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Independent Dispatch Services: Are They More Trouble Than They’re Worth?

We’ve all heard the phrase, “cut out the middleman,” right?

However, in the trucking dispatch world, the “middleman” or dispatch services are one of the most important parts in finding and filling loads, negotiating rates, and filing paperwork so your truck stays full and you don’t have to sweat out each month worrying about hitting your revenue goals.

And for small fleet owners and independent owner-operators, the continuous debate remains.

What’s better for your business – working with an independent dispatcher or freight service dispatch agency?

There are both pros and cons when weighing (nice trucking pun, right?) this decision. Working with independent dispatchers typically leads you to pay a lower percentage or flat fee for each load. And when you work with a freight service dispatch agency, they typically charge a monthly fee or higher percentage per load.

So, how do you decide if they’re worth the money?

Let’s say you’re a small fleet. You have multiple trucks and drivers to keep happy. If you went with an independent dispatch service, they may not have the capacity to find you enough loads to keep your trucks full.

For an independent dispatcher to be successful, it typically takes years building relationships with top brokers and agencies by scouring load boards and being consistent. Sure, they may be able to keep one or two trucks full – but most small fleets choose to work with a dispatch agency to have multiple brokers who work with multiple manufacturers help you find loads.

And then there is another solution for small fleets, which is investing in a dispatch software to help you, which we’ll get into very shortly. But let’s discuss dispatch service options if you’re an independent owner-operator.

Dispatch Services For Owner-Operators

As an owner-operator, you have plenty of options in choosing your middleman. And honestly, an independent dispatch service or service agency may be your new best friend – here’s why.

A benefit of working with independent dispatch services is they work with both brokerages and direct manufacturers to try to get the MOST money for your truck. You get more personal service and you save a lot more on fees. We’ve seen owner-operators pay around 5% per load compared to 10% with a freight service dispatch agency.

Take a look at this helpful chart from our friends at Truckers Report.

You will see that not only are the fees different but not all dispatchers offer the same services. So, you have to find what your business needs and see what’s worth it to you. Plus, working with larger agencies mean you’re going to deal with more people and some days you aren’t even going to know who you’re talking to.

But do you want to know what the greatest benefit of working with an independent dispatch service?

They have embraced today’s digital world.

In an article from Overdrive, they talk about how more independent dispatchers are adopting tech solutions to handle more of the responsibility fleets and owner-operators pay high fees for. They help trucks save BIG money on operational costs & filling trucks by offering multiple services, including:

  • Act as a bridge between carriers and brokered spot market freight
  • Negotiate spot market loads
  • Effectively track revenue per mile
  • Access to freight-document details
  • Accounting services

Many owner-operators are seeing a big increase in revenue and a dramatic cut in load fees by working with independent dispatchers who utilize dispatch software.

For example, HaulHound offers easy-to-use fleet management software for everyone to save time and money. Using software like ours helps both the owner-operators and independent dispatchers with negotiating the spot market for better profit margins and handling more responsibilities with ease.

And not only are independent owner-operators relying more on dispatch software to save costs and boost production, but small fleets are also seeing the value too.

Small Fleet Dispatch Software & Other Options

Dispatch software offers small fleets the opportunity to manage their day-to-day operations, promote current capacity and backhauls, and keep revenue growing – without relying on expensive agencies or brokers.

Instead of paying brokerage agencies a large fee of their load, trucking dispatch software offers inexpensive solutions for all aspects of your business and makes keeping dispatch in-house the easy choice.

Think of what happens when your truck breaks down and you need to get your load delivered to your destination on time. With in-house dispatching, you have a dedicated person scanning the load boards and finding you a truck to help ensure your delivery isn’t late – that’s much better than dealing with 3 or 4 people that you have no idea who they are, right?

There are a lot of digital solutions to help you out and the best part is that you only have to pay a small monthly fee to use them. You get in-house help for dispatching, accounting, communication, all for a small price. No more paying multiple third-parties or mounds of paperwork in your driver’s seat. A quick phone call or click on a logistics app and you can get your trucks filled easier than ever before.

The age of dispatching is changing very fast and whether you’re a small fleet, owner-operator, independent dispatcher or brokerage agency, you’d be making a big mistake not looking into one that works for your business.