Load Posting, Carrier Vetting, and Co-Brokering in Freight Brokering | Final Mile #38

Freight 360

April 9, 2024

Nate Cross & Ben Kowalski answer your freight brokering questions and discuss:

  • Posting a Load on Loadboards
  • Tracking Software
  • Co-brokering
  • Carrier Vetting

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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Speaker 1: 0:20

Welcome back everyone for another edition of the Final Mile where we answer all of your questions. We've got four questions today. They come from a variety of places, so if you have a question for us, you can send it in as a YouTube comment, you can email us at info at Freight360.net, or you can go right to our website, Freight360.net. Let me try that again Freight360.net. Hit the contact button and you can fill out a form to send your question that way. And while you're on our website, check out all of our other content, including the Freight Broker Basics course for a full length educational opportunity to learn how to get your brokerage off the ground and grow it successfully. Not a precaution as a caveat here If you're watching this video or listening to this episode because of the title, there may be other questions on here that are not part of the title. You could always check the description box to see every question we're going to discuss. So, first up, the first question came to us from our Facebook group and it said what details should be included in a load posting on DAT. So typically for I'll answer it generically for any load board, because they tend to all have the same options, but what you're going to tend to see. The basics are an origin, which is going to be a city, and state. Sometimes you just throw a zip code in there, a destination, same thing, city, state, equipment type. So whether that's a van, flatbed, reefer, rgn, et cetera, whatever that trailer type is, you're going to also have an option for the weight. So is it a 28,000 pound load? Is it a 42,000 pound load? That stuff's really important because that driver's going to know the heavier it is, the more fuel they're going to burn and consume to haul that which affect your rate. And then usually another required one is going to be the available date. So is it today, is it tomorrow, is it two days from now? But in addition to that, there tends to be some optional fields that you can really use to get additional information over. So there might be an option for the commodity, or there might be an option that requires a team, or you could put a rate in there if you want to offer a price to the drivers. And then you usually have some freeform text comment fields which you can do a lot of cool stuff with, and I highly encourage you to use those comment fields if you have pertinent information that a driver should know before accepting a load. For example, we already mentioned team right.

Speaker 1: 2:49

You might say this requires team drivers to operate for X amount of hours per day. You might want to include special requirements like a lift gate or tarps. And how big are those tarps? Does it require straps? Is it a driver unload driver assist in any way, shape or form? So those are typically your basic data points. You're going to put in a load posting Ben anything you want to add or any. Do you have any anecdotes on the like the comments fields? Those tend to be kind of the ones where people are like why didn't you put this in here? You got anything there.

Speaker 2: 3:25

So correct? Yes, like and here's some of the advantages and disadvantages of each right. Like, again, some people will post a rate, some people will post the same load without a rate and see which calls they get to each rate. And, again, like, it depends on the situation, I think, as to whether or not you put a rate in there, or you just put a post with no rate to see how many calls you get, because, again, the pros are, hey, you're throwing that number out there, which means there's maybe some carriers that would want that load but won't call you because you're at 15 and not 16. And the reality is like you might be able to go to 16 and you might want to start at 15. No-transcript, like you, in some cases, want to make sure maybe that driver has experience hauling a specific commodity, right, so that's like a reason to put it out there.

Speaker 2: 4:33

A disadvantage, though, is if a carrier sees your commodity and your lane, say it's Jacksonville to Chicago and another broker has Jacksonville to Chicago, like they're usuallyville to Chicago, they're usually going to call both of you and see which load pays more, and the question they use to identify whether or not both of you are working the same load for the customer at the same time is usually the commodity. That's why the carriers will always ask hey, what do you move in? They're working and they should be doing this right. This is what makes a good dispatcher, is they're working all of those potential loads to move to see which is the best fit for time, money and weight to your point. So when they can identify the commodity now they can compare which loads are really sometimes the same load or very similar, right.

Speaker 2: 5:19

So there are advantages and disadvantages to putting the commodity up. But the most often overlooked thing that I think people should put in, which they neglect right Weight is definitely up there that I think people skip through or don't pay attention to and it matters. The other one are like special requirements for sure. So you know just some examples. You went through a lot but like open deck, pipe stakes, headache rack, coil racks, chains, straps, eight foot tarp, 12 foot tarp, six foot tarp, right, any of those you want to know and upfront, because you don't want to waste the driver's time or your time talking to a carrier that doesn't have what you need right.

Speaker 2: 5:57

And it's just an easy way to kind of weed that out and to make it very clear. The other is dimensions right Because when you get very close. The other is dimensions right because when you get very close to legal dimensions right, like they should definitely be in there, because some equipment it won't be legal to ship on, some it might be, depending on the length, right or the height. That plays a lot into the open deck, which again is another overlooked category. I think, um, I think that's really. I mean that really kind of covers most of it.

Speaker 1: 6:26

I want to add in here too, because you hit on dimensions and one of the big things is, if it's a partial load and a driver is going to attempt to consolidate two or more partial loads, you can run into a lot of issues on the dimensions or on the weight, things like that, because they might be good on one load or they're fine on another load, but when you put them both together they might be overweight when they go to scale their axles or they might not have the deck space from the front to the rear to fit everything on there. Because just because something is, let's say, 20 feet long, well how much deck space does it take up? Is there an additional um? You know bracing and um tie down on the front or back end? That's going to take up additional space. That's going to limit their. You know how much additional deck space they have for another partial to go on there. So I agree, that's a. It's a good take on it.

Speaker 2: 7:18

Uh, let's move to our next question and then the last final point go ahead. Yep. One final point is this isn't going into the load posting, but you should certainly know this from your shipper. And that is the load value. And even though I wouldn't put it on a load post right now, because the higher the value, the more likely it is you're going to invite fraud into the scenario, but it's got to be one of the first questions you ask a carrier when you're talking to them, if you're over a hundred000, is to make sure the carrier you're talking to has the insurance amount that covers the shipment. Your shipper is going to need that. That is the first question, outside of the load posting, that you should ask if you are over $100,000 in value. Agreed.

Speaker 1: 8:02

Next question what software is available for freight brokers to track their loads by location? So this is a good one. Tracking has become also regular, on the majority of shipments especially. I know we just talked about inviting fraud, but GPS tracking is a very common thing now and there's other things too that are not necessarily GPS. You know continuous tracking. But we'll start at the basics right. Macropoint is a very big GPS provider. Trucker Tools is a very common GPS provider. The ELD systems in a driver's cab track location, and they can oftentimes integrate in with either a TMS or with one of those GPS providers I just mentioned.

Speaker 1: 8:49

I know the load board companies oftentimes have their own proprietary tracking available, sometimes included in your membership, sometimes at an additional cost. There are some companies out there that do single, like on demand, requesting a location from somebody via text or like we had the guys from Quickscope on recently, where theirs was more designed to prevent, you know, information from being released until the location was verified. But this question went back to the common software to track loads. Check out MacroPoint, check out Trucker Tools. I'm sure there's others out there and more will continue to be released into the marketplace. But those are your big two. You got any others for tracking?

Speaker 2: 9:33

as far as software goes, the only thing I would add is you covered everything I would have said related to software. The only thing outside that is, regardless of whatever software you have, you need to make sure you know where your trucks are and you need to do that manually, either through an email or a phone call. If you don't have software on a load Like, you need to know where your trucks are. That needs to be documented. It needs to go into your TMS. That should be part of your day-to-day routines. You got loads over the road. You need to know where they are every single day and in some situations morning and afternoon, to just make sure they're tracking to where they need to go and that they have no issues Getting ahead of problems is the biggest way to create more time in your day.

Speaker 1: 10:16

Yeah, software's great, but it's not human. It doesn't necessarily, at least not currently. Maybe it's getting there, but it doesn't have the intuition that humans have. And human conversation is also a great way to build rapport with your customers. So, if you can call them, give them an update with your carriers too. Right To build that carrier network. Well, good stuff.

Speaker 1: 10:33

Next question what is the purpose of co-brokering? Don't we all have access to the same trucks? This is good so well, I mean to an extent hypothetically, yes, but the reality is you're right, no, we don't. We legally have access to contract with the same folks based on our license, but the reality is we've got relationships and sometimes pricing leverage based on the volume of stuff we move. So we've talked about like the common ones.

Speaker 1: 11:07

I, my company, does a lot of full truck load right, so I don't co-broker anything full truck load.

Speaker 1: 11:13

But where we have co-brokered and found a lot of good success is LTL and expedite and intermodal, because these are niche types of equipment that are either very sensitive to the relationship with the broker that they're working with and they're loyal to that broker, so they might be able to leverage a co-broker to extend that carrier network to somebody else. I've done that with an expo company or in the case of LTL pricing same thing with intermodal pricing right If they're an expert in LTL pricing Same thing with intermodal it's pricing right. If they're an expert in LTL, they've got a lot of volume that they're pushing through with R&L or with T4s or Old Dominion. I'm not going to get that same pricing directly. So I would rather work a co-brokerage relationship where I can take their cost, they mark it up to me and I can resell it and it's still cheaper to my customer than if I went and got it directly from that truck. So those are examples. You've mentioned a couple in the past about just capacity in certain areas. But what's your answer to this one about co-brokering?

Speaker 2: 12:20

I did a lot of this in the teens, right Prior to the pandemic. Like I worked with Landstar's co-brokers, the ones that I had trust with. Going back to our last episode. I've co-brokered with other large brokerages. I've co-brokered with smaller brokers.

Speaker 2: 12:38

I did a lot of this when I was at TQL and what I learned was all of the big brokerages all had co-brokerages with all the others as well, like the Coyotes worked back then with CH TQL worked and had co-brokerages, and the reason for it is it's one, the relationships to your point for sure has a lot to do with it. But the other thing you said also, it's like where that freight was going at any given time, right, because, like, customers will use different brokers, but again, they tend to use a broker for specific things. So sometimes you know like we would maybe have a load that we couldn't work on because we just didn't have the network for cross border whatever at that time, maybe that week of that year or whatever, right. So there was a lot of co-brokerage, especially on really large volume accounts where we would work with other brokers, right, and it was fully transparent, there were agreements, nothing was underhanded in any way, it was really just sharing capacity and you kind of split the margin amongst both companies. They got a little bit and then the one company sometimes got a little bit more. So they are, and have been, fairly common.

Speaker 2: 13:44

They've gotten a very bad rap with the amount of fraud but like this was commonplace because, like sometimes, like I might have just had a customer that had a lot of volume, that was, you know, philly to Pittsburgh, and another broker has a customer that has a small project and they just need to access that capacity. Hey, sure, we've had these guys in our network running this lane a lot for our other customers Happy to help you on this. You get involved in the project and it's over right. So there are a lot of pros to even the way this used to be done in full truckload. It still can be done. It's just far less common now because of the fraud and what you're saying from a criminal aspect in our industry. But I think the term co-brokering gets a very negative rap when, if it's done correctly, it's just a valuable way for two companies to work together to get the shipper, the customer, what they need when they need it Right.

Speaker 1: 14:35

Yep, that's exactly right. And the one thing I know we didn't really on this discussion here we didn't talk about what exactly is co-brokering. So make sure to go check out our other content. But this is different from double brokering. It is completely legal. It's contractual on paper, signed by all parties and everybody's in the loop about what's going on. So just make sure, if you're going to be doing it, there's a contract and you'll see verbiage that lists who broker A is and who broker B is. And to give you a very, very Barney style example, we'll say the shipper is ABC Steel and we'll just use me and you, ben, let's say that that's your customer, abc Steel. I'm your Ben Logistics Freight Broker. I'm Nate Logistics Freight Broker and you get the load from your customer. You give it to me because I have a truck ABC Trucking that can give you the service and the quality that you need that you otherwise would not have access to. So who does it help? Everybody. The truck gets the load that they want. I'm able to make a little bit of money off of your customer's relationship. You're able to make money and cover the load for your customer off of my relationship with the carrier, and the customer is taken care of and they're happy. So that's a win win, win, win right there versus a, you know, double brokering is much different Good stuff.

Speaker 1: 15:55

Let's go to our last question, and as what websites can I use to check and vet motor carriers before giving them a load? So I will start with the free, publicly available data which is going to be through the FMCSA's SAFER system. All right, so SAFER, it's an acronym. If you just Google FMCSA and you go to the company snapshot, you can type in a motor carrier by their name, by their MC or DOT number. It's going to pull up their public profile which will tell you things like their authority. You know other profile information, maybe commodities that they might haul, their fleet size. Sometimes you'll see insurance. You can also get into the CSA system to see what their safety scores and inspection history looks like. You can see how they rank in driver fitness and in vehicle maintenance substance and all the other five publicly reported CSA categories.

Speaker 1: 16:55

Now, if you want to take it a step further and make it very, very easy, if you've ever looked at our you know our recommended products on our website, you'll see Highway is listed on there. It's a product that both Ben and I use ourselves. They are not a sponsor of this show. We do have an affiliate relationship. So if you would like to check out Highway, just make sure. Either let us know or let them know that we sent you there.

Speaker 1: 17:17

But I love it. Basically, you can type in the same thing name MC and you'll get all that stuff from the FMCSA, but it's a lot cleaner and then you get a whole lot more on top of that. They manage the TIA watchdog program for reports against anything that comes through TIA. They've got their own internal reporting for cargo theft, hostage loads, double brokering, and it gives you insights based off their location and IP addresses. You can also see inspection history on a map, down to the VIN number and equipment type and the year, make and model. So you know. You know a really good snapshot of this motor carrier. In addition, if you have their their onboarding and monitoring tool, highway Connect, a lot of these carriers have integrated their ELDs to prove their location. You can see them on a map where they're currently at.

Speaker 1: 18:05

So I'm a big fan of Highway. There's a lot of others out there, though, right, if you look at the MyCarrier packets, the RMIS Carrier, assure there's a lot of them out there. But I think the big takeaway is you want to make sure and I know we covered this somewhat recently on another show you want to make sure that you're hiring a carrier that is legal right. So they check the basic boxes of authority, insurance right, and then, in addition to that, their quality. So you're looking at their safety score or safety rating if they are rated, their inspection history, how they score each category of the CSA program and then just about anything else that's important to you and your customer. What's your take here? Anything I missed?

Speaker 2: 18:47

Now, you covered a lot of it, right, like, kind of the steps I go through. One I'm looking at, like you said, I'm looking at out of service percentage, driver violations, things like that to try to gauge one like well, one, are they legitimate? Like, do they have a license. And then two like, how are they managing their equipment and their drivers? Right? Like, low maintenance, high out of service means they're getting flagged. A lot, you know lots of driver violations.

Speaker 2: 19:10

There's a likelihood that something could happen with one of your loads right, more or less risky.

Speaker 2: 19:15

From there, like, the next biggest thing is just making sure you're doing business with who you think you're doing business with, right, like, and again, highway is a great tool that vets and verifies the email addresses.

Speaker 2: 19:25

So you know you're talking to who you think you're talking to as a very vulnerable area to end up with a fraudulent carrier or broker that gets that is pretending to be the one that is actually a legitimate carrier, right?

Speaker 2: 19:39

So you want to make sure that whoever you're really sending the load to matches up or verify some way, whether that's the FMCSA's listed email or if it's a tool like Highway that is saying this.

Speaker 2: 20:04

And again, even if you are literally sending the rate con to the only emails verified through these databases, to make sure that if you get a phone call on a load and they say they're from an MC and they go, oh, just send it to my Gmail address. You should never be doing that now, right, you should at least use one way to make sure you know who you're doing business with, right, and again, I think Highway's the best in class at this and I think MyCarrierPackets does a very good job of automating this at a lower cost and at least vetting and making sure they have the insurance and making sure you're sending the rate cons where they should be going, because, again, this is a big area that is vulnerable to fraud and to people you know being imposters, saying they're somebody they aren't yeah, I've used both before mcp and highway uh, both quality products.

Speaker 1: 20:52

It's a preference thing. You're going to get a little bit different from each um, but agreed, yeah, and I think the big takeaway is do something, dude, don't just skip, uh, the vetting process, because you'll find yourself in a lot of trouble. But great, great questions, great discussion about it, continue to send them our way. We love to answer them If we get a really good question and we'll make an entire episode, our Friday episodes, about them. Otherwise, these quicker, shorter ones, we try to get them all wrapped up into our Tuesday final mile, as we did today.

Speaker 2: 21:20

So, ben, it was another good one, any final thoughts, Whether you believe you can or believe you can't you're right, and until next time, go Bills.

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