Partials: Balancing Profit with Customer Expectations

The term “Partials” can have a negative connotation in our business. Some Brokers are more than happy to lists loads as partials but most assume they are “paying” for the whole truck. In truth, I don’t often bring it up with anyone I’m working for. We’ll start with a real world example.

Take this 580 Combination Backhoe. The team back in the office negotiated an excellent rate from southern Michigan to Idaho Falls, ID

The Problem
When I get empty…I’ll still be in Idaho Falls, ID.

I don’t mean this as a slight to the fine people of Idaho. It is truly beautiful country. It is not, however, a hotbed for specialized open-deck freight. You now find yourself stuck with the two terrible choices of sitting in Idaho hoping to get lucky or driving empty (for free) to another location.

Is there a third choice?

What if we were to go back in time to last week when we loaded this load. It was a 1500+ mile run to deliver on Monday. Scheduled to pickup on Thursday we would be landing in Idaho Falls Saturday afternoon. This means a day in Idaho Falls sitting (Sunday).

The Solution

How about we load an additional (and separate) delivery using up the 21 feet at the end of the trailer?

We could use Thursday to locate a partial. After much searching…victory. A piece of machinery going to a roof truss manufacturer in Wyoming. Just 70 miles from our Idaho Falls delivery.

The Customer Factor

Never forget that this business is all about customer service. Too many drivers don’t realize or won’t realize this simple fact.

This partial feels like a lucky break. Realize now that the partial will need to come off first so the 580 can be driven off the rear. If the 580 is a firm 8:00am, you cannot accept the partial. In this case it was an open 8am-4pm FCFS delivery.

You have to be creative all of the time. Think outside the box. If you see multiple items on another truck, go strike up a conversation with the driver. Is it multiple loads? How are they delivering? How much lost time in collecting them all? Etc.

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Author: Phil Shuart

My name is Phil Shuart and I am a professional hobo, expert vagabond, and asphalt gyspy. In short I’m a trucker. Unlike like most truckers, you can’t entice me with false promises of regular home time. I will not be lured by dedicated or regional runs. I want to wander the two-lane arteries of small town America. I want to discover new vistas that can't be seen from the interstate. I suffer from a terrible case of itchy feet. From wanderlust. Our industry has termed this Lifestyle Trucking. I prefer Hobo Life.

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