Well, I for one thought I had heard it all. From “dolly converters” to “body jobs”, where we specialize in the industry, we have a pretty good vocabulary as it relates to the world of trucking. I came across a new one the other day though, “Non-asset freight pimp”.
Let’s face it; freight brokers still have a bad rap. Maybe it’s jealousy because the broker doesn’t have to make the heavy investment into their business that carriers do. Maybe it’s presumed or documented unethical behaviour. Either way, most freight brokers don’t want to be called freight brokers and many carriers would like to see them wiped off the face of the planet. Why? They have been successful in capturing freight that used to belong directly to carriers at a higher rate. Brokers can provide a lower rate and they are a contributing factor to the erosion of freight rates for the carriers.
We did a website for a small broker a couple of years back. He was happy with the results and referred us to one of his flatbed carriers in the region. When we met with that well established carrier, he was extremely frustrated. “How is it I keep losing out to a freight broker? He gets the freight and then I move it. I don’t understand.” I didn’t understand either, so I spoke to the broker in question. My assessment, after a brief discussion, was that the broker in this case, was a more confident sales person and he offered the customer a choice between several carriers, at several price points. Customers like choice.
It’s a funny world. There are many carriers that fill their trucks with broker freight. Brokers are their sales force and these carriers have very few relationships with customers directly. There are carriers that successfully outsource key lane segments to other carriers, like the corridor between Windsor and Quebec City or Ontario to Atlantic Canada, without a hitch. The message I get from that, is the shipper is mostly concerned about getting the job done, not how it gets done.
Lee’s quote for the day
“In the music business, there is a saying that the side men all want to be front men and the front men all want to go home. In the trucking business, it seems most carriers want to play in the “freight pimp” world and most “freight pimps” have the dream of building up key lanes so they can put on their own equipment. Whoever orders their new Cadillac first, is the winner!”