RFX Blog

Carrier Relationship Management Tips for Freight Brokers

April 2nd, 2015


Managing a transportation operation can be stressful, particularly if you often find yourself dependent on load boards for finding carriers in the 11th hour of a shipment. It is in these situations that we find ourselves desperate in making decisions that we don’t want to make, like moving shipments at a financial loss or working with motor carriers we know nothing about.  That is why the most stable and successful freight brokerage operations are those who take the time to build strong, long lasting relationships with motor carriers.

Start Small – You have to start somewhere. Use your load board dependency as a springboard for carrier development. Upon completion of a load, ask your carriers how they liked that lane. Ask them if there were any problems along the way. Remember, you are providing a service for your motor carriers just as much as you are for your shippers. If there are any pitfalls involved in the load, you should hear about them and try and address them before the next load.  Look for patterns of recurring problems. Showing the carrier you care about problems that are occurring under your loads will not only take steps toward securing future business with that motor carrier, it’s just plain good business practice in general.

Collect Information – Ask carriers where they prefer to run.  Was the last load they performed a regular lane for them? If so, perhaps you could make arrangements to make this lane a weekly run for that carrier. Ask your carriers how many trucks they have.  Ask them if they have other lanes that they need help with. Tell them what types of freight you have and what is on the horizon for you. Even if you haven’t secured business yet in a particular area, it’s always good to tell carriers what you are working on so they keep that in mind for the future.

Make Promises You Can Keep – Building strong relationships means trusting one another.  There may come a time when you will need a favor from a carrier. Maybe you have to convince them to accept a load with pay that is not ideal for them. If you promise your carriers a better deal on the next load, you need to see it through. Trucking, more than any other business, is still very much a loyalty-driven industry. Truckers work hard and they want respect. To them, your word means everything, so keep your word and honor your promises if you want your carriers to return for future business.

Grow Your Business With Your Carriers – As your transportation operation grows, so should your carrier’s business. If you are truly going to build strong relationships with carriers, you should work together with them to grow each other’s business. Mutual respect for each other’s work means sharing in the growth. Do not leave your carriers in the dust in favor of carriers that are willing to work for cheaper if the quality of the other carrier services is not up to par with your core carrier base. If necessary, explain to your carriers that the market conditions have changed which affects pricing. Always be as transparent as possible with your carrier base.

Taking the time to get to know your carriers, understand their needs and keeping an open dialogue with shared growth in mind will go a long way in building and strengthening carrier relationships.

Posted on April 2nd, 2015 in business strategy, freight agent, Freight Agent Broker, freight broker tips, motor carrier