Truckload drivers have a huge responsibility to themselves — find and secure loads to keep themselves on the road and their trucks full. These supply chain champions help keep markets growing and moving forward. At the same time, companies are looking to hire owner-operator drivers to handle their freight transport needs. When it comes to securing dedicated loads, it can be more challenging than ever to keep trucks full and moving. With demand growing year after year, freight rates increase, making dedicated freight loads more profitable for drivers if they can secure them. According to Transport Topics’ recent review, “data shows total truckload rates year-over-year are holding around 12% higher. They are forecast to grow 2.5% to 3% throughout the year… But year-over-year results could start stabilizing later in the year because of a surge in rates last year.” Making the smart choice can help drivers find dedicated loads quickly and easily. The following steps can make it easier for drivers to maintain full capacity and master load procurement within supply chain trucking lanes.
1. Make Capacity Directly Available to Shipper Relationships
The best and easiest way for drivers to make their truckload capacity available for orders is by working with shippers directly. Forming relationships and long-term partnerships with shippers gives drivers an inside point of access to potentially unlimited capacity. When shippers know who to call for their transportation needs, they are more likely to continue using drivers who have proven themselves capable of handling their type of cargo. Many companies are looking for owner-operators so the potential for relationship building across dedicated freight drivers is high.
2. Take Advantage of Free Load Board Platforms
Truckload drivers who want to find dedicated loads of specialized freight shipments can benefit from reliable freight matching apps and online services. With easy-to-use mobile apps and intuitive service options, drivers can more easily tap into their available truckload space and make it accessible for shippers. Still, load matching can be tiresome when done in tedious manual ways. Innovative apps and services allow for better coordination post- pandemic among drivers seeking owner-operator dedicated runs.
Digital load boards also offer a more streamlined approach to checking for load availability and owner-operators looking for dedicated runs. Signing up with these boards gives drivers on-demand access to 24/7 load listings for easier management and load procurement. With continually updated load boards, dedicated shipment access ensures drivers, whether working independently as owner-operators or partnering with a brokerage or other 3PL, make it easier to keep trucks full. Securing ideal capacity and dedicated freight loads becomes more profitable in tandem.
Getting access to dedicated loads and proactively managing a fleet’s available capacity doesn’t have to cost a lot of money either. Drivers should take full advantage of free load board platforms that can access integrated available loads. It can also be a good way to connect with potential shipper partners and companies that can easily hire owner-operator drivers. Free tools should always be used and accessed whenever possible for dedicated truckload drivers.
Excluding the pandemic-induced capacity crunch, many truck drivers struggle to find loads to haul and, as a result, often have to go long periods of time without any work. This can be very costly for drivers, as they lose out on the money they could have been making and the money they have already invested in their trucks.
Free and premium load boards, such as those offered by Truckstop.com, DAT, and the like, can help drivers connect with shippers who need dedicated capacity. These platforms provide a way for drivers to get their trucks filled up with cargo, which can help them stay productive and profitable.
Additionally, load boards can help drivers form relationships with shippers, which can lead to future work opportunities, and over time, the load boards become additional sources of revenue when the dedicated capacity needs of your existing shippers decline too. It has become an ongoing win-win scenario for all drivers and users. But perhaps the best load boards are those where drivers don’t actually have to log in and hunt for loads; they instead let dedicated freight solutions, like AMX Logistics, find them and simply manage the booking/scheduling process.
At times, knowing how to find dedicated loads and specialized cargo handling can be difficult for drivers. Freight brokers can work as the middleman and help connect shippers and drivers to ensure that high-priority loads requiring dedicated capacity get picked up and trucks keep moving. Brokers know the ins and outs of the industry and can make it easier to coordinate loads and maintain maximum availability on a daily basis. Professional partnerships can make all the difference when looking for dedicated freight to fill available trucks.
Online portals and resources can open up more opportunities for shippers and drivers to collaborate and coordinate with specialty freight through innovative technology and apps. It can also improve partnerships with companies looking to hire owner-operator drivers. Online job board portals and communication hubs allow for mobile communication and coordination between parties on the go. Dedicated freight drivers, as well as those shippers with dire capacity needs and seeking owner-operator dedicated runs, can find high-paying partnerships. That leads to plenty of opportunities to network with skilled and experienced shippers.
3. Use an Integrated TMS to Find Dedicated Loads
Managing loads often comes down to setting up an innovative management system that can help drivers track and monitor loads and get in touch with shippers who have loads available. With transportation management systems (TMS) fully integrated and onboarded across many of today’s shippers, drivers can reduce back-office expenses. Finding the best loads, offering the right rates for your capacity based on market conditions, and working with the best freight terminals will be easier with a dedicated TMS platform in place. This can help companies looking for owner-operators be more effective in their search. But how does that help drivers find dedicated loads?
Remember that a TMS can connect to drivers and 3PLS via carrier portals, making more profitable loads readily available. Carrier portals are a great way for carriers to connect with more dedicated loads and for shippers and 3PLs to find reliable transportation partners. Shippers and 3PLs can quickly connect with qualified carriers and get rates and availability for shipping freight by using a carrier portal. This saves time and money and helps businesses move their goods more efficiently.
Even better, the best TMS platforms on the planet are designed for widespread use, meaning simple single-sign-on functionality to find higher-paying loads for dedicated runs in your trucks.
4. Consider Partnering With Dedicated Freight 3PL Service Providers
Drivers specializing in dedicated truckload transportation should also consider finding dedicated load source platforms and service providers, much like AMX Logistics and dedicated freight solutions. Finding load boards and services that offer specialized access to dedicated freight types can give these drivers easy access to the loads they are qualified for and are ready to move right now. Rather than sorting through pages of general low-paying freight loads, specialized and profitable loads can be more easily accessed and secured, meaning more money in the pockets of drivers without breaking the banks of shippers. This makes it easier to secure loads for owner-operators looking for dedicated runs.
5. Remember to Use Customized Load Dispatch Providers
One of the difficulties with specializing in dedicated loads is dealing with general dispatch services. Using load dispatch providers who understand dedicated freight shipment and offer customized services can help drivers secure more loads. Furthermore, customized load dispatch providers can help any owner-operators looking for dedicated runs find the best-paying loads and keep their trucks running full. Still, letting dedicated dispatchers handle the capacity crunch makes it easier for drivers to focus on current loads and ensure timely delivery and optimal customer service. Dedicated dispatch providers can also help shippers find companies looking for owner-operators to haul freight for them.
Dedicated freight dispatchers understand the market dynamics and can help connect drivers with loads that match their capacity. This helps ensure that trucks are running full and that drivers make the most money possible. In addition, dispatchers can help keep drivers focused on their current loads, which results in timely delivery and optimal customer service.
Still, there is a caveat to working with such services despite the prevalence of services on the market.
Finding a dedicated freight dispatcher who can help fill a truck is easy. However, finding a provider who specializes in the dedicated market and understands the marketplace dynamics takes time. Truckers should research any load-matching service to verify that they know how dedicated transport works and that their level of expertise matches the driver’s needs.
6. Network With Other Industry Experts Regularly
Sometimes it takes a new perspective and approach to secure enough loads to keep dedicated drivers going at full capacity with practical, dedicated freight solutions. While that may not be true during times of disruption when a run on capacity occurs, dedicated services have a unique opportunity to establish long-term relationships that can lead to reliable and consistent needs when the capacity crunch eases. Working with other shippers and other dedicated freight haulers can help drivers get more loads. It can also open doors to new clients and customers through existing relationships within the industry. It can save time and effort on the part of drivers in the long run and help them maximize profits overall by helping to find dedicated loads with less stress than traditional prospecting.
7. Consider Expanding Cargo Specializations
If drivers are having difficulty finding adequate truckload availability when focusing on how to get dedicated loads, it might be beneficial to expand specialty trucking services. Offering more load options such as reefer or dry van or hazardous load transport can open up more load access for drivers, in turn, easing shipper concerns over finding available capacity. Still, they may come with additional risks that require review and consideration.
For instance, consider the use of reefer transport.
Reefer transportation comes with a unique set of risks that are not always present when transporting other types of freight. For example, the temperature inside a reefer truck can quickly go above or below the recommended range, which can damage the freight. Additionally, reefer trucks are often more difficult to maneuver, which can lead to accidents.
While there are benefits to using reefer trucks, carriers and drivers alike need to understand the risks associated with them. If a carrier knows what they are doing and a driver is well-versed in driving a reefer truck, both can minimize or eliminate many of these risks.
Truckload rates remain high in 2022, but that will inevitably balance against demand, meaning fewer loads and a greater chance of running on empty or partially empty hauls. But with more opportunities to take on specialized freight, drivers can avoid capacity shortages and keep profits high.
8. Add Cold Calls to Potential Customers and Clients
Dedicated load procurement sometimes requires a multitude of search methods. While it should not be the sole method of presenting fleet capacity to shippers, cold calls can be a worthwhile addition to the driver’s procurement process. Tapping into new markets and customer bases can be easier with directed and targeted cold calling while looking for dedicated freight. When drivers put themselves out there, they have the potential to discover capacity in unexpected places. Of course, it’s always better when drivers have someone like a high-quality servicer like AMX Logistics to handle that process too.
The growth of e-commerce has led to the development of new markets and an increase in the demand for owner-operators and their services. These new markets offer opportunities for drivers to find dedicated loads, but they also present a number of challenges. Drivers who want to succeed in these markets must be willing to adapt to changes in how business gets conducted. They also need to be comfortable with dealing with uncertainty.
Consider this: The trucking market is currently facing a great deal of uncertainty. Rates may drop as post-pandemic conditions improve, which could lead to a decline in the number of owner-operators. The market may also become more competitive as shippers seek to take advantage of the lower rates. This could cause some drivers to find it difficult to secure dedicated loads.
9. Keep Up to Date and Follow Recent Trucking Trends
Truckload drivers who specialize in dedicated loads must utilize innovative technology and take advantage of recent trucking trends. New processes and customs, procedural requirement chances, and anticipated trend shifts can affect load availability across the board. When drivers keep up with current trends and protocols, it is easier to collaborate with shippers and maintain carrier partnerships while also securing dedicated freight solutions.
The most obvious trend is the need for real-time data capture through ELDs. Still, that same data can be useful in measuring the performance of your trucking capacity, too, especially when managing fleets of smaller stature. As such, more technology amounts to better relationships with shippers and fuller trucks.
10. Consider Expanding to Diverse Contract Types
The final step truckload drivers can take to know how to get dedicated loads is to maintain versatility with their contractual agreements. Securing long-term dedicated trucking contracts is, of course, preferred, but they should also not turn down spot loads and short-term arrangements when they come around. This can be confusing because dedicated trucking is a long-term arrangement by nature. Still, short-term contracts, even of three- to six-month terms, may be available for dedicated freight services.
Such short-term contracts are typically known as mini-bids. Mini-bids are a type of freight auction that allows shippers and drivers to connect with each other quickly and easily. They are ideal for drivers looking for dedicated loads, as they provide a way for drivers to find out about available freight quickly and efficiently.
Mini-bids allow shippers to post information about their shipments, including the type of freight, the destination, and the desired delivery date. Drivers then have the opportunity to bid on these shipments, and the winning bidder gets connected with the shipper.
Mini-bids offer several benefits for both shippers and drivers. For shippers, mini-bids provide a way to connect with qualified drivers quickly. This can result in significant savings for shippers.
For drivers, mini-bids are a quick and easy way to find dedicated loads. They empower drivers to make decisions about their freight, resulting in more control over their earnings.
Drivers often prefer mini-bids because they provide them with greater flexibility, and that flexibility still exists when working with a dedicated freight carrier. Regardless, diversifying contract types can help shippers and drivers keep on the go and maintain maximum throughput even in times of market volatility.
Maximize Truckload Capacity and Find Dedicated Loads With a Partnership From AMX
Truckload drivers have a never-ending responsibility to themselves—find and secure loads that keep their trucks and wallets full and healthy. When it comes to securing dedicated loads, whether reefer or other specialty loads, it can be more challenging than ever in the volatile and uncertain market that dominates local and global markets today. Remember, the pendulum of capacity will indeed swing back to lower demands, pushing all trucking rates down, but finding and growing dedicated partnerships now will help drivers avoid that fate. It will also make it easier to connect with owner-operators looking for dedicated runs.
With demand growing year after year, freight rates continue to rise, making dedicated freight loads more profitable for drivers if they can secure them. The primary focus for drivers searching for owner-operator dedicated runs is to establish and maintain regular cash flow. Afterward, it becomes easier to focus on expansion and specialization by increasing contracts and relationships with shippers throughout the driving season.
To get more dedicated trucking contracts and to establish lasting relationships with shippers, drivers must start looking for dedicated freight across load boards, utilizing dispatchers, collaborating with brokers, and utilizing innovative tools that can help you find loads that best fit personal and professional business goals. Making the smart choice can help drivers find dedicated loads quickly and easily. With the above tips in mind, it can become much easier for drivers like yourself to maintain full truckloads and master both load procurement and specialized freight transportation services.
That will also help truck drivers find dedicated loads with the guidance and direction of skilled and experienced industry partners like AMX Logistics. To further secure maximum profits through dedicated freight solutions as a dedicated freight driver, connect with AMX Logistics to get started.