What Are the 2 Most Critical Skills a Truck Dispatcher Must Possess?
We are often asked a very specific question:
“What kind of skills do I need to become an independent truck dispatcher?”
This question is asked by a wide range of people. They may be retired truck drivers, people related to someone who drives a truck, or even stay-at-home parents. There are even people that live in other countries and want to run a business remotely. They all ask this question because they want to assess if they are of learning this trade and if they can provide this service to others.
Before we can answer this question, let's recap what an independent truck dispatcher does:
Negotiation and booking of a client’s load – this is the main duty of an independent truck dispatcher
Preparation of the paperwork related to the load – this may include broker credit checks, completion of broker carrier agreements and potentially invoicing of loads
Problem resolution – when something goes wrong with a load, the dispatcher must resolve problems related to it
Marketing – independent dispatchers must be able to market their services to gain clients
Now let's discuss what skills you’ll need to fulfill these duties.
The first one is finding and booking a load. Where do you look for loads? Most independent truck dispatchers look for them on load boards, which are electronic marketplaces, and freight brokers use them to post loads that must move from point A to point B. This process is really simple. It takes five minutes to get familiarized with setting up a search, and that's pretty much it. If you know how to use a computer, you should be able to set up a search on a load board.
After that, the second part of the booking process comes. That's when you call brokers to get the necessary information about their load. You have to be able to talk, negotiate, clearly state what you need and ask the right questions. This information will help you determine if a load is right for your client. Once you book a load, you will have to complete some paperwork. In most cases, you will either complete an online form or complete some PDFs that are emailed to you.
In our LearnDispatch course, we provide you with multiple samples of those documents so you can practice their completion. It is not rocket science, and if you do 5 or 10 of these, you will feel very confident with completing these types of documents. You can learn what else we cover in our course by clicking here.
Later, you may also have to submit an invoice to help your client with the billing, which you can easily do with some basic software, such as Microsoft word. There is nothing special about it; you just have to be a confident computer user.
Once a load is booked, and paperwork is completed, we come to a problem resolution. While this will not happen on every load, problems will come. It's just a matter of time. Perhaps your truck is not being loaded, or maybe the truck is not being unloaded. There might be a breakdown or a delay, or something else. There is always some sort of problem that you may have to resolve. And as an independent truck dispatcher, you will be a liaison between a trucking company and a freight broker. You will have to promptly communicate and try to offer a solution to both parties, who sometimes do not see eye to eye. So as you can imagine, good communication skills can be critical in this type of situation.
Last but not least, a truck dispatcher must be able to market their services. While you can utilize many different skills to market your services, online marketing has become crucial lately. So being a confident internet user is critical to fulfilling this task. And if your marketing strategists are successful, your potential clients will call you, and that's where your communication skills will come into play again. You must clearly communicate your message and convince your potential client that you are the best choice for their trucking company.
Have you noticed that we are constantly repeating two sets of skills? One of them is being a confident computer user, and the second one is good communication skills. These two are the most important! The good news is that you can acquire these skills through educating yourself.
© By Roman Shmundyak March 2022