HOW CLEAN ARE YOUR RESTROOMS?

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Just back from a few days of making calls in the Chicago market. Wow, was it cold!

While in the Windy City, we made a pit stop for gas and a bathroom break. I nearly stopped at a stand-alone gas station, but I thought a convenience store would have a cleaner bathroom for the ladies. So, I went up another block and stopped at a Thornton’s. They had one of those “We take pride in having the cleanest restrooms!” signs on the mirror glaring at you while washing up. The sign was fake news. Nothing in the restroom was clean–paper towels on the floor, water splashed and dried on the mirror, toilets unflushed and it stunk to high heaven! It was nasty.

I started thinking about owning a truckload brokerage. Yes, I realize that probably sounds a little strange; equating dirty bathrooms to my business. Here’s my thinking. Any gas station or convenience store can plaster a sign on the mirror saying they pride themselves on the cleanliness of their bathrooms just like any freight brokerage can say they are better than their competition. We at R & S Delivered work so hard to change the way some shippers view brokers–Seen one, seen them all. You know the “How do you differentiate yourself?” question. Think about it. The Journal of Commerce estimates there are over 18,000 truckload brokers in the United States. Every broker who calls on a shipper, no matter their age, experience, qualifications or passion, pretty much says the same thing.

Every broker says they:

1) are pro-active in communication

2) have thousands of carriers

3) rarely, if ever, use load boards

4) are passionate about what they do

5) have long-term carrier relationships

6) vet all our carriers using the most stringent rules

7) are all about trust and integrity

8) are transparent at all times

9) have hundreds of years of combined office experience

10) can solve all your problem lanes

and so on.

When “Mr./Mrs. Decision Maker” is sitting and listening, how do they determine who really has the “cleanest restroom?” While the sales pitch may solve all the shipper’s problems, do the actions mirror the pitch?

Here’s what we at R & S Delivered think:

First, does the broker provide value to you the shipper? If they don’t, then they should be removed and replaced. I was talking to a prospect a few weeks ago, and he said, “I need another broker like I need another hole in the head.” If selected properly, I truly believe one or two brokers can easily do the work of many.

Secondly, do the services the broker offers match up well with your business? Sure, the big guys do it all, but if you are in a specific industry sector and your broker does very little in that sector, move on.

Thirdly, does the broker provide industry sector references? If you are in the foodservice business, then ask the broker for contact information for the foodservice companies with whom they do business. Follow through. Call or email them. Seriously, I can’t remember a shipper asking me for references other than on an RFP, and then the references were never contacted.

Fourthly, who is sitting across from you telling you about their business? Is it someone of authority? Is it a decision maker who will continue to be involved in your business and take ownership of the process? What is your gut telling you about working with this person and the character of this company?

Fifthly, will the broker honor their contract rates? This has been especially important in the past year when hurricanes, ELD’s and a red-hot economy caused many brokers (and asset carriers for that matter) to abandon their contract rates and move to the spot market. A lot of brokers use a short-term strategy to maximize profits instead of using a long-term relationship strategy. It is the broker’s responsibility to find the “right” carrier to haul the loads, so, if rates go up, the shipper is insulated.

Anyone anywhere can put a sign up telling you how important it is that their restrooms are clean. Be sure you’re asking the right questions of a potential broker. You don’t want to find out too late their advertising is false, and then find yourself having to clean up the mess. #truckload #truth #brokers #shippers #chemicals #plastics #food

 

Best, Russ

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Who coined the phrase “Pigs Get Fat. Hogs get Slaughtered.”​?

 

This is an impromptu post. I didn’t intend to write it when I got up this morning. I’m writing it after an interaction I had with a customer this morning. That customer had an easy refrigerated load picking up in MN and going to WI. Load picks up on January 2nd, a long time from now, and delivers the next day. It’s less than 300 miles. One of that customers “valued carrier partners” quoted $1,950.00 to haul that load. The market rate on the load was about $850.00. I quoted $850.00 and was awarded the load. The customer emailed me asking if my rate was correct. I said yes. I also said, “And can I say something? Whoever your carrier “partner” is that put $1950 on that lane should be eliminated from your list of “partners”. That’s a rate that only a pig would suggest. Seriously.” Now at the risk of offending someone with my picture, it takes big balls to quote a rate like that to a customer. A customer that you value. One who you should be giving your very best to every time they ask you to quote a load. Customers are so very hard to find. You call on them for months or years and finally get your chance to work for them, and this is what you give them? $1,950.00 on a load that should pay $850.00? Shame on you for not valuing your relationship with that customer.

It’s the holiday season. Christmas time. A time of giving and spending time with family. A time to send out thank you cards to your customers thanking them for your business. Think about it. If you’re a broker out there who thinks the best way to get ahead is to be a hog, prepare for the slaughter. You don’t deserve to be representing our industry.

Oh, and to answer my original question, Who coined that phrase? It was an Australian TV show in the 1980’s called Rubbery Figures. They get the credit. #chemicals #plastics #food #trucking #truckload #broker #Christmas #hogs

Russ Schultz