How to be a “Shipper of Choice”

When freight capacity is tight, carriers can afford to be choosy about who they haul for. But as a shipper, your freight needs to move regardless of what the market conditions are. While truckload capacity is out of your control, you can have influence over whether or not you’re the type of shipper that carriers will prioritize when faced with lots of load options.

Being a preferred shipper is often called “Shipper of Choice” and FreightWaves has even designed an entire awards program around the concept. A Shipper of Choice often gets the best trucks, the best drivers, and the best rates.

But what does it mean, and how can you become one? At Shaker Logistics, we are an experienced freight broker, but we also have our own truckload fleet, so we understand the carrier and driver perspective, and know how they prioritize loads that they’ll take.

Here are our top tips for things shippers can do to be more desirable and become a “Shipper of Choice”:

Time Matters!

Brokers and carriers don’t want shipments from companies who will cause a loss in productivity. What can you do as a shipper to ensure that you keep trucks and drivers moving?

  • Minimize dwell time: unload a driver quickly when he or she arrives
  • Be flexible on hours for pick up and delivery. Don’t force a driver to wait for 5 hours if they show up 15 minutes past their appointment time, and don’t make them sit around if they arrive early.
  • Extend your hours! Give wider windows for drivers to arrive. Don’t open your docks at 11 a.m. and close them at 3 p.m.

Plan and Communicate

Lead times, lead times, lead times! Shippers who give brokers more lead time enable brokers to find and secure capacity at a lower cost earlier. Be willing to work with your broker on your shipping strategy.

  • Flexibility on when your loads ship can save you money and help find capacity. If you demand a 600-mile lane ships on a Friday afternoon, good luck finding a truck to take it! No carrier wants to arrive on a Friday night, and wait all weekend to unload on a Monday. Work with your broker to adjust your shipping dates and times to match up with driver and carrier preferences.
  • Be available for communication! Shippers of Choice pick up the phone and collaboratively work through issues with brokers and carriers, versus sending them to a general phone tree maze while a driver sits waiting.

Facilities and Friendliness

Drivers who show up may not always have all the information that you do about what or when they’re hauling. Be courteous and helpful to them so that freight keeps moving.

  • Treat drivers with respect, as if they are customers. Be helpful at loading and unloading by giving them clear instructions on where they need to be.
  • Clear signage at your facility helps! Make it easy for drivers to know where to go.
  • Facilities are a great bonus. Do you have restrooms available for drivers? Can you accommodate overnight parking if your local codes allow?

Are you a Shipper of Choice?

Let Shaker Logistics do a complimentary assessment of your shipping operation to help you find opportunities to improve your standing with carriers and ensure your freight moves when it needs to. We’ll give you specific recommendations on process improvements and suggest simple changes to your approach that will set you on the path to becoming a Shipper of Choice.

Contact us