In the trucking industry, contracts are the only thing that keeps the cash flowing. The sole purpose of tracking is so that you get your contracts and make profits out of them. But if you’re a novice, obtaining a good contract is the greatest of challenges.
That’s why to survive in the business; you need to learn how to get trucking contracts. However, only looking for loads is nothing but a short-term mentality. There are multiple methods you should try, which we’ll discuss here.
Types of Trucking Contracts
Before looking for any trucking contract with a client, you must decide what type of contract you want. There are two major types of arrangements depending on time, long-term and rate confirmation.
Rate Confirmation Contract
It is the most common type of trucking contract that truckers undertake daily. Rate confirmation is basically a contract for individual loads with all the information regarding locations to pick up or drop off, fees, pay rates, etc.
Long Term Dedicated Contract
This is the most profitable type of trucking contract that every trucking company aims for. You obtain this type of contract with a shipper company or through government FEMA loads.
Once obtained, you can get all their loads of a particular type for a long time to come. Although this type of contract is tougher to obtain, especially without any prior experience, it yields the most significant and guaranteed profit.
How to Get Trucking Contracts?
As we’ve mentioned before, long-term contracts with a company yield the best result for any trucker. But you shouldn’t get carried away and put all your eggs in that basket just yet.
Once you obtain your Commercial Driver’s License, the first thing to focus on should be to get any contracts as soon as possible. As soon as you get one, don’t let any stones unturned to do an excellent job at it.
But where to get a loading contract right away? Consider these options:
Know Your Target Clients
Before doing any type of business, the first task is to know your target customers. Without this, you can never achieve your desired profit. Besides, selecting target clients makes your job easier by getting perspective on what you want to develop. Although this is a crucial task, it takes far less time than others.
Finding good clients is hard; keeping them is harder. That is why you need to be extra vigilant to maintain the relationship through excellent customer service.
When you want to get individual loading contracts, load boards can help you find the right type of loads. Load boards let you access a shipper looking for a specific type of carrier to haul their freight.
Load boards actually make the task quite easy since it provides you with a comprehensive list of loads and contracts from which to choose. Besides, the task details are also explained clearly.
However, sticking with load boards is not a very good idea in the long term because you will probably not grow into a profitable trucking company with this. Fighting tooth and nail to find a load every day is doesn’t go well for most people.
Don’t feel like wasting hours every day looking for the right load? You can always go for a dispatcher option where they work the load boards for you. Just hire a truck dispatching service that connects you to all the shippers and brokers by navigating through the information you’ve given them.
A dispatcher service cross matches your business type and hauling expectations with the available brokers. In addition to this, it provides more than just getting loads for you. Dispatchers also provide other back-office services like accounting, billing, and collections.
A freight broker acts as the middle man between the carriers and the shipping companies. By negotiating varying rates with both parties, they tend to make a profit. Because of their excellent negotiating skills, hiring freight brokers help out a lot for those who lack this skill.
If you’re starting fresh, then look for a freight broker at first to ensure some profit for yourself. The best thing about freight brokers is they are convenient and easy to use. However, you’ll probably get lower rates than dispatchers with them. But some brokers provide better profit than others.
Registering as a Government Contractor
Every government requires a lot of stuff to do, and this needs numerous trucks. For all of its staffing needs, the government tends to outsource the job to trucking companies. That is why federal, local, or even the state government have their trucking contracts to fill.
If you look for it, you’ll find several contractors registered with the government nearby. You can get in touch with them with some extra steps to get your trucking contracts. There is also the option of partnering with a company hauling under a government contract.
It is the best way to go forward and ensure a guaranteed profit in the long run. Networking becomes so much more important when yours is a startup company or a small trucking business.
Since load boarding only won’t get you too far in the business, you should also concentrate on finding good clients and relationships.
You can do this by getting yourself involved in events attended by your shippers as well. Make use of the internet and familiarize yourself with the current trends in the trucking industry.
Heavy networking in time can play a significant role in your future. So whatever you do, keep going strong.
This is a bit more difficult to do, and you might need to visit door to door looking for potential shippers to provide you loads. However, the return for this method could be higher than all the other methods since it is a direct transaction between you and the shipper client without any middle man.
Some truckers build their business by securing contracts with the local markets by contacting them personally. You could do the same by looking for companies you want to work with. Call or email their shipping department to get more information about new opportunities.
It involves hard work, and you might end up being rejected by most. But those who’ll provide the contract will yield return profits more than you’d hope to get from other methods.
Load Matching Apps
With the rising use of mobile apps, you can very easily find load contracts for your truck. The philosophy behind such apps is almost the same as load boards except with a much larger number of freight brokers.
You can make use of this app by accepting posted loads at the published rate. One good thing about such an app is that it removes the hassle of negotiating rates. Besides, document submission and payment processes can also be made with these apps.
What Not to Do While Trying to Get Contracts?
If you want to grow your trucking business, there are things you must do to get the contracts, and there are things that must also be avoided. They pretty much deal with business ethics and common sense. Despite that, some of the important points must be mentioned.
While getting the contracts, you have to promote yourself in various ways. There are many ways of promotion, and most of them cost money, but some don’t. If you’re new, don’t spend too much on advertising unless you’re sure it will work. Stick to personal visitations, phone calls, and emails.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
We’ve already mentioned this before but need to emphasize it again. The main reason there are so many options to get trucking contracts in this write-up is that holding onto only one method might not work in the long run.
If you’re fighting tooth and nail every single day for loads through load boards, you’ll eventually lose all your time, energy, and patience. Load boards by themselves isn’t a bad process; it’s just one part of a larger strategy to get clients.
So, you must keep your options open and try through several fronts to get the contracts. If one doesn’t work, another one probably will.
Don’t Act Rough
Trucking is a service provided to its clients. And one of the major rules of customer service is that the customer is always right. That’s why when you talk to the clients or get the contract, always be on your best behavior and treat them in the best way.
Sometimes going the extra mile to keep them happy works like a charm too. But make sure beforehand that the clients are good enough for such treatment and the contract is worth it.
All service-based businesses require customers to serve. And this customer is obtained through contracts in the case of trucking. So, without knowing how to get trucking contracts, you can never survive in the industry.