Armed with your truck, you are ready to take the trucking world by storm.
Many shippers employ brokers to connect with carriers because they act as a single point of contact to move their freight to its intended destination without planning routes, tracking freight, or negotiating with carriers. Carriers tend to use freight brokers to help optimize routes or cut down on deadhead miles to earn more money.
However, working with a broker also comes with a cost. How do you find loads, and how do you do it if you don’t want to work with a broker? If you decide to work without a broker, what additional work do you need to do?
Carrier Life Without a Broker
You might have heard it is more profitable to carry loads without the help of a broker because they take a commission for the services they provide. However, brokers provide many services that you’ll be responsible for if you are working without one. So what responsibilities will you need to take on if you choose to work without a broker?
Network for Opportunities
You must network and branch out to make money as a carrier. First, you will need to do market research, whether that is by exploring local companies online or connecting with family or friends who own companies. Once you have acquired a list of potential customers, your next step is to start connecting with them to find the right opportunity.
When you book a load, look for opportunities to network. You may form a relationship at the dock for pick-up or unloading that could be beneficial in the future. Your job doesn’t end once a shipment does, which is another point to consider if you are working without a broker. Can you network with individuals and businesses that can offer future load opportunities?
One of the responsibilities that brokers take on is relationship management with shippers. Brokers put a lot of work into building and maintaining relationships with shippers in order to secure freight contracts. If you are working independently from a broker, this responsibility will fall on you. You’ll have to do research into which shippers you’d be interested in working with, be ready to problem solve.
Track and Understand the Market
If you’re working independently, you should set aside time each week to examine how freight rates are fluctuating. Brokers spend a great deal of time tracking changes in the market in order to negotiate the best rates possible. As rates can change from week to week, even for the same lane or type of load, it's important to keep tabs on the market. If you’re able to track and understand rate fluctuations then it’s less likely you’ll get stuck with a lower rate on a load than you should.
As a carrier, you are a walking and talking brand, and brand success lies in proper marketing. You should consider developing a digital brochure about your carrier business or a website that advertises what equipment you have available. Direct company prospects to these resources, and you will have a greater chance of partnering with them. These resources show potential customers that you are a professional carrier, ready to offer them a quality shipping experience. The last question you should ask yourself before working without a broker is whether you can market yourself.
If you are confident you can scour, network, and market your business independently, you may not have to work with a brokerage. However, if you think your business would benefit from the support and services brokerages have to offer, take a few minutes to read about the world of digital and traditional brokerage.
What Is Digital Brokerage?
Digital brokerage is like Door Dash for the trucking industry. There is a load that needs picking up, and a digital broker will send the right person to come get it. It connects carriers with available shipments based on location and date/time needed to ship using an online application.
Digital freight brokers are a great option for small carriers, especially if they want to take advantage of flexible schedules. Some carriers don’t always have the capacity for dedicated freight or long-term contracts but still want to find profitable, worthwhile work.
With a digital freight brokerage, small carriers can save time and resources by quickly finding jobs that match their needs.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Digital Brokerage?
Digital brokerage is convenient and immediate. Shipping companies will use digital brokerage apps to access nearby carriers who are available and able to carry their load. Carriers will receive requests through the app, and with a click of the “yes” button, they can hit the road. This whole process happens in the palm of your hand and in a matter of minutes.
However, technology has the potential to glitch. If there are any problems with appointment times, product availability, equipment changes, or more stops, then you may get caught in a bind. An app on your phone cannot troubleshoot unanticipated obstacles in the way that a human being can.
What Is Traditional Brokerage?
Traditional brokerage involves a real-life broker, a person who will commit to freight from a shipper, and hire a carrier to transport the shipment.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Traditional Brokerage?
Carriers enjoy working with a broker because they have a teammate who will offer freight and routes they believe are a good match for your operation. When you work directly with a broker you get 1:1 human support; a broker will communicate important load information, troubleshoot issues you may run into on the road, and offer logistical support.
When you work with a reputable broker you can trust and rely on, it can save you a lot of time and energy. However, you need to find the right brokerage to work with. Look for a broker with years of industry experience, who other carriers enjoy working with, and who is invested in your success.
Why Not Do Both?
If you are interested in partnering with a broker, you should consider working with a company that offers the best of both digital and traditional brokerage worlds. Xpress Technologies combines the online application benefits of digital brokerage with the humanizing hand of traditional brokerage. This ingenious combination removes the cons of either type of brokerage and provides quality resources so you can continue to provide great service in an increasingly competitive industry.
With the Xpress Technologies hybrid load board, you choose how to book your loads. With self-service software, you can book your next load with the touch of a button. This self-service option makes it easy to daisy-chain your loads to avoid deadheading. However, you can also access the personalized support of a broker through the Xpress Technologies hybrid load board. Run into an issue while delivering a load? You can call your Xpress Technologies broker and they’ll provide support.
Contact us today so we can help you achieve your business goals, one journey at a time.