Although this seems to be a new idea, actually the idea gets it’s origins from early trucking. Before the advent of the large, commercial giants of the industry, if you drove a truck, it was your job as a driver or owner of the truck to get your own load. Today load boards at truck stops and fliers posted on a bulletin board are relics of the past. With the internet, cell phones and pda’s, finding a load is a high tech wonder.
I recently noticed a company advertising that a truck driver who was his own broker could increase his or her bottom line by 40%. This could be true, but what are the advantages and disadvantages to being your own broker? With the new hours of service rules, it could make sense that a driver has more time to look for a load. I typically get 6 hours of sleep on the road, this would give me at least 4 hours to look for a load. With my laptop and wifi at most truck stops, it isn’t a far fetched idea.
I think that the biggest advantage to being your own broker is that the driver could pocket the money a broker would make and add to the drivers profit. It sounds simple, but what are the drawbacks? My fear is that if every driver were to become their own broker, wouldn’t this drive down already low rates with competition between truck drivers to get a load? I would find this particularly true in areas such as the inland Northwest where finding a decent paying load can be an exhausting endeavor.
I think the key to being a successful owner-operator or independent trucker is finding a trustworthy, loyal broker with exceptional negotiating skills and talent for finding the good loads. I think if we reformed the broker industry and weeded out the sharks, we could all co-exist and benefit from one another.
I welcome your thoughts, suggestions, rebuttals, comments or questions to this idea.