Wednesday, May 10, 2017
The following is a guest post by Josh Breger at Haulhound.com, a Chicago based logistics tech startup. Check them out at the links provided:
As a driver, finding good freight is a top priority. As you know, this can often be time consuming and your options might be saturated with cheap rates and not enough miles.
There are seemingly endless channels to find freight and it could seem overwhelming. Here are five tips to help you pick and choose where to look, and who to work with.
1. Avoid Brokers. Perhaps Be Wary of Brokers is better. It sounds easier than it actually is. There’s no denying that brokers have become an integral cog within the logistics framework. It’s often unavoidable to never move brokered freight. However, just as it’s your main job to get the highest possible rate, it’s brokers job to do the exact opposite. Brokers lack consistent lanes and bank on quoting spot freight. It is their job to quote shippers high, and sell it to drivers for low.
2. If you can’t avoid brokers, find two or three that you trust. Not every broker is shady and obsessed with ripping with you off. There are plenty of decent, honorable brokers that truly care about your business and treat you like a customer. These are often the mid-size brokerages. The huge brokerages with thousands of employees might have a lot of freight, but can’t guarantee you the personal touch you require. So try to seek out the smaller companies that have between 100-400 employees. They still have a lot of freight but they are small enough to devote enough attention to you and your truck. The more loads you pull for them, and the more you prove yourself as a dependable driver, rates will go up and those annoying tracking phone calls will go down.
3. Sign on with a carrier. For new owner operators, this could be the perfect introduction to navigating the freight market. Trucking companies are begging for owner ops just like you to sign on to their authority. They have already consistent, dedicated freight. They just need you and your truck. However, as an owner op you have the right of first refusal. Most companies allows owner ops to say yes or no to loads. If you find a good company, you’ll almost certainly have good freight and it will be a learning experience on which lanes to seek and which ones to avoid.
4. Avoid Loadboards. Loadboard subscriptions are expensive and you often don’t get what you pay for. The loads listed on these platforms are the bottom of the barrel. It’s cheap loads for ridiculous lanes that shady brokers can’t cover. You’re competing with countless other drivers over freight that is not worth your time. It’s okay to use loadboards once in a while if you’re stuck and as a last resort, but it’s not safe to rely on them as the main source of your business.
5. Use an aggregation platform. Technology is officially invading trucking. Freight logistics, as an industry, is heading in an unfamiliar direction for many drivers. Truck drivers are aging out and while recruiting younger generation of drivers is proving more difficult, those that have proved successful are the one’s adapting with this new technology. Using digital freight platforms combines the best of all the above options. These new innovative platforms act as marketplaces competing for your business. Ideally you will have access to every available load and it’s up to you to pick and choose. Some of the more advanced digital freight matching platforms will send you matches instantly and in real-time. This has the ability to cut down on wasted time and keep you on the road.