleeper cab with a permanent bed. Some cabs have conversion beds where a table transitions into a bed, but when you are ready to go to sleep, you do not want to constantly worry about transitioning the bed space. The base of a permanent bed will also provide more stability and comfort.

If you drive on your own, you may still consider a sleep cab with bunk beds. A flip down top bunk wouldn’t be an ideal option for sleeping but does provide plenty of extra storage. You can keep bags, clothes, and other items on the top bunk while the bottom bed remains open. When you’re ready to sleep, you can go to bed without delays.

2. Purchase a Mattress

The standard mattresses found in sleeper cabs are often pretty basic designs. Thankfully, many companies offer mattresses made for sleeper cabs. A lot of sizes are comparable to RV mattresses, but you should check the specific dimensions inside your truck before making a purchase.

A thicker mattress will provide more support and comfort. When you have something comfortable to sleep on, you will not have aches and pains from a bad night of sleep. You will drive more comfortably and not have to worry about leg cramps or neck pain.

3. Block Out Light

The driving schedule you follow could lead to different sleep times. In some cases, you may have to sleep during the days or in the afternoons before the sun sets. Use shades and light blockers to help keep all the natural light out of a sleeper cab. Even at night, street lights and head lights can create distractions as you try to sleep.

Some semi-trucks may have shades built in that you can shut when you’re ready to rest. Otherwise, you have the option to hang blackout curtains. Blackout curtains are designed to block out natural light and will provide a dark sleeping area. Our bodies react when exposed to natural light. The exposure will directly impact the circadian rhythm and could result in poor sleep.

Along with blocking out the main source of light from your truck cab, consider covering up small windows with curtains as well.

4. Manage Noise Control

Along with light, another impact on your sleep is excessive noise. At a rest stop alone, you will hear the highway traffic, other trucks starting up, and a random horn or two. Use noise control to help you sleep better and avoid the distractions. If you are constantly woken up while you sleep, you could suffer and feel more tired as you drive.

A battery-powered noise machine can help drown out other noise. For example, you can use white noise or a natural sound like rainfall. When you do use a noise machine, just ensure that your alarm is set at a louder volume so you can still wake up at the time you need to.

5. Use Climate Control Systems

On the extreme end of weather, you can have restless sleep if your cab is too hot or too cold. A proper climate management system will ensure you stay comfortable while on the road. For cold weather, you can not only have heat, but you can also pack a few extra blankets along for the trip.

On hot nights, you can rely on an air conditioner to cool the cab down and provide extra comfort. An auxiliary power unit built into the sleeper cab will typically provide you with the air conditioning so you do not need to run the air from the main engine of the truck.

By having both cooling and heating options, you can find the most comfortable settings for your sleep needs.

For more information on our semi-truck sleeper cabs, contact us at Arrow Truck Sales. We can help you find a truck ideal for your sleeping habits and comfort.

Why do some owner-operators fail?

A big rig truck driving during sunset.
No business venture has a 100% success rate unfortunately. Owner-operators in the used truck industry are no exception to that face. The obstacles they face may be different than other industries, but they still incur the same risks most small business owners do. As a used truck sales company our goal is to help remove or assist with any barriers that may be in the way. Continue reading “Why do some owner-operators fail?”