In any economy, the best loads offered by freight brokers never make it to the load board. Those loads either go directly to an owner operator the broker already has a relationship with, or to someone who posted their truck on a load board like Trucker’s Edge®.
Let’s recap where the best freight is found. With rare exceptions, the 4 ways you find these loads, listed from best to – well, calling off the load board.
- Your own customer. In an ideal world, at least half your freight should be a direct connection between you and the shipper.
- A broker you already know is calling you. Not from posting your truck, but because the broker knows you and thinks you’re a fit for the load.
- A broker calls you because he saw your truck posted on a load board. Hey! At least we’re working our way up the food chain here.
- Searching load boards, calling, negotiating and booking loads. You can still make good money, but you’ve got to be sharp on this one.
Posting your truck may be number 3 on the list, but don’t assume it’s not a profitable option. It certainly can be. If the broker didn’t have a specific need, he or she would just post the load and wait for the phone to ring. There’s got to be a reason they’re calling out.
The most common reason they’re calling on posted trucks is time. The broker is running out of time to get that load picked up, and you’re close to the shipper. In search of a quick match, your truck posting becomes a great option. If they’re really up against the clock, they’ll step up to book the load.
Many will say this is an afternoon play. The brokers are trying to finish their day strong and book those last minute loads. Although there may be some truth to this, appointments at shippers and receivers are set for all hours. They could be trying to make an a.m. dock time.
The other reason your phone might ring from posting your truck is the type of equipment, or a specific need you and your truck fill. More on this later, but if 20 trucks are posted and only a few are the right combination, whose phones are going to ring?
Lets dig into 5 hacks, the things most don’t do when they’re looking for freight. If you want to be ordinary, do ordinary things. But if you really want to grow your business, you have to take action.
Just cruise a few trucking forums and you’ll find the poor excuses some owner operator’s give to not post their truck. Here are the two that make absolutely no sense to me.
- I don’t want all those phone calls.
- Most of the owner operators I talk to never post their truck, so it must not work.
Decide You’re Posting Your Truck On Load Boards
Seriously, make a commitment to post your truck. The most common reason truckers give to not post is too many phone calls. Yes, some owner operators would rather go to the load board and start calling on loads.
Why would you not want a broker calling you with freight that matches your post? At the very least, it’s a friendly introduction, and your chance to leave a lasting impression.
The second reason I found on several forums goes something like this; Most of the guys I talk to don’t bother posting their trucks, so it must not work. All I can say is if you want to be like most people, do what they do. If you want to be like the owner operators who are making considerably more money than you are, the formula is the same. Do what they do. Remember, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.
Post The Information They Need, Perfectly
To know their load is a match, they need the right information.
- Company name and your contact information.
- Type of equipment. Van, flatbed, step deck, Refrigerated etc. Don’t forget to list trailer length.
- Location, date and time available.
- Desired destination.
- Maximum weight you can legally haul.
You get the point. Give them everything they need, and be sure to make it easy. Correct spelling, capital letters and punctuation where needed. You’re not joes trucking. You’re Joe’s Trucking, plus Inc, LLC or whatever is appropriate for your business structure. Put your best foot forward, knowing most don’t even bother.
Make this an every time rule. You want to do everything in your power to stand out, even to the brokers who aren’t going to call you this time.
State Your USP In The Comments Section
Your unique selling proposition, or USP, is that thing that makes you unique and of more value to the customer than other posted trucks. It’s what sets you apart.
Trucker’s Edge gives you 160 characters for comments. Of course, state the needed stuff. Empty by 9:30, fresh 14 hours, the stuff they need. But don’t waste the remaining space.
Cleanest trailer in the state. Multi-stop pro. E-track trailer with plenty of logistics bars. Be creative. Think of at least 5 USP statements and rotate through them. If your safety rating rocks, make that a part of your USP.
Find Your FM Voice
This is right out of the book, [easyazon_link identifier=”1847941494″ locale=”US” tag=”thetruckingpodcaststore-20″]Never Split the difference[/easyazon_link], by Chris Voss. I can’t recommend this book enough. In fact, the next move is also out of this book.
[easyazon_image align=”right” height=”160″ identifier=”1847941494″ locale=”US” src=”https://www.truckingpodcast.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/510nxbS0noL.SL160.jpg” tag=”thetruckingpodcaststore-20″ width=”104″]Before we get into the FM voice, let’s look at the world through the broker’s eyes, or ears in this case. Most owner operators don’t even post their truck because they just don’t want to be bothered. The ones that do post put little thought and effort into posting their truck. When the phone does ring, how do you think they answer the call? Yep! “Yeah, this is Bubba,” or something else less than professional. You get the picture.
Now there’s you and your FM voice. Have a firm voice, but a soft tone. A great example of this is right out of the Bob and Tom show, when they get their Donny Baker phone calls. The phone rings, then you hear “Good morning, Bob and Tom show.” It’s not loud, but it’s spoken professionally, and with authority. It’s rehearsed, because Bob and Tom are professionals at what they do.
When your phone rings and you answer “Good Morning, Joe Smith Transport” in a calm voice and business tone, you’re now one step ahead of probably 85 percent of the rest of the truckers this broker has to deal with. Remember, the broker just wants to see if your truck is still available, make you an offer and book the load. Then he can call it a win and move on with his day.
According to Chris Voss, (the book, remember?) people are 6 times more likely to deal with someone you like. You want to be that person. Even if you don’t come to terms on this load, freight brokers will continue to see your truck posted. They’ll also know calling you is a pleasant experience. You’ll conduct your business, make a decision either way and part on friendly terms.
Keep It Short
Along with the voice and tone of the phone call, remember what you’re both trying to do. You’re goal is to book one load that pays you well. The broker’s goal is to book the same load, hold back a profit and move on to the next. He doesn’t really care about anything other than the transaction. He doesn’t have time. Keep it short. If your last load sucked, you just spent 5 grand on a brake job or the last broker who called was a jack-ass, no one cares.
Negotiate your deal, make sure you both know what you need on your rate confirmation and you don’t roll without it, then let him move on to the next load. If you need to send information to them, do it quickly.
How Am I Supposed To Do That?
I warned you this was right out of Chris’ book. When the broker gives you an offer, repeat the number back, followed by “how am I supposed to do that?” Then shut up. You didn’t yell and you weren’t rude. You just asked a question. It’s certainly a better way to negotiate a bump in rate than 98 percent of his negotiations.
If you use a load board like Trucker’s Edge Pro® you already have a 15 day lane average, so you know when you’re close. Make the deal or move on, but end like a pro and say thanks. You want them to call you next time, and they’ll know you can’t be low-balled.
Remember Vince Lombardi
I’m not a big football fan. Even though we live in Green Bay, Wisconsin, I couldn’t name 6 Packers if I had to. But I am a fan of Vince Lombardi. This framed photo and quote hangs in my office. Along with the image of Mr Lombardi is the quote “Winning is not a sometime thing, it’s an all the time thing. You don’t do things right once in a while… You do them right all the time.” I try to remember that as a trucker, and as an owner operator of my own business here at The Trucking Podcast.
Every phone call from posting your truck is an opportunity to accomplish three things.
- Book a truck load
- Build a relationship for future freight
- Find new connections for direct customers
None of this is really that hard, yet most won’t take the steps to become a pro at it. That’s a win for you. You don’t really need every broker in the country to love you. You need a hand full of them who think enough of you to call, maybe even before that load is posted.
Seriously, look around you at some of the other trucks “competing” for freight. How hard will it be for you to be better than half of them, or 90 percent of them?
You should also check out an earlier post, Load Boards, Is LTL Better Than Multi-Stop. These loads show up on load boards regularly. You can learn how to make the most from both types.
One More thing, Trucker’s Edge and The Trucking Podcast have an affiliate relationship. That means when you sign up for any of their plans, we make a small commission from DAT. You don’t pay any extra for that. In fact, if you sign up through the link, you can try any of the three Trucker’s Edge plans for 30 days, absolutely free. From the Standard plan to Trucker’s Edge Pro, take a free trial for 30 days. We’re sure you’ll decide to keep it.
Other Show Notes
Hundreds show up for a Vietnam Vet’s funeral to honor a man with no known family. Fox News
One of the fuel miser features on any new passenger car is that stupid stop-start feature. Stopping at a red light? The engine shuts itself off. When the light turns green and you lift your foot off the brake, the engine quickly restarts. We have this feature in our new Jeep – and hate it. Lucky for us, there’s an override switch, but you have to hit it whenever you start your car.
They experimented with start-stop technology in big trucks 20 years ago, as a way to limit idling while the driver slept. The only problem was the fact that diesels shake the bloody hell out of you if they shut off while you’re asleep. And they certainly don’t start fast enough to shut off at a red light.
Now the one feature we hate about our new Jeep is coming to big trucks very soon. Damned this modern technology anyway. TruckingInfo.com has the story.
Pig slaughtered. Fox News
A new way to transport automobiles across the ocean. Gcaptain.com
How long does it take to pull over a sleeping driver in a self-driving car? According to this Arstechnica.com article, it’s about 7 miles. The driver is reported to be on the Los Altos planning commission. Maybe he was doing some testing for future drunk drivers.