TONU Fees, Quick Quoting, and Specialized Freight Solutions

Freight 360

April 2, 2024

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

  • TONUs
  • How fast to quote
  • Specialized trailers
  • HazMat training

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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Speaker 1: 0:19

Hey everybody, welcome back for another edition of the Final Mile where we answer your questions. I will give you a quick disclaimer, as I have in the last couple of these, if the title of the episode brought you here, keep in mind that is going to be one of the many questions that we answer. We've got four questions today. One's going to be about tonus and carriers falling off. One's going to be about speed of quoting, one's going to be about specialized trailers and one is going to be about speed of quoting. One's going to be about specialized trailers and one is going to be about hazmat. So stay tuned for all those. Thanks for checking out our channel. Please go to our website, You can see all of our other content as well as the Freight Broker Basics course. If you want some educational full-length options there, that's a good option for you. And please check out the sponsors in the description box to support this channel, as well as any of our recommended products on the website. All right, ben you ready to get into it? I am how about it? Sweet?

Speaker 1: 1:15

This first one comes up a lot. If a carrier expects a tonu when a load cancels, should brokers be able to bill a carrier when they fall off of a load. So if you don't know what a tonu is, that's a truck order not used. For example, let's say a customer gives you a load, you book a truck and the driver is on their way to pick it up and the customer cancels it. The driver is going to say well, I want you to compensate me for my time, and typically a customer or shipper will have a policy of how much those tonus pay and what the rules are for a tonus to be awarded. It's usually like if it's within 24 hours of pickup, we'll give you a tonus.

Speaker 1: 1:59

If it's canceled prior to that, there's no tonus. Now the question here is all right, well, carriers want a tonu from me if I cancel them. But what about when they just fall off on me last minute and then I'm left there holding the bag trying to find a new truck? We have talked about this before. It is a common frustration and the reality is we can't, there's nothing you can really do. Because the frustration and the reality is we can't, there's nothing you can really do Um, the cause, the reason is they're the ones getting paid by us. We don't invoice carriers, we invoice customers.

Speaker 2: 2:37

So, if there's another reason to the other reason. Right Is from a shipper's point of view and the way freight law works. Right Is because the nature of a shipment is it can change and it can be canceled. I mean, if you're a shipper, nate, and I'm just a receiver and I buy widgets from you and I needed five truckloads a day this week, and then I called you and I go, hey, all of my customers change their orders. I only need one truckload a week, a day this week, right. So you go from five loads a day to one load because, like, I just don't need as many widgets for whatever reason.

Speaker 2: 3:10

Like the supply and demand changes. So you can't have a law or a regulation that makes a shipper pay a cost if they don't need to ship the thing that they thought they would ship. That's why shipping contracts have like no teeth, meaning they promise you demand, but it's really just a best guess at what they think they're going to sell that year. So you can't ever like force the other, that side, to pay a cost when there are changes and what they need to move. Right. So that falls, I think, from like the shipper to the broker and to your point, they're also the people you're hiring.

Speaker 1: 3:43

So if they just don't want to work, you can't force them to that's what I was going to say, like if you hired a let's say you hired someone to come rake your leaves and they don't show up like I can't invoice them because I lost time and had to go pay somebody else more money it just doesn't work that way and it sucks. The reality, like the takeaway here is and I do this, I recommend you do this, and some brokers don't do this record the service failures for your carriers and annotate the reason for the service failure. So I have it set up now where if we have a load covered and we cancel that carrier off the load, it's going to say basically, why did it happen? You know, truck canceled on me, customer canceled the order, driver could not make the pickup time, you know, whatever that might be. But then when you go to, if you search a carrier in your system and you've got a record of they have fallen off of 50% of my loads or the first load we gave them, they fell off and it was last week. That is valuable information.

Speaker 1: 4:51

So unfortunately, no, you can't bill them. What I have seen people do is if the driver had a legitimate reason, like COVID, it would happen a lot. Driver tested positive for COVID. Driver's not feeling good, right, but what they would do to keep a good relationship with these mid-sized or larger carriers is hey, the next one we run for you, take 200 bucks off and we'll be even right. There's ways to maintain a good relationship if it's a legitimate issue and you end up kind of getting screwed by having to pay more for a different truck.

Speaker 2: 5:23

So all right, also food for thought. If you're paying bottom of the market and we talked about this in the full episode last week like the chances that your trucks fall out for a better load go up.

Speaker 1: 5:35

Yeah, the more you pay, the less that happens, because someone else might have a higher paying load and they just exactly take that.

Speaker 2: 5:42

it's a dirty move on the carrier's part, but it is what it is when you're fighting to stay alive and to stay in business in this market right now for carriers like you kind of can't begrudge them when they can make a couple extra hundred bucks and might be able to pay their gas, where in the other situation they're literally losing money to keep their wheels turning. So it works both ways.

Speaker 1: 6:00

Next question how fast should I be able to quote a shipper for a new lane? I picked this question because it's really good. Listen to our episode from last week, friday March 29th, if you haven't, where we talked about the quoting process and spot loads. But, ben, you were the star speaker on that episode. What would you say about the importance of speed? I mean, I guess I'll say this first your response time, whether it is just a hey, work it on this, I'll get right back to you, or I'll get back to you in the next hour. Whatever that response time is says something about you, even if you're not giving them the full answer you're just acknowledging. But what is your take on the importance of speed in quoting?

Speaker 2: 6:48

Well, there's two things you hit the first one. One is the perception of me and my hustle. Right, so one, I'm going to do that as fast as humanly possible. Right, because the quicker I get it back, the better the perception of my ability to do this job is. Is the first thing right? The second thing is, if I call them, I'm usually also going to learn some more about this specific shipment or load, right, is it time sensitive? Is it a hot load? Can this pick up in two or three days or it's got to pick up today? Oh, this load was supposed to pick up yesterday and it really needs to go out. Those all help me determine what to price it at. Right. The more urgent, the more. It needs to go higher the number, the less, the less of the number. Right now. You know, I just lost my train of thought. Oh yeah, the last piece.

Speaker 1: 7:33

Producer Steven has put a little note in here and said insert levity ad read. This is actually a great point because we did so. Levity is one of our partners and sponsors of the show and we had Tilo on I don't know a month ago or whatnot. But email automation to get a quick response back. That's not necessarily going to have the answer, but let them know you're working on it or, potentially, if you are using something like Levity and it's plugged into a rating tool, you can get some kind of answer back to them very, very fast. Just wanted to make a note of that, right.

Speaker 2: 8:05

And the faster you do, that increases the likelihood you get the load right. Not only the perception, but the reality is is that like if you give them a good enough rate and this load has to go now, right, you're just far more likely to get it? People that quote loads into the next day in the spot world? Right? Like that is literally useless in most scenarios. Right, like all it does is give them the number after they've needed it. So to me, you think about their side of things and usually they need this number and depending on who you're quoting and what the situation is, it can be even more important. Like, I do lots of work with freight forwarders and they need quotes real quick because their customers need it. So they need my number to add to their number to be able to quote their business. So if I'm slow they're never going to use me because it slows them down and their response to their customers.

Speaker 1: 8:55

So last thing I'll say on this is, as you grow out your freight brokerage, if you've got a team, what I would highly recommend is you have a generally accepted not even general, but like a 100% ironclad accepted standard of response times within your organization for different things. So, for example and you can play up these numbers but emails right If during normal business hours emails must be replied to within, I don't know, five minutes or 10 minutes depending on what it is, and phone calls must be answered within four rings. Right If you're going on a team and you have a high volume of inbound calls or inbound emails, if you cannot keep up with a fast response time, you don't have the manpower to support the business that you're getting yourself into. So food for thought, all right.

Speaker 1: 9:41

Next up, how do I find specialized trailers such as hopper trailers? Well, to answer the, you know, bulk loads is a great load board for anything in the bulk space. But I want to, I want to broaden this out to any kind of specialized trailer and I've helped a few folks with this in the last couple of weeks. It's hard, right, if it's not a van, reefer or flatbed and you've got something like oversized, overweight, hazmat, end dumps, hoppers, stuff like that. End dumps, hoppers, stuff like that.

Speaker 1: 10:18

Your main option is you got to hope that there's some sort of specialized niche load board for that type. And even that's not just going to be the end all be all. This is going to be very manual, old school relationship building type of capacity generation, and what I mean by that is you're probably going to be calling a lot of carriers on the phone and trying to figure out what kind of equipment type they have, when they have that stuff available and what lanes they're looking to run. It's the old school way of having to get on the phone because the data is not there. The more and more stuff that's out there now. Yeah, highway is great for capacity If the equipment type that you're looking for is one of the equipment types that is available on their website. There's some really, really niche like heavy haul equipment types out there that there's just not a lot of data out there readily available. What do you got on this one? You've done work in the bulk space and I'm assuming you spent a lot of time on the phone.

Speaker 2: 11:16

Well, yeah, I'm doing a lot of work with this, actually with gen logs and identifying equipment to be able to find and source more specific ones. But I'm going to go through with the tools available now how I do this. Right One if you have highway, you have access to almost the entire carrier network, almost by equipment. So when I have wanted to do something specialized, like, specifically, hopper, what I did was I pulled out every carrier that had that type of equipment, put them into my CRM, classified them by the equipment and by the state. So when I need to reach out, I can send emails to everybody within those markets and say hey, I've got these lanes coming up for this customer. If they fit your network, let me know. And then I follow up with an email hey, you know, want to see if you got a chance to take a look at this, let me know what other lanes you know work for you. So I'm building my own internal database of specialized equipments based on responses.

Speaker 1: 12:14

The DAT directory is pretty good too.

Speaker 2: 12:17

It's tied in with a lot of the same data DAT also I was in this this week they've added a lot of equipment types. I can't tell you how much or how many of those are actively on DAT. With each specialized equipment they change and the markets move based on what happens in their industry. Like hoppers and bulk, they shift with the farming. So, like some of them, a lot of them in the market we use are only there when the farms aren't using them. They literally have farm exemptions and then when the season's over, those trucks go into the open market. So, like there are usually very specific ways that each of these niche functions. And these are the questions you want to ask the carriers you talk to to your point, old school prospecting. You're literally calling carriers, sending emails, talking to them, asking them what lanes they run, which ones they want, what kind of equipment they have, what they prefer, keeping all this organized so that you can search it later when your customer has a need for that specific area of the country or that type of equipment.

Speaker 1: 13:17

Every time that you talk to a carrier on the phone if they're not going to be the right truck for that load, find out some information and add it to your carrier database. It's very useful. All right, Last question what is a good hazmat training for freight brokerage? So I picked this question because I think it's interesting. There is no federally mandated course that you need to be Hazmat certified and, quite frankly, there is no official freight brokerage Hazmat certification. That is something that a motor carrier will have as an endorsement with their authority and their drivers their CDL as well. But what I've always done is if you're handling freight or, I'm sorry, if you're handling hazmat in a freight brokerage capacity, you should have some sort of baseline training, and there's a lot of it available out there.

Speaker 1: 14:09

When I came into transportation I had already previously been like really well trained on the military side for dangerous goods and the stuff I mean like the classifications are all exactly the same. The kinds of equipment that you're hauling it on is a little bit different, but the general like understanding the classes. I has matt, how to find out what can be stored with what at what quantities and how placarding works. That's all the same because it's dictated on a motor carrier basis by the Department of Transportation. Now, as far as the training side of it, if you just Google dangerous goods training or hazmat training, you can probably find a bunch of stuff out there for like $100. Or you might even be able to find some free stuff.

Speaker 1: 14:52

But what I recommend is anybody that's in your organization that deals with that hazmat load at all should be trained on this, and I'm talking all the way down to the accounting person that's dealing with the invoicing on it. If anything strange or weird pops up, they understand that it's a different type of commodity than your general freight. But definitely whoever's booking the trucks needs to understand it. Whoever's talking to the customer needs to understand it. The leadership needs to understand it, Because hazmat's no joke, right? You screw up a UN number or a Thrawn hazmat class or something like that. You can find yourself in a lot of headaches that are unnecessary and could have been avoided. So don't have a specific one to recommend. Hey, if there's anyone out there that has a reputable course and wants us to take a look at it, be happy to take a look at it and possibly give our stamp of approval. But there's some pretty good ones out there.

Speaker 2: 15:50

Here's how I go about it, like if I have a customer that has a hazmat lid that I haven't seen, first thing I do is I look up the class and you can see them by charts, like as the numbers change the I don't know. If you want to call, it.

Speaker 1: 16:03

I don't even know what the correct term is. Usually the more dangerous. It is right Like 1.1 explosives.

Speaker 2: 16:07

Correct the danger changes with the number right. So again, if you look at the whole chart, you can start to garner some things like hey, this is a very high number, this is probably pretty dangerous. Yeah, to garner some things like hey, this is a very high number, this is probably pretty dangerous.

Speaker 1: 16:20

Yeah, because the higher the number and the more dangerous it is, the lower the number. Like a 1.1 explosive is the most explosive versus like a 1.6 or something like that.

Speaker 2: 16:28


Speaker 2: 16:28

So the more dangerous they are, the higher the insurance requirements usually are for the carrier and the requirements to, or training to, move it.

Speaker 2: 16:39

So my first questions are usually around hey, do you guys ever move these classes and you know how many of your drivers could? When I'm talking to motor carriers and I'm always asking like because they'll usually tell you pretty quickly if it's a has carrier like, hey, we can cover these classes, the rest were excluded. And again, it's usually a price, because I did a lot of this in the tanker side and when you get to these really toxic chemicals they have very high insurance cleanup premiums because if something ever happens, the insurance got to pay to clean up all of this very toxic, dangerous material. So again, the more dangerous, the fewer the carriers, the higher the insurance costs, the more you've got to charge for it. You want to have lots of questions around this and a good place to start is just looking at what the classes include and they usually give you some description of why. That'll help, you know, influence your conversation with the carriers.

Speaker 1: 17:29

Yep exactly. All good questions. Keep sending them our way. We love to answer them. We know we can't get to every single question that comes through our YouTube comments or our Facebook page or gets emailed in, but we try to get to all the good ones. So we appreciate you guys listening and sending them in. Any final thoughts, Ben?

Speaker 2: 17:49

Whether you believe you can or believe you can't, you're right.

Speaker 1: 17:53

And until next time go Bills.

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