Dispatch Service Red Flags
So you’ve stumbled onto a blog for a Dispatch Service…
Let me introduce myself: My name is Lauren, and I am the Logistics Liaison here at Georgia Dispatch Group. I know what you’re thinking, Dispatch Services are unneeded. Yes, it’s true, some Owner-Operators have no need for a Dispatch Service, and are perfectly successful. And then there are those on the other side of the fence, those who could benefit greatly with the type of support that a Dispatch Service may offer. The trick is finding the right company.
There are many “Dispatch Services” floating around that do not have the best interests of their Carriers at heart, and for an Owner-Operator, that can be devastating to their business. I have many issues with what I like to call “Dispatch Destroyers”, the main complaint being that the existence of these types of companies tarnish the reputations of companies that genuinely have the desire to help Owner-Operators with their businesses and have the desire to see their clients succeed.
If you are a Carrier playing with the idea of employing a Dispatch Service, here are some red flags to watch out for to help you avoid these “Dispatch Destroyers”:
So, when you hire a Dispatch Service, you expect them to do just that, dispatch. But what happens if you aren’t happy with the kinds of freight they’re finding? Or worse, you just aren’t happy with the company in general? Well, you find another company, or book your own loads, right? Wrong. This brings me to our first red flag, a contract that requires a Carrier to exclusively use the services specified. This means that the Carrier must use that Dispatch Service or none at all.
First of all, any Dispatch Service worth their salt will not make this a requirement for their services. This type of ploy shows a blatant admittance of inadequate ability to provide the services that they advertise. Giving the Carrier the option to use another service, or book their own loads shows the confidence in the ability to competently provide the service they have promised to perform. This also gives a Carrier the freedom to be their own boss, instead of trapping them into a corner.
For example, contracts at Georgia Dispatch Group do not include the this type of exclusivity. A good Dispatcher wants to teach a Carrier how to use the same tools and strategies for success in the case that the Carrier goes at it alone. How can a Carrier do that if they are unable to put the knowledge into practice? I have encountered many Carriers who book their own freight and use Georgia Dispatch Group as a tool if they are unable find the rates that they want, or are just plain swamped. We encourage our Carriers to learn as much as they can, in fact, we thrive on it.
This issue is probably the biggest problem in the Dispatch niche. Not only is this practice HIGHLY unethical, but it is also detrimental to the prosperities of Owner-Operators. Double Brokering can happen in a number of different ways, but shares the same concept, money is taken off of the top of the linehaul before it gets to the Carrier. In many cases, Double Brokering occurs when a Dispatcher makes an agreement with a Broker to carry a load and accepts money for finding a Carrier to haul it. This money comes out of the rate available to the Carrier, which the Carrier will never see, hence the problem. To make matters worse, many who practice this also charge their regular fee to the Carrier for booking the load.
The best way to combat Double Brokering is to ALWAYS get a copy of the rate confirmation with the agreed upon price for the load being hauled. Also, make sure that the payment for the load comes straight from the Brokerage responsible for the agreement, or, better yet, straight from your Factoring Company. NEVER accept payment for freight directly from a Dispatch Service.
Beware of Service “Nit-Picking”
When hiring a Dispatch Service, the old “Best Bang for your Buck” rule should be in the main factor in the decision making process. When looking at “plans” or “packages”, take a close look at what is included. I have noticed in my research adventures, that many services do not include basic support, like paperwork involved in the obtaining freight loads, help with collecting Detention Fees and Layovers, or even personal dispatchers. If the company does offer that support, often times the Carrier will be charged more.
Dispatching is more than just looking at a load board, calling a Broker, and agreeing on a rate. In fact, a load is not officially booked until the Rate Confirmation is signed by both parties involved. But the duties of a Dispatcher doe not stop there. A good Dispatcher’s job is to orchestrate a flawless trip for the Carrier and handle any obstacles that fall in the way, meaning when the load is delivered and the Carrier is paid, then, and only then is the job done. If this is not the experience being had, then it may be time to leave that “dispatcher” in the dust.
It only takes one bad apple to ruin the bunch, and while there are many things to watch out for, these are the big 3 that I have seen time and time again that expose rotten fruit. So, do your research, trust your gut, and be safe out there.