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Are these little tidbits worthwhile?
Here are some miscellaneous comments that I made in an email sent to one of my clients some time ago. They still hold true. I call them “tidbits” and I hope you find them useful.
When you get set up with shippers, you’ll fax or email your set up package which basically consists of your DOT#, surety bond info, W-9 form, copy of your grant letter, certificate of insurance IF you have contingent cargo insurance and a few other documents that may be important to you.
It’s the first step in working with shippers.
You’ll always want to deal with the “shipping manager” or “traffic manager” as he or she is called. You don’t want to talk to just any employee in the shipping department.
When calling on potential customers, you don’t have to sell yourself in the traditional sense. You tell them who you are, what you do and that you’d like to help them move their freight. Tell them you will get trucks, negotiate the best rate and hopefully save time, money and effort on their shipping costs.
However, you can use any approach that is comfortable for you. If you want to use a script, then do so. My preference is to just be “conversational”. These guys are really nice and there’s no need to freeze up during your calls to them.
Once you start getting loads from your customers, you give them good service by communicating constantly and effectively. You also need to gather all the details on particular loads from them and then communicate with them as needed as you monitor the movement, especially if there is a potential problem.
You work smart and hard to cover their loads and in time you will prove yourself to them. Then you can expect repeat business – you become valuable to them and that’s exactly the way you want things to go.
You first want to prove to shippers that you are reliable. Then you continue the service and you may get better rates as time goes on. But don’t expect their “best” rates when starting out.
You pre-qualify motor carriers by checking their authority, licensing and insurance. Most of this can be done with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website. Load boards may also have this information available. It’s all done online and you’ll move through this process quickly.
There’s a lot of confusion in regard to “negligent carrier selection”. My training goes into detail on this issue.
You definitely need to know where you stand legally if you get caught up in problem areas – damage or missing pieces on delivery, lost or stolen cargo or a truck accident where injuries or deaths may have occurred.
Don’t worry about these issues for now – but keep them on the backburner and learn more as you gain experience (and money in the bank which attorneys are oh so anxious to part you from).
When negotiating with carriers or their dispatchers, the best strategy starting out is to know exactly what you are offering the truck and then knowing where to draw the line if you have to take less.
The best way to establish credit worthiness with carriers is to pay your trucks at least within 21 days as a general rule. You may make advance payments but I don’t recommend this for beginning brokers. However, there may be exceptions to this.
You may want to report your payment activity to various credit agencies that will collect it for the sake of third parties. As soon as you start paying your trucks, you’ll start building a track record. This is good.
If a carrier can’t check your payment history, they may not want to do business with you.
You build relationships with both carriers and shippers and work for the benefit of both of them while still maintaining the profit margin that you want.
One last tidbit – if you think getting loads will be all that difficult, think again. Finding trucks when and where you want them is no easy task especially if you are new. Get on board now with training and I’ll show you the ropes on not only getting loads but finding trucks too.
It takes time and the sooner you get started, the quicker you can put your business into second and third gear.
I hope you enjoy these little tidbits. There’s a whole lot more in my training.