What You Need To Know About Running FEMA Loads

 In Freight Factoring, Freight Industry

It’s that time of year again where unfortunate natural disasters bring in an abundance of FEMA loads that will keep many drivers busy for months. FEMA season was officially kicked off with Hurricane Barry making landfall in Louisiana this month and this is expected to only be the beginning of another busy season. 

In 2018 the U.S. was met with eight hurricanes and another seven named storms that kept trucks moving to disaster zones for most of the Fall. 2019 is expected to be similar to last year with projections of 15 named storms and six to eight of those being hurricanes. With this many expected storms FEMA will need to lean on the transportation industry to ensure supplies make it to the people in need. If it wasn’t for trucking companies FEMA wouldn’t be able to get the water, ice, medical supplies, generators, and more to the people in the disaster areas. 

Running FEMA Loads Are Great

Running FEMA loads goes a long way in helping the recovery effort when a hurricane or wild fire brings destruction to a community, but it’s also incredibly important to make sure you’re compensated quickly and fully for your time. Trucks are desperately needed for disaster relief, but these hauls can strain your cash flow due to extra delays, longer wait times to unload, and other potential challenges.

This is where OTR comes in to play, we’ll get you paid quickly, help make sure you’re running with credit approved brokers, and handle any payment delays with the broker. 

These high paying loads are very attractive, but it will require extra caution to ensure the invoice can be factored and that you’re properly compensated. Take advantage of what OTR can do for you. Our services are even more important when it’s for loads you may have spent weeks working on and that are paying anywhere from $5k to $20k+.

Stay Safe and Be Prepared

Carriers will need to be aware of a variety of conditions to make sure they stay safe and to make certain they can factor the FEMA load without delay. Heading into a disaster zone, safety should be the #1 priority, make sure your drivers are prepared. Drivers can run into to multiple challenges on the way like

  • Damaged Roads
  • Spotty Cell Service
  • Closed Truck Stops
  • Closed Grocery Stores 

Be prepared, stay organized, and be patient for the best chance to keep these loads hassle free. 

Keep Clear Records of Agreements

In this industry it’s always important to get information in writing, but it’s essential when taking a FEMA load from a broker. With the high detention pay and with the time it will take to complete, get everything in writing so you have clear records to reference if needed. Disaster relief can be hectic, and you don’t want anything to slip through the cracks. Make sure you keep a detailed record of all agreements discussed. Here is a list of things to pay attention to, so you can avoid any disputes with the broker.

  • Cost You’ll be able to charge more on these loads, consider the time and costs and ask for a higher rate.
  • Waiting Time Keep a detailed record! 
  • Miles You’ll see great rates per a mile, but don’t forget it’s unlikely you’ll get a load out, factor in the empty miles on your way out of the disaster area.
  • Detention and Layover Pay Include it on the rate agreement and remember it could take a while to get unloaded.
  • Rate Con Review to confirm standard terms and any other important information.

Read over the rate con carefully, have detention pay included on the rate con, and confirm they have standard pay terms. Reading everything thoroughly and getting it in writing ahead of time will make the factoring process much easier once you’re ready to invoice.

Loads Can Get Paid Slower

OTR is here to help make sure you get paid quickly once the job is complete! It’s important to us that you don’t have to wait any longer on those funds, but we also need to ensure we’ll get paid the full amount agreed to and in a timely matter. Most FEMA loads you book will be through freight brokers with standard net 30 pay terms; but because FEMA loads are government contracted, you can imagine the government is not paying as quickly as we’d all prefer. It’s understandable with the chaos that is disaster relief and the tens of thousands of loads being run for the government over just a few months, but it’s still important that you and OTR are paid on time. Because the customer, FEMA, can pay so slow, these loads are sometimes paid when paid, meaning, the broker won’t pay the carrier/factor until they are paid by the government. 

Unfortunately, OTR cannot wait an indefinite amount of time to receive payment so we will not be able to immediately purchase invoices that are paid when paid. It’s important for you to always confirm the broker will have standard pay terms

Detention Pay Is Important

Usually the big hold up on payment isn’t the line haul, but the extra detention pay, after a major hurricane (category 3-5) we regularly see detention pay skyrocket to $750 – $1,500 a day. When we run into payment issues on FEMA loads it’s often because the detention is in dispute, this is why it’s so important to have detention on the rate con and keep any discussion over detention in writing. Due to some of the issues we’ve experienced with the large detention payments, OTR will always require written confirmation that the detention is finalized and the amount is correct. Getting everything in writing will go a long way when you’re finalizing the rate with the broker and trying to get funded. We’ll require written verification from accounts payable on the rate/detention and we’ll need to confirm the pay terms; but when you’re working with a good broker and everything has been communicated correctly, this shouldn’t be an extra obstacle.

OTR is Here to Help

No one wants a natural disaster to strike, it’s incredibly unfortunate for so many Americans, but it does create an opportunity for carriers to help those affected while making good money. If you choose to run FEMA loads during the hurricane or wild fire season, be prepared and stay patient. These loads might not go as smoothly as you’re used to, but they can be worth it and OTR will do everything to get you funded as normal. If you have any questions, or expect to regularly run disaster relief loads this season, please reach out to your account manager.

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