On Rates and Lanes:
When I’m running the board (I’m on dedicated right now so I do the same load every week), I have a daily rate.
Depending on the overall market and conditions at the time, it ranges from a minimum of $1,250 - $1,500 per day (total gross before a carrier gets any percentage). That’s the MINIMUM. $10/mile is no good if it’s only 50 miles. $500 isn’t worth the investment of time it would take to load, drive, and unload.
A lot of people use Florida as the example of why shouldn’t haul “cheap freight.” There’s very little production in FL outside Reefer freight.
So, in the case of Florida, I’ll look at how many days are involved in the turn. If I can make $5000 in two days going down, then I only need $1000 to match my minimum to get back out in a day or two. Then I have to look at if it’s easier to just run my “regular” market and stay in my preferred revenue stream, or go to Florida and come back “cheap” to make the same money. Last summer I found a $2/mile load out of FL and took a load down that was $5.29/mile with almost no deadhead. It was a no brainer. It was also VERY rare. Unless I lived in Florida or I just need some sunshine, I usually avoid it and stay in my lane where I know what to expect.
“It’s not what you make per mile, it’s what you make PER WEEK.”
There’s a minimum amount of money a truck needs to make in a week. In our case, the minimum is $6,000. The boom market of the last 18 months has turned that minimum up to $8,000 to $10,000 per week. But no matter the market, $6,000 is the absolute minimum. Once you have your minimum, you can more easily find loads that meet your needs. Most trucks can do six loads per week (one load over the weekend). So each “day” needs to pay at LEAST $1,000. The formula from there is pretty easy - one day = $1000. A two day load = $2,000 and so on.
Don’t get blinded by the rate per mile. Have a budget and plan to meet revenue goals for the WEEK and MONTH.
Everything else will work out from there.