When the truckload market favors carriers–like in 2018–there is more freight available than trucks to move it. In these conditions, carriers have the luxury of choice, and can be very selective about what loads they will move. Shippers that implemented a ‘shipper of choice’ strategy and historically treated carriers well are more likely to get to their loads covered.
As shippers compete for available capacity, market rates rise. With an abundance of high-paying freight available, new carriers enter the market and existing trucking companies reinvest profits in their business, buying more trucks and hiring more drivers. This capacity growth continues until the scales tip, and there are more trucks available than freight to move. Rates begin to fall and available freight begins to shrink. Eventually, the tables turn and now shippers have the luxury of choice–and they want to work with carriers who provide excellent service.
As a carrier, there are ways that you can make yourself more appealing to shippers to get better, more consistent access to loads. Here are a few steps you can take today to stand out from your competitors as a 'carrier of choice.'
Preferred Carriers Do:
Approach Business Flexibly
With more carriers competing over less freight (relatively speaking), getting the exact load you want can be more challenging than normal. The good news: Coyote has more than 10,000 loads available every day—work with your Coyote rep to find alternative options. If you have recently expanded your fleet, changed your lane preferences or diversified into new equipment types (i.e. flatbed or reefer), make sure your rep understands the current state of your network so he or she can source opportunities. You may be not always be able to get your first choice, but we can work on a strategy to keep your trucks moving.
Find Loads Faster with Coyote Technology
With Coyote.com and the CoyoteGO® app (available in iTunes or Google Play), you can access our load board from the convenience of your computer or smart phone. That means you can submit offers and book loads without having to call your rep first, giving you faster access to available loads.
Use Tech Tracking to Your Advantage
Having driver location visibility while the shipment is in transit is quickly becoming the industry standard. For shippers, it is not an exception, it’s an expectation. Carriers who track electronically will have an easier time getting freight than those who do not. We have four electronic tracking methods for carriers to share location data. Choose one that works best for your business.
Running dedicated lanes can be an easy win for everyone involved. You know where your truck is going week after week, and the shipper doesn't have to worry about getting their freight covered. Additionally, as a carrier in the Coyote network, you have access to UPS opportunities. Talk to your rep about lane opportunities today.
Think Long Term
Think beyond your next load and plan for long-term success. The truckload market is always changing; sometimes it favors shippers and other times it favors you. Focus on establishing long-term customer relationships based on mutual benefit—regardless of market conditions. If you maintain your service levels and keep rate increases reasonable in a tight market, a good shipper will be far more likely to protect your volume and rates in a loose market.
Preferred Carriers Don’t:
Miss Appointment Times
Shippers want their freight to be picked up and delivered on time, every time. This is an obvious point that’s true in every market condition, but it is especially important when there is intense carrier competition for available loads. Shippers do not have to tolerate carriers that consistently miss appointments when capacity is plentiful - and they won't.
Think you’re going to be late for a delivery? Contact your Coyote rep right away so we can give the shipper a heads up. In transportation, stuff happens, from traffic jams to blown tires. Most people will be understanding if you keep them in the loop instead of showing up three hours late without notice. A little proactive communication goes a long way.
If you say you’re going to move a load, do your absolute best to move it. In a loose capacity environment, shippers pay extra-special attention to bounce percentages. Carriers who repeatedly fall off of loads will face an uphill battle convincing customers that they’ll do better on the next one.
As a carrier in the Coyote network, we want to give you the tools and resources you need to help position your company for success over the long haul. On May 2nd, Coyote's Chief Strategy Officer, Chris Pickett, hosted a U.S. Truckload Market Forecast webinar to help shippers and network carriers navigate the volatile U.S. truckload market.
"As a carrier with over 400 trucks, and the first time joining this webinar, it was very informative and useful." - Quality & Implementation Manager at large national carrier