Things Shippers Need to Know if They’re Going to Play in the Spot Market
- It’s the wild, wild west in the spot market. Be prepared to sift through the chaff to find your gems. There are a lot of scam artists in the spot market. Be very wary of 1 truck operations.
- Inspections matter one. If you’re seeing a trucker take a number of your loads check their inspections and make sure their being inspected. A low number of inspections per vehicle can indicate that trucker is double brokering your loads.
- Inspections matter two. You do need to look at https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/ and dive into inspections. Why? Because excessive equipment problems are a sign of financial instability. You can fix driver HOS violations but only money can fix equipment problems.
- Once you’ve entered the market your rates will fall. You should expect 15-20% reductions. A look at the largest publicly held freight broker’s publicly filed financial statements will validate this fact.
- You should hire an experienced freight broker to run your program and they don’t come cheap. Good brokers make high five figures and many reach into six figures. You will get what you pay for.
- When you’re talking to a dispatcher of a trucker, ask the question, are you unloaded now? Where are you? Where are your hours at? Listen very carefully to the answers. If there’s uncertainty in their voice, hang up.
- Get the license plate number of the truck, Google that plate number. By Googling the plate, the inspections for that truck should show up. No inspections, don’t load them Send the plate number to your loading dock for validation upon arrival.
- Take a photo copy of the driver’s ID. Walk around the truck. Make sure plate number matches. It is a good idea to take a picture of the placard on the side of the door and send it to the file. Get the drivers cell phone number.
- Be prepared for factors to call you validating the load and the amount. Better yet set up your own quick pay and advancing for further discounted freight charges. Factors charge 2-7% it’s well worth while to save this money yourself and knock out factors.
- You’ll need software to manage your spot market activities. Software that automatically does the inspection searching. Software that produces a trip contract. Software that assists in onboarding by checking insurance. shippersedgetms.com
- You need to keep track of lane histories. Truckers typically run the same lanes over and over. If you can book a reliable trucker while he’s still headed into your town, you are time and money ahead of the competition.
- Fuel surcharge goes to the owner operators be generous with your fuel surcharge. Drivers have a say in who and what they load. Giving the drivers a larger share of the load pay will make you a preferred shipper in the eyes of the driver.
- Watch out for crooks. The trucking world like any industry has their share of them and one crook can ruin your day pretty quickly. Double brokering, load theft are just two of the numerous problems facing the industry.
About the author. Tim Taylor is a recovering freight broker now marketing transportation management software for ShippersEdgeTMS.com he can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at 952-777-4421