Category: software

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!

How a Product Gets From Factory to Your Doorstep

how-a-product-gets-from-factory-to-your-doorstep

In logistics, one thing is connected to the next.  You buy an item online and although it may seem like it miraculously appears on your doorstep a few days later, it actually goes through many coordinated steps to arrive there. 

A supply chain is just that―individual links that make up a long chain.  For example, you want to buy a dinosaur action figure from an online retailer who acquires them from China.  Before you’ve clicked the “add to cart” button, your dinosaur action figure has already begun its long journey.

 

Dinosaur Action Figure  Supply Chain

  1. Raw materials are sent to a manufacturing plant in China via boat, plane, train, or truck.
  2. Manufacturing plant molds plastic into the perfect dinosaur action figure.  
  3. Manufacturing plant sorts and ships dinosaur action figure to a port via truck or plane.  
  4. Shipments are loaded into shipping containers and loaded onto a ship bound for the U.S.
  5. At the U.S. port, containers are off-loaded and wait for further transportation.  
  6. Shipping container or its contents are loaded onto a truck,train or plane and sent to a warehouse.
  7. You place your online order and the dinosaur action figure is on the move again.
  8. At that warehouse, the freight is sorted and then loaded onto a truck to be sent to another warehouse.  This process could happen several times before the dinosaur action figure arrives at a retail outlet or distribution center for online orders. 
  9. Distribution center uses 3PL to deliver your dinosaur action figure to your doorstep.  Hurray!

 

Of course, this is merely an example of the way a product could get to your front door and the journey is dependant on many things such as starting point and destination, location of the retailer, and the manner in which the shipper chooses to ship their freight.  You may order directly from a foreign company that uses 3PL to get the product to you. Or you could drive to a retailer and buy a product that was flown to the U.S. instead of being shipped by boat.  

The one thing all of these supply chains have in common is that they rely on trucks to move products.  Even if boats or planes are links in the chain, trucks are used to get freight to and from them. Even when trains are used for cross-country journeys instead of long-haul trucking, trucks are still needed to get freight to and from the trains.  

Whether trucks are big rigs or 3PL vans, they will remain the backbone of every supply chain around the world.  It’s why there’s such a high demand for truck drivers with no hint of slowing anytime soon.  

If you’re a trucker who’s interested in becoming one of those important links in the supply chain, a good load board like Direct Freight Services is a great place to start.  With helpful features like a mobile app, quick pay, deadhead miles, text alerts, and turn-by-turn routing, Direct Freight will help truckers find the loads they’re looking for.  Sign up today at Directfreight.com and see how Direct Freight can start working for you!

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.

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

Truckers: How to be Your Own Boss

 

truckers-how-to-be-your-own-boss

Having your own rig and being your own boss is the ultimate dream for many truck drivers.  When you’re the boss, you can set your own schedule. When you’re the boss, you control hauling prices.  When you’re the boss, you don’t have to put up with disrespect from your employers, employees, or dispatchers.  However, being the boss can also bring with it longer hours, more stress, and all the responsibility if things go wrong.  Is being an owner/operator right for you?

 

Look at Yourself  

Be honest.  Do you have the drive it takes to work the long hours?  Will you do all of the necessary paperwork on time and on a regular basis?  Do you have the discipline to do what it takes to make your business a success?  Do you enjoy interacting with people? Being your own boss in any industry is hard work and when things go wrong, the buck stops with you.  Any company problem is your problem, even if your company is just you and your truck. If there is a breakdown, you’re out of commission and money stops coming in until your truck is back on the road.

 

Look at Your Home Life  

Do you have children?  The job can take you away for days at a time, most likely more than it does when you’re working for someone else.  Do you have a significant other that can help with responsibilities at home? Are you a single parent or have shared child custody?  Having a family without enough support can impact the volume, locations, and types of jobs you’re able to take, which may make it difficult to build up your routes and clientele.  Being your own boss may bring you some flexibility with your hours but it’s more likely that you’ll have to put in more hours, especially when starting out.

 

Look at Your Health  

Are you healthy enough to endure the long hours driving a truck?  Are you required to take medication that will impede your ability to stay alert on the road?  If you’re currently a full-time driver, you should know how you’ll physically handle the job. Life on the road can be unhealthy due to hours of sitting and the abundance of unhealthy food on the road.  Staying in shape takes dedication and persistence and is important for your longevity on the job.

Just because you drive a truck doesn’t mean that you need to own your own rig and work for yourself.  For many, the responsibility of driving a truck for someone else is enough. When things go wrong, someone else deals with it.  Some drivers prefer a regular paycheck and the security that goes along with working for someone else.

   

 

How Do You Get Started?

Plan

Start with details like what area of the country you’d like to cover, what types of loads you’d like to haul (flatbeds, refrigerated trailers, HAZMAT, etc.) and what type of business you’re registering for.  Do you have your own truck? If not, will you be renting or buying? These are added costs to your business that you’ll need to take into consideration. One of the most important aspects of starting your own operation is choosing the right business insurance that not only covers your business but also your truck and the loads you’ll be hauling as well.

Seek Help

Talk to a lawyer and an accountant for legal and tax assistance.  Hiring an accountant to handle your books may cost you money but it will allow you more time out on the road doing what you do best.  Making a mistake on your taxes can cost money. A good CPA will make sure that all your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed, that your taxes are well managed and you don’t have a huge bill when tax time rolls around.  

Now What?

Now that you’ve taken the plunge and have leased a truck, registered your business, and have all the appropriate licenses and insurances lined up, where do you turn next?

You need loads.  You need an easy-to-use, intuitive load board, like Direct Freight Services.  Enter a little information, like your origin location, the type of trailer you carry, and how far you’d like to travel, and Direct Freight will return a list of available loads and relevant information.  The number of deadhead miles is also listed so you can make arrangements for a return load to maximize your earnings. With Direct Freight, you can also input the details of your truck so shippers or freight brokers can find you.

If you’re ready to hop into that driver’s seat and be your own boss, check out Direct Freight at www.directfreight.com or call (888)894-4198 and see how Direct Freight can help!    

Freight Brokers: Getting Things Where They Need to Go

freight-brokers-getting-things-where-they-need-to-go

We live in a world where we can get anything we want in a couple of clicks, whether it’s from a major retailer or someone selling books out of their garage.  This means more freight that needs to get from point A to point B to point C, and more trucks on the road at any given time. Enter the Freight Broker.

What are Freight Brokers?

Freight brokers are go-betweens.  They take care of things. Freight Brokers help move things along quickly and smoothly so we can get what we need when we need it.  Say a shipper has some hats that need to get to Walla Walla, Washington. The shipper calls a freight broker and pays him or her to make sure the hats get to Walla Walla before the big hat festival.  The freight broker finds a carrier who regularly travels to the area and makes a deal with them for the hat delivery. The carrier picks up the hats, drives them to their destination and all the while, the freight broker is tracking the truck to make sure the hats arrive on time.  When they do, people in Walla Walla can buy the hats, and everyone’s happy. Freight brokers facilitate shipments from their starting point to ending points.

How do they make money?

The freight broker hired the carrier to deliver the hats for less money than they received from the shipper.  This is called their “spread”. The freight broker is not merely making a better deal, they’re responsibility is to ensure that the freight is delivered safely and on time.    

Why wouldn’t the shipper go directly to a carrier?

They can, and many do.  However, there are many reasons why using a freight broker can be beneficial to both shippers and carriers.

  • It lightens your workload if you’re a shipper. It saves time searching for a carrier and tracking your shipment, which can be time-consuming.
  • The freight Broker’s main focus is the shipment.  For carriers and drivers, it lessens time searching for loads because the loads find them.
  • They’re experts.  Many brokers got their start working other jobs in the shipping or trucking industry.  They know best practices for both.
  • They track the load using GPS technology, remain in constant contact with drivers and always know the driver’s location.  
  • They’re problem-solvers.  If problems arise along the way, it’s up to the freight broker to resolve them.  What could go wrong? Lots! There could be:
    • Accidents
    • Breakdowns
    • Scheduling issues
    • Hazardous weather conditions
    • Unplanned checkpoints and other stoppages
  • They’re scalable.  Freight Brokers can quickly deal with busy or slow periods.  If a business is seasonal or is experiencing growth or decline, a freight broker can easily adapt to volume changes.
  • They have connections.  They build a large network of contacts through job experience and load boards which allow them to help shippers to take advantage of volume discounts.  They have route coverage all over the country.
  • They want you to succeed.  It doesn’t benefit the freight broker to take the shipper’s money and find the cheapest carrier or driver to create the biggest spread.  Why not? You get what you pay for and if you’re paying a carrier poorly, you’re likely going to get poor service which always costs more in the end.  

How Do I Pick the Right One?

Freight Brokers are a growing part of the industry and as with anyone you choose to do business with, it’s important to vet them properly.  Freight brokers must have a license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and should have a membership with the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA).  It’s also a good idea to check out their rating with the Better Business Bureau.   Try to stay away from brokers who have recently joined the industry.  The best freight brokers are ones with not only freight brokering experience but have also held jobs as carriers or shippers.  

Direct Freight Services is a go-to resource for freight brokers.  It can help those just starting out build a network or just help round out route coverage and fill gaps.  More than 3,500 companies post freight on our site so it’s the perfect tool for helping freight brokers make new and trustworthy connections.  With all sorts of useful features for shippers, carriers, and freight brokers, you’ll wonder how you ever did business without it! Go to DirectFreight.com or call (888)894-4198 and see what we have to offer.  
Source:  https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov, http://www.tianet.org, https://www.bbb.org/en/us

Load Boards: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

loadboards-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly

Whether you have freight that needs to be shipped, a truck you need to get out on the road, or you’re a freight broker who needs to connect the two, more and more people are turning to load boards to get the job done.  But are they really all they’re chalked up to be?

The Good

They’re easy to use.

If you’re using a good load board, everything you need will be in a simple, clean table that appears on the front page of the site so you don’t have to go through unnecessary windows.  It will have all of the pertinent information to help you find what you’re looking for in just a few clicks.

They’re inexpensive.

While there are free load boards, they don’t necessarily include relevant information needed before committing to move the load.  The cost of paid load boards can be well over $100 a month. There are some are under $50 a month for a full subscription (Direct Freight Services is $34.95 a month).

They’re easy to access.

Web-based load boards can be accessed from any computer, phone, or tablet  with internet access. They’re also available 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year (366 during leap years!) so your load search can work around your schedule.  

They’re up-to-date

Load boards would fail if they posted old information, and whether you’re looking for a load or posting one, not having a load immediately accessible will cost you money.  Direct Freight load boards are updated in real time so you’ll always get the most current information. No lines, no waiting!

Eliminates “deadheading”.

“Deadheading” is the term that refers to empty trucks returning home after they’ve dropped off freight.  Unless there’s a return load, it’s just wasted fuel, wear-and-tear on the truck, and missed opportunity to earn money for the driver .  Why drive empty? Once you’ve set up your outward-bound trip, you can search for nearby loads for your return route.

There are no costly software updates.

With web-based load boards, there’s no need to put load software on your computer.  That means no more expensive software updates that tie up your computer while the update is being performed and no need to buy new software, ever.

You can see who you’re dealing with before you commit.

The better load boards like Direct Freight allow access to credit reports so you don’t take risks.  The reports display any legal actions taken against the freight company or shipper, public filings, credit score, and the number of days it takes them to pay, on average.

The Bad

They’re competitive.

Most free load boards get their information from the same sources so there’s competition for the loads which drives down the price truckers can make.  Paid load boards are less competitive.

You still have to do the work.

If you’re a shipper or trucker using a load board directly, you still have to search when you’re ready for or with your next load.  Some load boards offer text or email alerts that let you know when what you’re looking for is available but you still have to do some amount, albeit small, of legwork.  

You could become a victim of fraud.

With the rise of load boards, there’s been an increase in fraud.  The fraud, “double-brokering” occurs when a freight broker uses the services of a secondary freight broker who sets up the deal but then absconds with the payment.  This happens more often on free load boards.

 

The Ugly

We were kidding about that.  There’s no ugly! Paid freight boards are an essential tool to save time for shippers, freight brokers, and truckers.  They get freight shipped, connections made, and trucks on the road faster. Time is money! Even if you have regular contacts deals can fall through, product demand can fluctuate, or it may be time to expand your operation. A good load board can help you  move forward without skipping a beat.

With 3,500+ companies posting 300,000+ loads daily, Direct Freight has everything you need to fill trucks and move freight.  We’ve been serving the trucking industry since 1997 and our years of experience helps us continue to do so.. Shippers, freight brokers, and truckers alike know that with Direct Freight, they’ll get what they need.

Go to DirectFreight.com or call us at (888)894-4198 and start your 15-day free trial today!

Source:  https://www.interstatecapital.com/fraud-in-trucking-industry/#