5 Steps to Become a Shipper of Choice


In today’s shipping environment, relationships with carriers and suppliers has become extremely important. The driver shortage in the trucking business is a constant problem in the logistics industry, so working well with freight carriers is an important component of shipping strategy. In the industry, it’s called being a shipper of choice.  

What Is a Shipper of Choice?

A shipper of choice is a supplier or a business whose freight and communication is the most appealing to freight carriers. Being recognized as the shipper of choice can ease many logistics burdens and will enhance your business operations. With a driver shortage, rising equipment costs, and new regulations, shippers are in competition with one another to gain carriers’ business. It is more important than ever for shippers to find creative, appealing ways to attract carriers and become a shipper of choice.

How to Become a Shipper of Choice

There are different ways to make your business and freight more appealing to established and professional freight carriers and to secure more capacity and better service for the future.  

1. 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 in their dock operations. Improvements will cost money initially but will lead to major cost savings each year.

2. 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 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 them the resources they need to be comfortable is a great way to build a positive relationship.

3. 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 forecasts, 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.

4. Offer More Hours

Another way to become the preferred shipper of choice is to be available on off-peak ours and weekends. 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.

5. Work With a 3PL

Few companies have the resources and services to constantly deal with freight carriers directly. Working with a reputable 3PL can significantly increase your chances of being chosen as a shipper of choice. Having more than 30 years of extensive industry experience and a network of 45,000 freight carriers PLS can make sure to handle your communication with carriers and improve shipping process.  

Get a freight quote today and let PLS help you become a shipper of choice!

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