• Tread Talk

Build Relationships with Direct Shippers

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

A big factor in running a successful trucking company is knowing where you're going to secure freight from. Professional drivers want the best for their trucking company so they don’t just want any freight - they want the best paying freight loads from reliable sources in the transportation industry.

There are a few options of where you can get your freight from and this blog will tell you how you can build relationships with direct shippers so you can always secure the highest paying freight loads. The key things to remember when building relationships is knowing how to connect, who to connect with, how to prepare, and how to position yourself within the trucking industry.

How do you connect with direct shippers?

It is solely your responsibility to build relationships with direct shippers. Whether you're new to the trucking industry or run an established fleet, it comes down to you. Typically, it is easier for experienced drivers to build relationships with direct shippers because they already have a reputation, a safety score, and know their company's demands on haul and capacity. If you have a bad reputation though, it would be harder to find shippers that are willing to connect with you.

There is more difficulty for new owner operators to build relationships as they don't have a published safety score. If this is the case, you can build your reputation up by hauling as many loads as possible until shippers are willing to work with you. In the mean-time, you can contact smaller, local companies instead of large corporations, as they may be more inclined to work with you. It is a lot more common for a small business to work with new entrants and it helps you get your foot in the door to make connections.

How do you prepare to build relationships with direct shippers?

Preparing is important when building relationships with direct shippers. You'll have everything in order as a truck company owner so you're ready to negotiate terms with the shippers. How to prepare:

Build a marketing plan for your trucking company that answers the following questions:

  • What businesses do you plan to target?

  • How will you get in contact with them?

  • How will you sell services to the direct shipper?

  • What is your hauling capacity?

  • How many direct shippers do you want to work with?

You also need to know your profit range. Know how much you plan to make from your trucking company, so that you are able to negotiate rates with the direct shippers.

How do you position yourself within the trucking industry?

You want to position yourself within the trucking industry with professionalism as a truck company owner. Making sure you have all your permits and regulations, your required DOT, a business name and business email for your trucking company will prove to direct shippers that you are professional and ready to haul.

Now the important question: How do you connect with direct shippers?

Develop a plan on how you want to connect. Two successful ways of connections with direct shippers are through cold calling and networking.

Cold calling:

  • Plan who you're going to call and what you're going to say to them once you get them on the phone

  • Call through the smaller, local companies first and tell them why you're the best at what you do


  • Networking is a strong way to build your relationships. Talk to the people you meet on your hauls about where they find freight, who is reliable and any other information that other truck drivers will share with you.

  • Get involved with associations and groups

Another way you can get connected with direct shippers is through working with a trucking factoring company. At Porter, we connect our clients with shippers they can haul with to set them up for success.

Make sure you know who you are working with. You don't want to work with direct shippers that have bad reputations or are unreliable. Check credit scores and reviews before making a decision. Another benefit of working with a factoring company like Porter is that we will credit check anyone you haul for so you can avoid working with bad debtors. We provide our clients with a pre-approved list of shippers that they can work with.

Download our FREE guide: Building Relationships with Direct Shippers to help you succeed.

We are also here to get you paid the same day with our freight factoring services. Give us a call to learn more about how we can provide you with consistent cash flow to run and grow your trucking company at (205) 397-0934 or fill out our FREE quote form here.

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