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Raney’s at the Mid America Trucking Show: A Recap with Some Great Photos

The Mid America Truck Show is the largest trucking show in the United States held every year in Louisville, Kentucky. All of the biggest players in the trucking industry roll out the latest and greatest trucks, equipment accessories. From the truck manufacturers like Navistar, PACCAR and Daimler to equipment and engine manufacturers like Cummins, Detroit and Meritor there is always something fresh to see. All of the daily events are capped off with giveaways, seminars and a concert series headlined by Gretchen Wilson. You don’t only have to be a trucker to enjoy a trip to the Mid America Truck Show.

But that isn’t even the best part! We here at Raney’s are interested in the chrome- and there was no shortage of that. The 25th annual PKY Truck Beauty Contest was held at this year’s show and it didn’t disappoint. It featured the absolute pinnacle of truck design and accessorizing. All of the most famous show trucks were on display to the attendees and many of the drivers and designers did Q&As all day long. We were excited to find one of our customers at the show displaying his chrome. Here is his Volvo:

Volvo Semi Truck

Wednesday and Thursday night had a truck light contest in the parking lot and we were able to check that out too. Make sure to check back on our Facebook for more images of the show.

Our booth was is in the North Hall, booth 14060. We’ve been fortunate enough to get the same spot the past few years and absolutely love seeing familiar faces each and every time we exhibit. We had all kinds of steering wheels, hood ornaments, lights and to show off as well as some contests and giveaways. Here are some of the highlight of the weekend’s events.

The Raney’s Team hard at work in a busy booth.

Mid America Truck ShowAnother the shot of the booth.

The Raney's Team

We’d also like to thank all of the vendors who made it to our booth or helped us exhibit their products. We had a very successful contest to give away a train horn, compliments of United Pacific, and the winner will be announced shortly. Together, with our customers and vendors, this was another very special year at MATS .

Health Resources for Drivers – Staying Informed in a New Age of Healthcare

Health Tips for Truckers

With the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) the debate surrounding healthcare has exploded into the forefront of everyone’s mind. Questions such as “Will I lose my insurance?” and “How can this help or hurt my bottom line?” are frequently asked. For most, the changes from ACA will not affect your current situation but is never a bad idea to be prepared for changes to your policy or rates. The open enrollment on HealthCare.gov ends March 31st for 2014 and opens again in November for 2015. This is the period of time in which you can enroll in Qualified Health Plan service offered by the Affordable Care Act. More information can be found here.

So what does this mean for truckers?

Well, not a whole lot more than any other folks. Many trucking companies provide a healthcare plan already, and those that don’t, will be forced to cover their employees under the ACA if they are over 50 employees. Gordon Truck posted on their website that:

“As an employee, you may not be eligible for this tax-subsidized coverage because Gordon Trucking’s benefit plans exceed all of the requirements of the law for eligibility, comprehensive coverage, and cost of participation. While this does not mean that you or a family member could not buy insurance from an exchange, it does mean that you are unlikely to receive a subsidy because of your eligibility for our plan.”

Also, find out if your company has a wellness plan. Many large companies incentive their employees to lose weight or lower blood pressure by offering bonuses and perks. Sometimes they will offer free exercise classes and gym memberships to employees interested in improving their well-being.

If you are an owner operator, the state determined healthcare exchanges are where you will go to see if you qualify for a subsidized healthcare plan based on income, the state you live in, family size and disabilities. Some states have their own exchange independent of the one provided by the federal government. As an owner operator you best plan of action is to compare as many rates as you can and work on improving your health to avoid future expenses resulting from poor health such as: reduced work hours, medical bills and increased insurance rates. A good place to start is with being familiar with what it takes to keep in line with FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) standards for driver health. You must pass your medical screening to continue driving so knowing these health benchmarks is crucial to staying on the road. For help finding a certified medical examiner click here. The criterion for the exam are as follows:

  • Vision – to check for visual impairments that would affect your ability to drive competently.
  • Hearing – like vision, it is checked to make sure you can hear what you need to in order to operate your truck properly.
  • Blood Pressure – high blood pressure can put you at a risk for heart-attack and stroke which could gravely endanger other drivers and yourself on the road.
  • Cardiovascular – to check for circulation and extremity health.
  • Respiratory – are you able to oxygenate your lungs appropriately. If not, you would be at risk for passing out at the wheel or becoming dizzy and fatigued.
  • Neurological – to check for your ability to comprehend your surroundings and make decisions while driving.
  • Musculoskeletal – if you have any physical impairments that make it difficult for you to operate a truck safely.
  • Diabetes – unregulated diabetes can be lethal and affects almost every category mentioned. If you have diabetes make sure you are taking steps to regulate it.
  • Psychological – can you handle the mental stresses of driving and will your mental condition put other drivers at risk.
  • Drug Test – to test for illegal substances or medicines that could affect your driving ability.

In addition to mandatory testing, you should be visiting the doctor regularly and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A great website for tips on living a healthy lifestyle is The Healthy Trucker. They have tips on exercise, eating healthy and budgeting for any over the road driver. All of these factors should be a part of your health regiment because staying healthy is the best way to save on medical costs. Most insurance policies will give allow for a copay or even free checkups so make sure to take advantage of those as well.

To summarize:

  1. Know your companies health insurance policies and wellness programs.
  2. For independent truckers: make sure you see if you qualify for a subsidized plan through the ACA open enrollment.
  3. Make sure you know the health requirements for the mandatory FMCSA medical screenings.
  4. Create a healthcare plan for yourself to stay healthy and on the road.

Great Apps for Truckers: A Guide to Picking Apps that will Make your Life Easier

Trucker Apps

If someone showed you a better route to take, saving you time and money, would you take that route?

Electronic Applications, or “Apps” for short, are pieces of software on mobile devices that serve to make your life easier. They act as shortcuts that help you complete tasks faster which translates to more money in your pocket and time to focus on the important stuff. Many apps are free or very inexpensive and most don’t require too much time to learn how to use them. In this article we’ll go over some of the best ones for truckers to have and how to best use them. If you aren’t using apps with your phone or tablet you are missing out on tons of great money and time-saving opportunities.

Gas Buddy – This a simple, easy to use app that can start saving you money immediately. All you need to do is download it to your phone, follow the account creation steps, punch in your zip code and find where the cheapest gas is in your area. It lets you sort by gas type so you can use this while you are on a long haul looking for the best diesel price or in your pickup on a camping trip. The app is kept up to date by users stopping at gas stations and plugging in the prices they see. You can earn points and discounts by contributing to the app so make sure to take advantage of this feature.

Truck Stops and Services – This is another free app that helps you find just what you are looking for while on the road. It shows nearby convenience stores, truck stops, weight stations, parts stores, mechanics and of course, the occasional chrome shop. To install it, download the app to your phone and follow the instructions on this page.

Trapster - This app is a great way to avoid speed traps, red light cameras and unnecessary tolls. Sometimes driving an extra mile before getting on a toll road can save you a few bucks! Users report locations where they’ve seen police hanging out and add them to the map. You’ll get custom audio alerts every time you are driving through an area with reported speed traps or red light cameras. Don’t use this as an excuse to drive like a lunatic though. Safety first.

Trucker Jobs App – Finding a job has never been easier. This app is a great way to find a company hiring in your area. Sometimes it’s time for a change or at least a comparison of benefits and pay.

Apps for Finding Hotshot Pickups and Partials – This is a bit trickier, and we know it is becoming more and more popular for owner/operators to look online to keep the wheels turning. One option is GetLoaded.com’s mobile app. This does require a subscription to their service to access. Another option is the Internet Truck Stop’s mobile app. You can download that here. This also requires a user ID on their website. Both of these options are a great and easy way to see available loads in your area and to post your truck for service.

These are just some of the great apps available to truckers. There are also plenty of great apps to help improve your daily life outside of your big rig. One example is Evernote, a note taking and messaging app for the scatterbrained individual. You can quickly take both audio and typed notes and have them synced to your desktop at home so they are never lost. This is a great way to stay on top of things. Another great lifestyle app is the MyFitnessPal app which is a calorie and exercise tracker. This can help you stay on top of personal health and how much you are (or aren’t) exercising.

If you can think it, there is probably an app for it so never stop searching for ways to make your life easier. The apps featured in this article are available for both Apple and Android devices but always make sure your device is compatible with app you are downloading.

Reasons to Own Your Own Big Rig: Becoming an Owner Operator

It is safe to say that most truck drivers, at least ones who love being a trucker, aspire to own their own truck, or even a fleet of trucks. It isn’t an easy undertaking though: There are lots of things to consider, questions to ask yourself and your family and research to do. We’ve outlined a basic model for any driver thinking of taking the leap.

Step 1: The Questions to Ask Yourself

Making the jump from just a driver to an owner will greatly change your lifestyle, even though you are still in the same industry. The responsibility shifts from you following someone else’s rules and schedule to having to set your own schedule and deadlines. Here are some major lifestyle questions you are going to want to ask yourself:

  • When and how do you like driving? – Are you the type of guy that will stack as many hours on top of each other so you can maximize work time, or do you like to be home every night for dinner? If weekends are sacred or you don’t want to run overnight it might be tough as an owner-operator. Regardless of when your trucks are on the road, running a business is 24/7. Expect phone calls in the middle of the night and problems to happen when you least expect them.
  • Is my family ready for this? – You and your family are going to have to make sacrifices, at least initially, if you choose to be an owner operator. Unless you have a strong background in independent trucking, or a business mentor, there is going to be lots of trial and error. This might mean weeks where cash is very tight or you have to pull money from a spouse or other loved ones. If your family is not prepared for this, it could cause problems.
  • Health and Health Insurance – Are you currently relying on your current company’s health care policy for support? Have you factored in the costs of providing health care for you, your family, and your potential employees? This is a huge expense in any household or business and, unfortunately, is often overlooked. If you don’t have your health in check the wheels certainly won’t be turning for very long.
  • Do I want to lease my services to a company or work for myself? This is one of the most important questions you’ll have to ask yourself.  The difference being: Leasing onto a company is more dependable but you have to play by their rules. Being independent has a higher risk but allows you to do more on your own terms and gives you more freedom to craft your work time to suite your wants and needs. Many truckers are deathly loyal to one or the other of these camps so we would suggest talking to a range of people that do both before making a final decision.

Step 2: Get Your Finances in Line, Things Might Get Expensive

As a fledgling business owner, your finances will be your worst enemy and best friend. If you are constantly digging for lost receipts, invoices and bills you won’t have time to focus on the important things like growing your clientele and providing great service. All business share the same structure for finances so there are plenty of guides on how to properly manage them. Where you’ll truly be successful is using all the extra time you gain from having organized budgets and finances to innovate and improve how you handle your customers and employees.

Here is a checklist of major financial considerations:

  • Debts and Credit – It will be hard to pay for things in cash initially so managing debt and credit will be crucial to your long term goals. This also means not wracking up frivolous charges on a whole bunch of different credit cards. Consolidate business expenses to one account and keep better track of debts. The better you manage your debt the more you’ll be able to invest later down the line. If you want to expand in the future, build a strong credit rating and get the trust of investors.
  • Insurance – Know what you are paying and if there could be potential increases in the future. Here in the United States, the insurance system is undergoing a large overhaul so there could be potential problems as well as opportunities to be aware of.
  • Personal Budget – Know what you are spending day in and day out. Things like: food, toiletries, cigarettes, cell phone and internet plans all factor into this bottom line. All of the small things can add up quickly so keep your receipts in an organized manner.

Step 3: The Boring (but very important) Legal Part

Because we live in a union of different states your legal obligations will vary depending on which state you live in. It would be wise to seek the council of a business lawyer before making any investments into starting your own business simply because what you are familiar with might be different than what you actually have to do. For example: you might drive in Texas for a company based in Florida. You see one thing day in and day out while the finances and legal obligations back at corporate see another.

Step 4: Start Daydreaming of What You Want to Drive

Yes you should be practical in how you pick the right truck:

  • How many miles does it have?
  • Is it still under warranty?
  • How do other people rate the truck?

At the end of the day though you have to choose something you’ll be happy driving day in and day out and this is one of the greatest feelings of becoming an owner. You get total control of what you’re driving. Some guys prefer the flashiness of a Peterbilt while others want the super modern feel of the Volvo trucks. You should also consider if you plan on exclusively driving it or if someone else will be driving it at some point. Owning a truck is a big undertaking, but it could easily be the best decision you ever make.

Gifts for Truck Drivers: Great ideas for the holidays or any special occasion!

Buying gifts for truck drivers has never been easier now that everything they could want is only a couple of mouse clicks away. Truckers are responsible for their own safety, health and comfort so it is always important to keep their lifestyle in mind when purchasing a gift. Every driver is different so make sure to take into consideration things like:

  • Do they ride at night mostly?
  • Do they drive in cold or warmer weather?
  • Do they own/lease their own truck or drive for a company?
  • How much space do they have in their cabin and do they frequently long haul?

With these basic questions covered you are ready to start shopping! Below is a list of great gift ideas and products for any driver or truck enthusiast.

1. Seat Covers – These are a quick and affordable way to customize and improve a driver’s cabin. They are available in a wide range of styles and colors and fit most models of seats.

Seat covers for big rigs

2. CB Radios – No big rig is complete without a CB radio. Even in today’s age of computers, tablets and cell phones its still nice to tune in and have a conversation with a fellow driver. CBs have a rich tradition in the trucking world and can act as a reliable backup communication device if the need ever arises.

CB Radio

3. Trucker T-Shirts – T-Shirts are a perfect way to show your love of big rigs and are perfect for drivers, their significant others and children alike. Anybody who loves trucks can appreciate a stylish t-shirt. Some are really funny and can make a statement about your personality right up front.

Bull Hauler T-ShirtCaught you starin'

4. Polishing and Buffing Kits – This is a perfect gift for any trucker who likes to have a little chrome and shine on his big rig. There are different size kits for any application. The best place to get started is the Zephyr Professional Polisher’s Starter Kit. It has everything you’ll need to give your truck a professional look for a fraction of the price it would cost to have it done in garage. There are also more affordable kits for buffing and wheel polishing.

Eight Piece Buffing KitWheel and Tank Detailing Kit

5. Heavy Duty Boots – Trucking is a tough job and sometimes you’ll be getting in and out of your cabs in all types of weather and dangerous conditions. A good pair of boots is important for both comfort and minimizing on the job injuries. Nothing can set you back quicker than a serious injury to your feet. At the end of the day they are the real money makers!

Heavy Duty Boots

6. Blue Tooth Headsets – These are a staple of the trucking industry and have pretty much become a necessity for most drivers. Hands free head sets make talking on the road much safer and easier. A good safety record is a veteran driver’s most valuable asset so make sure you have both hands free while on the road. Blue Parrot makes an excellent headset and is the preferred brand of thousands of drivers. They are the perfect gift for any trucker and are also very affordable.

Blue Parrot HeadsetBlue Parrot Express Headset

7. Hood Ornaments – These are a classic way to dress up the hood of your big rig. There are tons of options to suit any personality from the Peterbilt Swan to the iconic Deathproof Duck from the timeless film Convoy. They install easily and brighten the mood of anybody looking in their rear view mirror.

PACCAR Swan Hood OrnamentDeathproof Duck

8. GPS and Navigation Units - Rand McNally has a great reputation for trucking specific GPS units and navigation aids. The TND 700 is the hallmark series of  the brand and makes a perfect addition to any driver’s tools. For a longer list of features check out the product listing here.

Rand McNally GPS

In addition to these great trucker gifts here are some other useful tips for online shopping during the holidays:

  • Make sure to leave yourself plenty of time for the products to arrive. If a product is in stock it can take 3-5 business days depending on your zip code. Also, don’t forget to be the one checking the mail! You don’t want to ruin a good surprise.
  • Start a wish list early: if you know what you are probably going to be buying during the holidays it will make it easier to shop for the best deals on those products. Make sure to check back at our homepage frequently and sign up for our newsletter. We will constantly be offering deals through the shopping season.
  • Know what is going on sale during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. If there is something you must have on sale make sure to be ready to purchase! Things can stock out quickly.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If something doesn’t feel right, or you aren’t sure about a purchase make sure to call or email to clarify. Shopping should be fun, not stressful.
  • Keep a list of coupon codes. There are tons of sites online that offer coupon codes and if you plan on making multiple purchases, it will be very helpful to keep a list: Just like Santa!

Eating Healthy on the Road: Tips for Truckers on How to Eat Right and Stay Healthy

Healthy Tips for TruckersEating healthy and exercising while you are on the road is never an easy task. There are plenty of unhealthy options staring you in the face at every truck stop: Fast food, candy bars and of course, beef jerky. To avoid these pitfalls, it is best to be prepared and follow a simple health regimen that you can stick by. Rome wasn’t built in a day so you shouldn’t expect to have to completely change your whole lifestyle right out of the gate. But as you’ll see, many of the bad choices you make can easily be replaced by good ones. Let’s start with some good eating habits:

  • Make sure to eat breakfast each and every day. It is the best kick-start you can give to your metabolism and actually helps burn calories as long as you don’t scarf down a triple-decker fried waffle sandwich. Stick with egg-whites, whole grains, fruits and granola. This also means don’t eat a lot of food before you know you will be going to sleep. Eating right before bed is just about the worst thing you can do as your body is not actively working to metabolize the food and it will sit and get turned into fat, or worse, heartburn.
  • Snacking is actually a good way to stay healthy, provided you are snacking on the right foods. Keep some almonds or cashews within arms reach and wash them down with some water when you start to get hungry. Nuts are high in mono-saturated fats and oelic acid which are both great for cardiovascular health. Dried fruits and granola bars (not the ones with tons of chocolate in them, sorry) also make good snacks in a pinch when you need something sweeter. If you must have beef jerky, stick with a turkey option. It still isn’t the best thing for you but its an improvement over beef.
  • Counting calories isn’t for everyone and if you are as busy as most truckers you don’t have time. One thing you can do though is read the label of what you are about to eat. Many food packages deceptive label their calories by very small portions so keep this in mind. It is unrealistic to cut all fast and junk food out of your life so if you are going to partake, be aware of what you are putting into your body. With fast food, try to choose items that aren’t deep fried, like grilled chicken sandwiches or veggie replacements like portobello burgers.

The next big step to improving your overall health is finding time to exercise and stretch out. Here are some quick tips:

  • When you get a chance, stretch! There will always be time at rest stops, loading docks and when you are on-call waiting for a pickup location to stretch out your muscles. The most important groups to work out are the hamstrings and you lower back. Both of these groups suffer the most from life on the road. An easy stretch for your hamstrings is to simply lean forward and try to grab your toes. To stretch your lower back there are a couple of techniques. One, is to sit up straight in a chair and put one of your ankles on the opposite knee. Then, press down gently on the leg that is lifted and lean forward a bit. This will stretch your hip flexor and lower back. The other, is to lay on your back and bring your knees towards your chest and gently pull on them.
  • Maximize time at hotels. Sometimes you just need to spend a day outside your truck at a hotel or your work provides you with an opportunity to stay at one. Many hotels have pools and exercise rooms so don’t neglect these when you have some time to use them. Exercise in the pool is a great way to clear your head and stay healthy.

Some final tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle on the road include keeping good sleep hygiene, good oral hygiene and seeing a physician at least once a year for a physical. If you can incorporate at least a majority of these tips into your life you will see results. Health and well-being aren’t something to take lightly. They affect just about every interaction you have on a daily basis. The better you feel, the more positive you come across to others and, in turn, the better your are treated. Best of luck and keep on trucking!

The Great American Truck Show Checklist

The Great American Truck Show is fast approaching so we’d like to go over some questions our customers have had about it and also what everyone needs to make sure do while they are there in Dallas. It is a big show and take it from us, you don’t to miss anything!

If you haven’t registered for your free ticket to the show, you can do so here at the Great American Truck Show’s website. Once you fill out the information they will either email you or physically mail you your badge information. In the confirmation email you will have your registration number, which you will need along with identification to get your badge at the show. Make sure to fill out the information correctly so you can receive the correct offers and discounts from exhibiting companies. The show itself is from August 22-24th at the Dallas Convention Center. The show is open from 12pm-5pm on Thursday and 10am-5pm on Friday and Saturday.

Things you want to do before and after you get to Dallas:

  • If you plan on staying in a hotel, make sure to get on booking one right away. The GATS show is partnered with many of the hotels in the area. Make sure to check out this page to find discounted rooms.
  • Map out where you are going to park. There is free truck parking at the Reunion lot, which is located at Hotel street and Memorial Drive, at the southwest corner of the Dallas Convention Center.
  • Familiarize yourself with the floor plan so you can get to all the booths and trucks during your time at the show.

Great American Truck Show Floor Plan

  • There is a concert but the tickets are on a first come first serve basis so make sure to get to the registration lobby at 9am the day of the concert to receive your free tickets.
  • Bring a camera or smartphone that can take pictures! The Pride and Polish event is one of the best truck shows you can go to so make sure to take lots of pictures. We always love to meet the owners and ask them the stories behind their rigs. Every show truck seems to have a fun little bit of history.
  • The food in Dallas is great, so make sure to pick at least one night to walk the town. Last year, we ate at The Twisted Root on Commerce St. and it was amazing. Really good burgers and fries with a twist.
  • Bring a sturdy bag to carry all the free stuff you’ll be finding. At the show, everyone is either selling awesome new products or giving away hats, shirts and key chains. If you have kids, you also might leave with as much candy as you do after Halloween.

We can’t wait to see everyone at the show. Make sure to stop by our booth, #19027, and say hi! We’ll have some of our latest and greatest truck accessories on display as well as some really cool T-shirts. If you brought your truck with you, we’d love to see some pictures of it and hear what you have to say about the show trucks from the competition. Happy trails everyone.

What is an EOBR and How Does it Affect Drivers and Their Hours of Operation?

Example of an EOBR System

EOBRs (Electric on-board recorders) are slowly becoming more and more prevalent within the trucking industry. At their core they serve as  way to monitor hours of service and as they develop they are being outfitted in conjunction with global positioning systems and cameras. This has unnerved many truckers, for a good reason, and there has been a strong blow back among political groups representing personal freedoms. We hope to address some of the issues and see what EOBRs mean for drivers now and into the future.

What is and Electric On-Board Recorder?

An EOBR is an electronic device placed in a commercial truck or other vehicle that records driving time. In the European union they use digital tachographs, which is essentially the same device. EOBRs are used to monitor a truckers hours of service (HOS) which, when exceeded, can result in hefty fines and license suspension. They monitor when a truck is moving and stationary and tend to be more accurate than traditional log-books because they do not round to the nearest quarter hour.

An important thing to note: An EOBR is different from an electronic log. EOBRs are connected directly to the electronic control module (ECM) of the truck.

Some Important Legal Information of EOBRs

The FMCSA can request GPS records from an EOBR in the case of an investigation. These are considered “supporting documents” of hours of service compliance and must be kept for six-months. This counts both if you have a GPS system built in with the EOBR or a separate device. Also, you must keep an instruction sheet describing how data can be stored and retrieved from the EOBR and extra blank logs sufficient to record duty status and supplemental information for your trip.

Are they Expensive?

The short answer is: they can be, but they don’t have to be. Initially, you had to buy an all in one device that costs on average $1,700 per the FMSCA’s manufacturing demands. But, as the market for the devices has evolved, there are now exclusively digital options that link with phones and computers. These are subscription based models and can cost as low as $35 per month per vehicle. Usually all you will need to install is a small GPS transmitter on the dash. All of the data is then sent to your smartphone or computer and stored for analysis. One of the most popular of this software is the XRS Turnpike system.

Are They Here to Stay?

More than likely. Europe has already mandated their form of electronic logs as well as tracking system within the CDL license itself. It stands to reason similar forms of regulation might be implemented in the United States within the next few years. According to the Commercial Carriers Journal, congress plans on publishing a mandate for these devices pending research on decreased fatigue related accidents resulting from use of EOBRs. The best thing you can do for yourself is stay informed so you can take action as soon as a change becomes necessary.

What Are The Best Load Boards for Owner Operators? Let’s Find Out!

Load Boards

Online load boards are a great way to help keep your wheels turning so you never have to deadhead. Some load boards are among the oldest websites in the trucking industry. A truckers network is his most valuable asset and frequenting a reliable load board can be a great way to meet brokers and find work where you otherwise wouldn’t be looking. Most of the time all you need is a MC# (Motor Carrier Number) or a DOT# depending on if you are looking for loads or providing them. The big question then becomes: How do I know which load board to trust and how much is too much as far as fees are concerned? Many drivers won’t get out of bed for less than $2.00 a mile while others don’t seem to mind. It is all about finding the finding a place that consistently offers freight tailored to your schedule, equipment and desired rates.

So where to start?

Lets look at some reviews and analysis from across the web of different load boards. We’ll compare size, average rates and user feedback. Because freight rates can vary so much from week to week, we’ll be trying to aim for averages. There will obviously be exceptionally bad and good loads to find on all of the load boards so we don’t suggest using this information to rule out a company completely.

DAT Loadboard – The largest load board on the web,  and in many respects, the most useful. They have frequently updated freight trends available on their site as well as a large list of driver resources. Another plus is DAT will guarantee payment and help collect in the event on non-payment. They have a free reporting tool to get estimates on their rates averaged by region, weekly. For example, they are reporting that Memphis is averaging $2.15 a mile while Atlanta is at $1.94 a mile.

Getloaded.com - One of the most streamlined boards, Get Loaded is tailored primarily to drivers who quickly need to find load. They have very highly rated mobile app for both iOS and Android phones. Their basic package is $29.99 but it doesn’t include many features that most truckers desire. You’ll have to go to a more premium plan if you want credit scores, back-haul links and toll information. There are also some questionable reviews on this site concerning the site.

TruckStop.com – Also called the Internet Truckstop, this loadboard has been around since 1995 and charges $35.00 a month for its services. The site is a bit dated, but from what we’ve read online the loads are fine. You will also have to pay for credit checks on brokers at a clip of $15 per 25 checks.

123Loadboard.com – Another board with a good reputation and useful features such as their Rate Check. According to 123Loadboard.com:

Rate Check will track critical freight rate data from thousands of truck lanes for all major North American market areas… Rate Check breaks down the most profitable truckload lanes by analyzing the average rate per mile, line haul revenue and average fuel cost per trip. Transportation professionals can target where they want to haul freight based on the dollar amount generated by specific routes. This allows them to negotiate better rates to increase their profits.

Picking smarter loads is definitely part of remaining profitable in this industry. For the best results, it seems good to mix the rate matching tools of different load boards and compare the regions you’d be most interested in. Many times the advertised price will not be what the freight left the dock for so make sure to establish terms with reputable brokers.

There are load boards popping up on the internet all the time so make sure to never settle for a sub par service. The monthly fees can add up so make sure to look for promotional offers and free trials. Here is a list of a few trials you could get started with:

  1. 10 days free at 123loadboard.com
  2. 10 days free at getloaded.com
  3. 30 days free at truckersedge.net
  4. 30 days free at transcore.com

The internet is here to stay and is quickly becoming the beset and fastest way to do business in the trucking industry. If you are an owner/operator make sure to make online load boards part of your business model moving forward. Even if they are not a primary source of leads and revenue it is always a good idea to have a backup plan for when times are slow. With some boards costing nothing, or next to nothing, what do you have to lose?

Useful Post-Earth Day Infographic about Diesel Emissions in Trucks

Diesel Emissions Infographic

Thanks to Equipment World for the great infographic. Hopefully we can continue to find a balance of health and productivity as the trucking industry grows.

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Raneys originated from Raneys Truck Center, one of the most reputable Heavy Duty Truck Parts and Service companies in the state of Florida. As a bricks and mortars store since 1986, Raneys truly understands the importance of putting customers first. After implementing a new division of employees known as W9, Raneys Truck Center rapidly began to change. With a strong foundation in Ocala, Fl the W9 division was assigned to take Raneys Truck Center global. Within one year Raneys established a strong online presence through its first ecommerce website, Raneys Truck Parts, which is now considered one of the top online sources of chrome parts and accessories for semi trucks. Talking with and helping truckers across America is not a job at Raneys. Whether it is a Peterbilt 379, Kenworth W900, or Volvo VN, Raneys loves to make sure the ride is chromed out right the first time!

All prices are in USD. Copyright 2010 Raney's Truck Center.