Challenging Times for Truck Dispatchers as Market Shrinks and Lack of Expertise Persists
Nowadays, looking for a truck dispatcher is like finding a needle in a haystack. After all, we wrote Everyone’s a Truck Dispatcher back in October 2019. Times are tougher now and the truck dispatch services market is shrinking because of changing market conditions and the truck dispatcher’s lack of knowledge and experience. We shot the video The Two Types of CDL Truck Dispatchers in August 2020 and went over some of what you should be looking for in a truck dispatcher. If you’re looking to learn what a truck dispatch service is, we wrote about that in detail in the Truck Dispatch Services – Everything You Need to Know! article.
So Here Are 7 Things You Really Ought to Consider When Looking for a Truck Dispatcher
How Does It Feel When You Call Them? Do You Believe Them?
Sometimes you just really don’t like the guy on the other side of the line, it happens. Sometimes they’re great, sometimes the dispatchers are great and at others, the sales guy is great but the dispatchers aren’t very experienced, or overworked, or bad communicators, or they lack proper knowledge in market dynamics and rate negotiation. So whether the sales guy is likable or not, can be set aside, but whether what they’re telling you is believable and fact-based, is a different story. The same goes for the dispatcher, it doesn’t really matter how they sound to you, what matters is if they actually understand what dispatching a truck is all about and not just booking loads and hoping for the best.
Experience or Number of Years in Business Is One of the Most Important Things to Look for When Looking for a Truck Dispatcher
You can’t get anywhere without a number of years of being in the business. Getting started is tough and that’s why most businesses fail not far after they open their doors. It’s important that your dispatcher has been dispatching trucks long enough that they’ve gone through both the ups as well as the downs of a freight market. You simply can’t experience that as a new company. This is extremely important because it cannot be faked.
What’s Their Track Record and Are the Trucking Companies They Serve, Similar to Yours?
You’ll want to make sure the trucks they dispatch are semi trucks and trailers. We at AFT Dispatch don’t dispatch hotshots or any sort of LTL freight. Other truck dispatch companies specialize in that part of the market. But you definitely don’t want the wrong truck dispatcher to dispatch your trucks. You want to make sure that your truck dispatcher’s customer base is similar to you. A good truck dispatcher should have strong industry connections, including relationships with brokers that are essential in a down market. It’s really helpful in securing competitive rates and ensuring that your trucks run as effectively as possible.
Are They Knowledgeable? Do They Understand the Little Things?
Are they well-rounded? Do you learn anything new from your contacts with your truck dispatcher or the truck dispatch company in general? A good truck dispatcher should be able to communicate effectively with you as the carrier as well as the broker. Unclear communication, inability to understand different market dynamics and situations, and negotiating rates based out of weakness are all big red flags. Your truck dispatcher should be well versed and confident. They need to know nuance.
Spend a Few Minutes on Their Website. They Do Have a Website, Right?
It’s 2023, they should have a website! If they offer truck dispatch services then they’re looking to grow as a business. In that case, there is no excuse in not having a website full of helpful content for the visitor. If they’re a one-man operation that more importantly, is not seeking to grow and add trucks, then a simple Gmail inbox is just fine. Their website should load fast, look good, and answer some of your questions. You should feel more or less satisfied and interested in speaking over the phone. Anything less and you should keep walking.
Do They Have a Weekly Minimum?
This one’s simple. Does your truck dispatcher have a weekly minimum charge? The one-man show may or may not have one but it’s usually the bigger truck dispatch companies that do this. They hold a weekly minimum charge of $150 to $175 per week, that’s charged regardless whether you work with them that week or are on vacation with your family. Understand the psychology behind it. They don’t care if they ever book you a single load if you’re going to pay them $150 weekly regardless. They’re in the business of harvesting contracts, rather then actually dispatching trucks.
What’s Actually Included in Their Truck Dispatch Services?
When they say truck dispatch services, what do they actually mean? As mentioned at the start, we wrote an article on this so definitely take a look there for more detailed information about truck dispatch services in general but what’s important to mention here is a basic understanding of the offering. What are they actually offering and will it save you time? Even if you break even but they save you time, it’s a huge win. Do they have staff to handle the broker setup packets? What about billing and invoicing and running credit checks? Is there an accounting department? Will you have to issue insurance certificates or will they do that for you? Dissect the service and understand what you should be expecting if you use one company over another. Just remember that promises and expectations are often broken and not met.
The right one’s out there!
Now that you understand the key factors to consider when looking for a truck dispatcher, the next step is to find one that meets your needs. Since I own the company and believe in our service, I can only recommend ourselves. We work with carriers operating under their own MC authority as well as lease on truck owner operators. We also offer a completely free educational resource on our YouTube channel that’s updated at least once a week. Our library of helpful trucking videos is quite extensive and I highly recommend you subscribe and hit the notification bell so you don’t miss our weekly video where we cover news from the trucking industry and the loads of the top drivers that week in our Top Paying Loads in Trucking video series. You can also call or text us at (801) 448-6363