Trucking layovers 101: Everything you need to know

March 21, 2023

In a perfect world, the process of moving a load would always go smoothly. The shipment would be ready to be picked up, the receiver would be waiting for your driver, and time on the road would only be spent traveling from one facility to the next. But in reality, things don’t always go according to plan.

‍Delays like layovers can be costly and frustrating. To minimize the stress involved and ensure that you are getting paid for your valuable time, it’s important to understand what to do when a layover occurs. Keep reading to learn all about trucking layovers, including why they happen and how to navigate them.

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What is a trucking layover?

If you’re an experienced trucker, you’ve likely dealt with a layover at some point in your career. For those who are newer to the industry, trucking layovers occur when a driver gets delayed by either the shipper or receiver for one or more days.

Why do trucking layovers happen?

‍There are many stakeholders involved in the process of moving goods and each party wants to work as efficiently as possible. To maximize their operations, both shippers and receivers aim to fill their schedules to capacity. Unfortunately, this leaves just a small window for error, so when mistakes or delays do happen it can cause a chain reaction.

Some examples of common mistakes or delays that might cause a layover to occur include:

  • ‍The appointment information was incorrect
  • The receiver is short-staffed, running behind schedule, or has broken equipment
  • The product is not ready when the shipper thought it would be

‍How can a trucking layover impact your business?

‍Since you are still responsible for your fixed overhead costs and you miss out on revenue each day the driver is delayed, trucking layovers can quickly eat away at your monthly earnings. Beyond that, fleet owners may struggle with managing business as usual while coordinating phone calls to support a driver who is delayed.

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‍Navigating trucking layovers

‍To run your trucking business most effectively, it is important to prevent unforeseen delays like layovers from impacting your profits. Keep the following key points in mind to set yourself up for success:

  1. Understand the layover policy: This includes knowing when you will be eligible for layover pay, how much you are entitled to, and the specific terms involved. It’s helpful to get this information in writing to make sure that you’re covered in the event of a layover. Remember that this must be agreed upon by both parties prior to accepting the load.
  2. Be aware of your operating expenses: Knowing how much it costs to run your truck per day will help you determine whether or not the layover pay is sufficient or if you’ll need to negotiate further with the broker.
  3. Communicate clearly and early: Encourage your driver or dispatcher to contact the shipper or receiver ahead of time to confirm trip details, which can help to clear up any potential misunderstandings.
  4. Have a plan: As soon as a layover occurs, get in touch with your dispatcher or the broker to fill them in on the situation and discuss the next steps. Additionally, make sure your drivers are clear on your policies for delays. If the delay is going to be longer than 24 hours, you may want to consider finding lodging for your driver.

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