Moving Away from Brokers and Towards Shippers to Increase your Rate Per Mile

Once owner operators move away from brokers toward direct shippers, their truck rate should increase 15+% on average since there is no broker to pay. There is no middleman.  The carrier has absorbed the broker’s money. The shipper pays the same or just a little less, but not much. Though it’s easier to follow the load board by calling brokers to find freight – it’s not as lucrative.

Instead of reacting to the market, why not be proactive and secure it yourself with the shippers directly? You add so much more value to the proposition vs. going through a broker and you increase your chances of securing consistent freight vs. just one load.

If you know the actual bill rate and not just your truck rate, you can negotiate with confidence and actually come up on your rate and down on the shipper rate that he or she has been paying and it’s a win-win for both you and the shipper.

For example; If you were charging the broker $1.60 per mile, the broker on average adds .30-.35 per mile for his or her cut, he or she will charge the shipper $1.95 per mile. In this example, you could now save the actual shipper money and charge them less and still make more money.

Let’s say, you charged the shipper $1.85 per mile and make another .25 per mile vs what you were making. You just grew your bottom line by 15 to 20% on all your loads depending on the lane and you actually reduced the shipper’s freight cost at the same time.  

Besides the freight savings, the shipper would probably receive better service because you can control that. You would be talking to the shipper directly. You could text check calls and tell him or her exactly what’s wrong if a problem arises. You have a vested interest in telling the shipper the truth and the shipper knows that because both you and the shipper know the real goal is to secure ongoing freight and not just one load.

Please contact us for shipper leads once you identify what kind of shippers you want to haul for.  We can layer multiple filters and get very surgical based upon commodity types, zip codes, revenue size, etc. 

Facilitating Carrier Empowerment


In light of greater supply chain automation – it’s never been easier for owner operators to secure new lanes, higher load counts, and better rates. It's never been a better time to move freight if you're an owner operator.

Carriers can find their own freight – it’s America. If their hustle is real…they should be rewarded. It’s the American way. It’s not like the freight isn’t there. It is…and it will be. Trucks move America, as in 70+% of all US goods.

Last year, I spent my time trying to secure “Converted Freight” – meaning convincing brokers and shippers that “converting” 53’ dry van freight to intermodal was smart money. I argued that in a lot of cases, the cost savings outweighed the longer transit times associated with rail. I loved it. I was rolling with LOUP and the Union Pacific – and that seemed about as American as it got.

Now, I’m trying to “convert” owner operators to secure their own freight directly from shippers vs. relying on freight brokers 100% of the time – I mean, why not? It’s their trucks and they work for themselves. Again…it seems pretty American. They’re making their own way.

I’m arguing for a much more diversified approach towards the spot market where owner opps don’t have to be at the mercy of the market every single morning at the crack of dawn drinking coffee and pouring over the DAT load board. That’s no way to live…day in day out. You have no control over where those types of loads take you…or how to get back home. It’s a crapshoot at best when you’re a one-man shop. You’re constantly at the mercy of the market. It’s brutal.

To mitigate exposure, factoring companies are paying invoices very quickly to keep the trucks moving, but more importantly, there are tools that can be leveraged to yield consistent freight and dedicated lanes at higher rates in key metro areas where the carriers actually live and wish to return on a weekly basis to see their families. In my scenario vs the traditional one - carriers are proactive vs reactive and securing more than loads….they’re securing key relationships with direct shippers to help them drive and fuel sustainable growth.

In short, they’re empowered.  

I have a series of articles coming out, starting tomorrow regarding carrier empowerment that I’ll publish via Linkedin and Bright Light Funding’s Facebook page.

Change is coming. I don’t know everything, but I do know where the shippers live based upon the commodities they move and the equipment types they need to move them. I also know real-time carrier-to-shipper rates. That’s not everything – but the last time I checked…that’s enough to get started.