channel 19

Todd Dills

Talk of broker transaction transparency continues

| May 22, 2014

I wrote about’s James Lamb’s new 12PL brokerage following its initial reveal in a session at the Mid-America Trucking Show two months ago. Lamb, also the primary party behind the AIPBA small-brokers business league, talked a lot about the notion of necessary transparency in broker-carrier transactions and how his new effort would explicitly advertise the percentage rate the broker would be taking on any load, and how doing so might have ripple effects throughout the industry if enough people mimick such practices. 

While there’s certainly more to it than all that, I thought I’d point you today to a discussion happening via Allen and Donna Smith’s Truth About Trucking Live tonight, where Lamb will be a guest. It starts up at 5 p.m. Central, and their shows typically run from an hour and a half or so — and are archived for replay following.

More details about the new brokerage will be on offer, Lamb says.

After my prior piece following his MATS session, readers’ voices expressing skepticism on the issue outweighed those seeing a need for transparency. “I really don’t understand why brokers need to be transparent,” wrote one reader. “I’m an owner-operator with my own authority and I really don’t care what the customer is paying the broker. I do care what the broker is paying me. If the broker wants to, he can charge double what he’s paying me, as long as I’m happy with what I’m getting. I look at my own plate, not someone else’s.”

Del Ray Johnson had similar thoughts: “I really doubt that big trucking companies need this so-called ‘transparency’ from brokers,” he wrote, noting their leverage over most in dictating what “we are going to charge to transport their freight. The unknowing owner-operator allows other people tell them what is the number,” with plenty being willing, he added, to run on very, very thin margins. “That, my friends, is the problem, and the solution is an educated owner-operator who runs his/her big rig like a big business.” 

An independent dispatcher, Teirre McDonald also expressed some skepticism over whether transparency would make much of a difference in the end — or that it would be truly transparent. “Hard to believe from this side of it,” McDonald noted. “I work for my owner-operators to get them the best rates and deal with the brokers so they can concentrate on driving. Brokers do try to get over, and you shouldn’t have to continue to fight with them over rates … and most definitely getting paid! I would say beware, just because I don’t see a broker ever revealing what the load really pays.” 


Transparent ‘new deal’ for independents using brokers?

How might more rate transparency in broker/owner-operator negotiations help drivers all throughout the industry?'s James Lamb believes quite a lot...

Lamb himself counters that his intentions are genuine and that he believes that “transparency in freight rates is coming.” As I wrote in previous coverage, Lamb would not be the only entity moving in such directions.

“Some will resist but it’s a matter of time. And it will make both shippers see they are paying reasonable rates… and truckers see they are being paid fairly. They will both want to do business with transparent brokers. Like 12PL. And it will catch on quick.”

Further, he hoped truckers and brokers would “change their bad attitudes and animosity toward one another” and truly work together toward a more fair industry. 

  • TrOpAzR

    Quite frankly you aren’t grasping the concept of business.

    “I asked what was so bad about me getting $1.50 a mile?” – well – nothing.

    It seemed to be an agreeable rate to you when you accepted the load from the company you were leasing from which is why you were on site to get loaded.

    It also seemed to be an agreeable rate to the shipper which is why he asked the broker to send you in to pick up the load.

    Do you honestly think every business isn’t out to make money?

    That steel distributor you picked your load up from could have gotten the steel from another company, marked it up, and sold it as their own. Should there also be transparency in the cost the supplier charged the steel distributor – or the distributor charged the customer?

    It goes back to the original point. If you don’t like broker rates – don’t accept their loads. We will see who can make it without them and who fails without them.

  • guest

    It has ALWAYS been the truth. The broker is a thieving RIPOFF…middleman..screw artist…everything he says will be a LIE.

  • g

    Always thruout trucking history…the broker LIES, CHEATS,STEALS..takes a cut off the load and passes it on to his Buddy Broker..who doesthe same the time it gets to the DOUBLE ZERO….the RATE has diminished to near NOTHING!!! Its a RIPOFF…get a CLUE!!!

  • TrOpAzR

    Also, the owner of my company doesn’t negotiate contracts with my shippers. It’s on me to bring in the business and negotiate my rates with the customer. If the customer or the prospective customer doesn’t like my rates they won’t use me. More often than not, I quote high on freight and am rejected. I would love it if I could pay my carriers more…they’d probably work a little harder for me but the reality of it is the shippers are the ones writing the checks.

    If i have more money in a load its easier and much more time efficient to sell it to the first person interested at a higher rate than spend all day trying to cover cheap freight for cheap customers.

    You guys think it’s all about the brokers paying you dirt. You really need to look at the shippers and the economy before you worry about the broker.

  • guest

    THAT is a prime example of a LIE. This jerk is a LARGE broker like CH Robinson….he gets SCREWED too!!! HE is not a BROKER..he is an OFFICE worker… wonder he makes diddley crap….he is a SLAVE. This clown is in the DARK and passing MAJOR GAS for YOU to breathe in and ACCEPT AS TRUTH!!!! B.S.

  • TrOpAzR

    Ahh…a broker who isn’t an a**hole. HE MUST BE A FRONT FOR A “LARGE” BROKERAGE!

    Quit being so paranoid…you aren’t special…we aren’t all out to get you!

    How about you do a good job and let your business speak for itself. If you are as good as you think you are there are plenty of shippers who will keep you rolling. No need for the evil broker if you can get the work yourself….right?

  • BetterCallSaul

    Nirvana would be some of the older Independents getting a voice in Washington that isnt drowned out by special interest groups. MAP21 is merely companies like CH Robinson trying to increase the overhead of smaller, honest brokers that still pay attention to detail and deliver service (via old independent O/Os) to the point that these small honest Brokers cant compete.
    How do I know this????
    As an Independent myself, I have “brokered” out freight that I cant handle, and told the person that I handed it off to EXACTLY what I was getting paid. He sees my commission, he agrees to his cut, and because my fee is reasonable nobody backdoors my account.

    Cheers to all you folks that no exactly what I am talking about.

  • Kevin J. Rea

    If that’s the case, why don’t you volunteer to take a load from 12PL when they begin brokering and see for yourself? Or would you prefer to make judgments without the facts?

  • Landstar Bodog

    I am an owner op and I totally agree with you… 5-7% is common for broker commission in the industry..

  • Diesel Mike

    Hi im fairly new to trucking and am trying to get more info aboit O/O. Would ot be possible to just cut the middle man and say to the shipper ” you right! This rate is terrible, ill haul it for $2.75, screw the broker your dealing with me now.”? Just curious if somthing like that would work if they had a weekly shipment they needed hauled. Cause it really sounds like your doing all the work, taking all the risk and reaping few of the rewards.

  • James P. Lamb

    Mr. Voltmann, what exactly are you trying to hide behind the TIA’s Iron Curtain?

    When it comes to the issue of broker rate transparency, this is all very simple, folks: brokers can charge shippers whatever they want in Capitalist America if the market will bear it. But they should disclose to the shipper what the brokerage service costs. And share that with their partner in business: the carrier or independent trucker.

    When shippers hire a broker, they are ordering two distinct services: transportation and brokerage. Those larger brokerages who are rejecting transparency are refusing to give the shipper an itemized receipt for their services. Some of them are revealing on Linked In they are “earning” 38% or more under their non-transparent business model. Not only does the TIA NOT
    support the AIPBA’s ethical model of broker rate transparency, they actually stopped transparency in 2008 from becoming law (TRUCC Act). Why is that, Mr. Voltmann? What are you and the mega-brokerages trying to hide? Might it be price-gouging?

    In government, we call doing the public’s business out in
    the open “Sunshine” laws, which require public governmental bodies to open their meetings and records to the public.

    This is the USA, 2014. Not the USSR, 1984, Bob, where things happened behind an “iron curtain.” It’s time we let the sun in and do business as freight brokers behind a glass window instead of a dark, back room. This would lead to trust and respect rather than distrust and hatred.

    As the president of the AIPBA, the trade group for ethical small and mid-sized brokers, it’s my goal and duty to improve the image of property brokers in the industry for the betterment of the brokerage industry and AIPBA members.

    Transparency is going to do just that.

    Do you agree with us on transparency? Then join the AIPBA,
    accept our ethics pledge, and start getting recognized as one of the good guys on Internet Truckstop:

    You will make more money on volume and reap the benefits
    of those shippers who are currently jumping the non-transparent 3PL ship in favor of honest and ethical transparent small, midsized and family owned and operated freight brokerages.

    The new 12PL (12 Percent Logistics, Inc.) model, which
    will be launching July 4th, will be leading the charge for
    transparency (to learn more, visit:

    It’s time to tear down this wall, Mr. Voltmann. Change is
    coming on July 4th. Join the Revolution. Transparency Starts Here:

    Transparency Poll:

    Should shippers, carriers, and independent truckers boycott big 3PLs who do not disclose their commission percentages in favor of
    small and mid-sized freight brokers who are rate transparent?

    Exactly 65% of respondents think they should so far. What
    do YOU think?

    VOTE NOW on Facebook:

    On an ethics-related note, the AIPBA has filed a complaint with the TIA Ethics Committee against Shawn Roch, the employee of a Canadian TIA member company (G. Roch Consultant) alleging “unprofessional conduct.” We are watching for the TIA’s response…

    Ethics Poll: Should trade groups be expected to enforce
    their ethics policy by admonishing those members who violate the policy through unprofessional or otherwise unethical conduct?

    Exactly 87% of respondents think they should so far. What
    do YOU think?

    VOTE NOW on Facebook:

  • Luke

    The brokers aren’t the ones destroying the trucking industry, it’s the idiots hauling freight for $1 a mile, I own a successful small trucking company, I know how much it cost to run my trucks, I know how many miles they need to run and at what rate they need to run, most of my loads come from brokers and I give them my rate, if they don’t agree I don’t haul. it’s my job to get fair rates so my family and my drivers can make a living, I took time to have them understand that it’s ok to dead head, and it’s ok to sit a day of if we have too, because the next load will pay for the deadhead or the day we sat. Transparency might be good, but I will not haul a cheap load, even if the broker is negative on the load. There’s tons of money to be made in this industry, regardless of how many trucks you own, run it like a business, know your costs, figured out how much you want to take home to your family, brake down by miles and figure it out a rate. Bottom feeder truckers are our own worst enemy.

  • FoxStar

    I’d just ignore guest.

    He sports an impressive tinfoil hat and a twitchy shift finger and has no intention to argue reasonably. He exists solely to troll.

  • guest

    Fox Scar….was doing Saleswork for Drivewyze the otherday telling us how Nifty it is. It does tell the Scalemaster who is driving, what his “safety record” is…his current log book hours….Fox Starr likes all people who are out to Rip Off the trucker….damn sure he has NEVER driven a RIG one inch. HE is the Troll, Plant, Cheerleader. for oppressing the trucker…he is probably a Cop.

  • guest

    You advocate hauling freight CHEAP..but not TOO Cheap??? You damn sure dont DRIVE for a living…and never have…come out and say it…you weasil.

  • guest

    Fox Starr is a PLANT…he advocates for Drivewyze and obviously for every Crook/Broker in the country….he is probably a dispatcher or Cop.

  • guest

    Oh! I see…Fox Star says he is a SwiftDriver..or maybe JB Hunt…and he has done some “homework” on this broker stuff???? STOP! Let me off the bus! Ive heard enuff. Im sure he has some REAL USEFUL “input” for veteran truckers? ahahahahahahahah……killing me Foxx baby…..Im rolling the floor….no more please….ahahahahahahaaha

  • FoxStar

    Yeah? What of it? 5 years as a company driver, and I’d like more responsibility. Did all O/O’s become owners from day one of having a CDL?

    I’m here to learn as well as share my thoughts and I’d like to know why brokers should share what they charge shippers and what they keep for themselves? So people can dictate to them what’s fair? Is that it?

    Tell me what’s what, insted of laughing around with spittle running down your mouth.

    I don’t have my hopes up, though. You say a lot without saying anything useful and twice called me something I’m not.

  • FoxStar

    Never said that. Is putting words in other’s mouths the only way you can argue? I said that I drive elsewhere.

  • guest

    Fox Starr says he is a “company driver” (wheel holder)….well aint that nice? Goo Goo….tickle tickle you creepy Anus. You are actually a PLANT..a Dispatcher..or a Cop….a Shill for the doubt about that….last time you Butted into my Comment you were Selling Drivewyze to unsuspecting drivers…and how it will be wonderful for us all….replete with its capabilities to display DRIVER NAME, “Safety Data” and current Hours of Service to the Weigh Station….only YOU and Anne Ferro are in favor of this Total Dominance device……Today you are an EXPERT on Broker Transparency??? For a “company driver” you sure seem to ADVOCATE for The Rich Man alot?????

  • guest

    Your “ability” if in fact you actually DRIVE anything….is being a MULE for your mega fleet…..yer kind of a NUTJOB telling veteran Owner/Ops what to do??? Seen your SHRINK lately?

  • guest

    Yep you drive to your office everyday to find new ways to Screw the Trucker?

  • FoxStar

    Where did I say what drivers should do?

    I believe a business should be able to make as much money as they can. Whether if it’s a broker for a driver.

    Your line of thinking will get the force of government to show what they charge.

    I do more than hold the wheel. I’m not a plant or a slave and soon I’ll be owning my own truck. Ive said what I am, which is more than you have.

    With your ranting and raving, the only nut here is you. It’s really a shame that you can’t argue reasonably and have to resort to making up things to discredit me.

  • TrOpAzR

    Why do you capitalize the wrong words? It’s like you try to emphasize the exact words you SHOULDN’T emphasize. Yikes man! You need to relax a little bit! Also, learn how to command the English language…it will benefit you greatly in life.

  • TrOpAzR

    Impressive tin foil hat to say the least! Wow!

  • guest

    No Doubt… many con artists trying to get in on some action…with trucking in a complete Tailspin today…Snake Oil salesmen have sudden “remedies”

  • guest

    you are a rookie driver…if you even drive a truck..You have Zero experience in Owner Op/Broker business…you are blowing smoke up your own ass…No Owner Op is listening to a wheel holder for Answers…you are simply babbling to YOURSELF….Im convnced you are a Plant…A shill for the Rich…You advocated for Drivewyze and now you advocate for brokers……either way whatever your angle is….you have ZERO to offer on this Topic…what possible VALUE are you adding..with no experience??

  • guest

    Yep that s the New Trucking…replete with Monitoring Gadgets for all.

  • semper fi

    As an o/o you must be a business person First, then a driver. If you cant afford to properly run a business then you need to drive for a company. Those who cant afford to properly operate a business usually are the ones who dont maintain their equipment, they need to drive for a company. I went from using 130 brokers down to just 25. We are averaging 2.39 (including dead head) per mile dry box. The brokers/shippers I use understand that I know what I’m doing and my services are worth the money.

  • FoxStar

    I’m not giving answers and I’m not telling anyone how to run their business. I’ve been asking questions, to be in informed, but your bias seems not to allow you to answer them.

    You, on the other hand, would use the force of government to tell the brokers how to theirs.

    Rather ironic, considering you’re against a completely voluntary smartphone app that bypasses scales.

    I am who I said I was, and my opinion is my own, but I understand your mind is unable to accept the genuine. Your biases have completely taken over your ability to be reasonable. It’s really quite sad.

    I get a lot of my information from veteran truck drivers, but when it comes to you, clearly the font has run dry. You’re just another conspiratorial hack that trolls round comment sections of articles, shouting that the end is nigh, whilst wearing your tinfoil hat and sandwich board.

    And that’s fine, do whatever pleases you. But I will continue to challenge your school of thought. Your speech is too dangerous to the trucking industry to be left unchallenged.

    Don’t forget, other people have different opinions, different than yours.

  • guest

    My speech is dangerous? We USED to have FREEDOM OF SPEECH before YOU came to Power…..adolph.

  • guest

    James…very informative. It is difficult to see thru the thick smoke and Mirrors….that are constantly shifting and twisting the Truth….so many Lawyers and Lobbyists jockeying for position…at the TROUGH….to suck up MONEY from their Swivel Chair…that is Produced by the Trucker working his Butt Off…..and being Stabbed in the back by so MANY “organizations” that are supposedly “pro Trucker”…..its a SICK and disgusting industry with really evil greedy hogs….that will do and say ANYTHING to get more MONEY…..and PRETEND to be “friend of the Trucker”……ahahahahahahahah…

  • guest

    YOU are just a CLERK in a Broker’s Office….a BOY for the rich man?? Aint that nice??? We can be like YOU if we listen to your drivel??? YOU are a NOBODY……an office worker….lol

  • FoxStar

    Wow, Adolph? It seems Godwin’s law has kicked in!

    I don’t mean dangerous in the sense of silencing you, I ment in the presenting the other side of an issue, counter-arguing against your rhetoric. Going unchallenged allows the ignorant, uninformed opinions to start appearing as fact.

    There is more than one side roman issue.

    But it’s clear that independent thought threatens you, that someone dared to state their opinion against you. If you feel my opinion is oppresses you, that’s on you. I’m just a mere “wheel holder” here in Disqus.

    Ultimately, your ‘Adolph’ comment has proven to me that you have nothing: no values, no principles. Just hyperbole of a small, crazy man, that must deprive others of their success, to create your own.

    Just another truck stop lawyer.

  • Kevin J. Reidy

    There is a huge difference between a broker like a real-estate broker who tells you their commission right up front, and a “broker” who in all reality is a freight re-seller.

    If brokers have nothing to hide, why are they scared shitless of transparency? My business ratings are out there for the whole world to see, brokers hide as much of their business failings from truckers as they can.

    Carriers usually find out they’ve been stolen from only after the broker goes tits up.

  • Kevin J. Reidy

    People repeating the lie that “the market will correct itself” are to be laughed at.


    The game is rigged by those such as the ATA who are willing to spend tens of millions of dollars buying the votes of politicians against small businessman truckers.

  • Cary Davis

    KUDOS To you then. Are you the exception or the rule? Apparently the exception from all the replies I see from O/O here. If you were the rule there wouldn’t be any problems in the trucking industry wouldn’t you agree?

  • Cary Davis

    Yeah that’s why CH Robinson paid out millions in a lawsuit recently isn’t it? Why? They hired a piss poor trucking company to save money on a single load. The company crashed and killed someone. And CH Robinson paying the bill for that mistake. Don’t event try to sell that crap about “Let your company speak for itself”… It’s BS and you know it.

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  • Ai Pba

    TIA’s Dirty Little SECRET:
    The $75K Broker Bond was really to stop TRANSPARENCY, not Fraud.

  • George Taft

    I owned part of a brokerage for 6 years. The cost of sales ran 14 percent that included salaries of the principals. If the brokerage you are working for does LTL chances are your paying 20 plus percent. I sold my part of the brokerage because I couldn’t make my partner behave more ethically, the argument was always the trucks make enough money. If your working for a broker and no mater what you haul your weekly revenue is the same your being taken advantage of. I look at truck brokerages like lenders the load is money and as a lender is required to do their should be full disclosure. They will pay you only what they think you need to survive and keep the rest. Please note you are doing all of the work and risk. They make a few phone calls and computer entry’s. They do have the risk of a customer not paying. But due diligence on their part eliminates that. A brokerage that pays it’s dispatchers on percentage is more apt to take more from the trucks working for them. Every other entity involved in the trucking industry is required to be open, insurance, sales,etc. The brokerage that I used to own part of would book 3 loads from a customer, reconfigure them and put them on 2 trucks. Enough for now

  • Dusty

    In some cases, it IS about paying the truck as little as possible. As for the shippers…it affects thier bottom line, so, of course they want to pay as little as possible. The “contract negotiators” need to first, educate the shippers, and find a happy medium between keeping a customer happy and finding a reliable carrier that will haul it. It does no good to land a big account if you can’t get anybody to haul it! (There are loads in the MT, WY, ND, SD area that “sit” for months because they are so cheap! Or, they get hauled by somebody desperate to get out of there after being “suckered” into going there because the rates are good.)Or, worse yet, GET somebody to haul it that, if they blow a tire or have a starter go out, can’t afford to make the repair. I can’t believe that anybody is hauling anything for less than $2.50 a mile! (And, THAT rate isn’t anything to jump up and down about.) Especially into areas that have $1.50 freight (and less) coming back out! What it boils down to for me is, if it doesn’t pay what I need it to pay…I don’t haul it. I’m not out here to be a tourist.

  • Dusty

    Exactly people! PLEASE QUIT HAULING CHEAP FREIGHT! But I’ve been saying this for 35 years….

  • Dusty

    I work with the large brokerages AND the little guys, too. There are good and bad in both. You know in a very short time who to deal with. And THEY know, in a very short time, who to go to when they need a truck and driver that can do the job “perfectly”, or beyond expectations. I’ve recieved calls from CH Robinson, as an example, requesting that we deadhead 1000 miles to take care of a “PO’d” customer for $3.25 a mile for ALL miles! And this was before fuel went over $3 a gallon! So, don’t lump all brokers into one catagory. And, if you didn’t know already, you can catch more flies with honey, than you can with vinegar.

  • Rick the broker

    And you are a….wait for it… phucktard.

  • Ives007

    Yeah but who has time for that when you are on the phone trying to negotiate a rate and there’s another carrier on hold hoping you reject the load.

  • Ives007

    Well, most of us want to know we will get paid in case of any problems. If you are using a mediocre company because of the rate, then that’s the risk you take. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.