After a natural disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) calls on the trucking industry to help haul loads to relief sites. “These loads tend to come with higher rates, but pay attention to the details,” says DJ Crocker, TAFS Director of Risk Management, “They can also come with additional risks for your trucking company.” Here are a few tips from TAFS on running a successful FEMA load:
Who is actually offering the load?
FEMA loads typically go through a broker. This means the broker is responsible for paying you. Before you accept a load, base your decision on the broker’s ability to pay, not FEMA’s. In addition, DJ suggests, “verifying the load is actually coming from FEMA”. If it is not, you may be stuck holding the bill.
How long are you going to wait?
You will probably sit for several days at the drop-off site. Remember, resources in disaster areas are scarce. Make sure you replenish your fuel, food, and water supplies before you arrive in a disaster area. In addition, be patient. Several other truck drivers will be in your situation – waiting around to be unloaded. Remain calm and polite. A bad attitude will not make things go faster.
Verify Detention Rates
DJ also advises you to “ensure the detention rate and final total amount of detention pay are listed on your rate confirmation sheet.” Knowing how long you are going to sit, and how much you will be paid for sitting, will help you plan for your trip.
Keep a well-organized, paper trail
Keep records of all your purchases and paperwork. Include details on deadheaded miles, layovers, linehaul, detention, and other accessorial charges. Also, keep detailed notes on conversations with brokers, including emails. “Get agreements in writing; do not simply accept a verbal confirmation.” Brokers deal with an influx of freight during natural disasters and are dealing with a great deal more paperwork than usual. A paper trail is the best way to ensure everyone is accountable.
Payment will take a while
Natural disasters slow everything down, including payments for loads. Payments can be even slower if you sign a contract. To speed up funds, it is best to utilize a trusted factoring company like TAFS. We can get you paid within hours*, instead of several months down the road.
Thank you to all the drivers giving their time to help in the wake of Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the fires in the West. You are enabling these areas to get back on their feet. We appreciate what you are doing and, in return, want to ensure your business is protected. Read the fine print and stay safe.
* All funding times on approved invoices are approximate and can fluctuate. Restrictions apply.
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