One of the most important issues a small box truck business is expected to address is whether to use a dispatcher to find box truckloads or rely on self-dispatching. Truth be told, there is no right answer to that question as there are numerous factors that can make each choice the right option.
However, when making your decision, note that the most vital thing to consider is the expected cost. Dispatchers most often get paid a percentage of their earnings off each load they find. In the United States, some dispatchers charge a flat rate (for example, $60 per load), but higher quality dispatch services will charge an average of 5-10 percent for each load.
Have it in mind that this can add up fast, especially since you are a small box truck business. Therefore, you must do the math, see if you will save money when you hire a dispatcher compared to the carrier you’re currently working with.
Indeed, there are pros and cons to using a dispatcher as a small box truck business. The major con is the cost. You will be offering a meaningful part of your earnings to another person to carry out a function you can do on your own.
Meanwhile, not having to bother about seeking loads yourself can leave you free to spend more time on the road, and it entails more time to deliver more loads. However, to reap the benefits of a quality dispatch system, you need to find the best dispatcher for your business.
Note that the best dispatchers will have good negotiating skills and have full knowledge about specific lanes and markets. Since a higher rate will also benefit them as well as you, dispatchers will always strive to negotiate better rates for loads than individual owner-operators can get on their own.
Choosing the right dispatcher to work with is very crucial. While all dispatch services carry out a similar type of work, they are not all the same. Have it in mind that the quality of the service depends on the experience and knowledge of their employees.
It is recommended that you always seek a dispatcher that offers a set of services and skills that align well with your needs. If you specialize in a certain field, find a dispatch service experienced in that area.
Various Ways to Find a Dispatcher for a Small Box Truck Business
Indeed, there are numerous ways to find a dispatcher for your small box truck business. However, note that each way comes with its pros and cons. For the best chances at success, consider leveraging several of these channels simultaneously.
Use an Employee Referral Program
When you are considering how to find a dispatcher for your small box truck business, you should remember that you have a priceless resource in-house: your current box truck drivers and support staff. These workers may already know someone who would be an ideal fit for your small box truck business.
Consider putting together an employee referral program that ensures that you workers can suggest candidates and be adequately rewarded for it.
Use Trucking Forums
For as long as possible, trucking forums have remained a unique platform to build connections with experienced workers in the trucking industry.
Aside from the fact that this is the online space where you’re most likely to find any staff you need for your small box truck business, trucking forums could also be the best place to find either a full-time or a freelance dispatcher for your small box truck business.
Consider Online Job Sites
In recent times, online employment advertising on sites like www.Craigslist.com and www.Monster.com has enjoyed massive growth. When you leverage this channel to find a dispatcher for your small box truck business, note that you will be pulling in a national audience – whether or not you intend to.
Owing to that, always state in your ad where the job is located to ensure you don’t have to deal with candidates who wouldn’t mind moving 1,500 miles to take the job that pays $18 per hour.
Use Industry Job Boards
Unlike online job sites, you can target a more precise audience by stating your needs on trucking job boards. Have it in mind that this will narrow your search to truck dispatchers who might be a more suitable fit for your small box truck business.
These niche online offerings may prove more helpful, as they provide filtering options. Examples include EveryTruckJob.com, AllTruckJobs.com, etc.
Advertise on Your Company’s Website
This is another very viable way to find a dispatcher for your small box truck business. Consider posting the description of the sort of dispatcher you want on the career page on your company’s website. It is very pertinent you format your post to ensure that it gets picked up by Google for Jobs, as this will help your vacancy to appear in Google search results.
Online Newspaper Advertising
This is another channel to consider when getting the word out that you need a dispatcher for your small box truck business. Consider checking with the advertising representative at your local paper to see if the newspaper offers an online option.
Note that a good number of newspapers offer packages, including print only, online-only, or both types of advertising. If the newspaper makes available an online option, consider placing an online as well as a print version of your advertisement.
Search FMCSA Data
Have it in mind that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains a searchable database of active brokers and carriers. Truth be told, finding a dispatcher for your small box truck business this way can be a needle-in-a-haystack situation. Note that the database may not go into vast details.
Also, note that some of the information might even be outdated or wrong. However, if you are seeking dispatchers for your small box truck, consider this channel especially as it won’t hurt to try. But ensure you don’t rely on this as your primary means to find a suitable dispatcher for your business.
Use Digital Freight Matching Tools
Digital freight matching tools are a modern technology that automates a great percentage of the matching process. For instance, instead of manually searching through postings and reading replies to your posts, you can easily put together automated rules to find potential matches.
Also, note that you can manage and automate risk assessment with the monitoring option made available. Don’t forget to set up notifications to alert you if a dispatcher or broker on your list alters status or gets a negative inspection report.
Search Truck Industry Directories
Directories in the trucking industry offer a very genuine platform to search for trustworthy and experienced workers, be it full-time or freelance dispatchers.
Unlike some channels noted in this list, truck industry directories serve as a place to find carriers, drivers, and even dispatchers in anticipation of your future needs. Once you find potential matches, you only have to reach out to them to see if they’re actively seeking new freight partnerships.
Although you can always leverage online reviews to find a good dispatcher for your small box truck business, have it in mind that these reviews may be paid or generated by bots. Owing to that, consider getting recommendations from your friends and other owner-operators in your area.
Request to know the dispatch service they use and how their experience has been. Don’t also forget to get specific feedback on the things you care about most in a freight dispatcher, such as their charge and any extra services they offer.
Tips to Help You Find a Dispatcher for a Small Box Truck Business
If you decide to use a dispatcher to find loads for your small box truck business, then it is important to make sure you find the right one.
Services offered by these businesses can range from large to local, comprehensive to bare-bones, and every service will have a different area of expertise. Finding the right dispatcher can be a challenging task, however, here are a few tips to guide you.
Be Sure You Need a Dispatcher
Note that you first need to ascertain that you need a dispatcher for your small box truck business. Consider taking an extensive look at your company and decide whether you’ve had issues with things like finding loads, managing drivers, maintaining motor carrier compliance, handling paperwork, providing customer care, or managing delays.
Have it in mind that the right dispatcher can help with all of these issues, and would also be an excellent resource for you and your business.
Just as it was noted above, hiring a dispatching service surely comes with extra fees and expectations to your day-to-day workload, therefore it’s pertinent to only hire one when you require their services or expect to need them soon.
Understand the Exact Dispatch Services You Need
Note that the issues a dispatcher can help with include finding loads, managing drivers, maintaining motor carrier compliance, handling paperwork, providing customer care, or managing delays. However, you may not find a dispatcher that provides all of them at once.
Ensure to prioritize your needs and consider how many of them you want to be met in comparison with those you like to have met. If, for instance, you want someone to help you handle paperwork but are also genuinely trying to find loads, your priorities are clear.
After you must have organized these priorities, it’s quite easier to know the exact dispatching service you need. At this point, start seeking out reputable dispatchers and find out the exact services they can offer to make sure you’ve found one that aligns with the requirements on your list.
Decide Between A Full-Time Vs. Freelance Dispatcher
Depending on the size and needs of your small box, you might not need a full-time dispatcher service, instead consider hiring freelancers to take care of your limited needs. Freelance dispatchers can be paid on a percentage basis or flat fees per load. Note that this saves the company money when compared to a full-time dispatcher.
Also note that you might not even have to provide the freelancer with benefits, including health insurance and vacation time. However, it can be cheaper to hire full-time employees than independent freelancers if the workload is high.
Ensure They Have Good Communication Systems
Have it in mind that one of the primary reasons for a dispatcher is to improve your small company’s communication. While you’re asking questions and seeking to notify a specific service, you will need your dispatcher to respond quickly and be easy to work with.
Once a service fails to communicate well in the beginning stages, then it is a sign that something might go wrong down the line owing to bad communication. You will need a dispatcher that you can rely on from beginning to finish.
Consider the Dispatcher’s Reputation
Note that the right dispatcher for your business will need to have a good reputation. Therefore, consider asking around, especially among your peers and other trucking professionals, to note dispatch services that have a proven track record of good work.
Take your time to search for services that have a proven track record in emergencies or high-pressure situations. Also, consider online reviews, but if the service doesn’t have any online reviews or testimonials, ensure you can locate someone who can attest to their expertise and reputation.
Consider Industry Experience
Just like with checking for the company’s reputation, it is also necessary you consider their expertise and knowledge in the industry.
Does the dispatcher you’re interested in have years of experience, or are they new to the business? Have it in mind that a well-experienced service will have firsthand knowledge on how to deal with certain situations, and may have the necessary connections in the industry.
While experience may not be the most vital factor to consider when choosing a dispatcher for your small box truck, especially since a newer dispatcher may be more flexible and affordable, however, is worth considering regardless.
Check for Any Potential Extra Costs
It is advisable you extensively check the fine print of any dispatching service you’re looking to commit to. Note that because one service has a particular set of standard fees doesn’t mean every other service will have the same set of fees. Depending on the service, you may see dispatchers that charge per load, per week, or a percentage (often around 5% – 10%) of the payment per load.
You may find dispatchers that ask for quick payments, and this can make your financial system more difficult depending on your situation. Always ensure you understand the payment method of the dispatcher and make sure their method aligns well with the style of your business.
Check if Their Rates Are Fair
This is, without doubt, the last thing you should consider; however, it is still a huge factor to analyze. Note that rates which sound too good to be true will more or less be too good to be true. Have it in mind that there is a cost of operation associated with running a dispatch business, just as your box truck has a cost of operation.
If the rates are unbelievably low, there is a good probability they won’t be in business very long. Ensure you don’t get deceived by outrageous rates and fees either. Don’t forget numerous dispatch services have free setup without monthly minimums.