The pandemic has been especially tough for owner operators and smaller carriers. Overdrive is reporting that a third of small fleets have completely shut down due to the pandemic. Yet small trucking companies and owner operators are integral to the success of the transportation industry. In recent years, they’re the ones who’ve moved as much as 80 percent of the freight in the supply chain.
Trucker Tools recently surveyed approximately 300 carriers to learn the unvarnished truth about the challenges that they are currently facing. Of those who responded to our survey, most are owner-operators or micro-carriers who operate five trucks or less. The carriers we surveyed had lots to say about what’s working and what isn’t on the road right now. What’s clear is that they need all the help they can get right now.
In this blog, we share the detailed results of our survey, how you can help your carrier partners during this difficult time and why it’s so important to provide a positive experience for carriers in the first place.
Instead of only thinking about how to track loads for your shippers, consider giving your carriers comprehensive technology-based tools that do more than just track freight. Trucker Tools’ free driver app includes a powerful, GPS-based real-time visibility tool that can provide you (and your shippers) with updated location data every five minutes.
But our free driver app does much more than provide visibility to brokers. The Trucker Tools driver app provides carriers with real-time information on fuel prices, parking, rest areas, truck stops, routing, DOT locations, weight scales, restaurants, Wal-Mart locations and more. The carriers we surveyed told us that some of the most significant challenges they face right now are closed rest areas, reduced hours at stores and trouble finding places to get food. The real-time info provided by Trucker Tools’ driver app can be a huge help to carriers right now in finding all of the above.
Fifty-five percent of the carriers we surveyed also report that detention at shipper locations has increased during the pandemic. You can use Trucker Tools’ real-time visibility to actively monitor detention and proactively address the causes of delays with shippers and receivers. Using Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity real-time visibility platform, you even can set up detention alerts so that you receive a notification on your computer any time that a carrier is delayed longer than two or three hours.
One of the major issues that carriers (and brokers) are dealing with right now is lower than normal volume and rates. Of the carriers we surveyed, 88 percent have seen their incomes reduced during the pandemic and 90 percent report that reduced income is their top challenge. For owner operators and small trucking companies, it’s important to be able to increase the volume of freight they move right now, since rates are down. Unlike mega carriers, owner operators and micro carriers may not have the technology in place that allows them to increase volume easily.
As a broker, you can offer carriers a way to automate some of their daily tasks and yours, and up your freight volume and theirs at the same time. When your carrier partners use Trucker Tools’ driver app in their daily operations, they gain access to Trucker Tools digital freight matching and Book-It-Now automated load booking tool. Truckers can search for and book your open loads and loads from other brokers directly in the Trucker Tools driver app. Automating load searches and bookings helps you and your carriers move more freight because you’ve eliminated the time-consuming phone calls, emails and load boards that you usually use to find and book freight/trucks.
The reality is that building positive relationships with high-quality carriers ultimately is good for your business. If you retain carriers and use them as much as possible for the loads you broker, it improves your brokerage’s bottom line because you spend less time (and money) onboarding new carriers. When that positive experience includes Trucker Tools’ driver app, digital freight matching and real-time visibility platform, you also gain greater operational efficiency, which is crucial in maintaining profit margins for your brokerage.
The positive relationships you create with carriers now may help you in the future, as well. After all, rates and availability of truck capacity do fluctuate and change. The price of moving freight will eventually increase and capacity will tighten again. It will help that you were there for your carriers when they needed it most and they’ll be more likely to do the same for you when the roles are reversed.
Are you ready to learn more about how Trucker Tools can help you provide a positive experience for carriers? Read How Schneider Is Using Trucker Tools’ Book-It-Now To Enhance the Trucker Experience, Build Carrier Loyalty or schedule a Trucker Tools demo today.