The covenant dedicated run. Many drivers out there would love to get their trucks on one of these. A dedicated run provides predictability, a schedule, the ability to plan a life outside of the truck. These runs are not necessarily the perfect job but they do allow for some kind of planning in many cases.
This is not always true though. Sometimes they can be just a pain in the butt. Sure they all have their benefits but are they really worth it sometimes? I have been on a few dedicated runs through the years.
My favorite by far was the Salina, KS to Baton Rouge, LA and back twice a week. Nice 3000 mile week every week and usually home for a day and a half was sweet. Not to mention it paid the truck well. This run was short lived after Swift cut the rate so bad we couldn’t touch it.
Prior to that I had a Salina, KS to Muncie, IN. Again a nice twice a week loop that paid pretty good. This one also got cut so bad we couldn’t run it any longer. I’m not really sure which company cut it that time.
Before that I had a Junction City, KS to Hickory Hills, IL then Milwaukee to Salina run that I enjoyed doing till ACT cut the rates on the Milwaukee load to the point it didn’t even pay enough to run the truck. And FedEx took over the Junction City account and wouldn’t pay. They since lost it back to UPS but we can’t get a rate sufficient to get back in there.
Now I have round trips out of Salina back to Salina. Currently they haven’t developed any pattern on where they go but rumor has it they are working on it. The nice thing about this run is that I get home every weekend. On the downside they can’t make up their mind on days or nights. It is very hard to get into a rhythm when they have no system in place. Combine that with they just forced us to cut our rates a little in order to compete with other companies (Or they are just getting greedy) and it makes a person wonder if it is actually worth it.
I’ll re-evaluate this after I get back from my vacation to Alaska at the end of September. That is unless something forces me to do so sooner, such as not enough miles to make it profitable.
Either way dedicated freight has advantages and disadvantages. On the downside you commit yourself to doing the same thing all the time. There is no variety to speak of and in many cases you go to the exact same place all the time. This allows for you to build relationships with the shippers and receivers though, which is a good thing in many cases. Once you know how they operate and they understand you (providing you get along) then you have the chance to get into a nice routine with them that can benefit both of you.
On the major downside is once you have committed yourself to a dedicated run you are stuck dealing with things when they go wrong. A dedicated run requires someone be true to their word. When you agree to something you stick to it. You can’t back out at the last minute as this tarnishes your reputation and the company you are leasing to. However, if you are doing it under your own authority you have even more to lose as once you back out you can end up cutting your throat with other companies in the area as well. Remember these guys do talk to each other, no matter how big or small the community is.