Brokers vs Dispatchers


Brokers serve as intermediaries between cargo owners (shippers) and carriers, bridging the gap that big shipping companies struggle to handle. These shipping companies prefer to work with a select group of licensed brokers rather than dealing with numerous small carriers, due to limited resources and motivation. 

Brokers must obtain a license from the FMCSA and secure $75,000 in bond insurance to legally conduct their business. Unlike brokers, dispatchers are not required to obtain a license. In this setup, shippers send their loads to brokers, who are responsible for selecting reliable carriers and assigning them to specific shipments. Although the overall process may seem complex, it’s not. 

In reality, brokers make arrangements with freight dispatchers, who represent carriers, allowing drivers to focus solely on the road. The idea of driving a large truck while handling paperwork and communication tasks simultaneously is impractical. Try to imagine operating a big truck on a highway while you’re reading and signing PDF documents and providing e-mail updates at the same time.

Here, dispatchers come into play, providing valuable services to carriers. 

Dispatchers can operate in various ways, such as working independently for multiple clients. They advertise their services, negotiate terms with potential customers, and establish their business. At the end of each week, they receive either a set amount or a percentage of the negotiated weekly rate. 

As their business grows, they may consider setting up a small dispatch center, hiring and training a team of dispatchers to cater to more clients and generate increased revenue. At some point, expanding beyond a one-person operation becomes necessary for better time management. Taking time off, whether for medical reasons or vacations, becomes challenging to coordinate when clients require daily services like load management, pickup numbers, lumper fees, and detention. Being fully available is a crucial aspect of the game. 

Alternatively, dispatchers can choose to secure a job, which is a less stressful option but comes with limited business freedom. This can be suitable for individuals who prioritize a consistent source of income over entrepreneurial aspirations. Working exclusively for a carrier, either on-site or remotely, involves integrating into the existing system and becoming part of the team. 

A third option to make money is to offer dispatch consulting services. With sufficient experience, dispatchers can become subject matter experts and get paid by carriers to educate their team members, develop procedures, and streamline workflows. In this scenario, the dispatcher assesses the carrier’s existing business, identifies areas for improvement, and provides recommendations for fixing flaws and enhancing operations. Though it may seem challenging initially, the process becomes simpler with time. 

Lastly, dispatchers can explore the opportunity of online education, offering appointments or creating an online course to share their knowledge with aspiring dispatchers. 

Writing a book or video tutorials is also an option worth considering. 


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