Find (and Keep) the Truck Capacity You Need: 5 Tips for Freight Brokers

Published: Aug 25, 2014
We've got some tips for when you're struggling to find the truck capacity you need

We’ve got some tips for when you’re struggling to find the truck capacity you need

What’s your biggest challenge as a freight broker? If you answered “finding truck capacity,” you’re in good company. Consistently, freight brokers struggle to establish– and keep– solid relationships with carriers that will always reliably get freight where it needs to go.

The sad fact is that brokers and truckers don’t always see eye-to-eye, even though both sides depend on one another to keep business running. As a freight broker, you can blaze a trail, however. By following some old-fashioned good business practices, you can find the truck capacity you need, and truckers you can count on.

Here are some crucial tips for building your truck capacity:

#1 Tell the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth

be up-front and honest with your carriers, to boost your reputation and build trust

be up-front and honest with your carriers, to boost your reputation and build trust

Some loads will have carriers lining up to carry them; others, it might seem, no one will touch with a ten-foot pole.

With the challenges of finding trucks, it might be tempting to over-sell the load, or to omit certain key details. This might help you find a carrier in the short-term, but it could hurt your business if you develop a reputation for being vague or dishonest.

Both carriers and drivers are happier when they know exactly what to expect from each load. Alert carriers of freight with as much advance notice as possible, providing all the details about the load that you can. This helps carriers find just the right truck for your load, and boosts your reputation with them.

Remember, carriers and drivers talk to each other about brokers. When you have a reputation for being honest, well-organized, and forthright, carriers will be clamoring to work with you.
 

#2 Pay Up

always pay your carriers on time, and they'll be eager to keep working with you

always pay your carriers on time, and they’ll be eager to keep working with you

What’s one of the number one complaints by carriers about freight brokers? You guessed it: late payments.

Paying your carriers late isn’t just a bad business practice. It can also open the door to claims against your surety bond by carriers. Claims like these can really hurt your business, especially when they can be easily avoided simply by avoiding late payments.

Whatever you do, pay on time. It can be tough when shippers are slow to pay you, or even quibbling with you about what they owe, but don’t penalize your carriers for something that’s out of their hands. If you’re late with your payments, you’ll end up hurting your partnerships with carriers, making it harder for you to get the truck capacity you need.
 

#3 Cast Your Net Wide

There’s a plethora of ways to find truck capacity nowadays. Use them all. You can combine technology, including social networking and online forums, with tried-and-true networking. Listen on industry forums, or other platforms where carriers talk about their jobs, to see what carriers want and what they don’t want in a freight broker.
 

#4 Be a Business Partner

focus on building strong relationships with good carriers, to increase your truck capacity

focus on building strong relationships with good carriers, to increase your truck capacity

It’s not just finding carriers that’s a challenge for freight brokers, it’s keeping the good ones. Once you’ve found a carrier you’re happy with, let them know you value them. Don’t just look to them to meet your short-term needs. Ask them about their business and let them know you’re invested in them, even when you don’t have a load to carry.

If you find a carrier that really delivers, ask them how you can help them build their truck capacity. If you can find a way to cooperate, you can support your respective businesses and help them grow.
 

#5 Ask Around

If you have a carrier you’re happy with, talk to them about building your capacity and finding more people who’d be interested in working with you. Don’t forget about the drivers, either. Drivers can be just as important as carriers, when it comes to connecting you with more trucks and building your capacity.

Want to learn more about freight broker bonds, and how they can help your business grow? Take a look at our page dedicated to helping you succeed as a freight broker. Do you have any more advice for finding truck capacity? Comment and let us know!

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Victor Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates, Inc. He began his career as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving two combat tours. As president of Lance Surety, he now focuses on educating and assisting small businesses throughout the country with various license and bond requirements. Victor graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.