Category: business

Why Load Boards Are a Shipper’s Best Friend

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When it comes to finding a dedicated loyal friend to help through busy times or when you need to find a new carrier, the freight shipper need not look any further than a good load board.   

 

What is a Load Board?

A load board is a web-based system that allows shippers to list a load that needs to be transported somewhere.  The shipper gives details such as “from” and “to” locations, freight size, type and other details, and carriers who can meet the requirements can apply for the job.  

Even if you are a shipper with contracts with established carriers, load boards can be a useful tool if problems arise and you need to find a new carrier quickly, or if your number of shipments is growing faster than your carrier’s capacity is, a common occurrence in our improving economy.  A load board can help you find one that is reliable and has a good credit record, as well as a good driving record. With the right load board, you loads can be viewed by thousands of drivers across the country. By putting all of the information out there, on both shippers and carriers, a marketplace of moving goods is created, for everyone’s benefit.

 

Why Would Shippers Use Load Boards?

For shippers, load boards are a way to ship freight and save money on the middleman (or middlewoman), i.e. a freight broker.  Freight brokers take care of load postings and find carriers for you. You pay them a percentage, of course, and they take care of finding a reliable carrier to move your freight.  They may have their own, independent contracts, but they often use the same load boards to find truckers that you would.

So why, then, would you use a freight broker when you could do it yourself?

You will save money by doing it yourself and many do, but ask yourself this:  “How much is my time worth?” How much time would it take for you to find a carrier, negotiate a price, and track your shipment and payments?  Multiply that time by the number of loads you have to ship. While a good load board, like Direct Freight, will streamline the process, it will still take time that you may use for other aspects of your business.  

For some, it’s worth the savings.  For others, using a freight broker gets that part of the job off their proverbial plates so they can concentrate on other ways to make their businesses successful.  With all of the useful information included on them, load boards help shippers make decisions that are less risky and more efficient.

Load boards are win-win.  Shippers learn whether or not the carrier has a good driving record and has the proper licenses,  and the carrier learns whether or not the shipper is reputable and pays carriers in a timely manner.

If you’ve got freight to ship and you don’t have a way to ship it, are unsatisfied with your current carrier, or have more freight than your current carrier can handle, go to www.directfreight.com and try our free 15-day trial and start posting those loads today!

What is the Best Software for Freight Brokers?

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Freight brokers are master jugglers.  They have to juggle finding and dispatching loads, locating carriers, tracking shipments, processing payroll, sending out invoices, and the list goes on.  With all of that juggling, it’s not surprising that a ball or two will occasionally hit the ground. But they don’t have to.

In order to be successful in the fast-paced freight broker business, you need freight management software to do the juggling for you.  But which one do you choose? The answer depends on your individual needs and your available budget. An effective TMS (Transportation Management Software) will streamline the whole process, allowing your business to grow.

Fortunately for today’s freight broker, there are a lot of choices for a good TMS, each with their own various features and price points.  Gone are the days of expensive software that you load onto your possibly compatible computer only to have to endure costly upgrades every few months.  Most freight broker software today are web-based and cloud-based, allowing you to access the software and your information from any device at any location and because they’re subscription services, you’re not roped into a lengthy expensive commitment.  

Best Freight Software Today

Load Pilot

With this software you can quote, book, organize, invoice, and manage loads.  Its straightforward interface allows you to fax or email invoices, provides overviews of weekly and daily activities, search their Master Carrier Database of over 160,000 carriers across the country.  It has an accounting ledger, personal calendar, and more.

Strategy Systems

Strategy Systems software includes trucking dispatch, fuel tax, billing payroll, driver logs, mapping, shipment tracking and vehicle maintenance.  Its easy-to-use interface features a broker board, load info screen with pay tab, billing screen, and a settlement screen that integrates with Quickbooks.

Aljex & Descartes

From the dashboard, the broker can access a number of tools to automate daily tasks.  The software is scalable so it can be used whether your operation is big or small. Its simplified interface allows you to streamline your accounting activities and see all your shipments, has easy document management, and secure backups.

3PL Systems

This software has all of the usual tools that help you to increase the efficiency of your freight brokerage operation but also includes a handy customer portal that allows your customer to track and rate shipments as well as a sales portal that gives your sales reps the ability to create quotes, dispatch loads, and track shipments.

Rose Rocket

Rose Rocket’s freight software provides real-time shipment visibility, real-time invoices and settlement, real-time chat function, and has a handy mobile app.  It has a sleek interface and is easy to manage for any sized company. It’s easy to use, from the initial quote to the completed invoice.

Ascend TMS

This supply chain management software (SCM) is a good fit for any sized business.  It has many of the usual features of this kind of software and includes GPS tracking to track your carriers on an integrated map.  One of its key features is its driver payroll function which allows you to pay drivers using different payment structures (per mile, hour, pallet, ton).

Most freight broker software companies allow you to see a demo on their websites, and some have trial offers so you can get the feel of the software before you commit to using the service.  Look for one that has all of the features you need, doesn’t force you to sift through features you don’t and feels comfortable to use.

The competition in the freight broker industry is fierce.  For freight brokers to keep up, they must find the right software to simplify their work and give them an edge over the competition.  Automation is the key to success and will help keep those juggling balls in the air.

Do your homework and examine several TMSs to find one with the right features for you.  Most TMSs do not include load boards but rather are designed to integrate with top load boards like Direct Freight to make the entire shipping process smooth and efficient.     

At Direct Freight, we make it easy for freight brokers to find loads or to find trucks to carry loads and we are fully integrated with many of today’s most popular freight brokerage software.  You can even try us out free for 14 days. Call us today at (888)894-4198 or go to DirectFreight.com to find out more about our services.

Different Types of Freight Shippers

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We’re a world of consumers; every day we need more and more stuff to take the place of the stuff we use.  Stuff to eat, stuff to use in our homes, stuff to drive, stuff to wear, stuff for entertainment, and stuff to read.  We don’t always think about how all this stuff gets to the stores near us or to our doorstep. It’s just there when we need more stuff.

The fact is, there are several ways that products get shipped around the world or locally, some even using more than one shipping method.  So what are the types of freight shippers that bring us all our stuff?

Freight

First, let’s define freight.  Freight is any shipment that is larger than 30”x30”x30” and weighs more than 150 lbs.  Packages that are smaller than that would be expensive to ship in the same manner as freight and are usually shipped via parcel, i.e. UPS or FedEx.  Freight is loaded by pallet or can be loaded directly onto the floor of the truck. Floor-loaded freight is loaded into the truck by hand where pallet-loaded can be loaded into the truck using a forklift.

Air Freight Shippers

Air freight shippers ship cargo just as it sounds, using planes.  Although it is an expensive way to ship cargo, it is fast which can be more important than the cost.  Air freight shippers can ship domestically or internationally.

Ocean Freight Shippers

Shipping products via ship is the most popular way to ship cargo because it’s the most inexpensive.  However, it does take the longest amount of time. It’s the oldest way to ship freight around the world.  Usually, large containers are used for shipments that can be loaded onto trucks or trains at ports to bring the products to their final destinations.  Ocean freight shippers can ship internationally or domestically.

Rail Freight Shippers

Shipping products by train may take a little longer than by trucks, but as they don’t have to be concerned with running into traffic or auto accidents, it can be faster.  Because trains use less fuel to pull many cars than the same number of trucks would, they are more economical and more eco-friendly than trucks. Rail freight shippers can ship domestically or internationally to Canada and Mexico and are often the second leg of transport of products coming in on container ships.  

Ground Freight Shippers

Ground freight shippers use trucks to transport cargo, especially to local areas but many deliver cargo across the country.  A standard-sized truck can carry a maximum of 26 pallets. Standard dimensions of a single pallet are 48”Wx40”Lx48”H. Anything above 48” high is considered a double pallet.

Ground freight shippers offer a variety of options for shipping including:

Full Truck Loads (FTL):  Typically a load of 24-26 pallets.  Because it is a full truck, shipments can be made directly from pick-up to destination.  Benefits of FTL include the use of refrigerated trucks or the ability to ship over-sized loads.  

Less Than Truck Loads (LTL): This type of shipping is for cargo that is larger than a parcel but smaller than a truckload, usually 1-6 pallets.  This is the most common type of ground shipping. Along the route, cargo is transferred to other trucks and is shipped through local terminals.  Because of the shared payload, shipping usually takes longer than full trucks which are shipped directly to their destination. It’s cheaper than other ground shipping methods that use trucks.

Partial Truck Loads (PTL):  Partial truck loads are generally between 6-18 pallets.  Costs are usually comparable to LTL rates but have the benefit of FTL shipping times because they may be transferred to a different truck but usually they are not.

Freight shippers are constantly looking to improve ways to ship cargo as well as the logistics involved with moving freight.  Driverless vehicles and even drones may be on the horizon but the tried-and-true shipping methods using planes, trains, and trucks remains the most cost-effective and efficient ways to get us our stuff.

If you’re looking to ship your product around the state or around the world, Direct Freight Services can help.  Go to directfreight.com or call (888)894-4198 and find a truck for your load or a load for your truck.  Start your free trial today!

What Does the Average Freight Broker Make?

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Whether you’re new to the shipping industry and are eager to learn a new business, or you’re a truck driver looking to get away from those long hauls away from your family, the job of freight broker is an exciting option.   As a freight broker, you work for yourself, create your own hours, and depending on your dedication to the job, you can make a great deal of money.

What is a Freight Broker?

When a company has a shipment they need to make, they pay a freight broker to move the freight.  The freight broker then pays a carrier to ship the product for less than what the original company paid.  This is the freight broker’s “spread” or his profit. This profit, minus the operating costs is the salary of the freight broker.  A freight broker is the crucial link between shipppers and carriers, sort of a matchmaker between the two.

Freight brokers are also involved with the logistics of shipping.  They negotiate shipping rates, track shipments, and keep track of deliveries and pickups.  They must make sure everything goes off without a hitch and is done in accordance with all laws and procedures.  

How Do I Become a Freight Broker?

Being a freight broker takes dedication and the desire to work on your own.  To become a freight broker you must:

Register your company.  You must register as a business or fill out a DBA (Doing Business As) form.

Make a plan.  To obtain any kind of financing, you usually need to show the lender a business plan.  A business plan also helps guide you through the early stage of your business.

Get a USDOT number.  This is a requirement if you want to operate as a freight broker.  You do this by filling out an application with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, form OP-1.  There’s a fee, usually around $300.

Get a surety bond.  A surety bond is a type of insurance.  It guarantees that carriers will be paid for their work.  If for some reason, a shipper refuses to pay a carrier, you would be responsible for paying it.  If you can’t pay it, the surety bond will.

The bond company will check your credit and perform a background check before issuing the bond.  You pay a percentage which is dependant upon your credit.

Obtain a legal process agent.  This is also required by the FMSCA.  There needs to be a legal process agent in every state you do business in.   There is usually a $50 fee.

Get insurance.  Once you’ve filled out all of the appropriate paperwork and have obtained your Motor Carrier Number, you must get general liability and cargo insurance.  They are both required.

Of course, taking a training course is not required but will help you get a leg up in the industry and earn the most money for each shipment.  

What is a Freight Broker’s Salary?

A freight broker’s salary can vary greatly.  Indeed.com puts the average at $51,032, Linkedin puts it in the range of $30,000-83,000, and Careeronestop.org has it at $25,000-65,000.  Payscale.com has it at the highest with a range of $41,940-143,000 but all of these ranges are dependant on several factors including experience, skills, and knowledge of the industry.  

Above and Beyond

Having a large database of contacts is important to earning a higher salary as a freight broker.  Being able to provide your clients with excellent service with affordable rates will build lasting working relationships.  Some states bring in a higher salary for freight brokers than others, the highest ones being CT, WA, OR, NE and Washington D.C.  The salary for these states is higher than the national average.

Typically, freight brokers who make the highest salaries are those who have freight agents working for them.  A freight agent is an independent contractor who coordinates shipments with carriers but they aren’t required to have the insurance that a freight broker does.  They work for the freight broker who carries all of the insurance and business licenses and expenses. The more shipments made, the more commissions are earned which is why the most successful freight brokers hire freight agents to work for them.  

Being a freight broker can be a lucrative job for the right person.  The freight broker industry is expected to remain strong. More and more people rely on online shopping each year which means more trucks on the road.  Even if those trucks eventually become self-driving vehicles, freight brokers will still be in high demand.

JW Surety Bonds, America’s #1 volume surety bond service, has a comprehensive guide that can take you from the planning stages to running your own successful freight brokerage company. If you’re interested in starting your own freight brokering business, you can find the guide here.

DirectFreight.com is an essential tool for freight brokers.  It’s an easy-to-use load board that allows you to find loads and carriers, as well as provides destinations, load specifications, credit reports, and has useful tools such as mile calculators, fuel price data, and other useful features, all for a low monthly fee.  Call us today at (888)894-4198 or go to https://www.directfreight.com/home/ to sign up for a free 15-day trial.  With DirectFreight, your freight broker company will have the tools it needs to become a success.