How a Lower Produce Season Can Affect Owner-Operators

How a Lower Produce Season Can Affect Owner-Operators
How a Lower Produce Season Can Affect Owner-Operators

Owner-operators play an important role in the transportation industry, especially when moving produce during harvest seasons. Late spring and early summer are the seasons owner-operators look forward to most. With the increased availability of loads during the produce season, it’s typically a good time for owner-operators to find loads, make money, and keep their trucks moving.

This year California has noticed historic rainfall, which can delay producing crops. Some fields were underwater and wetter than usual – this can affect when the produce can be harvested and how plentiful the harvest will be. Some crops that were in the ground before now have yet to be planted, and with the saturated soils, farmers begin to worry about diseases that the wet conditions could cause.

Effects of Weak Produce Season on Owner-Operators

With the possibility of a low produce season, owner-operators may be scrambling. The freight market has been slower this year, and a weak growing season may not help stabilize the economy and continue to increase inflation. This may keep the numbers higher for longer than we expected. Below are some reasons a weak produce season can affect owner-operators.

  • Decrease in Demand and Reduce Income: During lower produce seasons, demand for moving fruits and vegetables often decreases. This decline can impact owner-operator’s the number of loads available, resulting in reduced income. A lower demand increases competition among owner-operators, resulting in lower rates and reduced profit restrictions. Owner-operators may experience financial troubles during this season.
  • Higher Operating Costs: Typically, owner-operators carry the costs of operating and maintaining their trucks. During a low produce season, owner-operators may notice higher operating costs without an increase in income. Higher fees can include fuel, insurance, maintenance, and other expenses related to their truck. It can be difficult to cover these expenses, resulting in financial troubles.
  • Inconsistent Loads: During lower produce season, transportation of these goods becomes unpredictable. Drivers may face trouble securing consistent and reliable loads – resulting in uncertainty. Not having a constant workload can make it hard to plan routes and schedules.
  • Changes in Market Tactics: Owner-operators may need to change their market tactics to be competitive. By doing this, they can explore different freight options or expand their clientele to compensate for the loss of produce freight. Owner-operators may choose to haul other loads or haul in different areas. However, making these changes takes careful planning and the possibility of more costs and logistical challenges.
  • Effects on Truck Maintenance or Repairs: With fewer loads, trucks may have more downtime, which can increase wear and tear. Maintenance not completed due to financial reasons can worsen the situation and result in higher repair costs.
  • Market Changes: Produce seasons can be affected by crop yields, weather, and market demands. Owner-operators must be informed of these market changes and adjust their plans as needed. A slow produce season may only be temporary, so owner-operators must be prepared for the upswing of loads by keeping a healthy relationship with important clients and brokers.

Slow produce seasons can affect owner-operators, from lower demand and income to high maintenance and repair costs and inconsistent work. Owner-operators must be able to adapt as needed during this time to keep their business going. By adapting to the market changes and keeping their truck in good working order, owner-operators may be able to ease the effects of a lower produce season.