Self-dispatch trucking vs. using a dispatching service: how to decide what’s best for you

March 21, 2023

When managing your own fleet, at some point you will need to decide if you should use a dispatching service or if you should self-dispatch. Exploring both of these options will help you to decide what’s right for you and your trucking business.

man on phone sitting on truck stairs

Differences between self-dispatch trucking and using a dispatching service

‍On top of the long hours and many miles on the road away from home, being successful in the trucking industry requires juggling many tasks. Some of these include:

  • Finding available loads
  • Negotiating with freight providers for the best possible rates
  • Determining which lanes are most profitable and the most efficient routes
  • Deciding which types of freight you want to haul or not haul
  • Scheduling and managing drivers
  • Handling unexpected delays or issues while on the road
  • Managing customer relationships
  • Ensuring compliance with regulations
  • Billing, collections, and paperwork

Truckers who self-dispatch are responsible for all of this and more. For people who enjoy planning, have deep industry knowledge and experience working with freight providers, and have time available to manage all aspects of their business, this might not be an issue. However, if you want assistance with some or all of these tasks, you might consider using a freight dispatcher to help lighten the administrative load. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, depending on your personal preferences.

Is self-dispatch trucking right for you?

Self-dispatch trucking is not for everyone, but it can be a great option for independent truckers who have the time and resources available to dedicate to managing operational tasks. The biggest advantage to self-dispatch trucking is that it can save you money on each load you book, as you are not paying any fees for using a dispatching service.

Self-dispatching is also a great way to develop relationships with brokers, shippers, and warehouses. Fleets who decide to self-dispatch will want to have access to a load board — while there are free options available, some require a paid subscription. Additionally, searching for the right loads and negotiating with brokers to get the best rates can be challenging to navigate, especially for truckers who are newer to the industry. Finally, truckers who choose to self-dispatch must rely on their own team and resources to resolve any issues their drivers run into on the road, which can be difficult and time-consuming.‍

Is using a dispatching service right for you?

‍Using a freight dispatching service is best for both busy truckers and those still getting established in the trucking industry. In addition to giving you back more time by assisting with administrative tasks, using a freight dispatch service can help you earn more. Freight dispatchers represent your company when negotiating rates on loads and some can provide strategic recommendations on load strategies. For newer trucking businesses who do not have existing relationships with brokers or experience navigating fluctuating markets, this can be the difference between a profitable month and wasting time and money dead hauling.

Using a freight dispatching service is best for both busy truckers and those still getting established in the trucking industry. In addition to giving you back more time by assisting with administrative tasks, using a freight dispatch service can help you earn more to connect you with them.

Additionally, should you or one of your drivers need assistance while on the road, full-service dispatchers like SmartHop can provide guidance, handle your phone calls, and even book your next load for you. Be sure to research and check reviews, as not all freight dispatching services are created equally. As an extension of your company, you should want the best.

How much does it cost to use a freight dispatch service?

‍Freight dispatchers typically charge a fee to cover the cost of providing these services. Some freight dispatch services charge a flat rate per load, while others charge a percentage per load. The industry average charged by high-quality dispatch services is up to 10% per load. At SmartHop, we only charge a small 3% fee because our technology alleviates the manual effort needed to find the best load strategies. This fee includes freight dispatching services, load strategy, access to our app, and around-the-clock personalized support.

Is SmartHop the right dispatching service for you?

man working on truck red and green wires

‍Whether you’re considering using SmartHop to run your trucking business or manage your fleet, we’re here to help. SmartHop might be the best solution for you if:

  • You want access to high-quality loads, regardless of your size or years of experience. Our app brings together options from the industry’s best brokers and load sources, all in one convenient place.
  • You’re busy and want more time to focus on running and growing your business. SmartHop can help you negotiate with brokers, find great loads, manage paperwork, and navigate difficulties on the road. Our app makes it easy to book the loads you want, but we also offer 24/7 driver support.
  • You want to remain in control of how you run your business. Our technology takes the uncertainty out of making decisions by analyzing multiple load sources to predict which markets will be the strongest in the coming days and making recommendations accordingly. But rest assured, you are never forced to take the loads we suggest.

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