Communication is important in trucking, for sure, whether of the analog or increasingly digitally-automated kind. At once, eight-truck small fleet owner Leander Richmond, headquartered in Michigan, has uncovered no small amount of frustration in the very fiber of his being with increasingly pushy freight middlemen when it comes to proof of delivery expectations. As you’ll hear here at the beginning of this the latest edition in the Overdrive Radio podcast, some brokers have gone so far as to make it a contract stipulation that the carrier will be required to send proof of delivery within an hour of offload – or lose all claim to payment for that load. Sound outrageous? I thought so, too, but there’s more. Take a listen:
Other topics covered here include up-front detention negotiations (Richmond’s fleet is prepping a standard accessorial contract that stipulates $70/hour after the first two for most loads, though he believes $120 might be a more fair rate), the owner’s history in trucking as both a driver and a broker himself, now a fleet owner, and much more.
And: Given the issue of getting paid by brokers who would stiff carriers is in the air of late — we went to press yesterday with this multipart feature on combating dishonesty among brokers — Richmond offered a strategy that, if employed by more owner-ops and fleets, could do wonders to further alienate the frauds among brokers from shippers and consignees fooled by their promises. It’s also more or less the avenue pursued by freight-collections agency Baxter Bailey & Associates when working their cases to collect: target the entity that paid the freight originally, the shipper or consignee.
“The broker or agent you’re hauling for is not your last recourse” to collect, Richmond says. “Find out who arranged the freight” and let them know officially just how their middleman is performing.
Send a letter of intent to both the shipper and receiver stating they are responsible for their third parties’ action(s). They are probably a 100K to 5-mil. customer to the shady broker. Both the shipper and receiver will immediately contact the broker, and the broker will be banging down your door to resolve the matter. It works 100 percent of the time! When you ever have any deal go wrong with a broker, only speak via email so the entire conversation cannot be denied later. Lastly, create a “gag” order to any resolution of any issues. In this gag order, you require, before you deliver the load in question, the broker cannot put you on any internal or external “do not dispatch list” and they cannot speak of the settlement to the civil issue (they call it “holding freight hostage,” but it is in fact a civil issue), which prohibits them from doing any [online] slander of you or your company. I have a law degree, and have been in trucking for 20 years. I get my money 100 percent of the time, every time, and so can you! Just know your rights! They will try to call the cops, or contact your insurance company, but your BoL is a chain of custody, and it belongs to you until you release the chain of custody, and if the terms of the Rate Con Sheet change, you have a civil dispute … not a “hostage situation.”