Becoming an owner-operator can be both exhilarating and scary. While you can enjoy operating your own business without having to answer to an employer, you'll also need to worry about obtaining loads and building your business so that you can be successful.
One way to facilitate your business's growth is to partner with a freight broker. While there are several things you can do to build your business, working with a freight broker might be a good way to get started. Here's what you need to know about the benefits owner-operators might get from working with freight brokers.
Understanding Freight Brokers
A freight broker serves as a middleman between trucking carriers and shippers. They connect shippers with carriers to transport their cargo and help carriers find loads so that their trucks won't run empty. The freight broker salary is based on fees and commissions brokers charge per load the freight broker arranges. Some owner-operators are hesitant about retaining freight brokers because of the fees they charge for their services. However, reliable freight brokers typically work with many shippers and can help you save money by negotiating good deals for you. Brokers also can help by quickly processing your payments. Below are some advantages of working with a freight broker instead of trying to secure loads on your own.
Working as an owner-operator involves incurring substantial expenses, including your truck payments or leasing fees, business licenses, and other types of overhead. To ensure that your business is profitable, you must ensure that the routes you run are efficient and avoid deadhead miles as much as possible. Because of their connections to many different types of shippers, a good freight broker can connect you with companies that have the types of loads you haul and can help to ensure your routes are more efficient.
A freight broker can plan routes for you that allow you to deliver a load while picking up a new one nearby. This can help you to reduce the costs involved with running deadhead miles while expending fuel. Having inefficient routes and high rates of deadhead miles can quickly decimate your profits.
Trying to find shippers that need cargo to be transported and negotiating with each one directly can take a lot of time that you could otherwise spend driving loads. Your efforts might also not pay off as frequently as you would like, leaving you with hours spent trying to find and secure shipments to transport with little to show for the time you've spent. When you work with a freight broker, they can tap into their network of shippers to identify loads for you and then negotiate on your behalf with the shipper. Since a freight broker will get paid only if they can successfully secure loads for you, they will be motivated to help keep your truck full and moving. This can allow you to save time on trying to find loads and worry about transporting cargo rather than spending time trying to find shippers with the loads you want.
Help to Scale Up Your Operations
Trying to network with potential shippers and building your operations from the ground up can take time and be overwhelming. The work required to build relationships with multiple shippers can involve a lot of time. You also might overlook important details that need to be addressed. If you want to scale up your business operations, trying to do all of the networking you need can also be hard when you are concentrating on running other aspects of your operations. A freight broker can manage the relationships between you and different shippers for you so that you can focus on other aspects of your business. As you grow, a reliable freight broker can also facilitate more loads to match your business's capacity.
Find Loads That Match Your Truck
The key to being successful as an owner-operator is to understand the right type of loads for your truck and to find them. As an owner-operator, you will need to consider many different factors to determine which types of loads are suitable for your truck. You'll also need to identify the best lane, pickup location, and financial offer. A broker can match loads to your truck and optimize your output, regardless of whether you focus on short-hauling, over-the-road trucking, regional hauling, or last-mile delivery services.
Secure Better Prices
When you are operating an owner-operator business, you will face a tightly competitive market. Trying to get the best prices for your transportation services can be difficult when you are going up against larger trucking companies in your area. A broker can help to track down freight for you and negotiate with shippers on your behalf to secure the highest prices to transport freight. In many cases, reliable freight brokers can harness their connections to secure much higher rates than owner-operators might secure on their own.
More Time for Your Family
Since a freight broker can handle the time-consuming processes involved with networking, finding freight, and negotiating with shippers for you, this might free up more time when you are home to spend with your family. Many truck drivers choose to become owner-operators to have more freedom and a better work-life balance. With a freight broker to perform some of the backend work for your business, you might be able to enjoy a better work-life balance and have more time with your family to do all of the things that you want. Depending on how you want to schedule your business and the types of loads you want to transport, you can free up time to attend important family events, take vacations, and do the types of things you envisioned when you decided to go into business for yourself.
While opening your own business by purchasing a truck and working as an owner-operator can open more doors than working as a truck driver for a company, it also can involve significant time spent looking for and securing the right types of loads. Working with a freight broker might be a good way to reduce costs, save time, and help your business become more profitable.