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How Do You Choose The Best Freight Broker?

How Do You Choose The Best Freight Broker?
Karen Franco - Wed Aug 21, 2013 @ 01:52PM
Comments: 0

When you need the best freight broker you can find, there are a few important things to consider

where to find the best freight broker

Quick Response Time:

A responsive freight broker will always be quick to respond to you and will keep you informed, even if just to reply back to your request for quote or a reliable lead time, that they are "working on it!" You should never feel you are abandoned, especially when the pressure to get a shipment out is mounting. 

All of Your Questions are Important:

A knowledgeable freight broker welcomes all of your questions and answers them. She knows that you are the best source of information for planning ahead and avoiding the problems you've often experienced shipping your materials or manufactured equipment and goods. You have to work as a team to get from dock to dock, and she knows two heads are better than one. Together, your questions and combined knowledge will lead to your freight being shipped to its destination in good condition. It will arrive within the anticipated lead time, and with as few administrative, highway department, and red tape hiccups as possible.

Trust is Key:

Find a broker you can trust. They should treat your company and business as their own, with care, concern, and seriousness. After all, they really are an extension of your company, and one of its representatives. They are your agent. How do you know the trust is there? Actions speak louder than words. As a freight broker, I call all of my consignees to make sure they are expecting the shipment, sometimes multiple times. I always verify the delivery address. I always ask lots of questions about delivery to make sure there aren't any surprises. For instance, will we be able to back the truck up to the dock without any trouble? Such an approach, being proactive, not only establishes trust with my clients, it shows them that I really care. It also fixes a lot of problems before they arrive. Finally, I never forget that when I call the consignee, I am truly representing my customer. I need to be professional, patient, and prepared.  

No Old "Bait and Switch:"

Have you ever been given a freight price and then the lined-up truck suffered 'a service breakdown'? It happens. But, does it ever seem to happen with the same broker over and over? Many brokers will give you a rate, say they have a truck secured, but, they are just trying to cut all the other brokers you are going to out of the equation. There never was a truck available to suffer a 'service breakdown' in the first place! Nevertheless, this old shady trick gets you gouged. Remember the trust. It is better for you to have an honest broker who will tell you when there is really a truck available and when there is not.

I refuse to commit to a price without a carrier ready to take it. If I give a quote and do not have a truck, I will let my customer know I'm still looking for a truck. I will give my best estimate based on normal rates for that lane, and let you know it is based on availability during the time frame you need the shipment to be made. There are a lot of variables, and risks with pricing. Both broker and customer need to balance the risk and cost, and to do so honesty is the best policy. For instance, we both know the weather can change the availability of trucks. If there are 20 trucks and 10 loads out of that area for pickup, I can negotiate a good price. If there are 10 trucks and 20 loads, the carrier pretty much can have their pick and they WILL raise their prices to the broker, which unfortunately passes to the customer.

Good Communication:

As I've emphasized before, It really doesn't take that much time for me to keep you informed of the status of the pick ups and deliveries of your shipments. If your broker isn't doing this consistently, you need to find one that does. To always know what is happening with your freight keeps your worry away and it makes you look smart in the eyes of your superiors, as well as in those of your own customers.

Knowledge:

Your freight broker needs to be able to quickly answer questions about load and material restrictions, highway conditions, the weather, and the transportation laws and regulations over the highways your load will be traveling, just to name very few. She will either immediately inform you, or she will find the answer and call you back promptly. She will always have knowledge of the resources available, or will diligently pursue the answers you need so that you can be properly advised. The greater the knowledge of all the conditions through which your freight will traverse, the better positioned you are for a safe and on time delivery. 

Always remember that some lanes are tougher than others. Just because you paid $1.90 per mile on one lane doesn't always mean that you will pay $1.90 a mile on another. The nearest truck may be 100-200 miles away this time. The location to which you are delivering may offer very little outgoing freight. Lots of variables can increase your costs. The drivers are another variable. Their costs for leasing, operating and maintaining their trucks vary from driver to driver. If a driver thinks your lane will cost them money at your expected price, they will move on to another less risky opportunity. 

Your broker should share all of her knowledge with you. You should inform her of all the considerations and pitfalls to which you are aware. Sharing information and knowledge will empower you both, keep your prices as low as possible, and result in the best and safest on time delivery. Always be prepared to let her know of any possible height, weight, or width issues. Let her advise you on ways you can save money in the loading, shipping and delivery process. She will do the same. You may not have thought of everything. Remember, you and your freight broker are a team!

I hope these tips help you find the best freight broker out there!

Karen Franco Freight Broker

 

 

Karen Franco
AA Freight Brokers
(520) 338-4576
email me

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