Updated: Dec 17, 2021
If you are starting out as an owner-operator, you may be struggling to book loads at your desired rate. It can be a challenge, of course, no one said it was easy but there are several things you can do to make it easier. Here are several tips for you to follow to improve the rates of the loads you are booking.
Get good at negotiating
This may be the most important tip of all, especially if you are averse to hiring a dedicated dispatcher. If you truly want to go the route of managing yourself and booking your own loads, you need to make it your business to become an excellent negotiator. Calling up brokers and trying to barter with them can be a challenge if you are new to it. Brokers can be very intimidating and uncooperative at times. This is where your expert negotiating skills will come into play.
If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of negotiating, you can check out Youtube. There are lots of videos on how to negotiate properly, and some of them even pertain to freight negotiating! You can also check out our blog on negotiating with Freight Brokers, where we give even more tips on how to negotiate the best rates possible.
Hire a Dispatcher
Conversely, you can utilize a dispatching service. If you find negotiating yourself to be too daunting, a dispatching service is an excellent alternative. There are many benefits to using a dispatching service. Dispatchers negotiate for a living and work hard to ensure you are getting the rates you want.
As a bonus, your dedicated dispatcher will also operate as your personal assistant, keeping track of your paperwork, communicating with the brokers for you, and planning your routes ahead of time. When you have a dispatcher working for you all you have to focus on is driving and getting your paperwork signed, they handle everything else for you.
Another way to get better-paying loads is to get into a niche market. What this means is you need to start carrying 'specialty' freight. Some examples of this would be hazmat loads, luxury cars, or oversize load hauling. You will have to get certified to carry certain types of freight but the pay-off is worth it!