Best Practices and Benchmarks

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Brokers improve net profits despite lower revenue

The first quarter was one of those "good news, bad news" stories for freight brokers. The good news was a big increase in gross margins, which rebounded to 16% from 13% in Q1 of 2018. The reason for this improvement was a sharp drop in spot market rates, which is what the brokers pay to hire a truck. When that cost of "purchased transportation" declined, the brokers got to keep more of the money that their shipper customers paid them for… Read More

Trucking scams: How brokers and carriers can protect themselves

Working with a broker or carrier for the first time can lead to a successful and profitable relationship that will last for years. But in this digital age where carriers and brokers rarely meet in person, it's good to follow some common-sense rules to ensure your new business partner is who they say they are. "One of the most common ways thieves pull off scams today is to pose as a legitimate carrier or broker," said DAT Compliance… Read More

Pros and cons: Brokered vs. direct shipper freight

The kind of freight you choose to haul, whether it's through a broker or direct from a shipper, is an individual decision that is determined by a person's wants, needs and goals. I choose to work just with brokers, and February marked my seventh year pulling only spot market loads. Every month I compare my average loaded rate per mile with the national average… Read More

Partial loads: A slow season secret weapon?

I try my best to avoid markets where demand is low, but that gets difficult at this time of year. It's tough to get to a hot market at a decent rate per mile right now, but before giving in to a less desirable price – or waiting until the market changes – try looking for partial loads. Most of the time it only takes two partials going to the same area to get a rate that will be much higher than the price for one full truckload… Read More

How the best shippers manage capacity challenges

What can shippers do to make their freight attractive to carriers? Three shippers answered that question during a panel discussion at the 2018 DAT User Conference in Portland, OR. Here's what they had to say. For industry insights, product training, and networking opportunities, attend DATCON19, October 9 -11 in Austin, TX. Register now and save… Read More

Trailer pools: Friend or foe?

Imagine a transportation industry where no truck was ever detained. That’s the motivation behind trailer pools, which are an increasingly popular trend in the effort to maximize efficiency and reduce wait times at shippers’ and receivers’ docks. But it's not quite the silver bullet that the industry needs to solve the problem of driver detention. For one, trailer pools aren’t free. New van trailers can run $25,000 to… Read More

Will sub-zero temps stall trucking operations?

Large swaths of the U.S. often suffer from all kinds of severe weather during the first quarter, impacting freight movements. This winter could be one of the coldest yet. It's taking many people by surprise, though, because January started out with unseasonably warm weather in many parts of the country. Then temperatures suddenly plunged into the single digits and below in much of the Midwest, including sub-zero temps in Chicago and… Read More

6 rules for making money in the slow season

The spot market will likely be the same as it is every year around this time: From January to about the end of March, it will most likely be slow. There won't be the volatility that we saw at the beginning of 2018, because that was a result of the ELD mandate. Don't expect to see as many loads as we did in early 2018. Just because there are fewer loads doesn't mean the world is coming to an end, though. It's just that time of… Read More

Costs rise faster than revenues for freight brokers in November

Although revenues and profits improved for freight brokers in November compared to 2017, the month-over-month results were disappointing. Load counts declined for the third consecutive month, and rising labor expenses took a bite out of net profits. This report is derived from the monthly financial results of more than 100 freight brokerage companies. Their 2017 average annual revenue was $19.5 million, and the group is on track to… Read More

4 lessons the Marines taught me about owning a business

After 10 years in the Marine Corps and 3 years as a professional driver, I decided to start my own trucking business in 2010. Over the years, I've been running my business based on four important lessons that I learned as a Marine.Build your business with access to the largest digital freight marketplace. DAT load boards connect carriers and freight brokers, with more than 279… Read More