For any small business owner, time is money. For a trucking company, miles are money too. Whether you’re an owner-operator or a fleet owner, you need to keep rolling for you to get paid, and that means finding contracts and loads. Here are six places to look.
- Freight Brokers. Freight brokers connect shippers to truckers, and this is a good option if you’re just starting out. Freight brokers do most of the legwork for you, including negotiating the rates with shippers.
- Dispatch Services. Hire a dispatcher directly (with industry experience and contacts in tow) or contract with a dispatch service to help get your business up and running. In many cases, they can also provide some administrative services like accounting, billing, and collections.
- Load Boards. Load boards are another method that connects shippers directly to truckers. These boards make it very convenient by having multiple listings to choose from and most of the job details are spelled out. We recommend DAT.com and Team Run Smart members can get 30 days free of TruckersEdge load board when you use promo code promo717
- Registering as a Government Contractor. More and more frequently, the government is outsourcing its staffing needs, and transportation is no exception. What's more, it isn't just the federal government with contracts to fill. State and local governments have transportation needs as well, and you can bet no matter where in the country you are, there is a government agency nearby. Being a government contractor does require a few extra steps, including registering to be one. Contact your city or state government for more details.
- Prospecting. Although it takes a little more work at the start, many freight companies find their own contracts through prospecting. You'll need to do some research on what shippers are in your area, and what they ship and where. Then you make contact, either by cold calling or knocking on their doors. Introduce yourself. Ask them questions about their trucking needs and be prepared to check back in with them as new opportunities might come up. Prospecting can be a bit of a numbers game, so keep at it.
- Networking. Networking is the bread and butter of most small businesses, including freight companies. Start by getting involved with associations and going to events that your shippers are attending. The internet is a great place to do some sleuthing on what is going on in your industry. What associations are there? Can you join them? Go shake some hands and meet people. You'll be surprised at how this small investment in time can pay major dividends in the future. Many of them can also provide you with industry tips on how to save money for your trucking business.
Like most marketing strategies, it is best to try a few different ones to see what works best for you. If you know your competitors are using one method, try standing out and being different. Freight brokers and load boards can help you become familiar with the opportunities in your area. Prospecting and networking take time to produce great leads, but there is a reason most businesses use these strategies. Whatever options you choose, stay the course and watch your trucking business grow.
This article was originally featured on eCapital.com.
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