Bid season is a massive puzzle. It’s a timed challenge in which you have to make the right moves with the right players in the hopes that you put together a profitable arrangement for the year to come. So how do you put together a winning year of business? Here are three key ideas to keep you headed toward bid success.
1. Understand the Freight Marketplace
As you fight for your chance to make it big in the marketplace of carriers and shippers, you need to know what the battlefield looks like. First of all, it’s big - and getting bigger. As of June 2017, there were 777,240 for-hire carriers in the U.S., all competing for a part of the same pie. And this pie is massive too - $740 billion in gross revenues across the trucking industry. Where you fit in here, both in terms of size and revenues, is the result of your efforts.
Next, you need to keep track of what’s what in a freight contract. Pay close attention when looking over the accessorial page, FSC matrix and the shipper’s payment terms. A careful eye is key here, since you need to be certain about whether you can expect a mid-cycle rate increase, or even quick and timely payments.
2. Know Your Customers & Freight Partners
Before bid season kicks off, it’s important that you have a good understanding of your customer and area networks, so that you can put forward a smart strategy for bidding. Use information about your customers and geography to create a playbook that makes decision-making clear. For example - who to operate with, where, and why. A good understanding of your network is what will allow you to price confidently.
3. Lean on Bidding Technology
A large part of winning the bid battle is about raw power. You need man hours to look over as many RFPs and lane files as you can, and you need to look over them carefully at that. This is where technology comes in. By using bid management technology, you allow yourself a streamlined workflow that can free up your time to handle more lane files. Leaning on technology not only helps you work through more bids, it also sharpens up your pricing. With a software solution that puts together all the lane information and market intelligence, you have all the data points you need to make more confident and more profitable pricing decisions.