Since the advent of the small business owner operator trucker, there has always been a sort of love/hate relationship between them and the large asset based carriers; a love/hate between the load broker group and the small business owner operator trucker, and usually it’s the shipper and the small business owner operator trucker who suffer. Just ask Ron Hazel, the traffic manager for GEA, Inc.
Turns out, Ron Hazel of GEA, Inc., a manufacturer of milking products and other freight, typically moved in dry vans, prefers dealing with the businessman or woman in the cab of the truck to several experiences he’s had getting burned by large asset-based carriers over-promising on service only to turn around and not deliver, putting him in a bind.
Dealing directly with owner-operators without a broker middleman, too, leads to better rates for both his operation and the owner-operator’s, he believes. Better service, too.
For the small business owner operator trucker, the load broker has been an indispensable part of his or her daily operation simply because while driving, there is no opportunity to look for that next load, so, the load broker has flourished, often during the negotiation process earning more money than the truckers delivering the load. Even to the point where more than several load brokers would be offering the same freight having truckers compete to haul it for the lowest price, often at a loss to the trucker.
Asset based carriers often became de facto load brokers, offering small business owner operator truckers that freight that wasn’t going to make the asset based carrier enough money to warrant putting it on their own trucks.
And then there’s the non-asset based carriers that are essentially load brokers except they have a bank at the back end, offering advances and other amenities not usually available with either the independent load broker or the asset based carrier.
The road sector of the transportation network isn’t always as clear to define as one would think. Just because there’s a name on the door, it doesn’t mean the truck isn’t owned by the driver.
Now, there is an app that can easily put the small business owner operator truck in direct contact with the shipper making it easy for the shipper to track his freight while on route to his customer, not only that, it makes it not just possible but simple for that shipper to know what trucks are close by that would be eligible to haul his freight. Effectively, this app puts the shipper directly in touch with the trucker that is going to pick up and deliver the freight and arrange how the funds are going to change hands for getting the job done.
This app is called Xypper. That’s not pronounced “zipper” but “zYpper”
Xypper allows the trucker to input his type of equipment — dry box, reefer, flat, step, or whatever and also input the lanes of preference. Then through the smart phone or tablet GPS system, pin point the location of the trucker. From the shippers point of view, Xypper allows the shipper to input the description of the load, the destination and whatever pertinent information is required.
Then Xypper, automatically finds the truckers that could be assigned that load based on the information provided by the trucker and notifies those truckers available. The trucker, if the load makes sense, then contacts the shipper by email and arranges for pick up. It’s as simple for the trucker as just pushing an accept button on a smart phone and the load information is completed — bill of lading, customs documents, proof of delivery, etc. — and delivered to his or her device.
The small business owner operator trucker now picks up and delivers the load. When the load is delivered, the receiver acknowledges on the device the delivery has been made and Xypper system triggers the necessary billing paperwork, to both the receiver and shipper. Even sends the invoice for the small business owner operator trucker to the shipper so payment is direct. And all this load matching, and paperwork development costs a mere .5% of the value of the freight costs to each the shipper and the trucker.
No more does the small business owner operator trucker suffer knowing the load broker is taking the lion’s share. The trucker now knows exactly what the cost is for him to receive this load and can easily compute his profit margins. That $5.00 a mile load is now not $1.48 a mile load with the rest of the value being eaten up with middle men who have no skin in the game.
Hazel believes the principle reason some owner-operators “are struggling is they’re surrendering their profit to the broker.”
For better margins, and long-term health, doing the hard work on relationship building with direct shippers will pay off in the long term. There are plenty more folks out there just like Hazel, no doubt. There are plenty of small independent owner operator truckers ready willing and able to haul that freight legally and safely.