As an Owner Operator Where Do You Get Your Freight?
Your answer to that simple question will in large part determine whether you are successful in trucking as a trucking business owner – or whether you will be among the majority who will fail and go out of business within a year or two.
Think about that.
Sadly I have encountered hundreds of owner operators over many years who do not understand the importance of this issue let alone have any clue as to how to handle it better.
Instead they take scraps from one or two mediocre (at best) brokers who use and abuse them more often than not.
Your first lesson on the topic is NEVER rely on any single source – or even a couple of sources for your loads – and that is especially true when talking about freight brokers. Some brokers are good some are terrible – and most are somewhere in the middle. But in the end, what you must realize is this – it is NOT their job to take care of you – that is YOUR JOB!
Yet I hear it all the time. This broker did this or that – and that broker always rips us off…
Really? Then why on earth are you continuing to haul even another load at all for them?
If you are an owner operator or a small fleet owner – stop acting like a broker is your dispatcher – they most certainly are not, and if you fall into the trap of working with just one or two primarily, and waiting for them to just give you your loads – then my friend you will reap what you are sowing – and that is failure. You are your own dispatcher – and it is your job to go out there and find good paying loads. If you think any broker is going to do that for you while looking out for your interests as opposed to theirs – then you are in for a very rude reality check.
Have a Good Mix of Load Sources
You need to get some loads from load board (like DAT) and some of your loads from a few different brokers who are honest and fair – and yes they do exist! Avoid dealing with the bottom of the barrel brokers and agents and even better – make sure you join groups of other drivers, owner operators, and fleet owners and share your experiences.
You will also need to be able to very quickly evaluate a load and decide whether it is profitable and desirable enough for you to haul or not and if it is – then take it quickly before someone else does. If it isn’t – then skip it and move on – but never just sit and wait and hope someone else is going to find you a load – you need to be proactive about that yourself.
Build relationships directly with some customers and haul for them on a regular basis – just be careful about taking on too many of your loads from any one source. They can and do go out of business. They change management – or managers – and may cut off your runs. If you have put too much of your business with them then that is going to be painful and expensive – and remember – it is not their fault. It is your fault – if you allow that to happen to you.
I have seen some pretty good-sized fleets make this mistake again and again – and sometimes with devastating consequences. Never ever put too many of your eggs in someone else’s basket.
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