Finding loads is probably one of the most important topics we are going to cover in our podcast. If you aren’t finding enough loads or the right loads, your business is going to struggle.
In this episode on finding loads, we are going to cover the basics and not get into too much detail. We’ll hit this topic several times as the year goes on and get into more and more detail each time we do.
What to Expect From Episode 7
We talk about the four main ways companies get loads:
- Directly from shippers
- Through brokers
- Searching on load boards
- Using a dispatcher
Why Most New Owner Operators Should Use a Dispatcher
Finding good-paying loads and staying loaded by limiting downtime is so critical. You just don’t want to mess it up, and it’s really hard to do when you’re a brand new company, and you have a million other things on your mind and plate.
I think just about every new owner operator should use a dispatcher, at least for the first 3-6 months. Here are some of the many things a good dispatcher will do to make your life easier and make you more successful.
A good dispatcher will find the brokers and shippers who will work with a brand new authority.
It does not matter if you have been driving for 30 years. If your authority is brand new, brokers and shippers are going to treat you like a rookie, and most won’t even consider using you until you have been in business for 30, 60 or 90 days. Some won’t even look at you until 6 or even 12 months.
They will constantly look at the load boards.
Sometimes, loads are only on the board for a few minutes before someone takes them. You can’t be constantly looking while you are driving. You are going to miss out on a lot of opportunities if you try to find your own loads and drive.
They will handle all the paperwork.
They can take care of everything from submitting broker packets to submitting the paperwork so you get paid. Additionally, they will get you references so finding each additional load is easier to get.
They will negotiate for the best rate possible.
A good dispatcher knows the market and will make sure you get the highest possible pay for the load you are hauling.
They understand which markets are hot and which are not.
That way you don’t get sent to a place where you’ll be stuck for days waiting for a load or have to take a low paying load to get you out of there.
Some Things You Should Look for in a Dispatcher
There are good dispatchers, and there are not-so-good ones. Here are some things I think are critical
in looking for the dispatcher you hire.
- Experience – Your dispatcher should have at least one year of experience as a dispatcher and/or someone who has been a successful owner operator who had to find their own loads.
- New Authorities – Your dispatcher should have experience working with new motor carrier authorities. The first couple of months are kind of bumpy, your dispatcher should be able to help make it smoother if they’ve done it before.
- Know the Cargo – Make sure you are working with a dispatcher who is familiar with the type of cargo you are going to haul. If you have a flat bed, don’t hire a dispatcher who has only worked with reefers.
- Willing to Help – This sounds simple, but some dispatchers will really go above and beyond to help you solve some of your problems that might normally be out of their scope of work. Don’t take advantage of them but use them when you have to. Dispatchers who are problem solvers are worth their weight in gold.
Before you hire your dispatcher, ask for references. Make sure the people he or she has dispatched for has had a good experience with them.