Thanks to Scott Yates, 8089

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This is the F-22, which was just flying over the skies of Louisville this weekend.  The most unbelievable plane I have ever seen.  It was Thunder Over Louisville weekend, which showcases a great air show, followed by the largest annual fireworks show in the U.S.  Great times on the river this weekend.

On a more serious note, I want to recognize Scott Yates, unit 8089.  He delivered a personel vehicle that belonged to a deceased soldier, to the soldier's wife.  Scott went above and beyond the call of duty by washing the car before delivering it, and the wife of the soldier had nothing but good things to say about him.  Stories like this make me very proud of being a Mercer employee, and really helps me prove to others that we are the best Owner-Operator company in the industry.  Lets take some time today to remember all of our fallen soldiers, and those that are still in combat today.


Ozzie Smith's Friday Morning News Links

aaej0377eozzie-smith-turning-double-play-photofile-posters1Cards beat Cubbies, 7-4!  You are probably wondering what this has to do with Trucking.  Fact is, it has nothing to do with trucking.  I am a huge St. Louis fan, an Heidi is a huge Cubbie fan.  When the Cubs and Cards play, we hardly speak, and if we do speak, it is probably somewhat disrespectful.  Just put this post up for her.  Go Redbirds!  Now, on with some real news:

Werner reduces fleet size, after first quarter profits fall

USA Truck Inc., cuts costs after first quarter loss

More bad news on the economy, and freight availability

Are Mexican trucks safe enough to travel in the U.S.?  Hopefully our government will stand strong, and keep Mexican trucks out of the U.S.  I personally believe that the majority of the Mexican trucks we allow into the U.S. pose a great danger to everyone on our roads.  What do you think?  Please comment below.


Need an extention on your taxes?

Today is TAX DAY!  Hooray!  Do you need an extension?  Our friends at Central Business Services, Inc., can help you out.  We currently have many Mercer drivers using their services.  They specialize in tax service for Owner-Operators.  Here is the email that Mark just sent me:

Jason / Heidi: Yes, tax day is here and things are crazy on this end. Hope business is picking up for Mercer.
 
I wanted to let you guys know that we have the ability to file any extensions for Mercer Contractors that are not able to meet today's filing deadline electronically. There is no cost and we are happy to help if anyone needs to buy some additional time. The extension would make the new deadline for filing October 15th and would waive any late filing penalties. It DOES NOT eliminate the interest owed for late filers in the event that they owe the IRS money. NOTE ---- if they were our clients throughout the year, we would have told them the correct amounts to pay in each qtr to prevent any significant amount owed or returned...basically a wash when filing.
 
If you think it would be helpful to send a message to your fleet, please do so and let me know so we can be prepared for the calls.
Info needed:
1) Full Name of contractor and spouse (if married)
2) SS# of Contractor and spouse (if married)
3) Address
4) Filing Status (single / married / married filing separate )
Please have them call 317-813-1001 and anyone that answers the phone can assist.

Got TWIC?

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Currently over 800 of our drivers have their TWIC cards.  Please don't continue to miss out on freight!  You can contact Libby Fagan, in our Louisville office to get some more information on how to apply.  You can also visit www.tsa.gov, to get more information, and pre-apply.


Flatbed vs. Stepdeck

Since we have created the Contractor Web, and allowed our drivers to see all of our freight, we have received many calls from drivers wondering if they should switch trailers.  It's a tough pill to swallow, when you are sitting empty in Charleston, with a Flatbed, and the board is full of step-deck freight out of Charleston that you can't haul.  It's just as frustrating when you have a step-deck, and you are told time and time again, "that load won't fit on a step", or "the customer just won't load a step".  So what's the best way to go, flat or step?

As a coordinator, I ran a board full of step-decks for 6 years.  So I have always had more interest in step-decks than flatbeds.  Step-deck freight is definitely more interesting, especially with all of the O.D. freight that can be available to you.  Plus, who can argue with a special equipment charge?  Many contractors have called in recently, asking what kind of step-deck to get.  The most versatile step-deck configuration for my money is the 48 footer, with an 8 foot top deck, and a 40 foot bottom.  Container locks are a must!  I do recommend the ramps that double as load levelers also, but they are very expensive, and not necessary.  I do not suggest the low-profile 17.5 tires though.  The over-height freight that we usually get, typically goes on our RGN fleet.  Since the tires are smaller, which creates more tire revolution, you will replace these tires more frequently than with a standard size.  It is likely that you will not haul enough over-height freight to make up the difference in the amount of money you spend on the tires.  Plus, I hear that the 17.5's can be much harder to find.

Let's remember that Mercer, is a flatbed company.  Flatbeds, by far, make up the majority of our fleet.  If you want the most total load offers here at Mercer, a flat is probably the way to go.  In fact, many of our steps haul more flatbed freight, than they do specialized.  You can never go wrong with a flatbed here.

We all know that the flatbed industry is not nearly as busy as it was a year ago.  I definitely know that there are a lot of drivers out there living load to load.  So right now, I think the best trailer you can have is...the trailer you already have.  I think the only change that is good, is the one that can lower your monthly payment, which is nearly impossible. 

If you are in the market for a trailer, we do have several trailers here on our lot.  As a Mercer Contractor, we can set you up on a lease purchase on any of those trailers.  We have flats and steps available.  If you are interested, please contact me or Heidi at cra@mercer-trans.com.  Have a great day, and be safe!


Thursday Wrap-Up

It's been an interesting Thursday.  I have spent most of the day following up with contractors, and the biggest part of my discussions have been spent talking about the lack of freight.  I stumbled across a great article on this very topic.  http://www.purchasing.com/article/CA6649911.html?industryid=48397

I will soon have a link to this blog on our Mercertown website, and on our contractor web.  If you are viewing this blog for the first time, please spread the word among other Mercer Contractors!

Tomorrow, I plan discussing flatbed vs. stepdeck trailers.  Please keep an eye on the site so you can share your thoughts.  Have a safe night!


Welcome to the Mercer Transportation Blog!

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Welcome to the new Mercer Transportation Blog!  My name is Jason Schaftlein, and I am in Contractor Relations here at Mercer.  I have created this blog to encourage, and increase communication between the employees in our Louisville, KY headquarters, and our owner-operators.  I hope to be able to post to this blog multiple times per day, so remember to visit regularly.  I encourage everyone to comment on the topics I post here, just please remember to be respectful.  I look forward to sharing my opinions with you, and if you need to contact me, you can always email me at jschaftlein@mercer-trans.com.