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How to Grow and Develop Your Carrier Base

Grow Your Business With Your Carriers!

Do you want to grow and develop your carrier base as a freight broker? If yes, here are a few tips for you that can help you achieve the desired results.

The reputation of the freight broker depends on the quality of the service they provide for their customers. A couple of elements to delivering high quality of service includes maintaining strong relationships with your carrier partners and knowing carriers who are available to haul loads. Additionally, it is also important to know whether your carriers are providing reliable service for your customers as well; if an issue arises, the customer may view the service failure as a reflection of your company’s performance.

You can develop your carrier base by using your networking skill. To successfully maintain and your rolodex of dependable carrier partners requires skill and strategic thinking. We will discuss a few tips on how to do both. Before moving further, let's take a deeper dive into the U.S. trucking industry.

An Overview of US Carrier Market

Most of the goods that are transported in the United States of America are transported by trucks. According to statistics, 70% of all cargo transportation is still carried by trucks, and these trends are unlikely to change in the near future.

These trucks, belonging to different categories (semi-trailers, motor vehicles, and 18-wheelers), usually transport goods from one destination to another in the United States of America. All goods, ranging from consumer goods, general cargo to perishable goods, are usually using these trucks.

The U.S. freight brokerages have seen a sudden sevenfold growth. This is due to the fact that the industry regulations have grown stricter than ever before.

Trucking companies

The trucking industry is one of the largest revenue streams in the U.S. economy. The businesses in this field can be very profitable, but it is incredibly competitive. There are almost 1.3 million trucking companies in the U.S. Among them, 97% operate 20 trucks, and 90% operate less than 6 trucks. 

U.S. Truck Driver Population

The U.S. Census states that there are more than 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S., making driving one of the most popular occupations in the United States. However, the problem for most freight brokers is the lack of truck drivers. Getting good and qualified drivers is difficult, and this problem is causing the slowdown in the growth of many fleets. But this problem can be solved with Owner Operators who are independent freelance drivers that don't work for a specific company. You can consult them. 

Tips to Grow & Develop your Carrier Base

There are several tips for freight brokers when pursuing potential carrier partners, such as:

Tip #1: Forgo higher profit margins in the beginning to establish a relationship with a new carrier

To attract more clients and raise awareness of your business, you should stop focusing on profitability in the first three months of operation. Only go for growth! Your earnings may suffer a little over these three months, but you will not suffer a loss.

Don't select the carriers that are willing to work for cheaper if the quality of the other carrier services is not up to par with your core carrier base. If necessary, explain to your carriers that the market conditions have changed, which affects pricing. Always be as transparent as possible with your carrier base.

Tip #2: Continue to give loads to repeat carriers

Nothing is better than repeat business. Like any other business, a freight brokerage company is created not only for profit but also to maintain sustainability over a long period of time, which can lead to expansion. Create a reliable business structure that will allow you to stay in business for as long as possible.

In the beginning, you spend many hours looking for a reliable carrier to move your customer load. Try to utilize a repeat carrier instead of hiring new every time. It will increase overall efficiencies and brokerage while reducing the booking process to minutes.

Tip #3: Gain market share & specialize in a specific region, mode, or truck type

Identify the company's size (for example, small carriers, midsize carriers, large carriers, or owner-operators), trucks, and area. It will determine whether they are a good fit for your business or not.  Take extra few minutes with the carriers the first time you work with them. Next time they will provide a higher level of customer service and notify you of delays and issues. In addition, they will rarely cancel your shipments after booking.

Tip #4: Keep your carriers informed

Once you build a carrier base, you can book your carriers more efficiently. Managing carriers can be stressful, but "communication is key." Inform the carriers about the last minutes' changes or specific requirements. 

Developing a long-term carrier relationship requires continuous contact. For this purpose, make sure to employ the best technology to manage your carrier database -- one that goes beyond just storing contact information. ZUUM Automated Broker has a robust Carrier relationship management and onboarding tools for just that.

Taking the time to get to know your carriers, understand their needs, and keep an open dialogue with shared growth in mind will go a long way in building and strengthening carrier relationships.