Income distribution with/without an independent dispatcher, and service-evaluation tips

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Previously in this series: Independent dispatch providers offer tech, relationship hands in spot negotiations

2017 income averages with and without an independent dispatcher bar graphAs shown here, one-truck owner-operators with their own authority who earlier this year reported using an independent dispatching service showed income distribution levels somewhat similar to the rest of the population, according to Overdrive’s 2018 Compensation Survey.

Significantly, though, for the minority that uses dispatch services, a larger share of them is more likely to earn $60,000 and above. Merge Transit’s Justin Taylor says his company, “averaging about 15 to 20 percent above market averages,” is ideal for those who’ve netted average or below average rates.

Below, find a few tips from sources quoted in this series for evaluating a dispatch provider:

  • Take the time to get to know your dispatcher before committing. | “I started interviewing [Merge Transit’s Justin Taylor] before I gave them a try in April.” –Custom Logistics flatbedder Robert Codding on his evaluation process. The relationship started when they met in the Rate Per Mile Masters Facebook group as Codding found himself agreeing with Taylor’s assessments of the freight market.
  • Assess the dispatcher’s ability to accurately assess market conditions. | A good dispatcher “is on top of the spot market. They’re able to follow where the money is and know where the trucks need to be. Any dispatching service worth its salt should know that backwards and forwards.” –Small fleet owner Andrew Gonzalez
  • Confirm the dispatcher is truly independent and works for you. | “Make sure the guy you’re hiring for service is representing you and not the broker or the shipper” in all negotiations. –ICG’s Scott Jordan, who’s seen brokers offer ostensibly independent dispatch services to owner-ops only to pad revenues by charging for the service while dispatching only that broker’s freight.
  • Make doubly certain you’re dealing with someone you can trust. | “In 30-plus years [in and out of hauling freight], I’ve had quite a few dispatchers,” some of the independent variety. “I can count on one hand those I ever trusted.” –Owner-operator Robert Greene, on the best of the best he’s seen in what can be a dog-eat-dog business for owner-operators.

Next in this series: Yet another hand in the cookie jar: Counterpoints on independent dispatch