The benefits of incorporating return loads on your routes

man inside truck watching his cellphone

Return loading or "backloading" is an increasingly popular option for those looking to reduce their transporting costs and for businesses looking to improve their bottom lines. As the name suggests, the practice involves picking up an additional load once a haul is completed and transported back to a location near or at the truck's initial starting point. 

Offering space in your vehicles for the return journey increases vehicle, and driver utilisation, improve productivity and eliminates additional trips, all while cutting down on unnecessary fuel use and being better for the environment.

The question is, how do you find return loads without using hundreds of person-hours contacting businesses? How do you know which routes to prioritise? And how do you manage this process? 

Any haulage company worth its salt knows that return loads are essential to keep the business running smoothly and profitably. Read on to find out how.

Why consider return loads?

Anyone who works within the haulage industry, be that owner drivers or haulage companies, dread "empty miles" or the miles travelled without a full load. An empty truck doesn't generate revenue; these deadhead miles—miles travelled without a load—eat into a business's profit margins. 
Additionally, empty miles contribute to wear and tear on the truck and add harmful greenhouse gases to the environment. One way to avoid empty miles is to return load or transport goods on the return trip. The practice of return loading can be logistically challenging, but it's often worth it to avoid the wasted time, money, and resources associated with empty miles.
While arranging back loads requires more planning than sending trucks out to complete one haul at a time, the benefits certainly add up. Planning efficient loads prevents wasted fuel, which translates to cost savings and minimises environmental damage. It also improves operational efficiency by maximising equipment and labour utilisation, which improves productivity and boosts revenue. In addition, return loading can help build all-important relationships with customers, demonstrating a commitment to customer service. When done correctly, return-loading is a win-win for everyone - businesses, customers and the environment.

How can you find return loads?

Many overlook merely asking the customer if they have a return load that they need transporting in the other direction. As this benefits both the customer and the driver, and it's more cost-effective for the customer and provides more opportunities for work for the driver, it's a win-win situation for both parties. 
Although there is no guarantee, if there's a match and you can easily integrate the back load into your journey, you're making sure that every mile you (or your drivers) travel is working harder for your business.
It's often beneficial for haulage businesses and owner drivers to establish relationships with other local companies in the industry for multiple reasons. When forming these connections, you occasionally may find return loads from bookings in advance. Still, often it's the last-minute jobs that other local businesses may need help transporting from other locations that they'll call on you for. 
Maintaining good relationships with others locally will help affirm your business as the logical first choice when support is needed – even if it's infrequently. 

Using a freight exchange to find return loads

By far, the most effective and reliable way to find return loads is using a freight exchange network like TIMOCOM's Marketplace. A network like ours offers access to over 50,000 security-vetted international clients, all searching for vehicle space or return loads. 
With up to 1 million freight spaces and loads available daily, the likelihood of matching your requirements with a potential partner is high. All under the peace of mind that your return load will be trackable, and your potential partner has been vetted by TIMOCOM's team.

How can TIMOCOM's Marketplace help?

If you're an owner driver or fleet manager, the most important thing you can do to avoid deadhead miles is to seek and plan your return loads ahead of time. Always having a return load organised before you even leave for your initial trip guarantees your trailer is always full. As a haulage company, ensuring you keep a keen eye on your busiest routes and the costs associated will also help you decide which routes are most important for backloading, usually the ones that are the costliest. 
Using TIMOCOM's Freight Exchange, owner drivers, haulage businesses and producers alike can plan the best routes, work out costs and network with others with vehicle space to offer or those searching for freight to fill return loads for return their HGVs. 
However, TIMOCOM's freight exchange doesn't merely allow businesses to network and find opportunities for return loads; it also helps streamline and manage the return loading process from start to finish. The marketplace is built with innovative functions, such as offering detailed transport quote requests and allowing freight seekers to list their requirements while reaching out to matching freight partners. 
Quickly adapt the schedule, update your partner or negotiate on price and then, once matched, our intelligent system offers real-time GPS tracking. You can easily update your return load partner of your ETA and ensure the entire journey is hassle-free.
These functions allow for better efficiency when it comes to return loads for HGVs and allows HGV drivers to accept jobs while already on the road, knowing exactly when they will arrive and when they will be available to accept a return load.

Incorporate return loads to improve business efficiency

Being able to return load on homecoming journeys can significantly boost earnings and drastically improve customer relationships. After all, you're likely saving them time and money by offering return load haulage. 
Being flexible and obliging to any last-minute requests can make all the difference. So next time you plan a trip, keep return loading in mind and accommodate any requests. It could make all the difference to your bottom line.

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