Achieving a consistent flow of cargo is a key factor in the success of an owner-operator. Truck loads have a significant effect on the amount of money earned on a regular basis, making it essential to compete with more than three hundred thousand owner-operator drivers on America’s roads.
If you are a beginner, it may take some time to find a reliable source of cargo, and there is a great deal of cold calling involved. While some truckers may use personal networks or sign contracts to find truckloads, these are not the only options.
Technology has made it easier than ever to access loads that are tailored to your business objectives. Regardless of the method chosen, the aim is to maximize profits and expand your business.
Here are a few methods to get started or to enhance your options of getting more freight as an owner-operator for your truck.
There are plenty of load boards, like DirectFreight, DAT, etc., available that connect truck owner-operator, shipper, or freight broker into a single platform. Here, shippers can post their listing about loads, and freight brokers can bargain the rates with the carriers (the owner-operator would be a carrier in this case) and bring the best rate in the market that they share with the shipper and a successful deal that will benefit all these three. This is one case.
Alternatively, a shipper can directly contact the owner-operator as well from the load boards.
In general, load boards are online marketplaces where you can see what freight is available, where it’s going, how much it weighs, what size it needs to be, and any extra services you need.
Furthermore, you can sort by equipment, type of load, or route to find jobs that match your needs. You can even filter your search for truck loads based on your preferences, such as whether your CDL has a HAZMAT endorsement. In this way, you may compare shipper rates, find the best truckloads for your start and finish locations, and make quick decisions with confidence.
With a reliable load board industry, you’ll be able to use decision tools like the truck-to-load ratio, truck activity by origin, and even specialized loads to get the best rates. All this helps you stay on the road and make sure you’re working with the best brokers and shippers.
Freight brokers act as intermediaries between owner-operators and shippers with loads to transport.
Their primary role is to communicate the information necessary to determine loads’ rates, compare you with loads in particular areas, and match you with loads that fit your schedule.
Freight brokers take a percentage of each load’s revenue as a commission. Generally, brokers charge between 10-25% per load.
By utilizing a freight broker, owner-operators can quickly connect to freight, thus avoiding idle time wastage. Further, brokers have established relationships with shippers that enable them to be notified of a load and to negotiate rates more quickly.
By establishing direct connections with shippers, you will be able to generate a higher rate per load. Additionally, you will not have to divide your profits with an intermediary or freight broker to find your loads, thus decreasing your operating costs.
Nevertheless, it may be difficult to find shippers who do not contract consistent lanes with well-established carriers and companies. To be successful with shippers directly, you must be well-versed in lanes, logistics, and rate negotiation.
Trucking dispatchers are like the middleman between your company and the freight companies. They help you negotiate with shippers and brokers, and they’ll take care of all the back-office stuff like customer service, billing, and payment collections.
They can also plan routes for you while you’re on the road, and a good dispatch service will work hard to make sure you get the most mileage and don’t have too many empty-load hours to boost earnings.
You can either hire your own dispatchers or use a dispatch service. Hiring an internal dispatcher is great if you have multiple trucks and need to manage them all at once, but if you’re starting out, it might make more sense to work with a dispatch service.
If you’re a truck driver, leasing with a truck company that needs more capacity can be a great way to transition from company driver to owner-operator.
A lease-on agreement means you already own the truck and you’re leasing out your rig and services.
An owner-operator lease is a contract that sets out the terms and conditions between the trucking company and the driver, with agreed-upon rates and any extra costs like fuel and insurance.
The only downside is that you don’t have as much control over your schedule.
If you’re looking to get new clients, networking is a great way to start.
Check out groups of shippers, small business groups, and other industries you’re interested in. There are plenty of these groups that will give you membership lists for a small fee so that you can start building a list of potential customers.
Networking can help you narrow down your search for truckloads, but it can take a lot of time and effort to get started.
But, once you’ve built trust and proven your worth, you can start building long-term relationships.
The trucking industry is undergoing a rapid transformation due to the emergence of technology that is revolutionizing the way owner-operators search for truckloads and operate their businesses.
Freight brokers offer load-matching applications that require drivers to accept the load at the published rate, eliminating the need for negotiation.
Furthermore, these apps automatically generate a route plan by taking into account tasks such as staging and loading, which can help to optimize routes for profit.
At the same time, some apps can even help manage the packing of loads based on the size and container of your truck. The best load-matching apps can help reduce empty miles, fuel costs, and the need for manual tasks such as CPM (cost per mile) and revenue calculations, leading to increasing productivity.
Regardless of the method of finding truckloads, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages and to strive to build relationships that will keep the business moving forward. Overall, owner-operators can find loads more easily, get better prices, and make more money when they stick to the plans effectively, discussed above.