Small businesses are the backbone of America and that goes for small freight carriers too. The trucking industry has become highly competitive, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a small freight carrier to stand out against the big, corporate companies. In fact, smaller carriers have some unique capabilities that actually make them more attractive to handle certain shipping needs over a larger carrier.
There are thousands of freight carriers throughout the U.S. As of April 2023, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimated that there are at least 750,000 active motor carriers that own or lease at least one tractor in the U.S. and 72.6% of the nation’s freight by weight is moved by trucks. With those statistics in mind, there is a lot of business available for both large and small carriers alike, depending on the shipping need.
Unlike large carriers, small freight carriers offer some unique benefits making them a versatile option for companies looking to diversify their logistics options. Large carriers often boast the most equipment and biggest crew, but this also means their routes are often very tight and they prefer to pick up a new load as soon as one is dropped off. This lack of flexibility may not work for every company, which is where a small freight carrier can become a huge asset.
To best differentiate yourself as a small freight carrier, it is important to realize that smaller carriers can fulfill key needs including being able to travel to smaller, more niche areas that larger carriers do not service. Small freight carriers can also add more flexibility to dense markets, as well as add support to a shipper’s base, increasing capacity and shortening lead time.
Small freight carriers can set themselves up for success by ensuring that they have a solid team in place and creating a brand that companies want to hire for their shipping needs. Some ways to do this include:
Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent: Running a successful freight carrier and standing out against the competition always involves having a solid team of drivers who exceed expectations. These days, carriers must not only hone their recruiting techniques to continually bring in new and experienced talent, but they must have programs and incentives in place to retain drivers and build a solid team.
Fostering Good Relationships: To stand out against all the many carriers in the industry, you have to create a face for your brand and foster good relationships with your clients and employees alike. Successful brands have a strong social media presence, create mentoring programs for drivers, and stay in constant communication to ensure all client and employee needs are met.
Refining Marketing and Hiring Practices: Ultimately, the best way to build your brand and differentiate your company from others in the industry is to refine your marketing and hiring practices. By showing consistency in all company messaging, you can build trust, give your company a recognizable face, and foster relationships with clients and employees that will last for years to come.
At Drive My Way, we are dedicated to keeping carriers of all shapes and sizes informed about the best recruitment, marketing, and employment trends in the trucking industry.