How to Become a Shipper of Choice


The need for more truck drivers is rapidly increasing today as the shipping industry undergoes a driver shortage. With a driver shortage, rising equipment costs and new regulations, shippers are in competition with one another to gain carrier’s business. It is more important than ever for shippers to find creative, appealing ways to attract carriers and become a shipper of choice.

“I’ve been in the trucking industry since 1980 and I’ve never seen the balance being this out of whack,” Dave Rusch, CEO of CRST International, said about the trucking shortage. Shippers all over are competing against one another to book available trucks at a reasonable rate. The term “shipper of choice” is becoming very popular in an industry that is turning into predominantly a trucker’s market. Today we will discuss four different ways that companies can step up and become a “shipper of choice.”

Avoid Detention

Shippers that regularly detain drivers will find it hard to get a carrier to haul their freight, or even haul it at all. With ELD’s in place, carriers can easily determine how much time the driver was idle at your dock. Drivers can operate up to 11 hours behind the wheel due to highway traffic, roadside inspections, weighing loads, loading and unloading, refueling and maintenance work. Shippers should consider expenditures on their dock operations. Improvements will cost money but will eventually lead to major cost savings per year.

Offer Amenities to Drivers


This may seem obvious, but providing drivers with a restroom, refreshments and a break room is important to show the driver you care about them. Treating truck drivers the way you would want to be treated makes a big difference in their experience and will most likely lead to them moving a shipment for you again. Many drivers wait for more than an hour or two during the loading and unloading process, so giving the resources they need to be comfortable is a great way to build a positive relationship.

Provide Forecasts and Lead Time

If you can provide a five or seven-day lead time to your carriers, then they can position their trucks and dispatch a driver with minimal costs. Along with giving forecast, it is important to give drivers an idea of how accurate the forecast is. If you forecast 100 loads but are only 50% accurate on your forecast, the carrier will plan differently than if you are 95% accurate. Shippers use a metric called “absolute percent error (APE)” to track accuracy. You should share the APE with core carriers, especially those under a non-disclosure agreement.

Offer More Hours

Being available on off-peak hours and weekends to ship is a great way to become the shipper of choice. If drivers can travel during the day, evening or weekends, you are helping maximize their 11 hours allowed behind the wheel (as mentioned above). This can benefit both the truck driver and the shipper to get the shipment from point A to B as quickly and easily as possible.

Being a shipper of choice is essential in today’s shipping industry. Get a freight quote today and let PLS help you with your shipping needs.

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