When it comes to freight brokering, there’s more to it than just finding shippers. You’ll also need to find quality carriers as well, and that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today.
Alright, finding carriers. Before we dive into the details, let's lay out some ground work. In the world of freight and logistics, a “carrier” refers to the entity responsible for physically moving the freight from one location to another. For us, that’s usually a trucking company. As a freight broker, your key role is to connect shippers - the ones who need to send cargo, with carriers - the ones who transport that cargo. Your ability to find reliable carriers is the cornerstone of your success in this industry.
Now, let's talk about one of the most effective strategies to find carriers - Networking. This isn’t the most common way, but it’s an effective way. Networking is a powerful tool that can be harnessed in various ways. Trucking trade shows, for instance, are fantastic opportunities to meet carriers, understand their operations, and exchange business information. Industry-specific meetups are a way to widen your network and meet potential carriers. Don't underestimate the power of online networking platforms either - LinkedIn and Facebook groups are goldmines for making connections in the freight industry.
Loadboards are another brilliant resource. These online platforms are like virtual marketplaces where brokers and carriers post their needs and capabilities. Brokers post their available loads while carriers post their available trucks. As a broker you can post an available load while also searching for an available truck which doubles your odds of finding a carrier. A well-known and trusted loadboard is DAT, and you can get your first month free by using the link below. Many of these loadboards have features that allow you to vet potential carriers before getting into business with them as well, but more on that shortly.
Use the link below for a Free Month of DAT:
If you're a go-getter, the direct approach might be your cup of tea. This involves reaching out to carriers directly, either through cold calling, sending emails, or even visiting their offices. While this approach requires a bit more work, it gives you the chance to clearly communicate your requirements and expectations, building the foundation for a fruitful business relationship. How do you find the carriers before you contact them? There’s a variety of tools that you can use to find carriers based on their location, preferred lanes, fleet size and more. For example, the DAT Directory allows you to search their database for carriers based on these different criteria. A simple Google search could yield similar results. There’s even some services now that are dedicated to sourcing carriers using data such as DOT inspection history, verifying registration and VIN numbers for registered trucks and trailers, and actively calling carriers to ask them for their preferred lanes. I personally use Highway as a tool to source carriers this way. You can check them out at GoHighway.com to learn more.
Before we wrap up, it's important to emphasize the importance of due diligence. Not all carriers are equal, and it's crucial to check each carrier's qualifications and safety ratings before deciding to work with them. Websites like the FMCSA's SAFER System are a great resource for checking safety rating, insurance coverage, and operating authority of potential carrier partners. There’s a handful of 3rd party vetting tools as well that use FMCSA’s data along with additional information and reports to help you decide if a carrier is worthy of hauling your next shipment.
Lastly, I want to touch on the importance of relationship building in this industry. Once you have found reliable carriers, nurturing these relationships is vital. Consistent communication, timely payments, and mutual respect can ensure that these partnerships stand the test of time, benefiting your business in the long run. Once you’ve got a solid base of trusted carriers, you won’t have to go out there hunting for a new one every time you get a load. And that is the ultimate goal.
And there we have it - a comprehensive look at how you, as a freight broker, can find carriers. Always remember, the secret to a thriving brokerage lies in establishing strong, long-term partnerships with dependable carriers.