The freight broker industry has grown significantly over the last several years. With more businesses in need of reliable shipping and delivery of goods, freight brokers act as important drivers of success in transportation and logistics. Many companies are turning to licensed freight brokers to help expedite shipping, get the best possible rates for carriers, and manage the process from start to finish. However, not all businesses understand what freight brokers need to be successful, or how they prefer to work with customers.
There are several dos and don’ts in the freight business when working with a licensed broker.
Here are the most common loves – and hates – of freight brokers, meant to guide potential customers in their next interaction or transaction.
1 – Effective Communication
The most important aspect of running a successful freight brokerage operation is having clear communication between dispatchers, carriers, and shippers. When communication is strong, whether, via phone, e-mail, or other channels, business requirements are likely to be met on time more often.
2 – Knowledge of the Industry
Freight brokers need to know the people or companies they work with have a deep understanding of the transportation and logistics industry. Licensed brokers take the time to stay up to date with industry regulations, best practices, and business models, and so should their customers. Having no training or education when interacting with a freight broker will waste time on both sides of the line.
3 – Guidelines for the Load
Another must for freight brokers is working with those who understand their business requirements and delivery needs inside and out. Having this information ready to share in a clear, concise way makes the broker’s job easier from beginning to end.
4 – Meeting Delivery Requirements
The carriers and shippers that work with freight brokers regularly are those who deliver what is needed on time and in the budget. This is crucial to the ongoing success of both the broker and carrier’s business.
5 – Research
Licensed freight brokers are required to be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Potential customers can quickly look up the information on any licensed freight broker as part of the vetting process. Freight brokers appreciate when businesses and other transportation professionals take the proactive step before reaching out for business needs.
1 – Rate Negotiations
Freight brokers are often not apt to work with customers who question rates on a consistent basis. Resources online make it easy to check current market rates, on which freight brokers lean for their own pricing. Trying to negotiate rates or asking what’s included in a rate is a surefire way to ensure a broker will work with another partner in the future.
2 – Misunderstanding Legal Requirements
All freight brokers that are licensed and registered are required to take out a surety bond to ensure the work they perform is in line with current transportation regulations and laws. Brokers do not appreciate customers getting involved in the legal requirements of shipping since that is a significant portion of their job. Customers should allow freight brokers to manage these requirements and regulations without getting in the way.
3 – Lost Time
Just like the majority of business owners, freight brokers view time as money. When customers spend an unnecessary amount of time offering details not relevant or helpful to a transaction or load, brokers are not likely to work with them moving forward.
4 – Missed Deliveries
It should come as no surprise that delays in deliveries of goods look bad for the shipper, the broker, and the customer relying on both to get the job done. While a delayed delivery is not the end of the world, failing to communicate issues with the broker in a timely fashion is not a smart choice for a shipper or carrier.
5 – Unclear Wants or Needs
Finally, being indecisive wastes the time of a broker, his or her customer, and the carrier. Be sure to know specific wants and needs before getting in touch with a broker, and share that information clearly and quickly.
Freight brokers are an important component in transportation, but they require certain dos and don’ts among their customers. Follow these tips for working with freight brokers to ensure seamless operations with each load.
Eric Weisbrot is the Chief Marketing Officer of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry under several different roles within the company, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog.