How To Choose A Dispatch Service For Owner Operator

When it comes to effectively managing their loads, owner-operators frequently find themselves at a crossroads in the dynamic world of transportation. Making the crucial choice of whether to hire a dispatch services or self-dispatch can significantly influence the company. Cost is the most critical factor to consider while making your choice. While some dispatchers charge a flat fee (such as $50 per load), most superior dispatch services charge between 5 and 10 percent on average.

This article will highlight the difficulties of choosing a dispatch service for owner-operators, exploring the functions, benefits, and potential pitfalls of these services.

What Do Dispatch Services Do for Owner Operators?

Dispatch services play an essential role in the success of owner-operators. They act as the middlemen between drivers and shippers, ensuring a smooth flow of operations. From negotiating rates to tracking shipments, dispatchers handle various back-office tasks, allowing owner-operators to focus on driving and expanding their businesses. In addition, the truck dispatcher has:

  1. Multitasking Abilities
  2. Good Understanding of Trucking and Logistics Industry
  3. Eye for Details & Organized

How Do Dispatchers Acquire Loads?

One of the primary responsibilities of dispatchers is finding highly profitable loads. They use a variety of strategies, such as establishing a connection with shippers, using load boards, and using technology to get the best load. How well these processes work directly affects the owner-operator’s financial success.

After you sign an owner-operator dispatcher contract, it is the dispatcher’s responsibility to know your business’s operations and determine which loads work best for you. To locate loads, some dispatchers will rely on their networks. Alternatively, they will frequently use load boards to find freight on your behalf.

Freight dispatchers frequently use load boards that are available to individual owner-operators. Dispatchers post their clients’ trucks on those boards and either conduct a search or let the system locate a match. All they need to do is enter the details of the truck they are trying to find, such as its type, any unique features, and the lanes, origin, and destination they want to see.

Also Read: How to Make More Money As a Truck Driver

Should the Owner Operator Use a Truck Dispatch Service?

Even if dispatch services have many advantages, there are other factors to consider about. Considering the benefits and drawbacks is necessary when deciding on hiring a dispatch service. Testimonials from business owners who worked with both sides of the dispute firsthand offer insightful information about how dispatch services affect their operations.

Advantages of Using Dispatch Services

  • Time Savings for Owner Operators:

Dispatch services save valuable time for owner operators by handling the logistics of load assignments, allowing them to focus on driving.

  • Access to a Network of Shippers:

Dispatchers often have established connections with shippers, providing owner operators with access to a broader range of potential loads.

  • Improved Negotiation Power:

With experience and industry knowledge, dispatchers can negotiate better rates and terms on behalf of owner operators.

How to Self-Dispatch as an Owner Operator

An alternative that some owner-operators choose is self-dispatching. This involves taking on independent control over the load acquisition process. We examine the methods and techniques for effective self-dispatching, highlighting the advantages and difficulties of this approach.

DAT is one load board that satisfies each of these requirements. With a top-notch load board like DAT, you can self-dispatch and have access to the most significant freight marketplace, as well as the ability to make sure you take advantage of the ideal load.

When Is It Appropriate to Self-Dispatch?

Knowing when a dispatch service would be more sensible and when self-dispatching is beneficial is important. For owner-operators, finding the ideal mix is essential to maximizing productivity and profitability.

In order to self-dispatch, you must be willing to spend enough time regularly searching for freight. Additionally, you must be confident enough to bargain with brokers. Better yet, self-dispatching provides you with complete control over your company. Transferring the task of finding your loads to another person can seem counterproductive, especially because many owner-operators started their businesses in order to have more control over their workload.

How to Select the Best Owner-Operator Dispatch Service or Load Board

It’s important to consider selecting the best load board or dispatch service. We offer a thorough how-to guide for evaluating your alternatives, including comparisons of load boards, selection criteria, and essential advice for making an informed choice.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Choosing a Dispatch Service

  1. Hidden Fees and Contractual Obligations
  2. Lack of Transparency in Load Assignment
  3. Inadequate Communication Channels
  4. Understanding the Fine Print in Service Agreements

Why Choose GAD Truck Dispatch Services for Your Business

GAD Truck Dispatch Services is unique among the many dispatch services available. We highlight the unique qualities and benefits that make GAD stand out, along with testimonials from happy owner-operators who have used their services.

Also Read: How to Start a Trucking Company With One Truck


In the dynamic world of trucking, the decision to choose a dispatch service is a pivotal one for owner operators. Whether opting for external assistance or taking the self-dispatching route, careful consideration of the options available is essential. The right choice can streamline operations, enhance profitability, and contribute to the overall success of the owner operator’s business.


How do dispatch services negotiate rates with shippers?

Negotiating rates between dispatch services and shippers involves a combination of factors and communication skills. Here’s a breakdown of the process:

Market Research: Dispatch services begin by conducting thorough market research to understand the current industry rates for specific routes, types of cargo, and prevailing market conditions.

Analysis of Costs: The dispatch service evaluates its own operational costs, including fuel, maintenance, labor, and administrative expenses. This analysis helps them determine the minimum acceptable rate to maintain profitability.

Establishing Value: Dispatch services highlight their value proposition to shippers, emphasizing factors such as reliability, on-time delivery, communication capabilities, and any additional services they provide.

Communication: Negotiations involve open communication between the dispatch service and the shipper. Both parties discuss their expectations, requirements, and constraints to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

Volume Commitments: Shippers may negotiate better rates by committing to a certain volume of shipments with the dispatch service. This provides assurance to the dispatch service and allows for economies of scale.

Long-Term Contracts: Long-term contracts often include negotiated rates that are favorable to both parties. This stability benefits both the dispatch service and the shipper.

Flexibility: Negotiations may also involve flexibility in rates based on market fluctuations, seasonal demands, or unforeseen circumstances.

In summary, successful rate negotiations involve a combination of understanding market dynamics, transparent communication, and finding a balance that benefits both the dispatch service and the shipper.

3. What technology tools do dispatch services use for load acquisition?

Dispatch services leverage various technology tools to streamline load acquisition. Here are some common tools:

Load Boards: Online platforms where shippers post available loads, and carriers can search for and book them. Examples include DAT,, and Convoy.

Transportation Management Systems (TMS): TMS software helps dispatch services manage the end-to-end logistics process, including load acquisition, route optimization, and communication with drivers.

Telematics and GPS Systems: These systems track the location of trucks in real-time, aiding dispatchers in assigning and managing loads efficiently.

Mobile Apps: Many dispatch services provide mobile apps for drivers to receive load notifications, submit documentation, and communicate with dispatchers on the go.

Dispatch services use communication tools such as messaging apps, email, and phone systems to coordinate with shippers and drivers regarding load details, changes, and updates.

Data Analytics: Analytical tools help dispatchers make informed decisions by analyzing historical data, market trends, and performance metrics.

Integration with ELDs: Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) are integrated with dispatch systems to track hours of service compliance and ensure that drivers adhere to regulatory requirements.

Automation Software: Automation tools assist in the automatic matching of available loads with suitable carriers, reducing manual intervention and improving efficiency.

These technology tools collectively enhance the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of load acquisition for dispatch services.

4. Are there hidden costs associated with using dispatch services?

While dispatch services provide valuable support, it’s crucial to be aware of potential hidden costs:

Transaction Fees: Some dispatch services charge transaction fees for each load booked. These fees may not be explicitly stated and can impact overall costs.

Accessorial Charges: Additional charges for services beyond basic dispatching, such as detention fees, lumper fees, or any extra services provided during the transportation process.

Subscription or Membership Fees: Some dispatch services may have subscription models or membership fees that aren’t immediately apparent. These costs should be considered in the overall budget.

Contractual Obligations: If there are long-term contracts with the dispatch service, there may be penalties or fees associated with early termination or changes to the agreed-upon terms.

Technology Costs: If the dispatch service provides proprietary software or tools, there may be associated costs for their usage. Ensure clarity on any additional charges related to technology.

Insurance and Compliance Costs: Some dispatch services may require carriers to meet specific insurance or compliance standards. Meeting these standards could involve additional costs.

Hidden Markup: In some cases, dispatch services might negotiate rates with shippers and mark them up before presenting them to carriers. Understanding the fee structure is essential to avoid unexpected markups.

It’s crucial to thoroughly review contracts, ask questions, and seek transparency regarding all potential costs associated with using a dispatch service.

5. How can I verify the reliability of a dispatch service before choosing it?

Ensuring the reliability of a dispatch service is vital for the success of your transportation operations. Here are steps to verify their reliability:

References and Reviews: Seek references from other carriers or shippers who have used the dispatch service. Online reviews and testimonials can provide insights into the experiences of others.

Industry Reputation: Research the dispatch service’s reputation in the trucking industry. Look for any awards, recognitions, or notable partnerships that can attest to their reliability.

Compliance and Certifications: Verify that the dispatch service complies with industry regulations and holds necessary certifications. This ensures that they operate within legal and ethical frameworks.

Communication Practices: Evaluate their communication processes. A reliable dispatch service should have clear communication channels, responsiveness, and a system for handling emergencies or unexpected changes.

Technology Infrastructure: Assess the dispatch service’s technology infrastructure. A reliable service should have modern systems, secure data management practices, and tools that enhance operational efficiency.

Contractual Transparency: Review the contract thoroughly. A reliable dispatch service should be transparent about their terms, fees, and any potential risks. Avoid services that are hesitant to provide clear contractual details.

Customer Support: Test their customer support responsiveness. Reach out with inquiries and assess how quickly and effectively they address your concerns. Reliable customer support is crucial for resolving issues promptly.