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Pilot car operators loadboard

Pilot car operators loadboards and more.

Pilot car operators load board.

Photo courtesy of D.J.’s Pilot Service, Cotton Valley, LA

If one we’re to manage and operate a pilot car company why would one promote the use of brokers or a loadboard operated by brokers? Are brokers needed in the truck escort and pilot car industry? Well, let’s have a look at the industry as a whole. Before the internet and loadboards the only way a truck driver hauling an oversize or over dimensional load could hire a pilot car (or truck escort) company was to either hit the yellow pages or call down a list of numbers they had collected over the years. During this time pilot car brokerage companies were desperately needed in order to organize the industry and keep things flowing. If you we’re a pilot car company operator or manager your entire existence as a successful company was dependent on someone to give you more runs.

Oversize trucking and the early times.

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Photo courtesy of RockportKY.com

Then the start of the internet came. During this phase of the pilot car and truck escort industry the early days didn’t change much. Every pilot car company on the planet started building websites hoping that someone would call them with lots of work. But guess what? For most companies this didn’t happen. Why? Well the first reason is because the pilot car brokerage industry was already established. Why wade and search through web crap when all you had to do was pick up the phone just like you’ve always done? Whether or not the broker had a loadboard didn’t matter as long as one: the load got covered and two: the pilot car company took the run after the brokerage company took their percentage. One has to realize there’s not a lot of money on the table to begin with. If the run pays $1.25 to the broker and they take only 10%, that only leaves about $1.12 a mile for the pilot car company. Not real lucrative for the pilot car company operators. But we all have to eat. A small hand full of truck escort and pilot car companies did flourish during these start up days as they were internet savvy and could get their pages to show up in the first results of the search engines. However, the pilot car brokerage industry had long before discovered that advertising was everything. So they put way more effort into building their websites to maintain their positions within the industry and guess what? It worked. Still today,  20 years after the internet was born the pilot car and truck escort industry is not fully developed. They’ve got plenty of loadboards for pilot cars but the majority of the runs on them are brokered runs. A huge vast majority of the the work available to pilot car company operators and managers is from loadboards that are run by brokers.

Working with the tools you have.

Pilot car company directory system.

A directory that will suit all pilot cars is here. Not!

Getting up to speed and catching up with technology. Many companies gave it their best shot at running pilot car directories including us. It was an honest effort but there remained a problem. With a list, no matter how you organize it, shake it up or whatever; randomly, alphabetically, last edited – someone always has to be at the bottom of the list. Not to mention all of those who are in the middle. While this was a good effort to organize the industry it was not the solution. While it did open up the industry exposing more pilot car companies directly to the oversize and over dimensional trucking industry carriers it didn’t fix the problem. It was totally random, unorganized and not energy efficient as you may have just hired a company but in many cases there was also another pilot car company that had an available driver just a few miles down the road. The industry cried for a true loadboard to be built but the technology required to do it was cost prohibitive. So while a website may have called their service a “pilot car load board” service all it really was, was a list of runs primarily posted by brokers. The same old game.

A solution for the pilot car industry is born.

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Live posting and positions that are location based.

Finally, help arrives. With WideloadShipping.com being smack in the middle of the game we realized that something had to be done to fix this. Not because there was a basket of money to be made because there simply isn’t – the industry is too small and there aren’t enough companies to make huge amounts of money. Not only that many of these pilot car companies that do exists are running at cut rates because they are forced to take runs that are brokered (which do pay less no matter what side of the fence you’re on) because that’s mostly what is readily available to them. We knew that some sort of position based technology was going to be required. Whether it involved some program that tracked cell phones on a map or involved sending a text message to some elaborate system, position based technology was going to be the final answer. Not only to balance out the pilot car and truck brokerage industry but making it run more efficiently. After spending months of research on the internet and dealing with computer program developers as well as speaking with hundreds of pilot car companies  PiloTrac was finally born. The concept was on the table in the summer of 2012 and the actual build started in April of 2013 which eventually cost over $60,000 and was not released until November 23, 2013. What PiloTrac did for the pilot car industry was by enabled the directory to be displayed on a map instead of a list. So you can see the home base of every pilot car and truck escort company in North America displayed on a live Google map instead of a list. Thus making the industry more efficient by being able to actually see where the company has equipment located in relationship to where you need service. Pilot car and truck escort companies can also post their available locations live as well so oversize trucking company drivers and dispatchers can see where pilot car companies have equipment available at today as well as in the future. Yes, into the future. Here’s how it works. Let’s say a pilot car company takes a load to Kansas City that will deliver in 8 days. That pilot car company manager or operator can post that pilot car being in that location on that day so oversize trucking dispatchers can see them and book them for usage on the day they need them. They can post available runs to a loadboard type system just in case something comes up and if they can’t cover a run they’ve already committed to and they can also share credit information with each other. This is much more efficient and will also help tilt the table in the direction of favoring pilot car companies as trucking companies will be able to contact them directly.

Loadboards for pilot cars and brokerage companies.

Now, to address the question about brokers being needed in the pilot car industry. Yes they are. They are an absolute essential part of the entire oversize and over dimensional trucking industry. Not every company can have a contact in every place nor can they book themselves every single run they make with PiloTrac. However, the percentage ratio of pilot car runs that are brokered is simply way too high. The industry needs to even itself out with the pilot car companies dealing direct with the majority of the runs that are available –  not just a hand full of brokerage companies.

Your comments are welcome below.

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