Archive

Insurance Brokerage

6 Steps to Adding a Brokerage to Your Trucking Company

6 Steps to Adding a Brokerage to Your Trucking Company

By Gary Land, Fleet Compliance, DAT Solutions

Do you have shipper customers who need to move more freight than you can service with the current size of your fleet? You could buy more trucks to move that extra freight, but adding a brokerage is another option. If you already have relationships with shippers, know their lanes, and know the capacity that they need, then brokering their freight could add another source of revenue for your transportation business.

There are 6 steps you’ll need to take before you can start brokering freight.

Insurance Brokerage

  1. Apply for operating authority

You’ll have to apply for broker authority through the United Registration System. This will be separate from your carrier authority. You’ll also need to decide how to organize this separate company: sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, S corp., etc.

Getting your broker authority means you have to designate process agents in every state you’re doing business, just like you did to get your carrier authority. Our fleet services team can help with all the paperwork.

  1. Get a broker bond

Every freight broker has to have a $75,000 surety bond or trust fund. It’s similar to the liability insurance required for your trucks, and it’s there to ensure that a carrier can get paid if a broker doesn’t fulfill a contract. The bond covers the entire brokering side of your business. DAT customers can get a broker bond at a special price.

  1. File state permits

Some states require extra permits to set up your business, so be sure to check the requirements in your state. DAT Fleet Services can help with that too.

  1. Invest in a TMS

Managing your cash flow is key to your brokerage’s success. You’re already familiar with days-to-pay – the number of days a broker has to pay the carrier – but as a broker, you won’t always get money from the shipper before you have to pay the carrier. TMS software like DAT Keypoint is the easiest way to manage your transactions, keep records, and manage the company’s cash flow.

TMS software also lets you manage all your new brokerage’s operations in one place, so you can move more freight with a smaller back-office staff. A streamlined, entry-level TMS like DAT Keypoint Ops requires minimal training and lets you control all your operations on one screen. You can also upgrade it seamlessly to fit your business needs as your company grows.

  1. Make personnel decisions

Are you going to be the one working the phones, or will you need new employees? Would you be better off working with independent agents? Will your brokerage share the same office space as your carrier business?

  1. Anticipate hidden startup costs

When you started your carrier business, most of the startup costs were tied to equipment. For a brokerage, some of those costs are a lot less obvious – contingent cargo insurance policies, for example. Meet with a business attorney who has experience with brokers. That will save you some headaches.

DAT can help get your brokerage off and running, whether that means getting your broker authority or streamlining your business with broker TMS software. Call 800.551.8847 for more info.

Saint George Insurance Brokerage Inc. partners with DAT to offer a special on the TruckersEdge load board to its members. Sign up for TruckersEdge today and get your first 30 days free by signing up at www.truckersedge.net/promo258 or entering “promo258” during sign up. * This offer is available to new TruckersEdge subscribers only

Continue Reading
Commercial Trucker App

How to Get the Most Out of Our Free Trucker App

By Michael Tupper, Product Manager, DAT Solutions

If you use the DAT Trucker™ mobile app for Android, you probably noticed some big changes recently. We redesigned the app to work the same way that most other mapping apps do. More importantly, now DAT Trucker lets drivers find what they need faster and easier. Based on your location, you can find truck stops, rest areas, fuel prices, Walmarts, nearby loads, truck-friendly hotels and more.

We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from new users who love the app, but truckers who’ve been using the app for a long time are telling us that they’ve had trouble finding the tools they used in the old version.

Everything is still there, and after you first get the app set up with your personalized settings, you can find what you’re looking for in one click.

Trucking newsTrucker News

When you open the app, there’s a map based on your phone’s GPS location. The markers show locations that match your search results – just like in Google Maps. You can see everything at once, or choose whether you want to see truck stops, rest areas, Walmarts or more. Tap the magnifying glass in the top-right corner to search other cities.

If you tap the triangle icon circled in the screen above, you can choose which categories you want to search: Truck stops, rest areas, etc. The app will remember what you select and do the same search anytime you open the app, based on your GPS location. Once you have it set to your preferences, you’ll find what you’re looking for faster than you could with the old version.

Trucker AppTrucker App

If you want to see a list of search results like you did in the old version, you can tap “list” from the map screen. Tap on the sort options (circled in the picture), and you can sort the list by name, distance, fuel price and more. Also, this is often the most useful way to see search results if you’re in a place where the internet connection isn’t strong.

Trying to find a parking spot? From the list, you can get more details about each business. Tap on a truck stop to see how many parking spots they have and get info about showers, laundry, scales and much more.

Trucker AppTrucker App

You can still search for nearby loads. Just tap on the main menu in the top-left corner and choose “Find loads nearby.” You might see fewer results than you used to because the old version showed loads for every equipment type. The new version shows loads that match the truck and trailer in your profile, so the loads are more relevant to what you’re looking for.

You can also tap the DAT Trucker icon in the bottom right corner and choose what you want to do. For example, you can tap “Fuel up” and find the cheapest nearby diesel prices, or “Sleep” to find truck-friendly hotels.

Another advantage of the new version is that it lets our software developers make updates faster and make changes based on your suggestions. For example, many of you pointed out that we didn’t include landscape mode, which flips the display when you turn the phone sideways. That’ll be fixed in an update coming soon, so keep sending suggestions.

Get the DAT Trucker mobile app in the Google Play store or the Apple App Store.

Saint George Insurance Brokerage Inc. partners with DAT to offer a special on the TruckersEdge load board to its members. Sign up for TruckersEdge today and get your first 30 days free by signing up at www.truckersedge.net/promo258 or entering “promo258” during sign up.

* This offer is available to new TruckersEdge subscribers only

Continue Reading