12 Tips to Get (and Keep) the BEST Carriers

Finding a truck might not be so hard in the current market, but how do you recruit and retain the BEST carriers? Cultivating relations with safe, dependable, drama-free carriers is the key to building and growing a successful brokerage.

Know How to REALLY Recruit Good Carriers? was the topic of a panel discussion at this year’s TIA conference. The panel featured three freight brokers and one carrier, and was moderated by DAT’s VP of marketing Eileen Hart. Below are three tips from each participant:

Pete Emahiser, CEO, Tadmore Transportation, Toledo, OH:

1. Pay faster than average - Carriers check days-to-pay and credit scores of brokers, and will often choose the brokers who pay the fastest.

2. Guarantee detention pay - Pay detention regardless of whether you’re able to recover it from the shipper.

3. Vet carriers using multiple sources - It’s a good practice to confirm a carrier’s phone number from a reliable source. Use SaferSys, DAT CarrierWatch, Company Reviews and as many sources as you can to vet carriers.

Chad Boblett, Owner-Operator, Boblett Brothers Trucking, Lexington, KY:

4. Answer your phone - It’s frustrating when a carrier can’t reach the broker who posted the load, and is instead routed through a phone tree or passed off to employees who can’t answer specific questions about the load.

5. Don’t post the same load multiple times - This is a sign that no one else wants the load or that no one wants to work with your company.

6. Know how much it weighs - "The more it weighs, the less it pays." Be exact with the weight, and don’t advertise a specific weight if you don’t know.

Justin Frees, Executive VP of Carrier Development, Arrive Logistics, Austin, TX:

7. Review inspection data - Reviewing a carrier’s FMCSA inspection data should be part of your vetting process. Look for red flags, such as if a carrier says he regularly runs from L.A. to Chicago but the FMCSA site shows no inspections between those points.

8. Keep good notes - When you use a carrier, make sure you keep good notes on the carrier’s performance. That way you’ll know whether to use--or avoid--that same carrier in the future.

9. Strive for long-term relationships - Avoid focusing on the single transaction. Build relationships with carriers that will last into the future.

Jimmy DeMatteis, President & CEO, Des Moines Truck Brokers, Norwalk, IA:

10. Use your TMS - Check your Transportation Management Software lane history to see who you’ve loaded in the past on the same lane with the same equipment type and call them first.

11. Meet carriers face to face - Des Moines Truck Brokers has a nearby warehouse and carriers are encouraged to stop in the office to meet the team. It is an element of the teams comp plan.

12. Make it easy for carriers - Anything you can do to make your company easy to work with will put you in a preferred status. Pay fast, make it easy for carriers to submit their invoices and bills of lading.

After you recruit the best carriers, DAT has a number of products that can help you. Learn more about our products for onboarding carriers quickly and easily, monitoring carriers to ensure they're safe, legal and insured, and broker TMS software for keeping track of all your carriers.



Pat Pitz

Pat Pitz is the editor of the DAT Solutions freight broker newsletter. He has nearly 20 years experience as a professional writer and editor. Before joining DAT, he spent 8 years at a Portland advertising and public relations agency, where he wrote newsletters and other content for a variety of high-profile clients, including several in the trucking industry.



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