A bill of lading is a legal document between a shipper and a carrier that details the type, quantity and destination of the goods being carried. The bill of lading also serves as a shipment receipt when the carrier delivers the goods at the predetermined destination. This document must accompany the shipped goods, no matter the form of transportation, and an authorized representative from the carrier, shipper and receiver must sign it.
(courtesy of Investopedia- https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/billoflading.asp )
The most common form used in the trucking industry, actually the transportation industry. This form is the basis of all income within the industry. It is the commercial guarantee of shipping, receiving, and shipping across the world.
Why is it so important?
It is important because as carriers, operators, and shippers of goods; it provides guarantees of responsibilities for both buyer and sellers, as well as shippers, receivers, transporters, and financing. We all centralize through this one documentation. Multiple industries, connected as one centralized hub for the goods or products of our trades.
Once signed as transporters, we accept full responsibility with the backing of the insurers that support our industry. Then upon signing as accepted, with date and properly counted; the receiver accepts the terms of the bill as “Good Standing.” Hence why, when a receiver finds a discrepancy with the count or packaging, it is typically noted on the BOL; or Bill of Laden for the shipment.
Understanding that simple document will open a world of possibilities for the Trucker; not because it is a document that we use; but actually understanding what the commercial trade or shipment actually is doing with the document– allowing you to find hidden profits to help you earn over your career.
Say, you are like I was; and speak with everyone at the warehouse you are at; learn about their business. The manager likes you, and understands you have knowledge most drivers don’t, because maybe you recommended a few customers over the years.
Well, when you have a warehouse manager that has product on shelves that is owed storage and he cannot collect; he knows you know the customers better than him simply from your travels alone. He knows you have mentioned several times that if he had any product he needs to collect on that you would be interested in buying the product at discount to make some extra money for your business.
He calls you with a truck load of product xyz, you do your research and know you need to be at 15% of the wholesale value so you can make something which is about what is owed. You call your buyer, and sell it to them at 65% of the wholesale value, saving them 35% on their normal rates. They agree, if you cover the transport…..
You pickup, and deliver; collecting your 50% of the wholesale, and then get offered a load from the receiver to get you to TX or NC where your main customer is……… AT a good rate…..
This is the extra profits most miss……this is the major moves most miss because they are closed minded and don’t truly understand what could be done if they just took a little time to learn……
I hope this helps you with your future, and learning
To long and wide country roads; and beautiful country drives