Which TMS is right for you? The one most loved by its customers.

At Truckbase, you’re our most important customer. We work tirelessly to ensure we make you successful. We listen to your feedback, we act on it accordingly, and we follow up to let you know when it’s done. Getting a rave customer review is our greatest reward.

A personalized approach
to trucking software

Our founder, Bryan, built Truckbase to be the most loved software partner for small and growing truckload carriers.
Yes, our goal is for your team to love your trucking software. We want to help you make more money with less effort, eliminate painstaking manual work from your job description, and help you “wow” your own customers. When we do that, we all win.

Here’s what a few of our carriers have to say about us

Truckbase is the most intuitive and easy software I’ve found after evaluating over 20 TMS providers. Any dispatcher can pick it up within 30 minutes.
Truckbase is so simple and easy to use. It’s the ideal solution for small companies to stay connected with drivers and organize load, documents, and invoices.
Truckbase has exponentially increased our back office efficiency. They’ve helped us streamline our processes as we evolve from a company with just a couple trucks into a larger organization.
Truckbase continues to be a wonderful company that we love using. From the ease of set-up, to the day-to-day operation of the dashboard, to the ease of the program that our drivers use, we can't rave enough about Bryan and his team. I have even helped out another potential customer of Truckbase, looking to integrate their trucking needs to an easier platform. Bryan and his team continue to work with us on our needs for a better platform for us to use as well. Ten out of Ten will recommend Truckbase to anyone needing better trucking software.
Truckbase and their support team have been excellent to work with. Their quick response to feedback is impressive.
Truckbase is helping small carriers enter the digital age.

Truckbase TMS was quick to implement, is easy to use and is getting new functionality added to it constantly. If you run a small trucking company you need this product.

Not to mention, the people that run the company genuinely care about the success of their customers and that is something that is rare in software.
The support team is very attentive and responsive and that I feel is one of the key perks.
Truckbase has a phenomenal interface which makes training and change management a breeze. Having come from the tech industry where the majority of employees are technically savvy regardless of interface, I knew ease of use would be the biggest determining factor of a successful implementation. Luckily for us, Truckbase has more than delivered. On top of the product, the team is always willing to go above and beyond for their customers.
Truckbase isn't just software... I love working with their team. I feel like we are not just another sale, that we and our opinions matter to them. It is what puts them well above their competition.
Truckbase is doing things for us that we haven't seen outside of paying $150,000 and that even has way too many features for a small fleet.
Loving your program and how much it simplifies the process and puts everything in real-time! So glad we went with Truckbase.
Truckbase was the best out of the four options we were considering. They also struck the right mix of feature volume, feature quality, and price for our company. I would pick Truckbase 10/10 times over a system like McLeod.
THE BEST!!! THE BEST!!! It is so easy to enter loads! The drivers having mobile access to upload documents has cut my billing time in half! We have used quite a few other applications and they did not have the functionality that Truckbase has! So glad we Truckbase!!!!
Implementing Truckbase has been very impactful on our business. We feel more organized, efficient, and in a better place as we continue to grow.
The ease of dispatching has improved our time to getting a load entered and dispatched to the driver to almost instantly.
Truckbase is meeting all of our needs and constantly trying to better themselves to our needs. Truckbase cares about the needs of our company and is constantly working to stay in touch and work in a timely matter to help meet any needs we may have. Also, the ease of using the program and being able to use it from anywhere that I can access the internet is a huge plus.
With Truckbase, I know that we are in good hands with the team they have. There are no cons. They are very straightforward, and they have your best interest in mind when talking to you.
It's just so easy to implement into a team. The Truckbase team has great support when we have questions.
I used to spend Fridays searching emails & texts to find what cash is coming in next week. Now, I just open Truckbase, and it’s there. It saves me at least one day per week.
While the product itself is great, it’s the people behind it that ultimately impacted our decision to choose Truckbase. The Truckbase team has been so helpful in addressing our questions and extremely receptive to any feedback and suggestions. That level of responsiveness to feedback is not something you see often and gives them a leg up against the competition for sure. We feel more like partners rather than just another user who uses their product. Awesome people to work with!
Truckbase saves me 8-10 hours per week. I no longer worry about missing BOLs or late invoices. So, I can spend more time on growing our business.
I chose Truckbase because of the overall ease of use...it doesn't take long to enter a load in, notify the driver, or track the progress of the freight.
Overall, the team has been fantastic to work with. They are engaged, responsive, and helpful. They even flew out for an all-day training of my operations team to ensure a smooth transition to the system. I can't recommend them enough.
Our previous system was clunky, ugly, and more expensive. Truckbase is user friendly and did not require extensive training.
I think I’m in love. I have tried 15-20 tms softwares in the past week and a half. Trucklogics, Rose Rocket, anywhere I could get somebody on the phone and test. I can’t believe it took me this long to find y’all… You’ll save us easily 3-4hrs/day just on invoicing and making loads.
You're so easy compared to the other softwares that I've tried. Once a driver pulls the link up it's perfect - they know exactly where to go, they can click on the map, and they can upload their documents all in one place.
Truckbase was the most impressive thing we saw in any demo we've watched. We've looked at a lot of places and nowhere has done this. I looked over at my dispatcher during the demo and her eyes just lit up, it’s amazing. Thank you.

We are proud to be the industry leader on Capterra

Have more questions? We got you!

Will it be easy to set up and start using?

Truckbase works out of the box and takes about an hour to set up. Onboarding is done over phone call or Zoom, with a dedicated account manager who is also your contact for ongoing support.

Do my drivers need to download an app?

No! Our text-based dispatch makes it easy to instantly communicate with your drivers without the hassle and glitches of apps that drivers have trouble using.

The ease of use and the seamless, integrated workflow from PDF import → dispatch text → mobile scan of BOL makes us the best, most comprehensive dispatch solution (as said by our customers).

Is Truckbase mobile-friendly?

Our dispatch website and driver logins are super mobile-friendly, so you can log in and track your loads and drivers can update information or attach documents from anywhere.

Is Truckbase cloud-based?

Yes, Truckbase is cloud-based!

What if I use factoring?

Sending loads to your factoring company is a breeze with one-click emails directly from Truckbase. Direct integrations with factoring companies is on our roadmap as well. Get in touch to learn more!

What happens to my historic data on another platform?

While setting up we can back-fill historical data when switching software, so that you don't lose any time or data duplicating information.

Does Truckbase offer a driver app?

Drivers all have their own logins to our mobile-friendly app. Using the login/app is not required with our text-based dispatch & scanning, but the driver logins are an easy way for drivers to see their load history and schedule.

Resources to help you grow your trucking business

Featured
Trucking Software

“Easy to use” trucking software – The “X” factor when evaluating a TMS

Bryan Jones
July 30, 2023
min read

Whether you have five trucks or fifty, no one has a team with excess time. Managing a growing business and balancing that with profitability means your team is virtually always at capacity, and you tend to hire when your team is over capacity. And, training new hires on your systems is a major endeavor when you’re a small business.

When done right, finding the right trucking software can be a transformative endeavor. Great software providers can open your eyes to what’s possible. There are always more efficient and effective ways to manage your business and your customers. Software, when done right, should be a huge unlocking function for your drivers, your dispatchers, your back office staff, and you as an owner.

“Truckbase is the most intuitive and easy software I’ve found after evaluating over 20 TMS providers. Any dispatcher can pick it up within 30 minutes.” -Tom Herlache, Owner of Herlache Truck Lines

But why do so many software implementations become overwhelming, time consuming, and frustrating with months of training? 

At Truckbase, we have always aspired to build the easiest-to-use TMS for small trucking companies. Period. We serve growing fleets that have a minimum of five trucks and span upwards of fifty. We believe great software lies in the art of balancing powerful features with simplicity.

Because Truckbase was specifically built with (and for) small family-run fleets, we believe advanced features are only as useful as they are usable for busy dispatchers and operations managers. After all, software is meant to save time (not add more work to your plate).

Trucking software often becomes too complex to use for several reasons:

  1. Lack of focus. As a vendor, when you try to be all things to all people, such as building solutions for 3PLs and freight brokers in addition to carriers, the waters get muddied. Truckbase solely focuses on asset-based carriers. Even within the carrier segment, focusing on too many varieties – such as last-mile in addition to long-haul and over the road (OTR) – can lead to an overly complex product. Truckbase focuses on regional and long-haul carriers, who tend to have five to fifty trucks. We also don’t try to serve companies with 500+ trucks – that’s not our sweet spot, and there are other providers who serve mega-carriers better than Truckbase.
  2. Too many screens, modules, and pages. For small teams, the power of a single dashboard that houses key data and intuitively allows you to follow active loads and easily toggle to other key sections is critical for helping onboard staff to the system. We routinely hear that Truckbase is like a TMS “on a single page.” That’s music to our ears.
  3. Custom implementation vs. configurable. There’s a big difference between exceptional onboarding and customizing every feature to fit your needs. Do not be swayed by promises of customization – that means an incredible amount of work from your team to test and validate, back and forth with the vendor, and onboarding times measured in months instead of days or weeks. At Truckbase, we aim to have every customer onboarded within 2 weeks across 2 meetings (with additional training & support available of course!). 
  4. Manual data entry. Too many TMSes seem robust on the surface, but without automations such as load importing and driver alerts, you end up spending just as much time inputting data and making check calls as you did when using more manual systems. Ask your providers how they leverage AI and what their unique advantages are when it comes to automated alerts and messaging. At Truckbase, we love that question!

You are too busy, and your customers and team members are too important, to be spending countless hours implementing, learning, and operating in clunky software. Focus on prioritizing ease of use when selecting trucking dispatch software for your growing fleet has cascading benefits.

Featured
Operations

How to eliminate check calls and reduce dispatcher workload by up to 30%

Bryan Jones
July 19, 2023
min read

For any growing trucking company, endless check calls are often considered a necessary evil. They eat up your dispatcher's time, and your drivers can’t stand them. While there are valid reasons for frequent check calls (and they help build trust with brokers), there is a better way.

Twenty years ago, this would all have to be done manually, and the only way to solve it would be to add dispatchers, which reduces your profitability and doesn’t scale well. In today’s world, it is possible to reduce your dispatcher’s workload by 30% and eliminate check calls entirely through live tracking software and automation.

“Truckbase has exponentially increased our back office efficiency. They’ve helped us streamline our processes as we evolve from a company with just a couple trucks into a larger organization.” -Bruce P., VP Bumpa & Sons Trucking

What are check calls?

Check calls refer to calls and emails from a freight broker to a carrier looking for status updates on a load. For larger fleets with dedicated dispatchers, these calls and emails will often go to the dispatcher who then needs to call or text the driver. The broker can have a range of questions: Where is the driver? Have they been loaded? What is the ETA for the load? Can you send the bill of lading?

While some brokers will only make 1-2 calls a day, there are some agents who have been known to ask for updates every 15-30 minutes. This eats into your dispatchers’ valuable time.

The power and leverage of software and technology in reducing check calls

When your tool of choice is the phone or two-way radio, you are limited by time. A check that reveals no issues is complete wasted motion. You are also more prone to miscommunication, which can lead to routing mistakes and further inefficiencies, which may in turn impact customer satisfaction. The more you can reduce the “all clear” types of back and forth, the more time you can save your dispatchers, and the more you can reduce errors, the more efficient your whole operation will be – and the happier your customers will be.

There are 4 main ways a trucking company can manage their check calls in 2023:

  • Call, text, and email: Dispatchers can get frequent calls & emails from customers, which they relay on to drivers via text or phone call. This can add up to >30% of the dispatchers’ time and lead to frustration for your whole time.
  • Third party tracking apps: Many brokerages have live tracking capabilities through 3rd party tracking apps that your driver can download on their phone. These include tools like TruckerTools, MacroPointe, Project44, FourKites. Although this does provide live tracking, it often comes with numerous challenges… 
  • Drivers need to download and manage multiple apps on their personal device. 
  • It’s possible for the driver to forget to enable tracking, resulting in costly penalties or decreased carrier ratings. 
  • Because these tracking systems are managed by the broker, the carrier has less control over communications.
  • Last, the broker control of the technology tends to give more power to broker vs. what’s possible as a more professional carrier with their own tracking system.
  • ELD devices: Some ELD devices like Samsara provide the ability to generate a tracking link for the dispatcher to share the location of a truck. However, typically your ELD doesn’t have the full order/dispatch information. So, it’s often insufficient to eliminate check calls.
  • Dispatch software with check call automation: Trucking dispatch software with live tracking like Truckbase provide ability to automate all information provided in check calls. The benefits of 
  • Provide a single app for driver to use
  • ELD integrations provides more reliable tracking than phone’s GPS (and it doesn’t interfere with drivers’ privacy
  • Additional information on the order is included on the updates (including the ability to see the BOL)

While ELDs and other GPS tracking systems provided a valuable first step in being able to see where a truck is, a fully featured dispatch software (or TMS) enables trucking carriers to deepen customer trust and to fully eliminate check calls through automation.

Modern trucking dispatch software solutions like Truckbase achieve this through five primary areas: 

  1. Live tracking links
  2. ELD integrations
  3. Customer portals
  4. Automated customer updates
  5. Automated driver updates
“Truckbase is the most intuitive and easy software I’ve found after evaluating over 20 TMS providers. Any dispatcher can pick it up within 30 minutes.” -Tom H, Owner of Herlache Truck Lines

Live tracking links

A live tracking link is a unique link that you can send to your customers via email to view all relevant information on the load as well as the location of the load. 

Trucking dispatch software like Truckbase provides all the relevant information and documentation your customer may want for that load in addition to the location. 

The addition of the other documents provides you more control over what gets shared (e.g., stop sharing the truck location after the load has been delivered). It also provides more information than a simple GPS tracker because check calls often include additional questions, such as “is the driver loaded?” or “can you send a copy of the bill of lading?”.

ELD Integrations

With modern dispatch software solutions like Truckbase, dispatchers are able to view and access their truck location and other ELD information through their dispatch software (or TMS). The dispatcher can rest assured that they will be automatically alerted – and the driver in turn – if there are any issues that arise. Thus you can now leverage your dispatchers to do higher level human intervention that is both more stimulating and more impactful, than having them do rote checks. 

When considering implementing live tracking, it’s important to think about your driver’s preferences for tracking on their phone vs. the truck. While phone-level tracking may seem simple, do they have any privacy concerns about tracking on their device? Are they comfortable with remembering to actively turn tracking on their device for every load? Are they comfortable with technology and using multiple apps on their phone when different customers request tracking through different apps?

In addition, do you wish to provide tracking to customers who don’t have a 3rd party tracking system in place?

Providing live tracking through an ELD integration with a TMS system allows you to provide more reliable tracking and simplify your driver’s experience with your technology.

Last, while some software systems only allow you to integrate with their own ELD or provide integrations with 1-2 ELDs, dispatch software like Truckbase allows you to connect with 30+ different ELD devices. This is key because it provides more optionality if you wish to change out devices in the future.

Customer Portals

As you grow beyond solely relying on load boards and begin to have dedicated customer relationships, a dedicated customer portal serves two overarching functions: it reflects a degree of professionalism and reliability to your customers which gives them increased confidence in giving you their business, and it can dramatically reduce customer-facing calls by allowing for self-service status update checks. By providing them similar visibility into the progress, tracking, and real-time updates that your dispatchers can leverage, your customers can rest assured that all is on track and they’ll be notified instantaneously if anything is amiss. Transparency is key to building trust and deeper relationships with customers, and they don’t want to waste their time any more than you do. 

Automated Customer Updates

Tying to the customer portal, the logical extension of real-time tracking is providing real-time updates as needed. These are tunable to the extent you would like more or fewer, positive or negative. Know where your trucks are, get updates on when the driver arrived at the shipper, is loaded, in transit, etc. 

Being able to configure these updates for different customers helps with identifying issues with detention, builds customer trust, and can improve your carriers’ rating with brokers.

Automated Driver Updates

Similarly to customer updates, your driver updates will tend to be more frequent and more detail oriented than what your customers require. With these as well, tools like Truckbase can automatically ping your driver with relevant updates or change delivery destinations and requirements. If they need to rest to remain compliant, they can be alerted automatically.

Conclusion

Check calls remain a key frustration and barrier to growth for trucking companies, especially for those growing quickly. By harnessing the power of trucking dispatch software like Truckbase and its various automations, you can meaningfully reduce check calls for your dispatchers, drivers, and customers. Improve the satisfaction of all involved, and scale your business without breaking your team.

Featured
Guides

Guide to hiring drivers for your long haul trucking business

Bryan Jones
August 4, 2023
min read

In the long haul trucking industry, driver turnover is nearly 100% per year – meaning the average driver lasts only 12 months. While focusing on driver retention should be your top priority when you have a roster of reliable and easy-to-work with drivers, hiring will always be a critical part of the job for any growing trucking business. 

In this article, we breakdown a 7-step guide across how to find, recruit, qualify, and hire the best drivers available. Importantly, we add a compliance lens to this as well, with ___ requirements you need to execute and have in place with each additional driver.

Where do I find great drivers? Two primary ways: your network and job boards.

  1. Network. Have you met any you love, especially independent drivers who might want a steadier base of business and pay? It’s always best to start with your first and second degree connections to determine who you might want to bring on next. We suggest keeping a simple running sheet (Google Sheet, Excel, or elsewhere) of potential hires. We call this your “virtual bench” of talent.
  2. Job boards. There are no shortage of job boards where you can post for drivers. Common generalist sites are Indeed.com, ZipRecruiter.com, and LinkedIn. There are also multiple trucking specific job boards such as TheTrucker.com and TruckersNetwork.com. Depending on your budget, you might consider a platform like Tenstreet that allows you to post to 20 job boards at once and integrate applications with verifications and driver qualification files.

Process: from your Scorecard to the driver’s “First 90 Days”

In short, here are the 8 key steps we recommend taking for hiring drivers, from the initial scorecard of the role through onboarding your driver:

  1. Start with your “Scorecard.” What are the 3-5 core accountabilities of the job? What does success look like 12-18 months from now? Be crisp and specific on the key deliverables – e.g. “The driver will have driven over 100,000 miles without an accident,” or “The driver will have received positive feedback from more than 90% of clients they worked with.” This is an internal document you can use to help keep yourself honest in the hiring process.
  2. Write out the Job Description. Based on the key deliverables of the Scorecard, the Job Description becomes your public facing document. Write out a blurb about your company, the mission of the role, the key responsibilities of the driver, and the key qualifications they’ll need to be hired and to be successful.
  3. Driver’s Application for Employment. Per FMCSA requirements, a driver must have a completed and signed application for employment. The FMCSA has an example you can use here, but you can customize it to your own business as long as you have the information required by the FMCSA.
  4. Phone screen or in person meeting. Have a crisp 30 minute conversation with the driver to gauge cultural fit with your team, how they’ll be received by customers, and get a brief overview of work history and qualifications that might not appear on their resume (if you have one for them). Figure out who on your team needs to speak with or meet each driver before you begin the hiring process, so that you can streamline the experience and save time for all involved.
  5. Driver test. It’s common when hiring drivers that you run them through a driver test to ensure that they are a safe, attentive, and responsible driver. 
  6. Background and reference checks. While background checks and drug tests are essential to ensure your driver either has a clean record or you at least are comfortable with an explainable lapses in their past, the reference checks are often even more critical to ensure the candidate will be a great fit – or not – for the role. Talk to 3-5 past employers or customers who can speak in depth about their experience with the driver in question. Ask probing questions about disagreements, biggest issues they may have had, and any other potential red or yellow flag. At this stage, people are likely to not want to say anything negative, so you’ll want to diplomatically probe.
  7. Prepare a driver qualification file. The FMCSA requires a list of checks and documents to be completed for each new driver prior to employment as well as an ongoing maintenance of that file. This file should include the inquiries to previous employers, previous motor vehicle reports (MVRs), medical examiner’s certificate, and other information. Be sure to research the latest requirements directly from the FMCSA to ensure your files are complete and up to date.
  8. Onboarding. Congrats on finding the right driver! Have a succinct and legally-reviewed offer letter template drafted and ready to go with job expectations, compensation, benefits, and employment information clearly spelled out. Determine all the steps you’ll need to get them set up in your HR system, if you have one, to make this run smoothly for the candidate. First impressions of onboarding matters for creating a positive experience and helping on retention down the road. Be sure they are familiar with all equipment, team members they’ll be interacting with, safety protocols, insurance, and emergency procedures.
Featured
Guides

TMS Software for Carriers: How to Choose

Bryan Jones
October 26, 2023
min read

Navigating the trucking software landscape can be challenging. As an asset-based carrier, the right TMS (Transportation Management System) is not just a tool but a strategic partner in driving your business forward. 

We've created a comprehensive guide to assist you in making an informed decision.

Step 1: Who’s Doing What? Understand Your People, Process, and Technology Today

Before diving into software options, spend some time evaluating your team’s structure and key tasks. Engage your team in this process, to detail out who’s doing what, what’s working well, what’s not, and identify potential gaps. You’ll likely be surprised at certain areas of confusion or overlap!

Within your current workflow, shine a spotlight on areas needing attention or automation. For example, who is handling dispatch today? How about invoicing and driver pay? Are we double-entering our data from a spreadsheet in QuickBooks? 

Pinpoint gaps and inefficiencies, and have that list handy when you begin to demo trucking TMSes so you can ask how certain software might alleviate these pain points.

Step 2: Clarify Your Goals and Problem Areas

Articulating the problems you aim to solve with a TMS ensures the software addresses your actual needs. Formulate a succinct statement of your goals and their correlation to potential software solutions. For example: “We are wasting time double-entering data into both our Google Sheet (or existing TMS) as well as QuickBooks, and it’s a massive waste of time and rife with errors.” 

Step 3: Investigate Carrier TMSes and Their Core Features

When exploring options for TMS software for carriers, focus on dispatch, invoicing, and driver settlements. Those tend to be the core three features of growing asset-based carriers that see the most leverage with a TMS. Ease of use and implementation are also key to ensuring software adoption and effective utilization. 

Additionally, you may want to spend some time understanding ELD integrations, EDI connections should you need to establish direct links with your largest customers, and how the TMS integrates with QuickBooks.

Step 4: Evaluate the People Behind the TMS – It’s a Partnership

Choosing a TMS is a long-term investment and partnership. Ensure the provider’s team is accessible and supportive throughout the software's lifecycle. 

Do you have a clear escalation contact? Who is your most senior relationship there? Do you feel good rapport with that person, and do you trust that if things go wrong they’ll fix it or die trying? 

That’s the feeling you want. Remember that software companies are teams of people, and you want the right team to have your back.

Key Features to Evaluate in TMS Software for Carriers

Let’s dive into specific features of carrier TMS software that you should be sure to evaluate with the providers you talk to. Throughout this section, we’ll outline how Truckbase handles them so you have clear examples.

Dispatch: Your Lifeblood

Above all else, we recommend prioritizing dispatch functionality. Truckbase, for instance, offers user-friendly software for small to mid-sized fleets, automating load-building, dispatch, and communication between dispatchers and drivers. For the average carrier, this is 80% of the battle, and thus it’s the place to spend the most time with TMSes. Make sure this feature area is intuitive, flexible, and delightful to use for your team. 

We highly recommend having a dispatcher join a demo of the software, especially when reviewing how the TMS provider handles it.

Driver Settlements: Building Trust and Goodwill

An efficient driver pay system is essential. Truckbase pulls load information automatically, ensuring timely and accurate driver payments. Errors or late driver payments can erode trust and goodwill, so it’s critical that your TMS has this functionality. 

Check for flexibility in how you handle accessorials and other pay, such as stop pay or recurring deductions for owner operators.

Invoicing: Accelerate and Automate How You Get Paid

Modern trucking software like Truckbase streamlines the invoicing process, enabling daily invoicing that looks professional and improves your cash flow. You should be able to issue invoices both from within your carrier TMS software as well as within QuickBooks Online, and see it magically sync to the other system.

ELD Integrations: Real-Time Load Tracking

Truckbase integrates with over 30 ELD providers, offering real-time notifications and status updates to customers. You want ELD data connected to your TMS data, so that you’re not just looking at dots on a map without any information attached to them – you want to be able to map back truck tracking to specific load and customer information. That’s the key with integrated ELDs and TMS software for carriers.

EDI: Support Direct Customer Integrations

EDI technology allows systems to translate and feed information to one another. Truckbase supports EDI connections, fostering long-term customer relationships. And most importantly, you want a carrier TMS partner that makes EDI “just work.” 

EDI connections are convoluted and can be a black box, and as an asset-based carrier owner you shouldn’t need the technical expertise to drive it. Rely on your TMS provider as a consultative partner to make it happen.

QuickBooks: The Accounting Giant

Trucking software should integrate seamlessly with QuickBooks. If you’re an asset-based carrier with fewer than 100 trucks, the odds are you use QuickBooks – and virtually every accounting pro is familiar with it. Truckbase supports both QuickBooks Online and Desktop, ensuring smooth data flow between systems.

Moreover, carriers often experience a frustration between these two systems: QuickBooks has financial information and reports, and your TMS has all your truck level information. You need a system that can marry those two data sets.

Customer Portal: Self-Service Dashboard

A self-service Customer Portal provides customers with real-time updates, invoice statuses, and estimated delivery times, enhancing professionalism and transparency. Some customers want to login throughout the day – or night. Providing this functionality helps ease unnecessary check calls or back-and-forths with your team, and puts a more professional foot forward for your business. When you can offer 24/7 access, customers tend to be impressed.

Truck Level Profitability: Full Fleet Performance Visibility

A dashboard that offers full visibility and detailed KPIs, filterable by various factors, ensures efficient and effective business growth. In the spirit of “what gets measured gets managed,” you want to ensure that you have access to key metrics and insights from which you can make actionable decisions.

You’re Now Ready to Choose Your Ideal Carrier TMS

Choosing the right TMS software as a carrier is pivotal for operational efficiency, profitability, and business growth. It’s a big decision. By understanding your needs, evaluating your current workflow, defining clear objectives, researching options, and assessing potential partnerships, you can select a carrier-focused TMS that meets your needs and scales with your growth. 

We here at Truckbase believe we stand out as a comprehensive solution, offering a range of features tailored to the unique challenges of the trucking industry. Interested? Book a demo with us to get started.

Featured
Trucking Software

The Power Trio of Trucking Technology: EDI, ELDs, and your TMS

Bryan Jones
September 20, 2023
min read

When you combine the power of your TMS, ELD tracking data, and EDI connections to pipe directly into your customers’ systems, your operating model transforms into one of service and efficiency.

Before we can arrive at how ELDs, EDI, and a TMS can help you win more high paying loads, better retain customers, and yield massive operational efficiencies, let’s talk about the natural evolution of an asset-based carrier from an owner-operator living off of load boards to a 50-truck fleet with multiple contracted lanes. And let’s look at it through a software and technology perspective, and how those needs evolve as you grow. 

The Humble Beginnings: Starting Out

As you start out, there’s no need for a TMS. It’s just you, and you’re wearing every hat. You may have set up QuickBooks Online to send invoices to your broker or shipper, or your factoring company handles the invoicing process for you. Factoring might also improve your cash flow for a small fee, as you scrape by to get your name out there and build a quality reputation as someone who delivers on-time, every time, with no issues. 

The Growth Phase: Building a Small Fleet

As your business and cash flow grows, you gradually add a few more trucks and figure out the best ways to use load boards. At this stage, you might have earned a dedicated lane or two after building relationships with shippers and brokers. As you get up to five or more trucks, you have to delegate all the driving since running the business is now a full-time job. 

You begin to feel the strain of being spread too thin. You’re serving as the sole dispatcher for your fleet, leading all sales efforts, processing all invoices, negotiating insurance, handling all fleet maintenance, and building customer relationships. This is a big transition for an owner operator, and starts to mark a shift. You may start to think about bringing on a full-time dispatcher or investing in software and technology to increase your efficiency.

Up until this point, a cobbled together system likely works just fine:

  • You have been working off of email, Google Sheets, or Excel to track all your customers, load information, links to rate cons, and BOLs
  • You have all your trucks and drivers in a tab in that spreadsheet
  • You either manage invoice status in the spreadsheet, or leverage QuickBooks to see what has been sent, paid, or is still outstanding
  • For dispatch, you’re either doing it over text message or WhatsApp, and mixing in check calls over the phone to both your drivers as well as your broker or shipper
  • For driver pay, perhaps you’re cutting checks, using a payroll service like ADP, or direct depositing manually via ACH into your drivers’ bank accounts. Regardless of how you pay, you’re spending a couple hours each week manually copying driver pay information from your emails and spreadsheets into your payroll system
  • Nothing’s perfect, but you’re surviving, and most importantly you’re still delivering for your customers

The Turning Point: Need for a Dedicated System

A key catalyst for needing to overhaul your technology stack is when you add staff members. Typically in the 5-8 truck range, it makes sense to hire a full-time dispatcher or office manager. This varies based on load volume, route complexity, and administrative complexity, but that’s a common range where it begins to make financial sense to have some focus on that full-time. At this stage, you likely also have a part-time bookkeeper to help manage invoicing, accounting, factoring, and perhaps some insurance-related items. 

You’ve graduated from being a solo operator–you now lead a team. And you have escalating business complexities to manage as well. With multiple people operating in a Google Sheet and over text message or WhatsApp, the way you’ve been working starts to break down – and wear you down. It’s time to upgrade systems.

You evaluate various TMS’es, and choose the right one for you. After the implementation, onboarding, and training period – which can be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months – you are fully up and running and using the TMS as your core operating system. All your data is in there, and your team is in there most of the day. Simply having this single source of truth combined with rich automations saves you countless hours per week, helps you get paid faster, keeps your dispatching process streamlined, and ties directly into QuickBooks. A massive pressure valve has been released, and you’re ready to start scaling again without even adding more headcount.

While you can track your trucks via your ELD provider – whether you use Samsara, Motive, Verizon, or any of the numerous alternatives – you realize that your tracking data needs to sync to your TMS. Ensuring that your TMS can integrate ELD data so that you can marry load information with reliable truck tracking capabilities unlocks another major headache, and provides for easier and more robust notifications that you can now automate sending to your customers based on preset parameters. You’re really starting to lead from the front and “wow” your shippers.

As you win larger and larger contracted lanes, those more sophisticated shippers often demand EDI connections, which entails translating and piping your load data directly from your TMS into theirs, and vice versa, to avoid double entry on both sides and provide them with real-time visibility into their load statuses.

The Power Trio: TMS, ELDs, and EDI Unleashed

It’s at this stage that you can truly evolve into a next-level carrier. Having a modern TMS that integrates ELD data for seamless truck tracking within a single system, and combining that with direct data pipes via EDI into your customer’s TMS is the holy trinity of carrier technology. You’ll be able to scale your operation from 10-50 trucks without adding headcount at nearly the same rate, you’ll be able to win and retain higher quality lanes, and your customers will never want to leave you because of your bidirectional data feed that joins you at the hip. Before, you were a vendor. Now you’re a partner.

This trifecta further unlocks massive time savings and automations, such as one-click order requests from the customer to you, one click “Accept” or “Reject” options on your side, and automatically turning an order request into a live load with a driver dispatched – all without entering a single piece of data manually. And from there, providing your customer the ability to track the load in real-time all the way through to proof of delivery.

Conclusion

In the fast-paced world of trucking, staying ahead means embracing technology. Leveraging the triple threat of TMS, ELDs, and EDI connections requires you first get to a certain scale in terms of trucks, team size, and administrative intensity. Once you’re there, tying these three powerful tools together will bring your trucking business to the next level, and you’ll be able to reap the rewards of what it feels like to run a thriving and highly profitable fleet. 

Featured
Trucking Software

“Easy to use” trucking software – The “X” factor when evaluating a TMS

Bryan Jones
July 30, 2023
min read

Whether you have five trucks or fifty, no one has a team with excess time. Managing a growing business and balancing that with profitability means your team is virtually always at capacity, and you tend to hire when your team is over capacity. And, training new hires on your systems is a major endeavor when you’re a small business.

When done right, finding the right trucking software can be a transformative endeavor. Great software providers can open your eyes to what’s possible. There are always more efficient and effective ways to manage your business and your customers. Software, when done right, should be a huge unlocking function for your drivers, your dispatchers, your back office staff, and you as an owner.

“Truckbase is the most intuitive and easy software I’ve found after evaluating over 20 TMS providers. Any dispatcher can pick it up within 30 minutes.” -Tom Herlache, Owner of Herlache Truck Lines

But why do so many software implementations become overwhelming, time consuming, and frustrating with months of training? 

At Truckbase, we have always aspired to build the easiest-to-use TMS for small trucking companies. Period. We serve growing fleets that have a minimum of five trucks and span upwards of fifty. We believe great software lies in the art of balancing powerful features with simplicity.

Because Truckbase was specifically built with (and for) small family-run fleets, we believe advanced features are only as useful as they are usable for busy dispatchers and operations managers. After all, software is meant to save time (not add more work to your plate).

Trucking software often becomes too complex to use for several reasons:

  1. Lack of focus. As a vendor, when you try to be all things to all people, such as building solutions for 3PLs and freight brokers in addition to carriers, the waters get muddied. Truckbase solely focuses on asset-based carriers. Even within the carrier segment, focusing on too many varieties – such as last-mile in addition to long-haul and over the road (OTR) – can lead to an overly complex product. Truckbase focuses on regional and long-haul carriers, who tend to have five to fifty trucks. We also don’t try to serve companies with 500+ trucks – that’s not our sweet spot, and there are other providers who serve mega-carriers better than Truckbase.
  2. Too many screens, modules, and pages. For small teams, the power of a single dashboard that houses key data and intuitively allows you to follow active loads and easily toggle to other key sections is critical for helping onboard staff to the system. We routinely hear that Truckbase is like a TMS “on a single page.” That’s music to our ears.
  3. Custom implementation vs. configurable. There’s a big difference between exceptional onboarding and customizing every feature to fit your needs. Do not be swayed by promises of customization – that means an incredible amount of work from your team to test and validate, back and forth with the vendor, and onboarding times measured in months instead of days or weeks. At Truckbase, we aim to have every customer onboarded within 2 weeks across 2 meetings (with additional training & support available of course!). 
  4. Manual data entry. Too many TMSes seem robust on the surface, but without automations such as load importing and driver alerts, you end up spending just as much time inputting data and making check calls as you did when using more manual systems. Ask your providers how they leverage AI and what their unique advantages are when it comes to automated alerts and messaging. At Truckbase, we love that question!

You are too busy, and your customers and team members are too important, to be spending countless hours implementing, learning, and operating in clunky software. Focus on prioritizing ease of use when selecting trucking dispatch software for your growing fleet has cascading benefits.

Featured
Operations

How to eliminate check calls and reduce dispatcher workload by up to 30%

Bryan Jones
July 19, 2023
min read

For any growing trucking company, endless check calls are often considered a necessary evil. They eat up your dispatcher's time, and your drivers can’t stand them. While there are valid reasons for frequent check calls (and they help build trust with brokers), there is a better way.

Twenty years ago, this would all have to be done manually, and the only way to solve it would be to add dispatchers, which reduces your profitability and doesn’t scale well. In today’s world, it is possible to reduce your dispatcher’s workload by 30% and eliminate check calls entirely through live tracking software and automation.

“Truckbase has exponentially increased our back office efficiency. They’ve helped us streamline our processes as we evolve from a company with just a couple trucks into a larger organization.” -Bruce P., VP Bumpa & Sons Trucking

What are check calls?

Check calls refer to calls and emails from a freight broker to a carrier looking for status updates on a load. For larger fleets with dedicated dispatchers, these calls and emails will often go to the dispatcher who then needs to call or text the driver. The broker can have a range of questions: Where is the driver? Have they been loaded? What is the ETA for the load? Can you send the bill of lading?

While some brokers will only make 1-2 calls a day, there are some agents who have been known to ask for updates every 15-30 minutes. This eats into your dispatchers’ valuable time.

The power and leverage of software and technology in reducing check calls

When your tool of choice is the phone or two-way radio, you are limited by time. A check that reveals no issues is complete wasted motion. You are also more prone to miscommunication, which can lead to routing mistakes and further inefficiencies, which may in turn impact customer satisfaction. The more you can reduce the “all clear” types of back and forth, the more time you can save your dispatchers, and the more you can reduce errors, the more efficient your whole operation will be – and the happier your customers will be.

There are 4 main ways a trucking company can manage their check calls in 2023:

  • Call, text, and email: Dispatchers can get frequent calls & emails from customers, which they relay on to drivers via text or phone call. This can add up to >30% of the dispatchers’ time and lead to frustration for your whole time.
  • Third party tracking apps: Many brokerages have live tracking capabilities through 3rd party tracking apps that your driver can download on their phone. These include tools like TruckerTools, MacroPointe, Project44, FourKites. Although this does provide live tracking, it often comes with numerous challenges… 
  • Drivers need to download and manage multiple apps on their personal device. 
  • It’s possible for the driver to forget to enable tracking, resulting in costly penalties or decreased carrier ratings. 
  • Because these tracking systems are managed by the broker, the carrier has less control over communications.
  • Last, the broker control of the technology tends to give more power to broker vs. what’s possible as a more professional carrier with their own tracking system.
  • ELD devices: Some ELD devices like Samsara provide the ability to generate a tracking link for the dispatcher to share the location of a truck. However, typically your ELD doesn’t have the full order/dispatch information. So, it’s often insufficient to eliminate check calls.
  • Dispatch software with check call automation: Trucking dispatch software with live tracking like Truckbase provide ability to automate all information provided in check calls. The benefits of 
  • Provide a single app for driver to use
  • ELD integrations provides more reliable tracking than phone’s GPS (and it doesn’t interfere with drivers’ privacy
  • Additional information on the order is included on the updates (including the ability to see the BOL)

While ELDs and other GPS tracking systems provided a valuable first step in being able to see where a truck is, a fully featured dispatch software (or TMS) enables trucking carriers to deepen customer trust and to fully eliminate check calls through automation.

Modern trucking dispatch software solutions like Truckbase achieve this through five primary areas: 

  1. Live tracking links
  2. ELD integrations
  3. Customer portals
  4. Automated customer updates
  5. Automated driver updates
“Truckbase is the most intuitive and easy software I’ve found after evaluating over 20 TMS providers. Any dispatcher can pick it up within 30 minutes.” -Tom H, Owner of Herlache Truck Lines

Live tracking links

A live tracking link is a unique link that you can send to your customers via email to view all relevant information on the load as well as the location of the load. 

Trucking dispatch software like Truckbase provides all the relevant information and documentation your customer may want for that load in addition to the location. 

The addition of the other documents provides you more control over what gets shared (e.g., stop sharing the truck location after the load has been delivered). It also provides more information than a simple GPS tracker because check calls often include additional questions, such as “is the driver loaded?” or “can you send a copy of the bill of lading?”.

ELD Integrations

With modern dispatch software solutions like Truckbase, dispatchers are able to view and access their truck location and other ELD information through their dispatch software (or TMS). The dispatcher can rest assured that they will be automatically alerted – and the driver in turn – if there are any issues that arise. Thus you can now leverage your dispatchers to do higher level human intervention that is both more stimulating and more impactful, than having them do rote checks. 

When considering implementing live tracking, it’s important to think about your driver’s preferences for tracking on their phone vs. the truck. While phone-level tracking may seem simple, do they have any privacy concerns about tracking on their device? Are they comfortable with remembering to actively turn tracking on their device for every load? Are they comfortable with technology and using multiple apps on their phone when different customers request tracking through different apps?

In addition, do you wish to provide tracking to customers who don’t have a 3rd party tracking system in place?

Providing live tracking through an ELD integration with a TMS system allows you to provide more reliable tracking and simplify your driver’s experience with your technology.

Last, while some software systems only allow you to integrate with their own ELD or provide integrations with 1-2 ELDs, dispatch software like Truckbase allows you to connect with 30+ different ELD devices. This is key because it provides more optionality if you wish to change out devices in the future.

Customer Portals

As you grow beyond solely relying on load boards and begin to have dedicated customer relationships, a dedicated customer portal serves two overarching functions: it reflects a degree of professionalism and reliability to your customers which gives them increased confidence in giving you their business, and it can dramatically reduce customer-facing calls by allowing for self-service status update checks. By providing them similar visibility into the progress, tracking, and real-time updates that your dispatchers can leverage, your customers can rest assured that all is on track and they’ll be notified instantaneously if anything is amiss. Transparency is key to building trust and deeper relationships with customers, and they don’t want to waste their time any more than you do. 

Automated Customer Updates

Tying to the customer portal, the logical extension of real-time tracking is providing real-time updates as needed. These are tunable to the extent you would like more or fewer, positive or negative. Know where your trucks are, get updates on when the driver arrived at the shipper, is loaded, in transit, etc. 

Being able to configure these updates for different customers helps with identifying issues with detention, builds customer trust, and can improve your carriers’ rating with brokers.

Automated Driver Updates

Similarly to customer updates, your driver updates will tend to be more frequent and more detail oriented than what your customers require. With these as well, tools like Truckbase can automatically ping your driver with relevant updates or change delivery destinations and requirements. If they need to rest to remain compliant, they can be alerted automatically.

Conclusion

Check calls remain a key frustration and barrier to growth for trucking companies, especially for those growing quickly. By harnessing the power of trucking dispatch software like Truckbase and its various automations, you can meaningfully reduce check calls for your dispatchers, drivers, and customers. Improve the satisfaction of all involved, and scale your business without breaking your team.

5-step guide to choosing trucking software
Featured
Guides

Five Step Guide to Choosing Trucking Software

Bryan Jones
July 17, 2023
min read

This guide outlines the process for selecting the right TMS and trucking software for your business, based on your unique needs. It’s important to keep in mind that there is no such thing as a “best” trucking software for the industry. There are various factors that make certain software options better for your fleet than others: 

  • What types of loads do you haul? 
  • Are you 100% load-board driven or do you mostly run dedicated lanes? Short-haul, long-haul, both?
  • Do you need a way to take order requests online? 
  • Do you receive a lot of check calls? 
  • Do you want to meld something to your current way of working, or are you open to reimagining how software may improve your overall business and operations based on innovative designs?

Step 1: Map out how your team is structured and the key “jobs to be done” in each function.

Typically, we see trucking organizations revolve around five core functions: customer relations (sales), dispatch, operations & finance, maintenance, and compliance. In large fleets, these tend to be distinct teams. In smaller fleets, fewer team members tend to wear multiple hats, so you might have one or two team members working on booking loads & dispatch and a few team members covering all other operations.

Regardless of your team’s size, the first critical step is to simply list the key tasks and responsibilities of each of your functions. We recommend doing this as a team, using sticky notes on a wall or making notes on a whiteboard. You often will surprise yourself with a number of gaps and areas for improvement. Even ahead of selecting software, this process can reveal eye-opening improvement areas for your team to get more efficient and be more effective in working together.

Step 2: Map out how you work today.

Here is a list of questions to go through while mapping out your current workflow:

  1. With sticky notes, write out every step from first contact with a shipper all the way through delivery and payment. The full closed loop.
  2. For each step, who on your team owns it? We suggest writing the name of the responsible individual next to each of the key steps 
  3. What systems and tools do you use today? List them all out, from ELDs to software to accounting to compliance. Are you using an outdated TMS, working off whiteboards and Google Sheets, or have you cobbled together a variety of point solutions?
  4. How are you handling dispatch? Are you using WhatsApp or text messages, white boards and phone calls?
  5. How do they tie together, or not tie together? 
  6. What are the biggest gaps or frustrations with your overall system? What does your team like, and what don’t they like?
  7. How do you assign loads?
  8. How do you handle billing and invoicing? 
  9. How do you handle driver pay? 
  10. What are the time-consuming manual steps? Where are errors most likely to appear?
  11. What do you like, what don’t you like? 

Step 3: Identify your goals and get clear what you’re solving for.

If you don’t know what you’re solving for, you’re unlikely to be satisfied with a software implementation. Go through the following list and develop a short description of your goals and timeline for a software system.

Are you trying to…

  • Scale from 5 to 50 trucks, and looking to support growth?
  • Increase visibility into your operations?
  • Find ways to decrease costs? 
  • Save wasted time?
  • Invoice faster, so you get paid faster?
  • Enable remote work and collaborate with team members?
  • Ensure your staff doesn’t get burned out?
  • Have a unified tool that your team can all work in simultaneously?
  • Professionalize your business and impress customers? 

Once you have identified the top 3-5 priorities, you can then start to identify solutions. We recommend writing this down in 1-2 sentences, so you have a clear sense of what your goals are.

Here are a few examples of statements of goals and how they map to potential software solutions: 

“I’m looking to support our growth from 5-50 trucks, and move off of cobbled-together tools without breaking the bank or getting bogged down in a lengthy implementation process.”
  • Look for a clean, simple, all-in-one solution that is built on a modern tech stack (so it can scale with you). Solve for the next 2-3 years.
  • For a 5-50 truck fleet with a small office staff, you want a manageable implementation process and timeline. It should be 1-4 weeks for a fleet this size, depending on your current operational complexity. 
  • Enterprise-grade solutions like McLeod are best for fleets with hundreds of trucks, and can take many months of hands-on implementation work to customize the solution for you. For smaller fleets, this is overkill and very expensive.
“My business is increasingly based on direct relationships with customers as opposed to solely relying on load boards. I’m looking to professionalize and build trust with customers, and I want to get more dedicated lanes with a few major brokerages.”
  • Look for a solution that has a customer portal and live tracking. Being able to leverage that degree of visibility, transparency, and proactivity is a great way to build trust and deepen those relationships.
  • You can also differentiate your carrier with a software that automates check calls and sends the proof of delivery within minutes of each completed load. Major brokerages often track this, and it can improve your carrier rating.
  • You may want to look for a system that has EDI integration capabilities. EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange, and it’s a way for your software to automatically communicate with your customer’s system (e.g., order requests, location tracking, and invoicing).
“Manual data entry takes time away from booking loads, and duplicating data across systems means lost BOLs and loads”
  • Your software tool should save countless hours with automating order entry, as well as billing, invoicing work.
  • Be sure to ask software providers how they are leveraging AI to optimize this process – the best providers have found ways to harness AI to make the process even faster and smoother.
  • If you use accounting software like QuickBooks, then you’ll want to make your systems integrate seamlessly. You might consider switching from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online as well because integrations are typically better with QuickBooks Online.
“As we grow, dispatching and communicating with drivers is getting too painful. I need a system to manage it all in one place.”
  • Text-based dispatch that is driven by your software system tends to be the easiest to use. Forcing them to download apps or keep track of passwords is time-consuming and can be frustrating. 
  • Keep in mind that your drivers are the lifeblood of your trucking business, so it is critical that any new system is easy and reliable for your drivers.

Step 4: Do your homework. You’ll want to evaluate TMS options along three core pillars: dispatch, invoicing, and settlements. 

It’s possible to spend over $100,000+ on trucking software if you want a highly customized suite that has enterprise features you’ll ever need and can help you scale to 500+ trucks. If you’re a smaller fleet, there are several options that are dynamic, cloud-based, and adaptable as you grow from 5 to 50 trucks and beyond. 

For a few helpful lists of trucking software, here are three worth reviewing:

One thing to keep in mind is ease of use and implementation. The worst software is the one that doesn’t get used because your team can’t figure it out. For smaller fleets especially, ease of use is directly related to how successful a new software will be for your team.

As you review different trucking software providers, here are a few areas to evaluate. Keep in mind what your goals are. For the areas you’re looking to improve the most, does a specific provider have great solutions?

Here are a few features to consider for each functional area:

Dispatch

  • Automated order entry
  • Easy-to-use split loads
  • AI tools to decrease manual work
  • Driver texting
  • Driver app

Customer engagement

  • Live tracking & ELD integrations
  • Check call automation
  • Customer portal
  • EDI integrations

Billing invoicing

  • Simple invoicing flow
  • Ability to add fuel surcharges and other costs
  • Ability to send multiple loads per invoice
  • QuickBooks integration

Driver pay

  • Integrated driver settlements
  • Multiple pay types (percentage, cent per mile, stop pay)
  • Recurring bonuses & deductions
  • Owner operator & company driver support
  • Fuel card integrations

Maintenance

  • Maintenance cost tracking
  • Truck out of service tracking
  • Preventative maintenance reminders

Compliance

  • Driver qualification file storage
  • Expiration & renewal reminders

Reporting

  • Powerful search functionality, including lane search
  • Performance reports for trucks, drivers, and dispatchers

Step 5: Evaluate partnership with the specific team you’re working with at the TMS company.

When selecting a trucking software provider, the team you have access to is critical. Are you going to be handed off from a salesperson immediately after you sign? Have you met and vetted your account manager? Do you have access to a contact who can resolve issues as they arise?

It is crucial to ask for references and thoroughly examine customer reviews. Choosing a software provider is not just a transactional decision but a long-term investment. The best software providers treat their customers like partners.

Reviewing online feedback from other users offers a broader perspective on the provider's reputation, overall customer satisfaction, and potential challenges. 

Requesting references allows you to gather valuable insights from existing clients, enabling you to assess the software's performance, ease of use, reliability, and customer service. By reaching out to references, you can gain firsthand information about the provider's responsiveness, professionalism, and their commitment to further improvements to the software.

This comprehensive evaluation of references and reviews ensures that you make an informed decision, establishing a strong foundation for a lasting partnership with a trucking software provider that aligns with your business objectives and provides ongoing support and value.

You’re ready to take the next step to growing your fleet. Transform your back office today.

Schedule a demo today to see how Truckbase can help you run your back office, so that you can expand your company.