Posted on 28 Apr, 2015
Categories: Trucking Business
While deadheading is obviously expensive, detention time can cost you just as much. Even though the truck might not be moving, it's still costing you money. For one, there’s the lost productivity while your truck is stuck at a dock waiting to get loaded or unloaded. There’s also an opportunity cost. When you are detained for long periods of time, you can miss out on another load elsewhere.
In the past, we’ve talked about how to define a detention fee in your rules of service. Often the trick is to figure out how much to charge so you can strike a balance between getting compensated for your time and keeping your customers happy.
Last year, Transplace performed a benchmarking study of the most common accessorial charges for shippers. Here are the three most common practices:
- Most shippers expected two hours of free detention time for the power unit.
- A majority of carriers charged for every 15 minute beyond that grace period for the power unit, ranging anywhere from $25 to $90 per hour. If it's just the trailer that's detained, the detention fee is per day.
- The shippers in the study usually allowed for a $600 maximum in detention fees.
Find Creative Ways to Collect
If you’re hauling for a shipper that has a record of detaining your trucks, it might be easier to charge a higher rate per mile rather than charging them a detention fee as an accessorial.
Another approach is to offer a refund for a quick turnaround at the docks. Let’s say you charge a per-day fee for your truck on top of the linehaul rate. Agree to leave the per-day fee off the invoice if your truck is back on the road in two hours or less.
The detention fee doesn’t just offset your opportunity and equipment costs, though. If your driver is paid by the mile, detention time means losing hours that would otherwise produce income. If you can’t find a way to compensate the driver for that time, you could end up looking for a new driver.