Different Types of Freight Shippers

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

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

Freight

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

Air Freight Shippers

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

Ocean Freight Shippers

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

Rail Freight Shippers

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

Ground Freight Shippers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking for Loads in All the Right Places

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The shipping industry of today is a trucker’s market.  There’s a shortage of CDL drivers which is good news for drivers looking for loads―there are a lot of them out there.  However, to be a successful owner/operator in the trucking industry, you have to find the right loads. It’s not just a matter of finding any load but finding the right one.  For that, you need more than just any load board.

Before you begin your search, think about what kind of client you’re looking for.  The goal is to find high-paying loads that are actually going to make you money. If you have an idea in your mind about what you’re looking for, you’ll increase your chances of finding it.  Are you looking for a large, well-known company? One with a good reputation? A client that you can work with on a regular basis? One that ships in areas where you want to work? Do you want to work with a freight broker?  Do you offer specialized services such as moving oversized construction equipment or refrigerated services?

With the answers to these questions in mind, it’s time to peruse the multitude of load sites out there but where should you begin?  There are so many load sites available online that it’s difficult to know where to begin. Free load sites are tempting, after all, why pay for something when you don’t have to?  There’s a good reason for that. Free load sites have to make money somehow, and they usually do it by having lots and lots of advertising on their websites, selling things other than load information.  Some free load boards are just lists of free load boards. Most loads that are found on the free sites are not posted directly to the site from shippers or brokers; they come from a load sharing service.

Load sites that charge a reasonable monthly fee will generally give you what you’re looking for instead of trying to sell you things you’re not.  While they all offer loads and shipping details, it’s important to find one that’s simple to use and that has all of the details you need to narrow your load search.  Some of the things you may need to know other than load weight, ship date, and trip distance are:

  • The age of the listing
  • Full or partial load
  • Trailer type
  • Number of “deadhead miles” or miles from your location to where you pick up the load
  • Is the poster a member of TIA (Transportation Intermediaries Assoc.), i.e. a broker that agrees to a high standard of business ethics?
  • Credit rating that includes credit score as well as the number of days it takes them to pay for services
  • Mileage calculator that includes tolls
  • Up-to-date fuel prices

With this information in hand, you’ll be able to find the right loads.  You’ll also be able to maximize your time by scheduling loads for your trips back too.  If you want to land these jobs, however, you have to make sure you’re the right driver.  

Begin with your insurance.  A shipper wants a driver with good insurance that includes freight insurance.  They’re trusting you with their freight and want to be covered if anything goes wrong.  

Insurance goes hand-in-hand with your safety rating.  A driver with an excellent driving record and safety rating will be hired over one with poor ones any day.  

Always be professional and be mindful of your reputation.  Drivers with a good and dependable reputation will get the higher-paying jobs.  

If you’re looking for a load site that’s not just any site, Direct Freight is the place to go.  It matches loads and drivers by using pertinent information so you can maximize your driving time and your earning potential.  It uses state-of-the-art tools to make the system work for you, including alerts via text or email for when new loads are posted.  Direct Freight is so sure that their service will be a tremendous benefit to you that they offer a free trial for 15 days.

Go to DirectFreight.com or call (888)894-4198 to find out how you can get started finding the right loads today!

What Does the Average Freight Broker Make?

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

What is a Freight Broker?

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

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

How Do I Become a Freight Broker?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is a Freight Broker’s Salary?

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

Above and Beyond

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

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

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

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

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

Load Matching Software

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The shipping industry is a constantly growing and changing industry.  As a consumer of trucking-related software, it becomes more and more important that you adapt to the latest technologies to run the most efficient operation possible.  Whether you’re a freight broker or a carrier, you want to provide a vital, superior service to your customers and to do this, you need high-quality load matching software that’s user-friendly, efficient, and won’t break the bank.

What to Look For in a Load Matching Software

All software is not created equal.   Good load matching software should be streamlined and efficient, and have features such as:

  • Load and Truck Searching – on your computer or your phone so you can be connected wherever you are
  • Load and Truck Posting – to show availability
  • Email Alerts – information on your loads and trucks sent directly to your inbox
  • Credit Reports and Scores – so you know who you’re trusting
  • Customization – get only the information you need and none that you don’t
  • Load and Truck Search Filters – for more efficient searches
  • Weather Information – so you’re aware of any weather-related delays
  • Mileage Calculator – including tolls and how to avoid them
  • Organization – manage all your loads
  • Cloud-based

Why Cloud-based is Better

Having software that is “in the cloud” offers benefits to shippers, vendors, and truckers alike.  Because it is managed in one central location, updates and changes can be done without disrupting user access.  It can be accessed from anywhere using any mobile device, whether a laptop, iPad, or phone.

Cyber security is a top priority for every business, and because your data is in the cloud, it is automatically backed up so you don’t have to worry about power outages or viruses infecting your work computers or servers and destroying your data.  And with no servers or software at your location, there’s no need to

Cloud-based software allows users to find and post freight from anywhere  For truckers and carriers looking for freight, searches will always include the most up-to-date information.  The streamlined process of a web-based system saves time and money. Such advantages are not merely for the large companies, however, web-based freight matching software can be accessed using an affordable monthly fee which allows it to be utilized by large companies or individuals, essentially leveling the playing field.

Direct Freight Services

The software offered by Direct Freight Services is your solution for finding freight whether your business is big or small.  It has all of the services you need without complicated applications that you’ll never use. A small monthly fee grants you access to the simple, streamlined system where you can search for trucks if you have a load to transport or search for loads if you have a truck.  Or, if you prefer, list your load or truck and let interested parties search for you. It couldn’t be easier. Its interface is direct and simple so your searches will be quick.

Our Direct Freight Software will make your operation more efficient, allowing you to move more freight with fewer people, and with the availability of credit information, you can minimize your risks and make informed decisions about who you’re working with.  

To find out more about how our direct freight software can improve your bottom line, call (888)894-4198 or go here to sign up for a free 15-day trial offer.  Start your search 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.