Many people aren't aware of what truck dispatchers do or how important a role they play in the trucking industry. Dispatchers are responsible for ensuring that trucks are routed to the correct destination and that goods are delivered on time. They work with customers, drivers and other transportation professionals to make sure that shipments are handled efficiently. If you're looking for a career in transportation that makes use of management, customer service and communication skills, then consider a job as a trucking dispatcher.
What does a dispatcher do?
One of the most important aspects of a truck dispatcher job is maintaining communication with vendors and drivers. Truck dispatcher responsibilities include communicating transportation details, the handling instructions and potential fees and permits needed to transport goods. Other information they coordinate is scheduling and planning safe routes for drivers to use. Many resources are available such as routing and dispatch software which factors in the destination, distance and delivery windows before drivers hit the road. Trucking dispatchers want to find the quickest and most efficient routes to save time and fuel, so planning the optimal route is crucial. Another important responsibility for which truck dispatchers are responsible is finding new customers to do business with and negotiating delivery rates. Dispatchers need to contact brokers and shippers and develop positive working relationships for future business. They will also have to negotiate rates with new customers which involves identifying pick-up and drop-off locations, operating costs, the number of trucks and drivers needed and load time. Ultimately, dispatchers must be able to keep the process of shipping goods running smoothly.
How to become a dispatcher
Complete the required training.
Becoming a truck dispatcher doesn't require a college degree and most companies only require a high school diploma or GED. A helpful step you can take is completing freight dispatcher training classes. Many classes are available online and offer different training programs to educate those interested in the trucking industry. Signing up for a program can teach you everything you need to know about becoming a dispatcher, including how to schedule routes, coordinate deliveries and negotiate contracts with brokers. These courses will provide you with a certification of completion before you start searching for a dispatcher job. An additional step that you can take is gaining your associate's degree in logistics or a transportation-related field. Not only will this give you additional knowledge of the trucking industry, but it can improve your prospects as a candidate while searching for a dispatcher position.
Gain industry experience.
Once you've completed the relevant coursework needed to learn about becoming a dispatcher, you can start gaining experience by working for a trucking company. One option is to gain experience as a truck driver. This specific job can teach you the ins and outs of safety regulations, weight limits, DOT rules and the challenges that drivers face while on the road. By having hands-on experience as a truck driver, you can develop the insight needed to become a knowledgeable and successful freight dispatcher. Another way to gain experience in the trucking industry is to work in an administrative or operations role. Some of the responsibilities with these roles include answering driver phone calls, helping coordinate schedules and routes, filing paperwork and performing other tasks related to the success of the fleet. This option gives you an opportunity to get your foot in the door so that you can start learning about the trucking industry.
Apply for dispatcher jobs.
Once you have some relevant experience to include on your resume, it's time to start your job hunt for a dispatcher position. One way to find dispatching positions is to visit online job boards such as ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, Indeed, Careerbuilder or Monster.com. Another way you can look for dispatching jobs is to contact individual trucking companies and see if they are hiring for the role. Although experience is helpful to get hired at a trucking company, some companies offer extensive training to get you started.
Continue to develop your skills.
As your career takes off, it's important that you continue to develop your skills to become a top truck dispatcher. Written and verbal communication skills are important to hone. Truck dispatchers communicate with brokers, drivers, customers, and other personnel on a daily basis. They need to document customer requests and calls so that the correct information is relayed between all parties. It's critical that they keep accurate records to avoid any miscommunication as drivers pick up and drop off loads. This also ensures that drivers get paid on time and that accurate rates are charged for services. It also helps if freight dispatchers can develop their skills as problem-solvers. If a problem occurs with a driver or customer, then a dispatcher must find a way to remedy the situation for everyone involved. Being able to think quickly and solve problems as challenges arise are important skills to develop as you gain experience.
Becoming a truck dispatcher is a good career option for many people. If you can work efficiently, communicate well with others and solve problems, then you probably have what it takes to become a successful dispatcher. Start by completing the required training. Learn the essential skills for the role, and continue to develop those skills even after you get hired. Be diligent in your job search, consider the type of company you want to work for, do your research and network with others in the trucking industry so that you can showcase the experience and skills you've developed.