Updated: Dec 17, 2021
What is a dispatcher?
Dispatchers function as middlemen between freight brokers and carriers. Drivers don’t exactly have a lot of free time to check load boards, negotiate rates, book loads, and handle all of their paperwork. Dispatchers will handle all of those things. For a driver, it's like having a personal assistant that keeps them booked and on track.
How do dispatchers find clients?
Dispatchers have a multitude of tools at their disposal to help them seek out and communicate with potential clients, here are a few:
Advertising - New dispatchers may want to use a service such as google ads or Facebook ads to advertise their services. Using an advertising service can be beneficial since you can customize your target audience and generate quality leads. The only downside to such marketing is cost. Unlike some other lead-generating options, you have to pay for advertisements on various platforms. Each platform has its own payment requirements, some have you pay for each time a person clicks on the ad and some have you pay for each view you rack up. If advertising is in a dispatchers’ budget, they should thoroughly research each platform and decide which would benefit them the most.
MC lookup - one of the most useful tools available is software that enables dispatchers to lookup trucking companies that have their MC listed as being active. Having an active MC or authority is a requirement for any trucking company or owner-operator if they want to book loads. Having a list of leads that all have an active MC gives dispatchers the upper hand.
Cold calling - a good step to take after one has a substantial list of trucking companies with active authorities. Dispatchers generally come up with an easy-to-remember, professional-sounding script and begin calling leads one by one.
Email marketing - this is a great way to reach out to many potential clients in a very short period of time. If some of the companies listed with active authorities also have their email address listed, a dispatcher may want to send out an email to them as well. Email marketing can be very effective as many owner-operators are more likely to respond to an email than they are to pick up a phone call from an unknown number.
Text messaging- in this day and age, texting can be an effective way to reach out to leads. If you acquire a list of leads with active authorities who have their cell phone numbers listed, take the opportunity to reach out to them via text. Send a professional text message asking them if they are in need of dispatching services and inform them about your rate. The dispatching team here at distinct deliveries has had success acquiring clients using all of the methods mentioned above so don’t be afraid to try them all to see what method gives you the best results.
The load-booking process
Finding and booking loads is a simple yet tedious task. In other words, it can be time-consuming, and a dispatcher needs to be dedicated to finding their clients a load so that they can make money. Most dispatchers start by scouting various load boards for appropriate loads that meet their clients' criteria. Once they find a potential load they check the rate and if the rate is too low they will call up the broker to negotiate a better rate. Negotiating with brokers is a big part of the load-booking process. Dispatchers need to be able to negotiate well and maintain good relationships with brokers in order to be successful.
Once a load has been booked there is a lot of back-end paperwork that needs to be done. Rate confirmations, carrier packets, BOL, credit checks, communication between the broker and driver, and invoicing are all completed by the dispatcher. A dispatcher must be able to complete these administrative tasks in a timely manner and keep all of the information organized. Like I said earlier, it is almost like being a personal, or an administrative assistant to the driver.
Find what works for you
If you are starting out as a dispatcher or looking to become one, remember that it will take time for you to get into a groove. Once you acquire one or two clients, work with them for a while until you are confident in your processes and comfortable enough to take on more clients. If you feel like you can handle more clients then by all means feel free to take on as many as you can handle. Just be sure you keep up with all of your clients. Each person is different and while some dispatchers may be able to dispatch 10+ vehicles others may only be able to handle up to 3. Just work at your own pace.
Dispatching is a multi-faceted career with many different responsibilities. A good dispatcher will be well-organized, a good communicator, a great negotiator, and have excellent time management skills in order to excel. These skills go hand in hand with load-booking, negotiating rates, and bookkeeping. If you possess these qualities then dispatching may be the perfect career move for you.