Category: eCommerce

Shippers: How Load Boards Can Help Your Business Grow

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For anyone who ships freight, a good load board is the most essential tool in the shipper’s toolbox.  It not only allows loads to be posted and seen by many available carriers, but it also has features that help organize loads, track freight, and streamline the shipping process.

What is a Load Board?

A load board is an online system that allows shippers to post loads that need to be shipped and for truckers and carriers to find them.  Essentially, load boards match people with loads to ship with people who ship loads. Good load boards have useful features that make the entire shipping process move smoothly and allow the shipper to include relevant details about the shipment. This weeds out carriers that don’t meet the shipper’s needs or requirements and streamlines the process.

How a Load Board Can Help a Company Grow  

Load boards are much more than a handy tool.  Load boards can help companies that need to ship freight grow.  Even for shippers who have a loyal list of dependable carriers, load boards can be useful for finding a new carrier in a pinch if shipments fluctuate seasonally or business grows and the shipper finds he needs more carriers.  

They are also useful if the shipper needs to send freight to a new location that the current carrier cannot accommodate.  With a load board, anywhere a shipment needs to go, there will be a carrier that can take it there.

As a shipper who doesn’t use a load board but instead works directly with a trucking company to deliver goods, life is busy.  Taking the time to shop around for better rates is probably out of the question. Load boards can be competitive and can help shippers make new connections at competitive rates.  Using a load board allows shippers to expand shipments and expand the business.

It also gives the shipper the lowdown on a carrier’s licenses and whether or not a trucker has a good driving record.  In turn, the carrier can see if the shipper is reputable and pays carriers in a timely manner.

Load boards help shippers and carriers avoid deadhead miles so money is being earned on the return trip instead of paying for an empty truck.

Often, shippers use freight brokers as a middleman to facilitate shipping and negotiating while they spend more time running the business.  Of course, this comes with added cost. Others prefer a more hands-on approach to shipping and a load board that has an extensive database and useful tools can facilitate that.  

DirectFreight.com has everything shippers should be looking for in a load board.  With its clear-cut interface, customized features like important saved documents, email and text alerts, and a convenient new app for drivers, Direct Freight is the only load board you’ll ever need.  It not only provides current load and truck information, but it also makes your business more organized and professional. Check it out for yourself DirectFreight.com and watch your shipping company flourish!

Brokers: Why You Need a Freight Board

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So, you decided to become a freight broker.  What was the reason? Was it the flexibility?  Wanting to become your own boss? The ability to turn hard work into a 6-figure income?  The prestige in being part of the supply chain that keeps America running?

Whatever the reason, you took the plunge to become a middleman between shippers and carriers and went through all of the processes of structuring your business and filing all of the legal forms to make your business possible.  (If you haven’t, more details on the process can be found here.)  Now what?  Where do you begin?  How do you get a list of shippers?  Do you know any truckers? You’re the middleman, how do you get in the middle?

Sure, you can use Google to search for names of shippers, and you may even be able to find some truckers, but it’s a tedious process that takes a lot of time.  And as we all know, time is money. Load brokers rely on their contacts for work and most people don’t have a handy Rolodex of direct shippers sitting on their desk, certainly not when first starting out.  But you can have one at your fingertips.  Load boards are your Rolodex.  

That’s the beauty of them.  Load boards give you all the information you need from shippers who need loads shipped to truckers looking to drive loads.  Even if you do have contacts that you can utilize, load boards can help you fill in gaps and keep trucks on the road when your regular contacts have nothing for you.  
Load boards have other advantages too.

  • They’re inexpensive.  For a small monthly fee you can have full access to their updated lists of shippers and carriers.
  • They’re convenient.  Because most of them these days are web-based, they can be accessed from any computer or mobile device 24/7 so there is no costly software requiring constant updates.
  • It reduces deadheading.  That’s when there’s a load going in one direction but not the return one.  The most successful freight brokers will keep trucks full, picking up loads for the return trip for efficiency.

  Okay, we’ve fully established that the success of your brokerage business depends on you finding a freight board.  But which one? There are so many of them out there and it’s important to find one that works for you. Many load boards have lots of bells and whistles and their main function gets lost in the mire.  Look for an interface that is straightforward with the load/truck search engine as the main feature.

Your main goal is to find concise, current loads and trucks, but there are a few other features that some load boards have that can help your business be more efficient.

  • Credit reports.  Know who you’re dealing with ahead of time.
  • Deadhead and Trip Miles.  Know your miles full and empty.
  • Weather Reports.  Know the weather where your trucks are.
  • Store and Send Documents.  Fax, email, or text with one click.
  • Email Alerts.  Get alerts on loads and trucks.
  • Load organization.  Keep everything organized so nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

DirectFreight has everything you should be looking for in a load board.  With its clear-cut interface, you can easily navigate your searches along with customized features like important saved documents and emails.  It not only provides up-to-date load and truck information, it helps your business to be more organized and professional. Check it out for yourself with a 15-day free membership at DirectFreight.com and make your freight brokerage firm prosper!

Load Posting Made Easy with Direct Freight

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You’re a liaison.  A go-between. A middleman (or middlewoman).  An intermediary. A Freight Broker. You do the legwork needed to move freight down the street or across the world.  It could be a load of toys from a factory, food from farms, or a myriad of products from a distributor―anything from anyone who has goods that need to be shipped.  You take care of all of the details to get those goods from here to there. You make the necessary arrangements with trucking companies or individual carriers.

You are more than a liaison, however.  You’re the responsible party if anything goes wrong.  If you do your job well, you can also help reduce transportation costs, cut down on lost time, and allow your shipper to increase their shipping capacity as needed. As companies grow, it becomes more difficult for them to find the time to broker deals with trucking companies so many are turning to freight brokers like you to handle the task―to broker the deal, make all of the arrangements and make sure that the trucking companies have DOT compliance, a good credit record, and a clean driving record. It’s your responsibility to make sure everything goes smoothly and deal with any problems that arise.   

To be a successful broker, you need to ensure the fast and efficient delivery of goods.  Your relationships with shippers and carriers are your bread and butter. The very nature of your job requires a need to foster relationships with both shippers and carriers.  However, building a big database of customers can take years and even with a large collection of shippers and carriers at your disposal, there may be gaps in coverage. That’s why load posting on a superior load board is vital to any freight broker.  Load boards allow you to post loads that need to be shipped and find reliable truckers by seeing their credit report and driving history. Even the best brokers may not have trucking contacts everywhere. Load posting allows you to fill any gaps you may have in your service area and make it easy to post load details and get exposure to thousands of carriers looking for loads and building your list of contacts.  By fostering relationships with carriers, a good freight broker can provide vast shipping coverage and value combined with quality services.

With Direct Freight, posting loads couldn’t be easier. Loads can be posted for free but the monthly subscription allows access to credit reports, route weather, route planning, text alerts, load filtering, and other features to streamline load planning.  Because it’s web-based, the Direct Freight interface can be accessed anywhere via computer, and there’s also a mobile version for phones and tablets. Direct Freight is an indispensable tool to help freight brokers grow and maintain their business and build relationships with carriers and shippers all over the country.
If you’re a freight broker, Direct Freight is your key to success.  Call (888)894-4198 or go to www.directfreight.com, sign up for your free 14-day trial, and start load posting today!

eCommerce and Its Effect on the Shipping Industry

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Since its inception in 1995, Amazon changed how the world shopped.  eCommerce took hold, giving consumers more choice and more convenience, bypassing the traditional brick and mortar stores, and now, more than 79% of Americans shop online.  eCommerce widened the playing field and no longer did merchants have to get their product into stores; with a good website, sellers could set up shop in their garages and ship their goods directly to consumers.  

The popularity of eCommerce has had a tremendous impact on the trucking industry.  While shipments of raw materials from one business to another have remained unchanged, the shipping patterns of finished products have changed dramatically.   Stores not only are stocked on a regular basis, but to remain competitive, they now rely heavily on eCommerce to drive sales. Online sales from retail chains may be delivered directly to the consumer, or they may be picked up at the store’s location which may add to their number of deliveries.  

Amazon’s two-day delivery model has had repercussions can be felt across all delivery platforms.  Consumers now have an expectation that whatever vendor they choose, when they sign on to a website and place an order, it will arrive within 2-3 days. This change in expectations has changed how all carriers do business.  The strict demand has led to an increase in smaller trucks being used more frequently instead of half-filled larger trucks. Because of this, the amount of commercial traffic on our highways has been steadily increasing, and the DOT projects that freight volume will grow by 45% by the year 2040.  Noise and air pollution are on the rise as well.  In order to stay in the race, trucking companies must be ready to adapt.  They need to become more efficient.

Advancements in technologies promise deliveries will eventually be made using drones and self-driving vehicles, however, these technologies are hardly perfected and they’re expensive.  This is where trucking companies need to step in and fill the demand. Large carriers are adapting by changing equipment such as adding smaller trailers to be able to traverse compact neighborhoods.  

Retailers and manufacturers have found a solution to the 2-day shipping expectation problem:  they’re opening more distribution centers across the country to cut down on shipping times. This means more half-filled trucks as well.

Another effect that Amazon has had on the marketplace is in shipping transparency.  Consumers demand to see where their package is all along its travel route. Larger carriers such as UPS and FedEx have set the bar high for tracking expectations, and at any time throughout its travels, a package can be located and its delivery predicted down to the hour.  To compete in the market, carriers must provide this kind of precise tracking services.

Consumers also have greater control over where they want their package delivered.  Home or office? At the store? With transparency, you may not have to have the lowest rates to come out on top.  People value good service and may be willing to pay a little more to get the product delivered quickly. However, it’s a tightrope walk with shipping rates.  The number one reason that consumers don’t complete a purchase and abandon their online shopping cart is higher-than-expected shipping costs.  

People aren’t only buying gifts and gadgets online.  Increasingly, consumers are turning to the internet for everyday items such as cosmetics, personal care items, furniture and even groceries.  It’s estimated that 20% of traditional brick and mortar stores will close in the next 5-8 years as online retailers take over more and more of the market.   

With Amazon poised to start their own direct shipping to compete with UPS and FedEx, it’s more important than ever for trucking companies to make changes in order to remain players in the intense competition in the trucking industry. It’s time to streamline operations and install and implement Electronic Logging Devices in vehicles as well as look to improve operating efficiencies, whether that means smaller trucks, shorter runs, or improvements in logistics.  Big changes in the shipping industry are already here. It’s time to step up and meet the challenge before you get left behind.