Brokers spend time building an extensive carrier network, but they also need to find loads to give to those carriers. If brokers find themselves with a much larger carrier network than shippers, they may need to start looking for other loads. But how do freight brokers find loads?
Brokers rely on several ways to search for loads, from cold calling to using predictive load-matching software. See some of the ways brokers can find loads as well as the most efficient methods for brokers to grow their business.
What challenges do freight brokers face when booking loads?
Even the most diligent freight brokerages face challenges when booking loads. They spend hours scouring load boards and making phone calls, but it can be hard to find a load that matches what they have available. Identifying a load is the first step. Then brokers have to see if they have a truck available in that region and timeframe and try to communicate with the carrier. All of this needs to be done before booking the load.
Brokers have to consider many different factors when finding loads, which can take up a lot of time. To face these challenges, it’s best to use freight brokerage management software that helps brokers find loads that match their network of carriers.
7 ways freight brokers find loads
Finding loads can be the hardest part of a broker’s job. So how do freight brokers find loads? Here are several avenues brokers can explore to find new loads.
Ask existing clients for referrals
Shippers may be connected to a larger network of shippers that they met through industry events or while on the job. If your shipper client is happy with your service, you can ask them to put in a good word for you with their connections in the industry or to leave you a review. Additionally, you can ask them if they have connections that are looking for brokers. If your client gives you a few names, you can give them a call and see if you have carriers that suit their needs.
Search through shipper lists
Another way to find loads is to look through shipper lists. These lists will show shipper company names and contact information. They may occasionally have information about loads that need to be carried, like a load board. Brokers can check these lists to see if there is a carrier whose needs fit the broker’s network. If the broker thinks they can be of assistance, they can try reaching out with a phone call or email.
Re-engage cold shipper accounts
Remember that shipper you used to work with a year or two ago? Maybe they haven’t reached out for service in a while. This is what’s called a cold account. Brokers may have had customers in the past, but the partnership fell off for whatever reason. If things ended on good terms, the broker can reach out to these cold shipper accounts and see if they have any loads that need to be carried. All it takes is one load to possibly re-engage a regular customer.
Prospect and cold call
Sometimes, brokers need to reach out to people they’ve never been in contact with before with a cold call. Brokers should have a targeted approach to cold calling. First, they should try and identify their target market and the kinds of loads they can handle. With that information, they can look through shipper lists and other online resources to try and identify shippers that they think could be a good match. Then, they’ll start running down those lists trying to make first contact.
When performing a cold call, it’s crucial that brokers be able to sell themselves in just a few minutes. To get a shipper’s attention, brokers will need to be able to identify what services they offer, the carriers they work with and what sets them apart. Brokers may even want to have a few shipper clients that they can name as references.
Leverage warm connections
Unlike cold calling, warm connections or leads are shippers who have reached out and shown interest in some capacity. Maybe they requested a quote online. Maybe they engaged with an email you sent. Whatever it was, they showed interest. Brokers should reach out to these shippers, especially if they requested a quote. Brokers can ask about their shipping needs and sell their brokerage services to try and walk away with a new business connection.
Working with carriers
Like shipper clients, carriers typically have a range of connections in the industry. Brokers may be able to leverage this network to find new shippers. For example, if a shipper had an outstanding experience with a carrier that a freight brokerage is partnered with, the broker may be able to leverage this experience into securing a new client. By working with high-quality, reputable carriers, a broker may be able to attract new shippers and loads to their brokerage business.
Booking loads is hard. The many different methods of getting loads can take up a lot of time and manpower that could go toward other responsibilities. That’s why so many brokers use brokerage management platforms and other technologies to help manage and run their broker business.
Brokers can use freight-matching software, which will help identify loads based on the carriers in your network and trucks currently available. Digital booking software also streamlines the communication needed to match a load with carriers, so brokers can book more loads in less time. These technologies can save brokers time and resources that can be allocated to growing the business.
Find more loads in less time
Many brokers spend a good amount of their work time booking loads. These methods to find loads can help streamline the task so that brokers can book more loads to make a profit. The use of broker management platforms and tools is invaluable and can save brokers time, money and stress. They’ll be able to find more loads in less time to grow the business and keep their network of carriers happy.
Freight brokers find clients by searching load boards, reviewing shipping lists and leveraging existing connections.
Truckload pay fluctuates based on the weight of the load, availability of trucks, distance traveled and time constraints. Brokers can use brokerage and load-matching software to find high-paying loads.
The easiest load to book is less-than-truckload (LTL). LTL loads can be hard to broker, since they may need multiple loads to make it worth the pay. Freight matching systems can help with this.
Sign up for a FreightWaves e-newsletter to stay informed of all news and trends impacting supply chain careers and operations.