Do you want to know how to be a good dispatcher? Is working with truck drivers, organizing routes, and filling out paperwork something you think you’d be good at? Maybe you already are a dispatcher and would like to know how to do the job even better.
Believe it or not, there’s quite a lot more that goes into dispatching that isn’t usually discussed. Keep reading because in this article, we’re going to go over the nitty-gritty details that you’ll only learn after years on the job. You can then decide whether or not you think that dispatching is a job in that you can truly excel in.
- You have to be a people person and be empathetic
It is essential that you know how to be a people person and be empathetic. Without a driver in the seat of the truck, you will not make any money. If you don’t know how to connect with a driver, they won’t want to hire you and work with you.
Drivers have very difficult jobs. Imagine that they leave and are gone from their house and family for days if not weeks, at a time. They sleep in a different parking lot every evening. Not to mention the stress that comes with driving through traffic and dealing with people at delivery and pickup locations. It’s not an easy job at all, and it can actually be quite stressful and cause anxiety for those doing the job.
A great dispatcher understands what the driver goes through and empathizes with them. You’ll communicate with them and always let them know that you are on THEIR side. You work with the driver, and you are both on the same team. If you can connect with the driver on this level, you will be one step closer to being a great dispatcher.
- Understand the drivers’ goals and expectations
Before we take on a new client, we make sure to discuss with the driver (drivers) what their expectations are and how they like to run. It’s important to make sure that you and the driver you are dispatching are on the same page. This will allow you to understand what type of loads you can book for your driver and what the RPM (rate per mile) should be at the end of their run.
Another very important question to ask the driver is: when do you want to be back home?
At Ninja Dispatch, we dispatch only OTR (over the road) drivers and don’t dispatch local work. We make this clearly understood before discussing other details further. That being said, we don’t keep the drivers on the road for weeks at a time. We have a minimum of running a few days a week.
Drivers that stay on the road for more than several days at a time will increase your chances of making them and you more money. If a driver has a requirement to be at home every day, then the loads you can book are limited to that geographical area. If the driver says on Monday that he wants to be home by Friday, well, then you can book loads going in pretty much any direction up to about 1000 miles.
By being transparent and understanding what your drivers’ expectations are, you will become a better dispatcher. When you have a clear goal set in mind, the teamwork of the dispatcher and driver will thrive.
- Be tech-savvy to minimize mistakes and communicate effectively
The biggest mistake that happens in dispatching is not communicating effectively, which in turn causes hiccups for both you as the dispatcher and for the driver. This can be fixed by using technology to your advantage.
For example, if you talk to your driver and give them all load information via phone, there’s a high chance that either you can give the driver some wrong information or that the driver may write down the wrong information. If you want to text a driver, this can also cause mistakes to occur if you write down the wrong information.
There are plenty of tools and software available to make sure that you can eliminate your mistakes. TMS (truck management software) are popular tools that are used by larger trucking companies. These tools serve as a means of communication between the driver and dispatcher so that all information is passed along exactly as it should. If you’re an owner-operator or a smaller trucking company and a TMS doesn’t make sense at this time, there are other tools that can help you along.
A simple hack to all of this is to use VoIP software like RingCentral. We have been using this phone provider since 2018, and it’s made our job easier and our communication more efficient and accurate.
RingCentral has a desktop version of their app so that you can easily copy and paste information from a load and share it with your driver via text message.
A great idea is to also communicate with your driver via email. That way, you can email over your rate confirmations and load information as you get it. This will eliminate the chance of you making a mistake and passing the wrong information down to your driver.
Being a great dispatcher means not making mistakes. A mistake will cost you and your driver time and money. By utilizing technology and software to your advantage, you can eliminate many of the mistakes that beginner dispatchers make.
- Learn how to lose and how to lose fast
In the industry of trucking and logistics, there are many shady players and characters that you will interact with. Maybe, they’re not even shady. They could just be inexperienced brokers, customers or agents with which you need to deal with.
One of our golden rules at Ninja Dispatch is – “Learn to lose fast.”
In logistics and truck dispatching there will always be problems that arise. It is your responsibility as a dispatcher to understand what the problem is, evaluate it, and choose whether you’re going to lose or win in the end.
The biggest mistake that dispatchers make is not understanding what is truly going on behind the scenes. Brokers make their money from the margin that is created by charging a customer and then selling the lod
For example, you call on a load that’s posted for $1,500 going 600 miles. It’s an ok rate, but what’s even better is that it’s right by where your driver is delivering (minimum deadhead), and it’s going to take the driver close to their home. Your job as a dispatcher couldn’t be easier. You call on the load, talk to the broker and provide them with the MC and an email address to send over the rate confirmation.
10 minutes pass. 20 minutes pass. An hour has now gone by, and your email notification has not gone off yet.
So you call the broker to ask them when they’ll send the rate con over. The broker says that they’re waiting on the customer and that they’ll send it over as soon as they get back to their desk.
In the meantime, another load pops up on the board for $1,200 going the identical route. What do you do?
Do you wait on the broker that didn’t hold up on their end, or do you go for the sure load that pays $300 less?
In this situation, after waiting for one hour, I would go with the sure load of $1,200 and try to negotiate it to $1,500. I’d even say to the broker or customer that I can take it for $1,500 because that’s what I’m getting right now at this time.
The important thing to keep in mind is that the first broker still hasn’t sent you the rate con. The broker could be telling the truth, or he could be waiting to see who will take the load for less than $1,500. You truly never know, which is why it’s important to make sure that if you’re going to lose, you lose fast! The most important thing is that your driver’s wheels are moving. When the wheels aren’t moving, neither they nor you will be making money.
Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be on your way to being a good dispatcher, one that your drivers and clients will want to work with.
To learn more about Ninja Dispatch and our services, please send us an email at email@example.com.