Bennett’s director of agent development, Lisa Pate, outlines nine tips for attracting good carriers based on key takeaways from a panel discussion at TIA 2017 Capital Ideas Conference & Exhibition. Titled “Know How to Really Recruit Good Carriers,” the panel was led by: Chad Boblett, owner of Boblett Brothers; Jimmy Dematteis, president of DMTB; Pete Emahiser, CEO of Tadmore Transportation, and Justin Frees, EVP of Carrier Development Arrive Logistics.
By Lisa Pate
If you’re a shipper or a freight broker, finding highly qualified, experienced and reliable drivers is getting tougher. With a driver shortage that is estimated to worsen after the elog mandate goes into effect at the end of 2017, you will be competing to attract a dwindling supply of premium drivers.
What can you do? Here are nine actions you can take:
1) Know your business.
What are market conditions like for the business you are seeking trucks for? You must know the current inbound and outbound rates to price accordingly. Bennett’s Broker Department provides a Rate Analysis tool. Are you looking for a long-term relationship with a carrier for your business or does the spot market work for an irregular route? What do you do as a practice regarding taking care of the trucks? Do you have an internal detention policy? Do you provide 24/7 access to your driver?
2) Use your own transportation system first when searching for trucks.
Your historical data in TMS may help you find the right driver. Load Matching is a great start for identifying BME trucks and contract capacity. If additional resources are needed, then use DAT or TS truck searches to identify capacity’s availability in the market you are looking for.
3) Include the pay rate in your brokerable load postings.
Most drivers look for the pay when searching for loads to consider. Drivers cannot always call and ask because they are driving down the highway. As a result, they may skip over your load and just consider the ones with pay rates they are looking for. It is better to post a number than nothing at all.
4) Don’t post your loads multiple times!
The most savvy drivers – the ones you are looking for! – will be able to see through the minor changes you make to justify multiple postings (e.g., posting the same load three times with different cities that are only a few miles apart). Posting multiple times makes you look desperate and empowers the driver to negotiate higher rates. It will only serve to drive up your cost!
5) Don’t be deceived by a co-broker situation. Two things you can do:
- If the carrier insists they have a truck for your move, especially regular moves, check their inspection states at this site: https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/CompanySnapshot.aspx. Look up the carrier using their name, DOT or MC/MX number. Then open the COMPLETE SMS PROFILE link on the left side of the screen and scroll down to see the states of all inspection reports. This will show what states they were inspected in.
- Check TIA Watchdog, a tool that TIA members use to report bad carrier experiences, such as carriers holding a load for hostage or constantly cancelling loads previously committed to.
6) Give the driver a 24/7 phone number.
If you want to prevent a pickup or delivery problem, you must provide a phone number that the driver can use to contact the agent or dispatcher if there are problems.
7) Make it easy for your drivers to get paid.
On the rate confirmation, make sure that you provide instructions for them on how to submit their billing information.
8) Monitor your credit score and negative reporting.
Stay on top of negative reports about your payment practices. Contact the credit agencies and let them know about faulty reporting. Be willing to do whatever you must to get the problems fixed.
9) Maintain relationships with the drivers you like the most.
Proactively reduce your risk by taking steps to maintain relationships with the best drivers. Relationships last, but loads are short-lived! Use data to drive your decisions. Create a list of your favorite drivers. Get to know them. What areas do they like to run? What are their favorite lanes?
As the competition for good drivers heats up, these actions together can help you create an overall positive, seamless and rewarding experience for your drivers. Taking steps to implement practices and policies that make their lives easier will make drivers want to keep carrying your loads. They’ll be more likely to spread the word among their friends, which will help attract new drivers to your company.
About the Author
Lisa has been in the transportation industry since 1980 when her elementary school started a kindergarten intern program. Not really! It’s just that she doesn’t feel old enough to have been in this industry for 37 years.
Positions held by Lisa in the course of her career range from log clerk to vice president of agent development. For Lisa, sitting in the same department for too long was rather boring, and she sought new challenges every few years until she was assigned to work on training and development of agents. That’s when Lisa discovered a passion for working with agents and her niche in the industry, where she has served for 14 years with no plans to ever leave.
Lisa holds her Certified Transportation Broker’s certification and has been active with the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) since 1985. Lisa serves on the Board of TIA and co-chairs the TIA Women in Logistics group. She is an active lobbyist on transportation regulation issues impacting the industry, visiting Washington, D.C., annually to meet with industry proponents in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
When not supporting small businesses, Lisa enjoys her empty nest with her husband Todd in Atlanta, GA, cooking, shopping and reading.