Survey reveals issues with brokering heavy hauls, highlights advantage of online marketplace

March 9, 2018

Tyson Fisher


More truckers are turning to technology to find loads, but the difficulty and financial burden of obtaining permits remains an issue. Online freight marketplaces like Fr8Star believe they can alleviate some of that burden and earn heavy haulers more money. FR8Star and Comdata back up that claim with a recent survey with heavy haul freight carriers.

The 2018 Heavy Haul Freight Carrier survey highlights the important role technology has taken when it comes to brokering and permitting. More than 250 truckers using an open deck trailer were surveyed.

Less than half of those surveyed use traditional brokers, that typically requires the ancient art of calling someone. Although 75 percent of those who still use traditional brokers reported a positive experience, roughly the same amount are interested in different ways of doing business.

Hesitance to use an online freight marketplace appears to come from a lack of understanding. Four in five truckers who have not used an online freight marketplace expressed interest once it was described to them. Freight marketplaces are licensed broker exchanges that connect carriers directly with shippers and let them bid and book loads.

According to a FR8Star news release, freight marketplaces typically result in higher rates per mile, faster payments, better information about trips/loads and reduced time in finding the next load. On average, 4.22 hours are eaten up every day finding loads, FR8Star points out.

The survey found that more than half of surveyed truckers experiences incorrect information about a load when working with brokers. This is a deal breaker, since a whopping 95 percent reported they want correct information before bidding.

The most significant factor truckers want in a marketplace for open deck, oversize/overweight loads is fast pay with no factoring fees. More than 60 percent of those who have used an online freight marketplace say they made more money compared with traditional broker and load boards.

So why are so many truckers not using online freight marketplaces (only 22 percent do)? According to the survey, a third of respondents are not sure if they can be trusted. Approximately a quarter said they have all the customers they needs, with another quarter not sure how they even work.

But the problem does not appear to be due to a lack of tech knowledge. Despite what some people may think, truckers are on top of the latest technology. The vast majority, 90 percent, described themselves as tech savvy.

In a statement to Land Line, Fr8Star CEO Matt Kropp addressed issues surrounding the lack of trust among nonusers of online freight marketplaces:

“The traditional broker model is inherently biased against transparency. Brokers make money getting the shipper to pay more and the carrier to take less. The less information the broker transmits from the shipper to carrier, the more leverage there is in the transaction. Online freight marketplaces flip that paradigm. The shipper is charged a transparent flat fee. Carriers bid on freight having all the information about the load ahead of time and get paid 100 percent of their quote upon delivery. This transparency and open communication is how we breed trust with our users.”

Kropp referenced the survey finding of 77 percent of users reporting a better experience than with a traditional broker to point out customer satisfaction after getting over initial qualms.

One finding from the survey that should surprise no one deals with what truckers like and dislike about their job. Truckers loved the travel and the people they meet, according to the survey. However, rules and regulations are dampening that enjoyment.

Truckers also tend to be in it for the long haul, pun intended. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed had at least 10 years of experience, with nearly 40 percent in the business for 20 years or more.

More relevant to oversize/overweight trucking is the litany of permits required, with more than 35 percent requiring them. On average, these truckers pony up $285 for these permits. With that said, 90 percent of truckers surveyed said they would like shippers and brokers to pay for these permits rather than dipping into their own wallets.

Nearly half are never sure if the permits acquired are correct. More than half said permits can be difficult to obtain. Only about 38 percent reported having no issues with incorrect or lack of permits.