It’s no secret that the relationships between brokers and carriers can sometimes be strained. You’re both trying to get the best rate possible from opposite ends of the road. At the same time, brokers have a job that needs to be done, and that job can only be done by a carrier.
So, what can you do to have a better relationship with brokers that will benefit you – and your wallet – in the future?
It sounds easy, and experts say it’s the foundation of every good relationship, yet communicating is an area it’s easy to fall short in. Talking to a broker and agreeing on a rate is the first step toward a good working relationship. After that, communicate the pick-up, drop off, any difficulties or delays, etc. It may sound overkill, but your phone will buzz less. Plus, it will make the broker trust you and your work – that could mean more loads with that broker in the future. Not to mention if loads are coming to you from brokers you trust, it’s saving you time and money in searching for loads.
Commit and follow through.
Use your ELD and hours of service knowledge to your advantage when negotiating a fair rate, and commit to a realistic time frame for picking up the load. And make sure you pick up the load! You’d be surprised at the number of no-shows at a loading dock. Don’t forget to let the broker know after you’ve dropped off the load, and tell them to remember you in the future.
Work with brokers that know the industry.
Good brokers do their homework, and their industry experience makes your job easier. And just like you’re dependent on having a good reputation, so are brokers. Work with brokers you’ve had a good relationship with in the past. Use tools like Credit Stop Broker (in Truckstop.com Pro) to check a broker’s experience rating. Focus on the brokers who have streamlined their business practices and keep it as simple as possible without losing anything in the process.
Have a process and follow it.
Brokers have business practices to follow just like you do. Have a process in place and use it every time you’re partnering with a broker. Brokers will reach out to carriers who are efficient because it helps keep their costs down (it’ll save you time and money, too). Have the right paperwork within reach (insurance certificates, shipping information, etc.) and develop internal processes so you can quickly respond to requests. Take whatever small steps you can ahead of time so you’re organized and can stay on task and on time in the moment. This goes both ways; if a broker isn’t supplying you with the materials you need to do your job, remember that in the future.
You don’t like being given the runaround by a broker, so extend them the same courtesy. If the hours of service regulations or weather are going to make it difficult to deliver a load on time, just tell the broker that. They can make appropriate changes at the delivery location to make your life easier. Full transparency will help you develop lasting working relationships with people and businesses that could help you in the future.
Use technology to your advantage.
Use the tools available to make sure you’re partnering with vetted, reputable brokers. Credit Stop Broker (in Truckstop.com Pro) lets you view a broker’s days-to-pay, credit score, and risk level so you know you’re working with responsible parties and how long it’ll take for you to get paid.
You’re likely already doing this and don’t even think about it, but it’s a good reminder that providing the same great customer service to every broker you work with will help develop and maintain your good reputation. Plus, doing the same thing every time means a high level of efficiency which – like communication – saves you time and money.