The American Trucking Association estimates that the nationwide shortage of drivers now exceeds 80,000 — a gap expected to increase to more than 160,000 by 2031. So what does that mean for freight brokers that rely daily on truck drivers?
“Do truck drivers like brokers?”
Retired Owner Operator, Blair Blakely of Ripon, CA, via an online discussion forum, provided an in-depth opinion that ultimately boils down to the importance of good, honest relationships:
“I used a number of brokers in the early days. Half were what I call ‘one and done’. I would haul a load for them and, due to poor communication, outright lies concerning loads, unrealistic pickup and delivery requirements, and slow pay (one was even a ‘no pay’), it took me a while to weed out the fly-by-night brokers and find a handful of good ones.
“Then I found a good broker. I ran exclusively for her for almost ten years until we both retired. She knew where I liked to run and how I liked to run, what my minimum rate per mile was, and what I could and could not do.
“Two of the things I appreciated about her were that she had a good memory and she was honest. She once called me and said ‘I’m in a jam. I have a load I have to get covered. It doesn’t pay worth a crap, it has a lot of deadhead miles, but the driver I had fell off the load, and I gotta get it covered.’ I took it and got her out of the spot she was in. A couple of weeks later, she offered me ‘payback,’ and it was a great load!
“Having a good relationship with that reliable broker got me access to loads I would never have had a chance for on my own."
Blakely continues, "Many owner-operators consider brokers to be leeches, but we both need each other. They have the loads, and we have the equipment and experience to haul them. Once you find one you can have a good working relationship with, you both profit.”
The importance of solid business relationships, built on a foundation of good communication, was echoed in Relay’s carrier and broker panel discussion in Atlanta. “Treat each other like members of your family, and the driver won’t hesitate to help out if the broker needs something out of the ordinary on a delivery,” said panelist, owner-operator, and SHE Trucking CEO, Sharae Moore.
How do you build customer loyalty for your brokerage?
Treat your drivers right
MGM Freight Logistics owner, Martin Daigeau (a veteran driver himself) has a simple business philosophy that is rarely practiced in today’s demanding environment.
“It’s all about relationships. Particularly with drivers. Treat them right, and they’ll come back to you. I want to help my drivers succeed. That’s where Relay has been a huge blessing for us.”
Pay your drivers quickly
Martin was a Relay fan long before he became a broker. “With the new payment solution, I can pay drivers in two days. Better still, Relay isn’t a factoring company, and I don’t have to sign a year-long contract to work with them," said Daigeau.
Leverage technology to make your drivers’ job easier
“Relay’s offering has been great for helping us build driver loyalty. So many of the drivers we hire work on very thin margins, and cash flow is always a concern. With Relay, I can put funds in their accounts fast, so they can buy fuel and whatever else they need to move onto the next load.”
User-friendly technology is critical for building driver loyalty
In a 2020 post entitled Driving a Better Carrier Experience: How Brokers Can Grow, Increase “Stickiness” and Build Loyalty, leading industry news source FreightWaves, advised, “Provide a positive, engaging experience for the driver, with every booking, every load, every broker contact and every shipper interaction; and save the carrier time and reduce administrative friction with more automated, enabling technology—making them more productive, more profitable and more likely to stay in the business.
“And for the broker, you must be able to integrate that mobile app with an intuitive driver engagement platform.”
Make Relay Payments your brokerage’s technology partner
To learn more about how Relay Payments is helping brokerages of all sizes build and strengthen driver loyalty while increasing operational efficiencies, contact Relay Account Executive, Sean Franklin: 913-333-9355 | firstname.lastname@example.org