10 MCs, One Shady Operation: My Freight Dispatching Story

"He gave me a sheet of all the companies that were under our umbrella, about ten in total, all with official US DOT numbers. Strange. Why not just work under one company?..."

10 MCs, One Shady Operation: My Freight Dispatching Story

How do you do? My name is Jerome Washington. No relation to George Washington. He is not my father. I am a new writer here at FreightCaviar, and I want to take a moment to share my story in the world of freight. My unconventional path that brought me into this world. Like any story, we have to start at the beginning, with me going through a rough patch, looking for a job.

Late July 2017 in Poland was tough. It was summer, and my English teaching job was drying up. Most of my students were on summer break or had finished their lessons. I wasn’t too stressed about money, but the demand for native English teachers wasn’t as high as it once was. So, taking a chance online, I was actively searching for another teaching gig, preferably full-time. That was when an ad caught my attention: Freight. Specifically, a job as a dispatcher.

Honestly, I had no idea about freight. I did have some family who were truck drivers but no dispatchers. The last time I thought about a new job, I was a college student trying my hand at serving – which was life-changing in its own right. Strapped for cash, I was praying this job would help with that. A career where I could clock in and clock out and earn an honest pay with no strings attached. 

I did not immediately apply for the job. I talked to my freight-working family first. 

The way my brother was hyping it up had me hooked. Answering phones, checking emails, arranging pick-ups and deliveries, and choosing freight to maximize profits? It sounded like being an English teacher and server all in one. And no need to worry about tips—I'd be making bank. No lesson plans, just moving freight. After watching a few YouTube videos, I was feeling myself – and I didn’t even have the job yet!

So I called…let’s call them “Quake”. It didn’t take long for an interview to be set up. One thing that caught my attention was that instead of just talking about Quake, I was being drilled about other companies under this umbrella. If I were to work for Quake, why did I have to learn about other companies they controlled like Trans ‘R’ Us or Trans Worldwide? Strange. But in the end my boss, (let’s call him...Jan), hired me right on the spot. My journey with Quake began that very day. 

The first day was a breath of fresh air, I was eager to learn. The co-workers there were very receptive to me. Jan assigned me to follow one guy as he showed me the ropes of how Quake operated. He showed me the online platform used to find all sorts of companies that were seeking movement of their freight. 

He informed me of which cities/areas were our targets: Pick up from the Midwest, USA, or New York / New Jersey to deliver to Southern California or Arizona (or vice-versa). He gave me a sheet of all the companies that were under our umbrella, about 10 in total, all with official USDOT numbers. Strange. Why not just work under one company? Was having 10 other companies necessary? But not wanting to ruffle any feathers I kept quiet. 

Training at Quake turned from rocky to a full-on earthquake. Here’s why:

  • I learned we never delivered loads on Mondays—only Tuesdays and later. Why? Because rails did most of the work, not drivers. Rails often had weekend delays, so Monday was catch-up time. Essentially, the poor souls who were paying for a driver to deliver their freight were being cheated because their freight on rails was far cheaper than paying a driver for full transport. Quake would be raking in max profit thanks to moving freight via rail, while the customers were left in the dark. 
  • If a company didn’t want to work with Quake due to a past bad experience, pass the number to another dispatcher so that they could pick up the load under a different company name. Now I understood why we had 10 different companies.
  • Always take small loads so that you can combine more into one truck. Never take nuts (almonds in particular) or whey protein, even if they paid well, because they would be difficult to regulate in temperature and you didn’t want to spoil the freight. 

And most importantly if there was an issue, I was on my own. Solve it by any means necessary.

  • If a company wants to speak with a driver about why he was late, use a co-worker or even change your voice to fake the call with the driver. 
  • If a company feels like they are being scammed because they caught on that their freight was put on rails: deny, deny, deny. Panicking was unacceptable.
  • If a company wanted to have the driver's phone number, or have his truck tracked via their policy, finesse it to where he couldn’t be tracked or that the dispatcher would be the one to contact the non-existent driver. 

Everything had to be dealt with on your own. I remember having a super late load due to a rail delay, and the customer was hot. They caught on that there wasn’t a driver and that the load was on rails. I turned to Jan for guidance. All I got was a death stare that read: You’re on your own, buddy.

Needless to say, I felt more pathetic as the days went by. I thought I’d have an honest job with honest pay. Instead, I was lying, and my pay plus commission depended on the freight I secured each month, which was non-existent.  

It wasn’t long before I was in the boss’s hot seat for not making enough money for the company. After three months, my contract was terminated – which was a blessing if you ask me. 

Looking back, Quake shook my morals, but I must thank them for introducing me to the world of freight. Without them, I wouldn’t be writing this now, taking the steps to dive deeper into this field, only this time on a more righteous path.

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Until next time. See you later.

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