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How Can I Get More Contract Freight?

You’ve heard of contract freight, but how can you actually find it? Keep reading to learn how you can take your trucking business to the next level and start securing consistent contract opportunities.

Develop Strong Relationships:

While it may seem obvious, it cannot be emphasized enough. Building strong relationships with freight brokers and shippers is paramount for securing contract freight. Focus on becoming a preferred carrier through clear and consistent communication, honesty, reliability, and trustworthiness.

Make Service Your Priority:

Making service a priority goes hand in hand with developing strong customer relationships. Focus on delivering exceptional service to customers by prioritizing on-time deliveries, clear communication, fair rates, professionalism, and proactive problem-solving. A reputation for superior service can lead to repeat business and referrals in the industry. By prioritizing service, you will find more and more bids making their way to your email inbox.

Get Access to Freight Broker's Internal Load Boards:

Medium to large-sized freight brokerages may have internal load boards featuring spot and contract opportunities. Getting access to multiple internal load boards could potentially provide exclusive contract opportunities which may not be available on public load boards.

Invest in Marketing & Develop a Brand:

A recognizable and positive brand image can push your business to the next level. Establishing a brand can include things like creating a logo, creating business cards, putting logo decals on your equipment, having social media channels, a website, and focusing on values that you adhere to. These brand elements help instill trust in your business and give shippers or brokers confidence that they can rely on you with contract loads. Consider investing in additional marketing efforts to increase visibility and attract potential customers.

Diversify Your Customer Base:

Expand your customer portfolio by being open to different lanes or different types of freight. Consider reaching out to new shippers with freight you have not hauled before (as long as it matches the type of equipment you own).

Become a Government Contractor or Work With One:

The federal, state, and local governments have freight that needs moved to! Explore contracting opportunities with government agencies and departments that require transportation services for various projects and initiatives. Register with government procurement platforms and pursue certifications that enhance your eligibility as a government contractor. You can also find government contract loads by partnering with a business who already is a government contractor. Network with other drivers and carriers to learn about potential opportunities.


Work with a Good Broker or Dispatcher:

If it isn’t clear already, partnering with a good freight broker can get you access to a lot of new opportunities. Additionally, having a proactive and reliable dispatcher who can source contract opportunities by developing relationships with shippers and brokers on your behalf is essential if you are not able to do it yourself. Consider hiring a dispatcher to help with the heavy lifting of searching for opportunities and who may be well connected to shippers or brokers with contract freight.

BONUS: Understand contract and bid language

Finding contract freight is only half of the battle. Securing contract lanes and making it through the bidding process can be a more difficult challenge. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the terminology used in contract bids such as RFQ, RFP, Fuel Surcharge Schedules, Bidding Rounds, and more. Each contract bid can differ in terms of price submissions (per mile, flat rate, linehaul, etc.), fuel surcharge programs, bidding processes, and more. Work closely with the contract provider to understand the process and what information they need for you to bid successfully.

Download our Trucking Glossary here to familiarize yourself with 160+ trucking industry terms.

Contract freight may seem like an old wives’ tale, but it does exist! While it may be challenging to find and secure, implementing a few of these methods can get you and your trucking business one step closer to landing a contract opportunity!


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Soshaul Logistics LLC and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. It is meant to serve as a guide and information only and Soshaul Logistics, LLC does not assume responsibility for any omissions, errors, or ambiguity contained herein. Contents may not be relied upon as a substitute for the FMCSA's published regulations. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction or operation.


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