Building Carrier Relationships: 3 Tips for Auto Transport Brokers

by Kacie LaCombe

In the digital age, it’s too easy to forgo the personal nature of building relationships to better your business. The tools we are given, like social media or email, are meant to make communication easier, but when not used strategically, they can be a hindrance.

Whether you’re not a social pro or simply don’t have the time to network, it’s important to find tools that work for you to build your partnerships. What we do know about our industry is that the auto transport brokers who are the most successful operate with an extensive network of reliable carriers. This isn’t done by accident or without putting in the time.

As a broker, building your network may feel intimidating but it doesn’t have to be. Use these three relationship-building tips to get started and watch your super-team of carriers come together. 

Be Reliable if You Want Reliability 

At the core of what every broker wants from a carrier is trust. Reliability is inherently of great value. Brokers have a lot of volume to move and managing many loads at once, so there isn’t time to worry about whether the carrier can get the job done. However, it’s not fair to assume proven reliability of carriers without proving trust in return. 

One of the key ways to prove your reliability is to always pay invoices quickly and on-time. Carriers are constantly in a vulnerable position as they wait for the rate they earned. To show your appreciation and respect for their work through timely payment is the easiest way to maintain good standing with your carriers. And if there is a justified reason for delayed payment, communicate the status of payment so the carriers aren’t left worried or wondering.

“…it’s not fair to assume proven reliability of carriers without proving trust in return.”

And if promises are made to your carriers, whether that’s around promising a certain rate on the next load or to use them more as demand increases, follow through. Carriers need to know brokers have their back just as brokers need to know that carriers will get the job done. If you show that you can be trusted, the more trustworthy your partners are likely to be. 

Transparency is Key

As with any relationship, the more transparent you are the less chaos and confusion will ensue. The same is especially true for building a carrier network. Clearly define what you expect, what specific needs you have per load, or any anticipated prices changes. 

“Always be upfront, leave nothing up to interpretation.”

Always be upfront, leave nothing up to interpretation. Carriers can only do the best with what they are given. Not only do clear expectations help brokers get loads moved faster, but it creates a reliable line of communication. The more information you provide upfront, in the relationship, and load posting, the easier the workflow between you and your carriers will be. This will set carriers up to succeed and help you identify the carriers you want in your network. 

By setting a clear stage of what’s expected and how you like to work, you’ll be better equipped to find and nurture a long-lasting partnership with solid carriers. 

Leverage Technology 

While quick-tricks to meeting potential partners can leave a lot on the table, if used appropriately, it can do a lot of the work for you. Not only in finding good carriers, but also in maintaining existing relationships without being a time-suck. 

“Technology can save you a ton of time while providing real data on performance of your network and areas to improve upon along the way.”

As more members of the auto transport industry become dependent on technology, it affords you a huge community with immediate access. First, identify platforms that carriers use, apps or load boards, where real-time status updates are automated or GPS technology is connected.

This technology will not only increase transparency, but provide you real accessible data on the carriers you’re working with as it connects to your transportation management system. Second, look into more advanced load boards that vet carriers for you. More modern load boards will highlight carriers with proven documentation and preferred lanes, eliminating the extra back and forth for you. 

Technology can save you a ton of time while providing real data on your network performance and areas to improve upon along the way.

There is no shortcut to identifying and building a network of carriers, but it’s a venture necessary to creating a successful auto transport brokerage. From load posting to paying on time, there are many simple steps to take to attract the right carriers and maintain the relationships for a mutually successful partnership. 

Curious about a load board with vetted carriers? Check out the Super Loadboard for more information.

Published on September 4, 2020


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