Category: loadboards

Rookie Freight Brokers: Find the Right Load Board

rookie-freight-brokers

These days, supply chains are more complex than ever and freight brokers are a vital piece.  They are the link between shippers and carriers and do all the planning, negotiating, and tracking to ensure smooth, on-schedule delivery.  It can be a fun, fast-paced career and lucrative for the right person who is willing to put in the work.

Becoming a freight broker requires a freight broker license, a bond, and more (which can be found here).  One of the most crucial aspects of becoming a successful freight broker is building a well-rounded list of contacts.  In the freight broker business, it’s all about the connections. The more you have, the more work you’re able to facilitate.  

A freight broker is only as good as his or her contact list.  Quality connections are what make a freight broker stand out from the crowd.  Unreliable truckers or slow-to-pay shippers are only going to bring down the business.  

Finding Leads

Finding leads isn’t difficult.  They’re all around. There’s an abundance of businesses around you that need to ship supplies or goods.

  1.  It starts with who you know.  Look at where your friends and family work.  Do they ship goods? Having a friend or relative at a potential lead is a good way to get your foot in the door.
  2. Look around you.  What businesses are there in your area that may ship goods?
  3. Get referrals.  Once you have some established clients, ask them for referrals.
  4. Look at your current loads.  Where are they being shipped?  You may be able to find companies in that city or area who have shipments coming your way.  Since you’re already shipping there, you may be able to win them over with a discounted rate and eliminate some deadhead miles at the same time.  Always be on the lookout for leads.
  5. Add a referral bonus at the end of your emails or correspondences.  What would a new customer be worth to you?  $100? $500? Be sure to include a disclaimer that the referral must lead to a paying customer. 
  6. Use the internet.  Resources like Produce Market Guide, Marketnews.usda.gov, and even the Yellow Pages are good places to look.  

When on the hunt for leads, be persistent.  Some businesses rarely ship freight and others may be hitting a slow period.  Don’t give up! Once you have clients, foster those relationships. Learn details about their business and ask about the family.  If you take the time to get to know and build a relationship with a contact, they’ll be more likely to continue giving you work and refer you to others.  

Being the New Guy (or Gal)

One obstacle of first starting out in the freight broker business is that nobody wants to work with a newbie.  You could have years of experience in the trucking industry under your belt, you’ll still be the rookie freight broker when you first start.  If you’ve only got a carrier or two in your contacts, you’ll be at a disadvantage. A freight broker needs to move fast and potential clients won’t want to wait around until you find someone reliable to ship to an area of the country where you have no drivers.  This is where a good load board comes in.

By using a load board, rookie freight brokers can build their connections quickly.   For shippers with loads to ship and carriers with drivers to drive, a load board can fill out missing coverage areas  fast. Direct Freight Services’ load board is a complete tool allowing freight brokers to build up reliable and ready to go contacts.  Direct Freight has credit reports and scores as well as information on how long it takes a shipper to pay, so you can make the right choice when building your list of reliable contacts.  Direct Freight’s easy-to-use load board allows you to find both trucks and carriers to fill your growing contacts list. Its mile calculators, fuel price data, weather information, alerts, and organizational features make it the perfect assistant for your blossoming  brokerage.  

If you’d like to see what Direct Freight Services can do for you, call (888)894-4198 or go to https://www.directfreight.com/home/ to sign up.  You’ll wonder why you didn’t check us out sooner!

 

Sources:

https://www.producemarketguide.com

https://www.marketnews.usda.gov/mnp/fv-home

https://www.yellowpages.com/

Managing Finances While On The Road

managing-finances-on-the-road

One of the biggest difficulties that drivers face when they’re on the road for extended periods is keeping on top of finances.  Drivers have to watch their spending on the road on meals and other necessities that pop up. While out on the road, bills still pile up at home that need to be paid like rent/mortgage, utilities, phone, and vehicle loan payments.

Banking at Your Fingertips

Before the internet, it was more difficult for drivers to stay on top of finances and they had to rely on finding a branch of their bank wherever the road had taken them or did their banking over the phone.  Fortunately, most banks now offer their own secure mobile apps so you can connect and view your account or do transactions from anywhere. You can do things like pay bills, transfer money, and track your balance and payments directly with your bank.

Other useful apps for drivers include:

Acorns 

Acorns makes it easy to save money for a rainy day.  Acorns can transfer money automatically from your bank account to your Acorns account so you don’t have to remember to do it.  It’s round-up feature automatically rounds up the change from every transaction and deposits it into your Acorns account for painless savings.

Mint

Mint is a popular app that allows you to track your expenses in all of your accounts―checking, savings, credit card, and investment accounts.  Mint also lets you set financial goals and shows you a path to get there through budgeting.

Concur

Concur tracks travel and business expenses and capture receipts on your phone’s camera.

Cutting Expenses

If you’re going to stick to a budget, you’ve got to cut unnecessary spending.  With a little planning ahead, you can rein in your spending and stay on track.

 Food

Food is one of the ways that drivers overspend the most.  Plan your meals ahead of time. If you buy food from a grocery store and keep it in your truck, you can save money and have healthier food options that may be missing at truck stops and fast food restaurants.  A small fridge and microwave or hot plate for the cab of your truck will help you save on food costs. If you’re going to be cooking or storing food in your cab, make sure you have cleaning supplies to keep everything sanitary and don’t forget the storage containers!

Fees

If you set up automatic payments for all your bills with your lenders, phone company, and utility companies, you can avoid accumulating fees for late payments.  However, it’s important to carefully monitor these transactions for accuracy and to also make sure you always have enough money in the account to cover your bills as overdraft fees from banks can be hefty.  

Avoid fees from traffic tickets.  Have all the right permits if you’re hauling hazmat, don’t speed, keep your truck’s weight under the limit, and make sure your elogs are always accurate.

Use free wifi whenever you can.  Unless you have unlimited data, you’re going to use up those data minutes fast and be charged fees for additional data.    

Your Truck

Don’t skip the preventative maintenance.  Tire checks, oil and other fluid changes, and general maintenance will save you from costly breakdowns and repairs. 

Stay in Shape

 Save money by keeping fit.  Obesity is a risk for drivers who spend the majority of their time sedentary behind the wheel.  By eating a healthy diet and getting regular brisk exercise, you can save a lot of money on medical bills.

Owner/Operators

Owner/operators need to track their expenses carefully.  Truck expenses include truck payments, fuel charges, repairs, and maintenance.  Keep your business and personal accounts separate by using two different bank accounts and keep a close eye on what you’re writing checks for and inspect canceled checks so you know they were processed correctly. 

Taxes

Make sure your taxes are done correctly.  Keep all documentation and receipts and go see a tax professional, preferably one that specializes in truck drivers’ taxes.  It’ll be worth it. 

 

By tracking spending, sticking to a budget and lowering expenses, you can maximize your earnings and achieve financial independence.  A career in trucking can be a lucrative one but not if you’re spending all your money on the road.  

Direct Freight Services is a web-based load board that allows users to search for loads or post trucks.  It has many helpful features like full credit reports, load filtering, payment expectations, and broker authority information.  Whether accessed online or now through our easy-to-use Direct Freight app, Direct Freight helps you find the loads that will earn you the most money. Go to DirectFreight.com and start searching today!

 

Sources:

https://www.acorns.com

https://www.mint.com

https://www.concur.com/app-center/listings/550353cc99066b13221bcded

Using Electronic Logs

using-electronic-logs

Federal law now mandates the use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs).  Aimed at increasing efficiency and safety in the trucking industry, ELDs have been a divisive topic for truckers and carriers alike.

About ELDs

An ELD is a device that is installed in a truck’s engine to monitor its drive time.  It can be accessed with a smartphone or other mobile device as long as it meets all technical requirements found on FMCSA’s website. A portable logging device can be used but must be mounted in the cab of the vehicle in a place that is visible to the driver when he or she is behind the wheel.  The ELD records date, time, location, engine hours, vehicle miles and driver information.

The Rule        

Up until the ruling, drivers have been forced to fill out paper logs to accurately record their Hours of Service (HoS) to remain in compliance with the HoS rule from the FMCSA.  The HoS rule was implemented as a way to combat drowsy driving which can lead to accidents.  By mandating driving hours and hours between shifts, drivers can get the rest they need to be alert on the road.     

To ensure compliance with the HoS rule, ELDs were made mandatory for any driver who is required to fill out HOS records.  December 18, 2017-December 16, 2019 is the phased-in compliance period. After December 16, 2019, all drivers and carriers who are subject to the ELD rule must be using them and be registered with FMCSA.  Short-haul drivers are not required to use ELDs.

The Controversy

Many carriers and owner/operators see ELDs as an intrusion that will do little to improve safety on the road.  A recent study (Scott, Alex & Balthrop, Andrew & W Miller, Jason. (2019). Did the Electronic Logging Device Mandate Reduce Accidents?) supports this claim.  The study showed that while ELDs improved drivers’ compliance with the HoS rule, there was no evidence to show that the number of accidents decreased since the ELD rule was phased in.  In fact, the study found that smaller companies who struggle to compete with bigger carriers increased incidents of speeding to avoid going over their Hours of Service limits.  

Benefits

“Big Brother” feelings aside, there are benefits to ELD devices that go beyond safety.  ELDs make compliance with HoS a more streamlined process. Nobody enjoys paperwork. The use of ELDs has been estimated to cut time spent completing paperwork by as much as 15 minutes a day.  Not only that, ELDs round up to the nearest minute, not to the nearest 15 minutes like paper logs did so errors are virtually eliminated.  Less time on paperwork means more time on the road earning money.  

A more streamlined process is helpful all around.  ELDs give a warning to drivers when they are approaching their HOS limits and they also mean quicker truck inspections.  No more sifting through paper logs―all pertinent information is easy for the officer to see and get you on your way.  

 

ELDs also improve communication and tracking. Some ELDs have GPS tracking but with only a 10-mile accuracy intended to give drivers some privacy per the FMCSA rule.

ELDs protect drivers.  They’re harder to change than paper logs.  They improve compliance with the HoS ruling which protects drivers from bosses mandating that they work more than the hours per week allowed by law, which is a real problem for many drivers.  

 Agree or disagree, compliance with the ELD rule is the law and drivers who fall under the HoS rule must have an ELD installed and registered by December 16, 2019. 

Sources:

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-devices

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/summary-hours-service-regulations

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330425892_Did_the_Electronic_Logging_Device_Mandate_Reduce_Accidents

https://eldfacts.com/elds-for-truckers/

What Makes a Load “High-Quality”?

what-makes-a-load-high-quality

Not all loads are profitable.  Fuel costs, competition, and freight type can all impact the shipment rate.  If you’re not careful, you could end up in the red, the load costing more than it’s bringing in.  How do you know? How do you pick a high-quality load that’s going to be the most profitable?

The value of a load is what it pays.  However, there’s so much more to take into consideration than how much it’s going to pay.  A “high-quality load” is one that not only pays well but isn’t going to have added costs, added work, or increased risk.  By looking at the whole picture, you can better judge the quality of the load before committing to it.  

Is a Load High-Quality?

To understand the quality of the load, there are several questions that should be asked.

What is the pay? 

 Simple and straightforward.  Look at how much the load pays per mile.

Does the freight lane make sense for me?  

The freight lane is the freight going into and coming out of an area.  If it is balanced, it means there is an equal amount of freight going in and coming out.  Freight brokers will aim for a balanced freight lane because it means they’ll be able to eliminate deadhead miles and truckers should look at this too.

Is it a good rate for that particular lane?  

Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Do some comparison shopping.

What is the competition like in this lane?

Load boards can tell you the number of trucks in the area.  If there is little competition, you’ll be able to negotiate a better rate.

What are fuel costs?

If fuel costs are high, there’s less profit and you’ll need to demand higher pay.

What is the load weight?

Heavier loads eat up more fuel.

Is there extra work involved?

Sometimes loads require a lot more work than anticipated.  “Tarping” is a good example of this and in fact, it’s a deal-breaker for many truckers.  Tarping is when large, heavy tarp must be placed over a load on a flatbed truck. It’s hard work, and it’s dangerous, and most truckers hate doing it.  Shippers generally understand this and will add tarp pay so make sure if you take a job that involves tarping that they pay you for the extra work. (Sometimes shipping have machines that tarp the freight on the truck for you.  Use it. It’ll make the process much quicker and easier.)

Is the load dangerous?

Even under the best circumstances, some loads are downright dangerous such as steel coils.  Steel coils are extremely heavy rolls of steel that are held on a flatbed by chains. Some truckers won’t touch them because of the danger involved with transporting them.  

How to Get Higher-Quality Loads

There are some steps that can improve your chances of obtaining higher-quality loads that will bring in higher pay and improve your business.  

Know your own operating costs.  If you don’t, you could take on a load that will cost you money or one that is worth so little it’s not worth your time.  Knowing the minimum amount that you need to make a profit will give you more negotiating power for rates. Walk away from loads that don’t offer enough.

Look at every aspect of the trip.  Things like wait-times can eat into a trucker’s profits in a big way.  These wait-times usually occur during load pickups and drop-offs. When you’re paid by the mile and you’re not moving, you’re losing money.

Consider government contracts.  Sure, it’s hard work to get them and there’s a lot of competition, but they can pay really well.

Get endorsements.  Getting specialized training and license endorsements can bring in better loads.  Whenever there is special training required, there will be fewer qualified truckers to haul the load. Examples:  

    • Liquid hauling.  Driving reefers, hauling liquids, requires added training and knowledge.  If the chemicals are hazardous such as gas or chemicals, a special hazmat certification is required.  
    • Oversized loads.  These loads also have a special license and training as well.
    • Driving specialty trucks.  Car carriers, dump trucks, mining trucks can all bring in higher pay.

Use a good load board. Load boards can help find quality loads in many ways.  They create a more balanced freight lane by cutting down on deadhead miles, find larger, established shippers who pay on time, show you the freight lanes you want to drive, and help you manage your operation.  Using a good load board can save a lot of time tracking down loads, making the whole process more efficient. After all, time is money and if you’re getting paid by the mile, you aren’t getting paid for looking for loads. 

Direct Freight Services is a web-based load board that allows users to search for loads or post trucks.  It has many helpful features like full credit reports, load filtering, payment expectations, and broker authority information.  Whether accessed online or now through our easy-to-use Direct Freight app, Direct Freight helps you find the right loads. Go to DirectFreight.com and start searching for those high-quality loads today!

Shippers: How Load Boards Can Help Your Business Grow

loadboards-help-business-grow

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!

Are Load Boards Worth Their Cost?

are-load-boards-worth-their-cost

For trucking companies, it’s not just a matter of booking as many loads as possible, it’s important to book as many high-quality loads as possible.  High-quality loads come from dependable shippers who have above-average margins, and pay in a timely manner.  A good load board is a useful tool to help keep your trucks rolling, but is the monthly subscription fee worth it?

Load boards can help you:

Get Clients

Using a load board can help you gain trusted clients that you can build long-term relationships with.  This allows you to cut out the middleman and not go through a freight broker, which will increase your margins.

Diversify

A wise investor diversifies his investments to be able to weather any negative periods.  The same approach should be applied to your trucking business. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.  If you get all your loads primarily from one source, you’ll be in trouble if that company has a problem.

Find a Trustworthy Broker

As part of their diversification, many companies will work directly with shippers and with freight brokers.  It’s important to find one that is reliable and will earn you money.  To learn more about how to find the right freight broker, go here.

Eliminate Deadhead Miles

If you’re going to be bringing home an empty truck, be sure to include those costs in your rates.  Better yet, line up a load for the return trip. This is where load boards are essential. It’s so easy to search your return route for loads that can be made along the way.  

Shop Around

Load boards allow you to shop around for loads that will be most beneficial to your company.  Think quality, not quantity.

Are Free Load Boards a Good Deal?

As they say, the best things in life are free.  This may be true for many things but for load boards, it is not.  Free load boards will certainly save you a monthly fee that most load boards charge.  However, most top companies prefer to post their loads on the paid sites so you won’t see the quantity or the quality that you would find on subscription load boards.  Also, some of the “free” load boards are only free for a limited time, have duplicate loads and outdated information.

 

Tips for Working with Load Boards

Know the Low

Before you reply to a post to negotiate a rate, always know your lowest possible rate that allows you to break even.  This will make negotiating a rate for a shipment much quicker and easier.

Walk on By

Don’t be afraid to say no.  If a load isn’t going to earn much and may cause more problems than it’s worth, keep walking.  Load boards make it easy to find one that will work for you.

Don’t Overbook

If you’re finding a lot of good quality loads on a load board, be careful.  If you book more than your company can handle, you’ll start missing deadlines.  This could hurt your company’s reputation for being dependable and trustworthy. It’s important for your business’s success that you make timely deliveries.

 

If you’re starting out as a carrier, a good load board is essential.  It’ll help you make contacts with which you can build direct relationships.  Once you have those connections, it’s good to continue to use the load board to fill in gaps and book deadhead miles.  

Direct Freight Services is a full-service subscription load board that can help you maximize your margins with our huge database of quality loads.  With helpful features like the app, load searching, truck posting, credit reports and scores, load filtering, turn-by-turn routing, and text alerts, Direct Freight is the only load board you’ll ever need.  Go to DirectFreight.com and try it out today!

Direct Freight Services Has a New App!

direct-freight-app

Direct Freight Services, one of today’s leading load boards now has a new app!  The new app lets drivers search for loads from Direct Freight’s extensive loads database right from the comfort of their favorite mobile devices.  

The database has more than 300,000 loads daily that can be filtered to weed out the ones you’re not interested in and return only relevant, potential loads.  You can search and filter by a variety of preferences including origin, radius of origin, destination, ship date, full or partial size, trailer type (dry van, flatbed, reefer, step deck/single drop, double drop, van & vented, curtain van).  The returned results can be sorted by age (newest), pay rate (highest), deadhead (shortest), trip length (longest), origin city (A-Z), origin state (A-Z), destination city (A-Z), destination state (A-Z), trailer type, load size, weight ship date, credit report, and company name.  By customizing with your favorite filters and sorting your results, you can find just what you’re looking for with just a few taps.

Until now, Direct Freight was available on mobile devices by accessing the website but the new app streamlines everything to run more smoothly and efficiently on Apple and Android smartphones.  

Each screen within the app is clear and easy to navigate.  Posting your truck is simple and quick―simply input your origin, destination, trailer type, and the dates that you’re available and let the shippers find you.  You can also include your vehicle’s length, width, height, maximum weight, and any special comments you’d like to make.

No more sifting through loads that are already taken.  Direct Freight updates its loads in real time so you’ll always get current information.

When searching for loads, it’s difficult to know who to trust.  Unfortunately, there are scammers, dishonest shippers, and ones who are resistant to pay.  The new Direct Freight app has the same helpful credit score feature that is found on the Direct Freight website. You’ll  know exactly who you’re working with, reducing the risk of getting scammed. Along with detailed information on freight brokers and shipping companies, you can also see how long each shipper takes to pay so you can avoid the ones that are slow to pay if you choose.  Reviews are also available. Once you’ve found a shipper that you’d like to contact, there’s no looking up numbers and trying to remember them, just call them directly from the app!

Owner/operators and carriers who rely on Direct Freight to find loads or post trucks know what an invaluable tool it is for the success of their business.  The app is available on the App Store and Google Play and can be used with an existing Direct Freight account. If you don’t have an account, you can sign up in the app or on the website.  

Finding loads has never been easier than with the Direct Freight app.  To find out how Direct Freight can help you find the right loads and keep your trailer loaded go to DirectFreight.com today.

Freight Brokers: How to Increase Profits

freight-brokers-how-to-increase-profits

Freight brokers serve an integral role in the trucking industry today.  They are go-betweens. Consultants. Negotiators. Problem-solvers. They perform all the necessary tasks to move freight from shipper to destination as quickly and efficiently as possible, all while solving any problems that pop up along the way.

So how do they make a profit?  Freight brokers earn their money by moving freight cheaper than the shipper is paying to ship it.  Successful freight brokers don’t simply pick a bottom-of-the-barrel carrier to create the biggest profit margin.  They negotiate the best price they can with carriers who have reliable trucks and reliable truckers. Breakdowns and truckers who don’t show up can be a costly risk, so good freight brokers find carriers who put the money into their equipment as well as their employees.

There are other ways freight brokers can increase margins.

Think globally.  

The world is better-connected and smaller than it’s ever been before.  Sure, setting up operations in another country may be an extremely intimidating prospect, with foreign regulations and the currency exchange.  However, it could be relatively easy to find an untapped market abroad.

Always be on the lookout for leads.

Freight brokers should always be on the lookout for more leads, and ways to generate new leads.  Targeting advertising using social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can significantly increase a freight broker’s reach.  Writing a blog or guest-writing for an established company can develop leads.

Invest in an effective website.

Websites don’t merely tell potential clients who you are.  What good is that information if no one sees the website because it’s lost in a sea of other sites? A professional web designer can create a website that has effective SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so that when potential clients search for freight brokers, your website makes it to the top of the search results.  Adding content such as blogs or videos will help improve SEO on an ongoing basis.

Invest in things that will bring you the highest return on investment.  This could be anything from advertising to nurturing current relationships.

Network, network, network.  

For freight brokers, it’s all about the contacts.  Look for online communities, groups, and forums. Join trucking industry groups like the ATA (American Trucking Associations) or NASTC (National Association of Small Trucking Companies), or think outside the box and join your local chamber of commerce or other local groups businesses that need to ship freight.  

Diversify your client list to include both small and large companies.  

If you only have a few large companies that you work for, you’ll be losing a big chunk of revenue if you lose a client.  

Nurture relationships.

All relationships are vital to a freight broker, and no matter if it’s a carrier, an individual driver, or a shipper, listening is key to keeping them.  Ask questions about shipments, concerns, or even personal getting-to-know-you type questions and listen to the replies. A personal touch helps to build a trusting and long-term relationship.  Honesty goes a long way too.

Use the best freight management software.  

Tools like Direct Freight Services make tracking shipments simple and can easily fill those deadhead miles or fill in gaps in coverage.

If you’re a freight broker, Direct Freight Services can help you grow your business.  It has helpful features like a convenient carrier app, email and text alerts, load posting, truck searches and you can even use Direct Freight to manage all your loads, even ones that aren’t posted on our board.   Direct Freight Services is a valuable tool to add to your Freight Broker’s toolbox.  Go to DirectFreight.com and check it out  today.

 

Sources:  

https://www.nastc.com

https://www.trucking.org/About.aspx

What to Look for in a Load Board

what-to-look-for-in-a-load-board

For shippers, freight brokers, carriers, and drivers, a good load board is an essential tool for running a thorough and efficient company.  Whether posting all loads or rounding out service areas, the right load board can drive the success of a business.

 

Who Needs a Load Board?

Shippers use load boards to find dependable carriers to work with for short term or long term shipments.  Even for shippers who already have a regular carrier that they work with, a load board can keep things moving if there’s an unexpected increase in shipments or if there are any issues with a current shipper.  

Freight brokers are only as good as their client lists.  This means they need to have many trusted contacts around their service area so they can do their jobs―keep freight moving.  Freight brokers rely on load boards to make the connections they need to get cargo from Point A to Point B as safely and efficiently as possible.  Even with a large pool of clients and carriers, a load board is a great tool for filling in any gaps in coverage.

For carriers large and small, load boards can not only keep trucks rolling but one of their main benefits is filling deadhead miles (return trips) so routes are being operated efficiently without empty trucks driving around.  For example, if a carrier ships a full freight load from Boston to Newark, they can search the load board for a shipper who needs to ship from Newark to Boston or somewhere along the route. This not only brings in more revenue but it also makes more efficient use of gas, equipment, and manpower.  

For truck owner/operators, a good load board is the key to running an operation.  A load board provides vital information on available loads such as origin, destination, trailer type, load size, weight, company name, and pay rate.  Some of the better load boards include credit reports so drivers know who they’re working with and when they can expect to get paid.

What Makes a Load Board “Good”

It should be easy to use.    Load boards don’t need a lot of bells and whistles to be effective.  They should have a simple, easy-to-use interface that doesn’t require excessive clicks to locate the load or truck databases.  

Web-based is best.  Web-based load boards are always up-to-date, loads are posted in real time, there’s no costly software to buy and update, and they can be accessed from anywhere, even on smartphones and tablets.  Look for load boards that offer an app to streamline the process so it will always be on your phone.

Avoid “free” load boards.  Free load boards rely on ads for revenue and they don’t always have the same security in place that paid sites have, which can open users up to fraud.  They also aren’t as driven to have the most up-to-date technologies that paid sites do.

It should have useful features.  Things like current fuel prices, location and destination, cost of tolls, weather reports, a mileage calculator, credit reports, and load filtering can streamline services and simplify the process.

Alerts are important.  Being alerted when trucks are available or updates on loads saves time.  Text or email alerts give users an edge over those who need to spend time searching the site looking for updates.

It should have a free trial.  Most good load boards are confident in their product and will let users give it a try before they commit.  Trying out several free trials gives users the ability to find a load board that has all the features they’re interested in.  

 

As the old saying goes, “Time is money” and any time that freight sits on a loading dock waiting for a driver costs money.  A good load board makes all the difference. Decisions can be made quickly and confidently and the time that freight is waiting to be delivered is minimized.

Direct Freight Services is proud to be one of the leading load boards in the country.  They’ve been matching shippers and carriers since 1997 and have developed a load site that makes the process quick, easy, and effective.  Loads or trucks can be posted on the site for free but the subscription price of $34.95 allows the user access to ancillary features such as credit reports, route planning, weather conditions, text and email alerts, and other features that give a custom experience to every user.  Visit DirectFreight.com today for a free 15-day trial subscription and see what Direct Freight Services can do for your business.     

 

Shippers: How to Select the Right Freight Brokers

shippers-how-to-select-the-right-freight-broker

Freight brokers are an important link in the consumer goods supply chain. They’re the go-betweens linking supplier with destination, bringing freight that needs to be shipped to its final destination.  They not only connect shipper with carrier, they take care of negotiations, deadlines, payments, and solve any problems that may occur en route.

Using a freight broker is not a necessity in the shipping industry but many shippers prefer to because doing so gives them more time to concentrate on the daily functions of their business and less time on shipping details.  

Those details can be many and the road can be unpredictable (breakdowns, weather, unexpected traffic) so how do you know you’re choosing a freight broker that can handle it?  The answer: Do your homework!

  1. Check credentials.  They should be licensed through the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).  You can go here to find out if they are.  Through the licensing procedure, they will be required to be bonded and insured.  The insurance is for property damage and the bonding is to protect you from fraud or other illegal activities by the broker.  
  2. Look for a broker with experience shipping the types of freight you have and experience shipping to the areas you need it delivered.  They will better understand the challenges of your sector of the industry.
  3. Make sure they have the right insurance.  Just because they’re insured, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be covered if there’s a problem.  They should have general liability insurance as well as adequate cargo insurance to cover the freight they’ll be shipping for you.
  4. Ask about their procedures for vetting their carriers.  They’ll be entrusting them with your goods so make sure your potential broker does his or her due diligence to make sure that drivers have plenty of experience, are fully insured, have excellent safety records, use well-maintained, reliable equipment, and if they have enough trucks to handle the job.
  5. Look at other certifications and affiliations.  Most good freight brokers will be part of the TIA (Transportation Intermediaries Association) and you should check their standing with the Better Business Bureau as well.
  6. Check the technologies they use.  They should be using a thorough tracking system that uses GPS to track shipments in real time.  They should also use up-to-date billing software. After you’ve signed a contract is not the best time to discover they do their bookkeeping in pencil in a ledger and send out handwritten bills.
  7. Run a credit check.  Avoid brokers with bad credit.  You don’t want someone with liens, bankruptcies, or who are slow to pay to be the one in charge of negotiating your deals and paying for your shipments.
  8. Be completely clear with them on the What, Where, When, and How of your shipping needs so the broker knows if he or she can handle the job.  
  9. Look for experience in the industry.  Freight brokering is a growing field so many freight brokers are new but the longer they’ve been in the business, the more contacts and relationships with carriers they’ll have.  
  10. Check references, preferably ones in your area who ship similar freight to yours.  Be sure to ask pertinent questions about the broker’s ability to make on-time deliveries, how the broker handled any problems, and how satisfied they are with the freight broker.  
  11. Find out if they work internationally.  You may only ship in the States now but what happens if you get some new customers “across the pond”?  If your broker only works nationally, you may have to go through the whole vetting process again for international shipments.  Save yourself some time and go with one that will help your company grow.
  12. Look for good communication skills.  Your freight broker and dispatchers will be negotiating and dealing with customers on behalf of you and your company.  They should be clear, articulate, friendly, and knowledgeable.
  13. Get it all in writing.  Make sure that when you find the right freight broker, you get a detailed written contract.

 

Taking the time to find the right freight broker is well worth the extra effort.  After all, you’re entrusting them to make a fair deal and to get your freight to where it needs to go safely and efficiently.  

Direct Freight Services is a vital tool used by shippers, freight brokers, and carriers alike.  It includes a thorough, easy-to-use and up-to-date load board that keeps freight on the move. Sign up today at Directfreight.com and see you Direct Freight can start working for you!  

 

Sources:

https://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov/LIVIEW/pkg_carrquery.prc_carrlist

https://www.tianet.org

https://www.bbb.org