Many times when we begin to work for a shipper, the focus is on what we want or the values that we bring to
the table. We want our customer to work within our schedule, pay a good freight rate with little or no delay time at the dock. There is so much to think about from a motor carrier’s perspective when it comes time to take on a new customer. However, the real focus should be on your customer and what they value in a carrier.
Many times we overlook what a customer is seeking from a carrier. Shippers are different just as carriers are different. One shipper might put a very high value on customer service in regards to offering better relationships with their customers on the other end. Another shipper may only be concerned about cost and the bottom line. This shipper will put his budge costs above anything else. The balance line between these two factors often shifts on a year to year basis.
Do you have the equipment your customer needs ?
There are many other values that a customer may be looking for in a carrier. Such as: equipment that is outfitted with air ride suspension to protect their product, a 45 ft. flatbed vs 53 ft. as well as many other types of specialized equipment. These might include, load tracking, temperature control, special tie downs, available cube space and a list which is nearly endless.
Let’s say you find a customer who is looking to move a shipment and the load weighs 54,000 lbs. There aren’t many carriers who could transport this load without a special permit. Therefore, the carrier would need to purchase select equipment in order to transport freight for this customer. The advantage would be that not many carriers can move this particular freight. Next, you as the carrier would want to make sure this customer has enough volume to substantiate your purchase of the specialized equipment. Let’s say this particular freight is a steel coil. The carrier would need to look for a lightweight tractor and do everything possible in order to have the lightest tare weight possible. This could be a non sleeper cab or possibly a 48 inch sleeper if needed. Each selection of the drive train would also have to pass under the scrutiny of how much it adds to the tare weight. Additional detention to detail would extend from the frame to the fuel tank sizes and all the way down to the tire and wheel selection.
Selecting a trailer for such an application as this would be a 42 ft. 96 inch wide all aluminum flatbed. When
transporting a single coil, you don’t need 48 feet of trailer space. Your tare weight is lower by using a smaller size trailer. If you decide to purchase specialized equipment to transport for a certain carrier, it’s also a good idea to make sure you can utilize the equipment elsewhere. You don’t want to get stuck with a piece of equipment that is useless should something happen with this customer.
When doing business and trying to match yourself up with the correct customers, it’s important to know your customer’s value points in order to maximize the profitability for your business.