Truck Dispatcher Job Description
The primary role of truck dispatchers is to schedule drivers to make deliveries and pick up packages or shipments from customers. Truck dispatchers communicate with customers to record details about shipments, arrange pick up times and discuss any special handling issues. They also set up driver routes. In addition, truck dispatchers review drivers’ logs and maintain various records, such as those pertaining to dispatched calls, vehicle repair, freight bills, and arrival times.
Truck dispatchers normally work for freight companies. While employment growth rates for truck dispatchers are not tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), figures are supplied for both heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (a projected 6 percent growth from 2016-2026) and delivery truck drivers (4 percent growth over the same time period). The expected job growth rates for these occupations, fueled by an increased demand for timely package delivery and higher demand, leading to more freight being transported, would surely result in an increase in the need for truck dispatchers.
Truck Dispatcher Duties and Responsibilities
Meeting the daily responsibilities of this occupation requires that truck dispatchers complete several tasks in the course of their workday. We have examined several job listings for truck dispatches and found that the below job responsibilities are among those most commonly desired:
Arrange for Package Deliveries and Pickups
In their main role, truck dispatchers schedule deliveries and pickups. They communicate with customers to arrange times for shipments to be picked up and schedule deliveries by creating a pre-determined route. They make numerous changes to this route throughout the day as dictated by customer requests and shipment arrangements.
Create Shipping and Dispatch Documents
Truck dispatchers are often required to maintain records of dispatched calls, driver routes, delivery and pickup times, and truck repairs and maintenance. They also log customer shipping schedules and complaints and maintain details of route changes. In addition, truck dispatchers might keep records of driver training sessions and CDL and other requirements.
Generate Freight Bills and Invoices
It is often up to truck dispatchers to create billing and invoice documents for shipments. They are responsible for ensuring that drivers receive any necessary documents before making a pickup. They also invoice customers for payment of shipment pickups and handle all issues regarding charges for these services.
Truck Dispatcher Skills
Most employers list strong communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills as among those that are most important for truck dispatchers. In this role, professionals must be able to effectively communicate with drivers, vendors, managers, customers, and other dispatchers; strong written communication skills would be vital in producing the reports generated in this position. Truck dispatchers are expected to work independently, with little or no supervision, and possess strong decision-making, problem-solving, time management, and analytical skills. Besides these vital skills, it is important that truck dispatchers possess the following abilities:
- Arranging package pickups and deliveries
- Setting up truck routes and making adjustments to trucking schedules and routes as needed
- Creating dispatching reports, billing reports, and vehicle maintenance logs
- Reviewing drivers’ logs for accuracy and errors
Truck Dispatcher Tools of the Trade
Success in this occupation depends on the ability to employ various tools as needed. If you have a desire to pursue a career as a truck dispatcher, you should be knowledgeable of the following:
- Truck dispatch software – from billing operations to container tracking, there are various dispatch software programs that can help truck dispatchers complete their daily tasks
- DOT regulations – it is crucial for truck dispatchers to have a strong understanding of transportation regulations and laws in the state they are working
- Microsoft Office applications – communicating with vendors and customers often involves using Microsoft Outlook and generating reports and logs entails the use of Microsoft Excel and Word
Truck Dispatcher Salary
According to the most recent statistics presented by the BLS, truck dispatchers earn an annual median salary of $37,940, with those in the lowest 10th percentile earning $23,2160 and top earners realizing median wages of $63,420. Truck dispatchers working for government offices or specialized freight companies tend to earn the highest salaries in this field. Truck dispatchers working in North Dakota ($52,510), Illinois ($49,280), and Washington ($48,920) are paid the highest mean annual wages in the country, trailed closely by those in Alaska ($48,840) and New York ($47,870).
Truck Dispatcher Resources
Below you will find several resources to give you further insight into being a truck dispatcher. It is often helpful to explore additional resources to get a better idea of what is involved in a specific occupation and to learn whether that occupation is for you:
National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC) – Established in 1989, this organization provides current news about safety, technology and administrative programs that could be of interest to truck dispatchers.
American Trucking Association (ATA) – A leading association offering up-to-date details about transportation safety and best practices that is worth being reviewed by truck dispatchers.
American Trucker Magazine – Although focusing on drivers, this online publication contains articles and news about current trends and regulations in the trucking industry that can prove useful to truck dispatchers.
Truck Dispatch Manual 2018 – Aimed at both owner-operators and truck dispatchers, this book explores the various responsibilities and practices of this profession. It covers everything from customer service skills to freight handling.
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