What a Good Carrier Relationship Looks Like
Having a good relationship with a carrier means that a broker can put them on a load and know with confidence they are going to take care of it. The broker might know some of the drivers or dispatchers personally. And they will be one of the first carriers to come to mind when the broker has a load that will likely fit in the carrier’s network. The brokers know the carrier is going to treat their customers as well as they do themselves.
A good relationship also means the broker is going to help out the carrier when needed. This might mean the broker pays an accessorial even before they've confirmed that they are going to be reimbursed by their customer. Carriers have expectations, just like the broker and the shipper. Doing what you can to make sure everyone’s expectations are met is important to all parties involved and will help build good broker-carrier relationships that benefit shippers.
The Importance of Good Carrier Relationships
Carriers are very important to a broker’s relationship with their customers, especially for non-asset brokerages. They do not own trucks so they must rely on a network of carriers to meet the shippers’ expectations when transporting product. Carriers have many choices when it comes to working with brokers. They are usually more apt to work with someone they know they can trust and already have a working relationship with. This is often true even if they can get a better rate from someone they don’t work with regularly.
Additionally, it’s important to make sure you maintain your carrier relationships no matter what the market is doing. The supply chain is cyclical. Brokers need to take care of carriers even when the market is in their favor, so when things shift, the carrier will still take care of them.
The Impact Good Carrier Relationships Have on Shippers
First-hand knowledge that you can trust a carrier to pick up and deliver loads efficiently, safely and on time is invaluable. Additionally, when the same carriers regularly pick up loads for the same shippers, the drivers become familiar with the pickup process. The shippers and receivers start to remember the drivers, and everything is likely to go more smoothly. Also, when a carrier and shipper are familiar with one another, the carrier is usually more proactive when there’s an issue. Overall, though, there tend to be fewer issues.
How Can Shippers Help?
Carriers have many choices on who to work with and what shippers they want to load out of. One of the most important things a broker or shipper can do is respect the carrier’s time. A common complaint from carriers is feeling like they are being taken advantage of or are underappreciated. This is especially true when it comes to waiting to be loaded or offloaded. Long wait times are uneconomical for the carrier and can even result in missed loads and opportunities.
Another easy and important thing a shipper can do is communicate in a timely manner. Drivers are often the last to know when something changes. Make sure to keep them informed of any delays and let them know as soon as possible when any issues are expected to be resolved. An informed, appreciated driver will do whatever they can to meet your expectations.