6 Things Freight Brokers Love and Hate

Every call you make about a load is a potential negotiation. Knowing what brokers love and hate goes a long way in determining how successful those negotiations will be. I've worked in transportation and logistics for more than 30 years as a broker, a dispatcher and a pricing analyst, and I've been on both sides of those phone calls more times than I can count. Here are some observations that may help you to be even more successful in your dealings with freight brokers:

What Brokers Love

  • Drivers and dispatchers who inspire confidence – You're a professional who can be trusted with the broker's business reputation and their customers' freight, so let them know that.
  • Good communication – Share your needs with the broker and learn theirs.
  • Be direct but respectful – You aren’t just negotiating for one load, but potential future business as well.


The Hot Market Map in DAT Load Boards offer a snapshot of freight demand across the country, with the darker colors showing where there's higher demand for trucks.

What Brokers Hate

  • "Is that all you have in the rate?" – If you know your lanes, you won't need to ask this. Rates are set, to a great degree, by market conditions. With DAT Load Boards, you can research the market rates for the lanes you're searching. You also get Hot Market Maps like the one above, which shows you where demand for trucks is highest. If there are a lot of trucks available in that lane right now, the rate may not meet your expectations. But if you know the range of market rates in that lane, you might be able to negotiate for the high end of that range.
  • Long-winded explanations – Time is money for both you and the broker, so keep it brief. For brokers, they're usually in a rush in the mornings to assign the entire day's loads in a short period of time.
  • Indecisiveness – If your goals are clear, you’ll know immediately whether or not you can cover the load. Plus, being decisive inspires confidence. Worst case: just say "Thank, but no thanks," and move on. You can do business with that broker another time.

In another blog post, I've offered tips on what to research and what questions to ask when you call on a load.

All DAT load board packages include broker spot market rates on the lanes you're searching, so you can negotiate with power when calling on a load. Read more about the load board features, or contact our award-winning Customer Service team.

Categories: Best Practices and Benchmarks

Mark Montague

As a mathematician and statistician, Mark Montague has spent decades developing and implementing consistent, market-driven rate structures for transportation companies. Mark was instrumental in developing the dynamic, spot market rates database and analysis tools in DAT RateView (formerly Truckload Rate Index.). Prior to joining DAT in 2009, Mark applied his expertise in logistics, rates and routing as a logistics manager and analyst for carriers, 3PLs and shippers. Mark holds an MBA in Transportation Management from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.



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DAT operates the largest truckload freight marketplace in North America. Transportation brokers, carriers, news organizations and industry analysts rely on DAT for market trends and data insights derived from 256 million freight matches and a database of $60 billion of market transactions.

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