establishing broker/carrier relationships

Discussion in 'Freight Broker Forum' started by gibbsfree, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. gibbsfree

    gibbsfree Bobtail Member

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    Our company has been in business for 8 months now (MC date June 2014) and we have yet to establish any long term relationships with any brokers. We are small; 3 company trucks (all 2012's), 2 owner operators, and 7 dry van trailers (4 of which are 2015's). There are a lot of brokers we have hauled multiple loads for over that 8 month span, but we have yet to connect with one that will give us loads on a consistent basis, either weekly, bi-weekly or even a couple a month. We are always fighting for loads off the boards. We have tried selling ourselves to brokers we have hauled for to no avail; letting them know what lanes we service, emphasize our new equipment, stress that we are professional and always available.

    We feel that we always provide excellent service (on-time pickup and deliveries, electronic POD after delivery, availability, etc...), yet we haven't been able to crack the code of getting consistent loads from brokers.

    Being based in Stockton, CA probably has something to do with it as there is A LOT of competition among carriers here, but we always felt that providing excellent service will make us competitive.

    Not sure what we are doing wrong.
    Would you brokers (and Carriers and O/Os) out there care to offer some advise?
    Are we too small for brokers to consider giving us multiple shipments a week/month?
    How does a carrier earn a broker's loyalty?


    Side note: we have great safety rating (8 inspections; 3 vehicle and 5 driver.. all pass), we service lanes between Stockton, CA to Phoenix, Dallas, and sometimes Atlanta.
     
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  3. Lite bug

    Lite bug Road Train Member

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    8 months is still new. The brokers you have hauled for was booking the same loads before you came on the scene. In time you can move up on their call list. Continue doing the best job you can. Start to look for direct shipments. Read the threads of some of the guys here even if the section is not yours (dry van) the ways they negotiate with the brokers. As long as you do a good job, in time will have the working relationship you are seeking
     
    gibbsfree Thanks this.
  4. gibbsfree

    gibbsfree Bobtail Member

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    So you think it will be an endurance game for us? Keep doing what we are and eventually we will start getting leads?

    I've actually been on here since before we started. Honestly I've learned so much from this forum and other sources, and still continue to learn.

    We have also struggled with looking for direct shipments. We don't want to solicit our broker's customers, and just don't know how else to look for these shippers. Been reading a little on sales strategies on these forums and its helped a lot, especially with negotiating.
     
  5. indspirit

    indspirit Light Load Member

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    Would you brokers (and Carriers and O/Os) out there care to offer some advise?

    For Stockton to Phoenix runs try looking for loads directly from shippers if you have the time. You will get a better rate from the shipper than from a broker and can schedule a regular shipping pattern with them.

    Are we too small for brokers to consider giving us multiple shipments a week/month?

    Size may have something to do with but not the most important. If the agent is from a larger company your trucks get stuck in a system. So an agent calls your gives you a load and off you go. Depending on how their technology works other agents from the same company maybe able to look up where your truck will be at and call you on a load. However, many of the agents in larger companies don't look for where carriers are unloading or out of. It's just post on the load boards and wait for the phone call. Smaller brokers or independent ones may or may not keep track of carrier information beyond the initial sign up process. they probably have a limited system that they use to keep track of loads and and they too just post and wait for a phone call.

    How does a carrier earn a broker's loyalty?

    I work for a good size company but our systems allows me to track carriers and look up were other trucks that are signed up with us maybe empty and looking for a load. We can also make a list of favorite carriers by a click of the button once on the favorite list I get daily emails of where you will be. I use this all the time because it is so much easier to call a carrier and say here's the load I have here's the rate I'm looking for do you want it, as opposed to posting on the load board and taking 100 calls or more.

    So how do you get on my list. Number one thing even above on time delivery is communication. I don't need you to call me every hour but I need to know when your loaded and when you delivered. On longer runs I ask that the driver calls me when he shuts down for the night so I know where he is. That way I'm working on his schedule and when the shipper calls me I don't have to wake him up or distract his driving with a phone call to see where he is. Sh@t happens on the road I was a driver I understand that. When it does call me give me an idea of when you will be back on the road I will take care of the rest and you can worry about fixing your problems. You can't make up for lost time no matter how hard you try. I won't be mad if you call me right away, if you call me 2 days latter and say I'm still stuck in anywhere, USA I will be pissed.

    Next is on time delivery. If you can't deliver on time don't take the load. If you are a company and you hire drivers who can't keep the left door shut then you will be off my list quickly. A lot of my bulk loads are open delivery times but that doesn't mean you can take a week to go from CA to Dallas.

    The other thing to get on the list is give me an honest idea of your rates and what you are willing to run for. Yes the market changes and your rates and my rates will always be changing. But if I give you a load on the 1st for 2000 and call you back with another load on the 3rd to the same place and you know want 4000 there is a problem. I base all my quotes to shippers of info I get from carriers. If I have a decent understanding of where your at I can quote a shipper and make a profit for us both.
     
  6. gibbsfree

    gibbsfree Bobtail Member

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    This is probably one of the most valuable advice I have received. Thanks for providing your insight, I see some immediate action items that we can undertake to improve our service. Really do appreciate it.

    On a side note, I am currently working on a free web/mobile app to bridge broker and carrier communication/information exchange. Your post provided some great "must have" features. I was going to make another post about the app soon in the freight broker section, please do try to respond in that post if you can.
     
  7. jbatmick

    jbatmick Road Train Member

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    It takes time, and actions speak louder than words." You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours " is the motto with brokers.
    You might broaden your area served, and ask the broker if there any " niche " area you can help him with. Keep offering to help.
    After dealing with brokers for a looooong time years ago, I went to hauling direct, and got that business by doing 'stuff' others would not do, and smiling while I did it. Soon the shippers realized I was doing them a favor, they needed to do the same for me.Even then though, I remained on good terms with the brokers, and would help them out if they needed it.

    As we have said before, it ain't easy. It takes time.
     
  8. BrokeringBad

    BrokeringBad Light Load Member

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    Indspirit, you hit the nail on the head, man.
     
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