How to set yourself apart from other auto transport brokers
In the auto transport industry, brokers can sometimes be a dime a dozen. How can you set yourself apart and build a customer base?
Likely you will need to prove your are quicker and safer than other brokers, with access to more carriers who also trust you. How can you prove that?
Data is king.
Auto transport brokerages are chock-full of data that is ready to track and utilize where you need it. Wait times, price quoting, distances, customers – everything can be quantified. Some of the most important data in America comes from the auto transport industry, and more brokers need to know about it.
“Data collection doesn’t have to be scary, and it can help you.”
Data collection doesn’t have to be scary, and it can help you. These metrics can make or break your auto transport brokerage business. How, you might ask?
In auto transport brokering, neither the shipper nor the carrier see you as special until you prove yourself. What is the value proposition that makes you stand out from the other brokers? The answer is in the data; leveraged in the right place, at the right time, to the right person.
These are the four metrics you need to be collecting to set yourself apart from your competitors:
1. Percent of on-time pickups and deliveries
This is an easy one and a perfect place to start your data journey: it benefits you personally and it’s a sellable number to your customer.
When you quote a time and a price to a customer and secure the deal, they are relying on you to be accurate in your estimation of services. But if you already know that you only have 60% of on time deliveries, you can start to evaluate why they are not up to your standards. Are your carriers unreliable? Are you underestimating the time it takes? Then use this data to change your time quoting process, and better satisfy your customers. Customers will come back to you for repeat business and recommend you to other shippers in their industry.
Beyond satisfying current customers, knowing the percent of on-time pickups and deliveries will allow you to sell yourself in sales calls and marketing efforts. What other brokers can say they have a 95% on time delivery rate? This is information you can leverage in Google Ads, Facebook ads, on cold sales calls or on your website.
2. Average time of delayed deliveries
Average time of delayed deliveries has more to do with your broker-carrier relationship than your broker-shipper relationship. How long are your deliveries delayed by, generally? If your short haul carriers seem to be late by a few hours, maybe there are logistical issues you can address with them. Are they going out of their way to drop off your cars? Is there more traffic than you are accounting for? Are your carriers over-estimating their delivery timeframe?
If your loads are getting delayed by days, perhaps carriers are not making your loads a priority and you need to offer more money or better incentives.
All of this can be the first step to quoting an accurate time frame to your customers, by giving you the knowledge of how much time to give yourself extra as a “buffer period.” Best to promise later, but arrive earlier than to promise early and arrive late.
3. Average delivery time
While not necessarily useful for all brokers, average delivery time for cars can definitely benefit those who broker niche auto transport routes, or routes of similar length.
While average delivery time can be a useful internal metric to improve delivery times, it’s most useful on sales materials for potential customers. Niche brokers (like cross country or short haul) can use short delivery times as selling points in cold call sales pitches or for online web advertisements.
4. On-Time Carriers and Late Carriers
A broker is only as good as his network of carriers. This will help you build up a list of preferred carriers and have a robust network of reliable and available drivers. It can help you determine which carriers should be in your preferred list, which carriers you can can you offer non-time sensitive cars to transport, and which carriers you can can you entrust with POV and deadline-driven loads.
“If no carrier is making your load a priority, it’s likely that your business is more trouble than it’s worth in dollars.”
This can also again help you evaluate your business model and ask some tough questions.
If you have an entire list of carriers that are late constantly – be it for a short haul, long haul, new or used – you need to re-evaluate how much you are paying or how complicated your routes are. If no carrier is making your load a priority, it’s likely that your business is more trouble than it’s worth in dollars.
But this is why collecting and leveraging data is important. Prove to your carriers and your customers that your premium brokerage is worth the price and the effort by leveraging the knowledge of your own business.
How do I get the data?
A solid auto transportation software is the answer. However, not all softwares are created equal or created to be tailored for auto transport brokering.
In order to get technology that accurately reflects the important data – like delivery times and average prices – you need to use a system that works in tandem with carrier transportation management systems. Carrier softwares are the softwares that actually capture most of this information. Softwares like our own at Super Dispatch.
Technology is growing fast, and more technology is popping up to serve auto transport brokering. Super Dispatch launched a complete end-to-end vehicle shipping platform with a Shipper TMS and load board that connect directly with our Carrier TMS.
Do you have other metrics you use for brokering that weren’t mentioned here? Let us know in the comments!