Double brokering a 'cancer' requiring whole-of-trucking battle plan

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Updated May 23, 2023


This week on the Overdrive Radio podcast, a bit of a double feature. We'll hear from Jason Decker -- regular Overdrive readers will recall my reporting on some of Decker’s talk at the Mid-America Trucking Show back in March that was something of a rallying cry for a “whole of trucking” approach to the fight against double brokering, leaching money from the freight markets through fraud as it is. 

Rates are bad enough already, it’s sure, as Decker emphasized.

Fraudulent actors insert themselves into a freight transaction, disappear with a fuel advance or the entire load’s payment. If the trucker’s paid at all, then, it’s a double payment on the part of whoever was the original broker and/or shipper on the load. That's but one double-brokering scenario. Perhaps worse than that, in Decker’s and I know many owner-operators’ views, legit brokers who knowingly "give the load to another brokerage," Decker said. "They are double-dipping. Rates are tight enough as it is that one hand in the pot is one too many." 

Two? Three? Market distortion is all the worse for it, with the trucker on the short end of the stick.

[Related: 'Fraud epidemic': Congress gets earful on double brokering, speed limiters]   

Listen for ways owner-operators can recover payment after getting involved in a scam, but more importantly, ways to be fundamentally proactive to avoid and shut out the fraudsters, and those double-dippers, to begin with.

Also: Peterbilt’s sunsetting of the iconic Model 389 and introduction of the new 589. My colleague with CCJ, editor Jason Cannon, took a test drive of the unit out in Texas and offers up a walkaround talk with Peterbilt’s Jacob White, detailing some of the unique features of the 589. Take a listen:

Also find the 589 walkaround in the video below:

[Related: Test drive: Peterbilt's new Model 589, successor to the 389]


Transcript

Todd Dills: Hey, everybody. We've got a bit of a double feature here today on the Overdrive Radio podcast for May 12th, 2023. We're going to hear from one Jason Decker. Regular Overdrive readers will recall my reporting on some of Decker's talk at the Mid-American Trucking Show back in March. It was something of a rallying cry for a whole-of-trucking approach to the fight against double brokering that's leaching so much in the way of money from the freight markets.

"Rates are bad enough already, it sure is," Decker emphasized. Fraudulent actors insert themselves into a freight transaction, disappear with the fuel advance or the entire load's payment. And if the trucker's paid it all, it's a double payment on the part of whoever was the original broker and/or shipper on the load. Worse than that, in Decker's and I know many owner operator's views, ...

Jason Decker: And this is the one that irks me to know end. When I say gets me, well, I can't say the word on mic, gets me aggravated is when a good brokerage company, a legit broker, knowingly gives the load to another brokerage. They are brokering to a broker. They are double-dipping. Rates are tight enough as it is that one hand in the pot is sometimes one too many.

Todd Dills: I'm Todd Dills, your host, as usual, for this edition. And we'll hear plenty today about ways owner-operators can recover payment after getting involved in a scam, but more importantly, ways to be fundamentally proactive to avoid and shut out the fraudster and those double-dippers to begin with.

Jason Decker: Double brokering is a cancer that the only cure is all of us coming together. And listen, I know that sounds a little bit utopian, but it's not. It's going to take y'all being active out there when you're hauling the freight, making sure you're doing your due diligence. Now, that doesn't mean something won't slip through the cracks. Sometimes it does. It happens within our own company, on our asset side and our broker side. As proactive as we try to be, it still happens. But we're trying to minimize our exposure, just like y'all have to go out and minimize your exposure. It is the most important thing you can do if you have an asset company right now.

Todd Dills: Before we dive in with Decker, on the other side of a break, we'll hear more about what's been some of the biggest equipment news we've had for quite some time. Peterbilt's sunsetting of the iconic Model 389 with introduction of the new 589. Our colleague with Overdrive sister fleet outlet, CCJ, editor Jason Cannon, took a test drive with the unit out in Texas and offered up a walk around with Peterbilt's Jacob White, detailing some of the unique features of the 589. So stay tuned.

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Here's Jason Cannon speaking to his close look at the new Peterbilt Model 589. This audio was originally recorded for use in a video, keep in mind, and you can catch that video in full in the post that houses this edition of Overdrive Radio for May 12th at overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio. Here's Jason Cannon.

Jason Cannon: I know it looks like a 389 and this may not make any sense, but it kind of is and it's kind of not at all. That slick ride is Peterbilt's new Model 589, the replacement for the 389, which the company will phase out at the end of the calendar year. Now, I've been hearing rumors for years that the 389 was going away. I get emails or phone calls at least once a quarter that a dealer told somebody's friend that the model was done.

Well, I'm here to tell you that that rumor is finally true. It is indeed going away. Rather, it's making way for the 589, a truck that looks almost exactly like it. So, what's the difference? Well, it's mostly the cab size. The 389 features the 1.9 meter cab where the 589 gets the new 2.1 meter cab. As far as the rest of the truck, I'm going to turn that over to Peterbilt Director of Product Marketing, Jacob White, for a quick walk around.

Jacob White: We're here in Denton, Texas and driving the new Model 589 through the outskirts of town here. This truck features a lot of key connections to its predecessors. Model 389, 379, 359 before it. When you see this truck, you'll see that heritage as well. Some key features that really connect it start with the proud crown and stainless steel grill sheet right here up front. You know this is a Peterbilt when you see it coming down the road. It's also got familiar pod headlights and a new LED DRL right here in the fender brace. There's a variety of bumper options available. My personal favorite, and crowd favorite as well, is this chrome Texas Square right here. It doesn't get any better than that, ladies and gentlemen. That's premium right there. The hood itself is constructed a familiar lightweight aluminum. It uses Huck Fasteners, like its predecessor. You can see the bicycle style fenders here and like I said, familiar aluminum. Very lightweight and very easy to replace.

Another really, really exciting feature of this truck is the stainless steel air cleaners out here on the cal. This is really one of the things that differentiate this truck from every other truck on the road. They're 15 inches in diameter and really make their presence fell. Another thing about this truck that really differentiates it from everything else out there are these West Coast style mirrors. For a product like this, you absolutely have to have them, and they look great. The ones on the 589 are two inches taller than the 389 for improved visibility. The convex is repositioned as well, again for improved visibility. The cab itself is a 2.1 meter-wide cab. Lots of room in there. The door is unique to this model in relation to every other product in our portfolio. It's got a smooth surface and then a crisp line that complements the hood.

It's a very, very good-looking truck. Everything here was done purposefully and to ensure that that truck is something you're proud of when you stand next to it or drive it down the road. The chrome dual exhaust is functional. It features stainless steel guards with a pattern that matches the air cleaners and the grill up front. Something interesting about that particular pattern is it mimics the original tilt hood piece from the '60s. Pretty cool. The battery box is new for this model. It features 45 inches of tread space and style to match the aftertreatment box on the other side. It's got a really, really nice feature that allows you to easily remove the lid. I'll show you.

Todd Dills: Jacob White here grabbed that integrated handle after unlatching the lid. The handle's positioned between the top and bottom driver-side steps and extends the full length of the steps. There's a small toolbox under there, too.

Jacob White: You also have an integrated toolbox right here. The tow pins fit in here, a variety of other tools as well. Well, I'll give you a quick overview of the display in this truck. The display has got a neat startup sequence there where it comes in and presents you with those round gauges. The display itself is 15 inches. It's got anti-glare, anti-reflective coating. The interface with it allows the driver to select the gauges they want to see, when they want to see them. It also presents any gauges that have errors or need attention. So for example, right now, the air on this truck is a little bit low. It's been sitting here for a while, and so the air gauge is a persistent element in each one of the screens. But you've got a litany of digital gauges available from your oil term, torque and booze, suspension load, air pressure, brake application, your amps, your air restriction. Really everything you could ever want is available in the digital display here.

It's also customizable with a favorite screen, so drivers can set it up, the display, to their preferences, so they can see the items that they would want to see actually in the location on the display where they want to see them. That really enables them to make that display their own. The display is controlled through the steering wheel controls here, and they're really nicely integrated into the steering wheel. On the left-hand side are all your powertrain functions, and then on the right-hand side is all the infotainment and display interaction. In addition to the display, that includes your Bluetooth, phone, as well as your audio.

Todd Dills: Our own Jason Cannon.

Jason Cannon: As Jacob highlighted, outside the truck, you're going to find everything that makes the 589 special and made the 389, the 379 and the 359 before it special. A lot of chrome, but also a lot of function. Jacob said in the development of the 589, everything, every design idea was on the table, and designers even looked at concept models of the truck that didn't feature those iconic air breathers. Now, unfortunately, those renderings didn't make the final cut because losing those big chrome cans would've been a tragedy. I took a new 589 on a 100 plus mile drive through North Texas. It was specked with PACCAR's MX-13 engine and TX-18 automated manual. The TX-12 12 speed is the standard.

Okay, I heard that groan. In this truck, you want a manual. I get it. This is for sure a truck that was made for a manual, and you can get one if you want it. You can also get that big red power if you want it. But I love a good AMT because I don't mind looking like a cowboy while not necessarily working like one. And the TX-18 is a great AMT. The MX-13, that makes plenty of power for most applications. Now, I was grossed out at 65,000 pounds and it was basically effortless. That short-gear step in the TX-18 made for a smooth shift and a really comfortable ride.

Inside the truck is plush. It's really funny to think how much work went into designing a brand new truck just to keep it looking like a throwback. But once you get in the seat, you're surrounded by just about every driver amenity you'd ever want or need and more space than you've ever had before in this series of truck. And man, is there anything cooler than sitting in the driver's seat and looking down that long nose at the rear end of that bird on the hood? We turned a lot of heads on this drive, especially from drivers of other 389s.

Now, I'm not sure if they recognized that something just wasn't quite right with my 389 that really wasn't a 389, or maybe it was all the red, black and chrome. It's definitely a good-looking truck. I generally like these old-meets-new vehicles, and Peterbilt's Model 589 is much more smartly done than when Dodge brought back the Challenger. Face it, that blocky, long-nose tractor is part of trucking's history, and the 589 looks like it drove right off one of these movie posters. It's a fitting tribute to the glory days of transportation, but it also leverages the kind of amenities and technology that's made trucking a lot more efficient, a lot more comfortable and safer than it was when the 359 was around.

Todd Dills: Catch much more on the new model via Cannon's test drive story at overdriveonline.com from earlier in the week. I'll post a link to it in the show notes. You can catch a video version of the talk we just heard in the post that houses this podcast, again, for May 12th, 2023 at overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio.

Now, we'll reach back to MATS for what was among the final talks of the show on the Pro Talk Stage. Jason Decker of General Transportation debuting his Trucking 101 resource for broker MC number lookups and detailing the out-of-hand issue of double brokering on the load boards out there. Here's Decker.

Jason Decker: Good Deal. All right. My name is Jason Decker and today, we are here to talk about fighting back against double brokers. Before we jump into this, I would like to first say thank y'all for coming out to this. We really appreciate it. I'm not here to pitch anything. I'm not here to sell you anything. We just want to bring awareness to what double brokering is and the cause and effect it's having on the transportation industry. I'm sure most of you've heard the term, some of you may be even a victim of it. It's one of the biggest issues that we have going on right now. It's causing heartache and headache for brokers, carriers, shippers, receivers, FMCSA, everyone.

I was talking to a lady earlier. She's with Internet Truckstop. She was wanting to find out more what they can do to be proactive and how they can help the transportation industry, and that's what this is going to take. It's going to take all of us coming together and figuring out how we can weed out these individuals. Because at the end of the day, all they're doing is causing lots and lots of issues for everyone that's just trying to make a decent living. Another thing. I'm not a public speaker. I'm just here trying to bring light to this. So if I slip up, please excuse me.

Okay. When talking about double brokering, how we can weed that out, what we can do is we need to discuss both being proactive and reactive. When it comes to being reactive, it's very limited as to what we can do. Unfortunately, they're running a good scam and they know they are. But that being said is there are certain steps that you can take to recover some of your money. But before we get into that, I want us to basically define what double brokering is because that's one of the number one questions we get asked. What is double brokering? Because a lot of people, individuals, companies, they themselves don't fully understand what it is. They've heard the term, but they don't understand what it is.

Double brokering is when a customer tenders a load to either an asset carrier or a brokerage company. In turn, they then sell the load to a different brokerage company. That company then brokers the load to the carrier that's actually hauling the load. Basically, what we have up here on the screen, so there's two individuals in between. That's not supposed to happen under any form or fashion. When a load is tendered to either a carrier or a broker, they are supposed to either be the one hauling it or brokering it to the actual carrier. There's not supposed to be two parties involved. But with the downturn of the economy and with the industry going in the wrong direction, in my opinion, we're seeing more and more of these scammers to make extra money, are going out and starting up or trying to start these brokerages and/or false brokerages.

Here's the process. The legit broker gives a load to what they think is a legit carrier and that carrier then gives it to a third party. This is going to be one of the most common, in my opinion. What happens is the customer tenders the load to a broker. They know they're giving it to a broker. Then that broker brokers the load to what they think is a trucking company, not another broker. They think they're giving it to a trucking company, and the reason they think they are is because these people have gone out and done a very good job of making themselves look like trucking companies.

They get the MC number. They're on file with the FMCSA, DOT, all that. They've done everything right. Now, the problem with this is most of them either have one truck or no trucks. They have no interest in hauling a load. What they're going to do is they're going to take that load that you give them and they're going to go to those same load boards that you and I operate off of and they're going to find trucks usually that are posted. They're going to call those drivers.

Todd Dills: In the scenario that he's about to spell out, the fraudster will now be posting as an otherwise legit broker, using the brokerage authority he or she has set up for these purposes, complete with a valid MC number and the rest. They'll post the load, or as Decker noted, more likely to call posted trucks and-

Jason Decker: Say, "Hey, I've got this load." It goes from let's say Fort Smith, Arkansas, to Richmond, Virginia. Now, let's say that lane should normally pay $4,000. They're going to tell you, "Oh, we're going to pay you $5,500 on that load." The reason they can quote you whatever is because they're never going to pay you to begin with. It doesn't matter to them. All they care about is getting someone to actually haul that load. Once they get it onto your truck and you move that load, then what they're going to do is they're going to call that broker and say, "Hey, we've got it loaded there and everything. Can I go ahead and get a fuel advance?" That's a very common thing. Because even if that broker finds out later down the road, before it's even delivered, that the load was double brokered, they at least have the fuel advance money.

The next thing that's going to happen is when you deliver that load, they're going to say, "Hey, we need those bill ladings ASAP to bill our customer. We need it right now, right now, right now." You send in the bill of ladings because you're trying to make sure you're doing what you need to do so that you're not getting fined, you're not losing out on anything. They send it to the actual broker. Broker says, "Okay. Got it. Appreciate it." And then the scammer says, "Hey, we need Quickpay." Okay, that's fine. Let's go. We'll do Quickpay for 3%. Once again, the scammers could care less about that 3% because it's about to be a 100% profit for them.

What they're going to do at that point is they get that Quickpay less than 3% and then they've got money in the account. But they don't do this once a day or twice a week or whatever. They'll do this 10, 15, 20 times a day. One scammer can rack up hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in false loads weekly. It happens time and time again. Now, that broker, they'll wind up ghosting you, usually. They're not going to answer your calls. And then by the time you figure out what's going on, they're gone. Everything's canceled out, phone numbers, everything. You're not getting a hold of them.

Another type of double brokering is a carrier that has gone out and acquired both a broker and carrier MC number. While this has in the past been the least common, it does happen. And we're actually starting to see more and more of an uptick even in the last probably month or two of this. They go out, they get this MC number as a carrier, and then they go out and they get a broker MC number. They go to the customer and they say, "Hey, we have all these trucks. Let us haul your loads." Customer sends them to what they think is an asset carrier. Then that same person that owns the carrier, owns the brokerage, they give it to the brokerage. Brokerage then goes out and gives it to one of you guys.

Once again, they'll do this. They'll rack up all these loads. Some of them may actually pay, some of them may not. But what we're finding is they get in over their head financially. They're having cash flow issues. They're not used to dealing in this much freight. Next thing you know, they go out of business. Once again, the gentleman or the company that has hauled the load, they're out the money. They're the ones that takes the hit.

And then the last one, and this is the one that irks me to no end. When I say gets me, well, I can't say the word on mic, gets me aggravated is when a good brokerage company, a legit broker, knowingly gives the load to another brokerage. They are brokering to a broker. They are double dipping. Rates are tight enough as it is that one hand in the pot is sometimes one too many. But let me tell you something. You put two hands in the pot, then you got a real issue. It is a major, major problem.

Guys, I'm going to tell y'all, I have both an asset company and a brokerage. But I'm telling you, I wholeheartedly believe that is one of the biggest issues going on. There is some big name companies out there, some large brokerages out there that are actively engaging in this process on a daily basis. And that is by far one of the worst things for our industry. Back 20, 30 years ago when my father started his brokerage, being a broker wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

Now, when you tell people you're a broker, they look at you like, "Oh, how are you going to try to screw me today?" And that's because so many brokers have gone out there and done terrible things. They don't believe in fair practices. They don't understand that taking 30, 40% from a driver is setting them up for failure. Well, it's a real issue within our industry.

So, how can we stop him? Well, there's not a one-pill cure for this. It's going to take everyone. It's going to take the FMCSA. It's going to take carriers, owner-operators, brokers, industry professionals. Double brokering is a cancer that the only cure is all of us coming together. Listen, I know that sounds a little bit utopian, but it's not. It's going to take y'all being active out there when you're hauling the freight, making sure you're doing your due diligence.

Now, that doesn't mean something won't slip through the cracks. Sometimes it does. It happens within our own company, on our asset side and our broker side. As proactive as we try to be, it still happens. But we're trying to minimize our exposure, just like y'all have to go out and minimize your exposure. It is the most important thing you can do if you have an asset company right now.

So, what to do? Let's talk about reactive. This is the part that it hurts the most. You've already picked up the load, you delivered the load. Now, all of a sudden, you can't get ahold of the broker that you picked it up from. They've completely ghosted you. You don't know what's going on. It's been 30 days, 45 days, 60 days. Nothing. You're not getting paid and then all of a sudden you realize, "Crap, I just got scammed." It's a tough pill to swallow, and I've swallowed it a few times myself just in the last couple years.

Guys, I'll be honest, that's why I'm up here today is because I need more and more carriers to be aware of what's going on. The brokerages have a lot of tools. We have a lot of tools on the brokerage side, and there is more things on the brokerage to help them than there always is on the carrier. And the carriers are the ones that are suffering the most. It's you guys out there hauling the freight that is taking the biggest exposure, has the biggest risk, and you have the least amount of tools to combat this. And that's what aggravates me.

If they haven't reached out to you, you're not getting paid, chances are you're scammed. So, what can you do? First and foremost, the best thing you can do is reach out to that shipper and receiver on the load that you hauled. When you reach out to them, try to find out what company the load was originally tendered to. Let's say you haul that load from Fort Smith to Richmond, Virginia. They've gone MIA on you. You can't get ahold of the brokerage. You can't get ahold of anything. Call that shipper, call the receiver. One of them knows who the customer is. They know who is shipping that load. Then in turn, they can give you who they originally tendered the load to.

A lot of times, the people that tender you the load do not realize they have actively engaged in double brokering as well. It has happened on our side. We have done that. We have gone out and given a load to what we thought was a good carrier and they were a double broker, and it's very unfortunate. Once you have established who the original broker was, reach out to them and make them aware of the issue. Because there's a high probability that they're not aware of what's going on.

And then the next question is, and the most important is, how would they like to resolve this issue? Because if they gave the load to a bad carrier or a double broker, they are still liable as well. They are responsible to make sure that y'all are getting paid. If you can definitively prove, that means you have copies of the bill of ladings, you've got fuel receipts, you've got all this stuff that shows that you hauled the load, they are required. Now, when I say they, it is the shipper and receiver. The customer is required to pay you on this.

No carrier can haul load for free. You're required to get paid. But the brokerage isn't going to want to pay you because they already paid the bad scammer. They're going to tell the customer, "Oh no, we paid." They're right. They did pay. They just paid the wrong person, unfortunately. This is where then you can say, "Hey, I have a claim here. We've hauled the load. We weren't paid." The original broker was paid, but they didn't do anything but give it to a bad carrier. All they're doing for y'all is going out and giving your loads to whoever. That's when you start leaning on the shippers and receivers.

Most of you will say, "Well, how do I do that?" Well, there are attorneys, transportation attorneys, that will help you with this. They will go out there and they'll start leaning on those shippers and receivers for you. Now, those attorneys are going to want a cut. I don't know any attorney that works for free, but they're going to want a piece of the pie. But guess what happens? As soon as those shippers and receivers start getting those calls from attorneys, they're calling that original broker saying, "Hey, we got a big problem here." That's when they start pushing on that brokerage.

That brokerage will then, in turn, they've got two choices. They can either pay you themselves or let their customer pay you. But if the customer pays you, they're not going to be their customer for very long. They will step up, whether they want to or not, to make sure you're compensated for moving those loads. It's one of those things that no one wants to have to bully someone to do the right thing or push someone to do the right thing. But if they're not going to step up and do the right thing, then you have to take action. And that's the number one thing you can do right there.

When I told y'all that my mother and father started a trucking company and a brokerage years ago, this was way back in the late '80s and early '90s. They did not have the resources. They didn't know where to go, what to do, and so they took a lot of wrong steps along the way. One of the things that I've talked to my father about is, how can we help drivers? How can we give back to the community? We started a website, a group, called Trucking101.net. All this is, is to put content on there, how-tos, things that you guys can do to resolve issues like this.

The website's new. It's only been up about a week or two here and everything. It's not selling anything. We're not promoting anything. We're not even listing our own companies anywhere except for the very bottom, one little page, and you'll be hard-pressed to find it. Because it can't be about anything other than the success of our industry. It is helping individuals like you. Now, one of the neat things that we did put in there is, so we have a couple IT guys that are brilliant. I don't understand how they do it or what they do, but one of the things they put in there is a thing called Load Check.

You can go in there and let's say you book a load with this carrier or this broker. You can put the MC of that broker in there and when you do that and you hit Load Check, it brings back the actual broker's information that's on file with FMCSA. Not what they sent you in their paperwork, not what they are saying on their websites or Facebook or anything else. This is who the FMCSA says, "Okay, this is who it belongs to." Because what happens a lot of times is these bad scammers, they're so lazy they don't even want to go out and start a brokerage. They'll go out and they steal other brokers' authority, identity.

Another thing is we're creating an app for both Android and Apple, and it's completely free. I'm telling you guys, everything that we're doing is for free because it comes back to the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The more you know, the more you can weed out these people, the less I have to deal with them, too. The more I can weed out, the less you'll have to deal with them. You'll be able to go on these applications. You'll be able to put in their information. It's just the MC number. It's all that's required. It'll kick that back to you and you can call those companies and say, "Hey, I just booked a load with John going from Fort Smith, Arkansas to Richmond, Virginia. Load number is 1,312. Is that a good load?" "Absolutely not. I don't know what you're talking about." "Oh? Okay." Well, then you know upfront that you have an issue.

It gives you the power to call that broker back and say, "Hey, bub, we got a problem. You're brokering me this load and I just talked to your corporate office. They don't know who you are and they don't know about this load. So, what are we going to do now?" It takes that power away from them. About half the time, that's exactly what's happened is stolen information. Being proactive is so much better than being reactive. That's one of the things that we're going to have to really focus on as the carriers. Brokerages are doing a great job about being proactive, but carriers have had, like I said, limited resources.

So, what can y'all do to be proactive? Well, there's a few steps that I've got in here, and it's what we do as a company to try to make sure that we're not taking bad loads, basically. Gut check. Does the load, the ray and everything else make sense? This is a biggie, guys. When you call in a load, or more importantly, when a broker calls you about a posted truck, does it all add up or is it too good to be true?

I'm telling you, every time we've had to deal with a double brokering issue and we talk to these carriers, it'll be a rate of, "Oh yeah, I picked up this loaded in," let's say, "Fort Smith, Arkansas. Goes to Richmond, Richmond, Virginia. The load paid $7,200. The load paid $6,800." Well, that's weird because right now, the market's 3,500. It's got to pass the gut check. Think about it before you book it. A lot of times what happens is carriers are so excited to get a good load, they're like, "Oh hey, just give it to me. We'll get it knocked out."

The next one is, do your due diligence. If the broker calls you because your truck was posted, make sure when they send you the setup pack that you double check who they are. You can do this by, like I said, going to our website. But if you don't want to go to our website, that's fine. Google the name. Reach out to your factoring company. Talk to them. There is individuals and there is companies out there that can help you be proactive.

That's the biggie, guys, is really do your due diligence. If you're not doing your due diligence, then you're going to have to move into that reactive. Let me tell you something, reactive can drag out for months. And when I say months, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12 months, even a year to try and recoup that money that you originally ... And then you got to pay your lawyer fee out of that. Being proactive is being better than reactive.

The next thing is, check your bill of ladings. Let's say you booked a load with a brokerage called Hunter, Hunter Transportation. Sorry, Hunter. If you booked a load with Hunter and the bill of lading says General Transportation on there, but you know you booked it with Hunter Logistics, that's another big red flag. Pay attention to the bill of ladings. I know and you know that they're supposed to be on there, but the shippers and receivers, they don't always print that on the bill of ladings. But that's another big step. If it is different than what you booked with, call that company. Call that General Transportation and say, "Hey, I've got these bill of ladings here. It has your name listed on it. Is this your load?"

Now, be careful. There's multiple companies called General Transportation. There's multiple companies called Hunter Logistics. If something still doesn't seem right, go ahead and reach out to the shipper and receiver and say, "Hey, who exactly? Which Hunter is it? Which General Transportation is it?" Because in doing that, like I said, that's going to get you to the right people in the beginning.

Next, run a credit check on them. Your factoring company should have the ability to run credit checks on companies. If you're not using that resource, you're missing out. Talk to your factoring company. See if they've had any issues with this brokerage. If it's not a company that you're used to dealing with, do that. I put Google on there. I'm telling you, more often than not, when a carrier says, "Hey, I booked a load with so-and-so and they're a bad broker," we just Google the name, pops up right away that they're a bad player. It is immediate. It is absolutely immediate. That 15-second just Googling who you're about to book a load with, if you've got time to book a load, you got time to Google.

Next, and this is a biggie, guys, build relationships with customers and brokers. I know that's easier said than done, especially in a down market, especially when you only run in a couple trucks. But build relationships with good brokers, and there are good brokers out there. Now, it seems like they're far and few between, and I agree. Because even our own asset company uses brokers. We use them all the time. Matter of fact, between our asset company and our brokers company, we move about 1,000 loads a week. We use brokers a lot on our asset side, and there are still a lot of good ones out there.

On our app, you download it, it doesn't cost anything to download. Go in there. You can type in their MC number. If you type in their MC number and if they don't have an active authority, if they don't have the ability to even broker anything, it has this little red screen popup here. It says, "Warning, this company is not able to broker load." This is a first line of defense right there. Once again, we don't charge for this. We never will charge for this. Trucking 101 is a cost to us. It's not a profit center for us. But I'll tell you why it's worth investing in it for us.

Because in just the last year, double brokering has cost us, our companies, over half-a-million dollars. It's a lot of money. That's with us going out and being very proactive in doing our due diligence, trying to make sure we're getting the good carriers, we're trying to get with good brokers, but they're still hitting us. We are fighting this left. I can only imagine, if we've been hit for a half a million, as big as the transportation industry, how bad it's been for everyone else. It is absolutely horrible.

The next thing is, let's say you type in MC number and they are good to go ahead and haul load with it. All it says on there is, tap the phone number. And when you tap that phone number, it takes you straight to that brokerage that you supposedly brokered with, unless you talk to their basically home office and you can confirm that load. Doesn't take you to our brokerage, doesn't take you anywhere else. It takes you directly to the company that you supposedly booked that load with. And it says, make the call. That's all we're asking guys, is make the call to those brokerages.

Be proactive. It is one of those things. If we, as carriers, don't do this, then these scammers, these double brokers, are going to be able to continue and prey on us. The big carriers, the small carriers, the owner-operators, some of them, it's going to put them out of business and that hurts my feelings. It upsets me because you've got some of the best people in the world working their tails off, trying to make a living, trying to provide for their families, and then you've got these terrorists out there basically causing havoc for these good people.

That's what this is about. That's what Trucking 101 is. It's for y'all. It's for the transportation industry. It's for the carriers. Because I'm here to tell you, as a larger brokerage and even a larger carrier, we have access and tools to things that a lot of people don't. But it's not fair. It's the small companies, it's the owner-operators that need it the most. That's what we're here for, fighting for, trying to help protect them. Because without the owner-operators, without that industry, the small carriers, we're in a world of hurt. Because if it goes to the big guys, well, I think y'all all know what that's going to be like.

Todd Dills: Thanks here to Jason Decker of General Transportation and ART Trucking and the fine folks at the Mid-America Trucking Show for the talk. And as Deron Salmon put it in the Overdrive Radio edition two weeks back about his own Truck Networking application …

Deron Salman: As soon as you call the broker, the first thing they say, "What's your MC number?" But why are we not asking that question?

Todd Dills: Let's get proactive, whatever tool we're using. Find links to coverage of the new Peterbilt Model 589, as well as Decker's Trucking 101 service and Deron Salman's truck networking app for the MC lookup, and better yet, broker reviews in the show notes, wherever you're listening.

Overdrive Radio is on SoundCloud, Apple and Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and many more. We hope you're subscribing and tuning in every week. Leave us a rating or review if so, and here's a big thanks in advance for that. Any feedback? Leave a message on our podcast message line at (615) 852-8530.