Freight brokers are an integral part of the transportation and logistics industry. They work diligently to connect shippers and carriers to ensure deliveries are made on time and in budget. With more than 18,000 licensed freight brokers currently operating in the United States and a landscape poised for increased competition in the years to come, it can be a challenge to know which broker is best fit for business, and how each prefers to work with customers.
Each freight broker works differently with shippers and carriers, but there are standard rules of thumb to follow when working with them to get the job done. Here are the top things freight brokers love and hate in doing their business.
What They Love
A freight broker’s number one request when dealing with customers, new or old, is clear communication. Without having strong communication in both directions, freight brokers and their customers find it difficult to get work done effectively and on time.
In addition to communication, freight brokers love when shipments they helped coordinate are delivered when expected. They tend to work continuously with carriers who deliver on their promise to safely get goods from one point to the next.
Like any other industry, freight brokers want and need interactions with customers that are courteous and professional. Not only does this mean communicating efficiently, but it also requires customers to have an industry of the industry, how freight brokerage businesses work, and what is expected of each party involved in the transaction.
Part of interacting on a professional level is offering direct requirements to the broker regarding any shipment or business needs. This is crucial to the success of any load, so being to the point helps get the job done without confusion or delay.
Your Own Research
All freight brokers must have the appropriate training and licensing to operate a legitimate business. Customers need to take the time to do their research about the specific freight broker they want to work with. Asking for references or past work history is not looked down upon, but a quick search for legitimacy can ease the process for the broker and the customer.
What They Can Do Without
Delays in Delivering Bad News
Freight brokers entrust carriers to deliver the goods of customers without delay. However, there are circumstances beyond a carriers’ control in which deliveries may be late. When that’s the case, brokers are hesitant to work with the same carrier if a delayed delivery was not shared in a timely fashion.
Freight brokers are not a fan of long-winded explanations. Whether it is about business needs or customer requirements, circling around an issue to offering unnecessary details slows down the process.
Any professional in the shipping and transportation industry should be well aware that market rates drive cost. When freight brokers present a price, questioning what’s included in the rate should not be the norm. Brokers are more inclined to work with other shippers and carriers if rates are questioned consistently.
Getting Involved in the Legal Aspects
Freight brokers are licensed professions that hold specific bonds to ensure they are working in line with state and federal regulations. Trying to get involved in the legal aspects of the business as a carrier or shipper nearly eliminates the purpose of a freight broker in the transaction. Let the broker do what he or she is qualified to do, including managing the regulatory landscape of the industry.
The most frustrating aspect of doing business as a freight broker revolves around indecisiveness of the customer. If there are no clear guidelines for a transaction or load, or there are less than direct requirements, freight brokers are likely to work with a different carrier or customer.
Working with a freight broker can be a valuable addition to any transportation business. However, it requires having an understanding of how freight brokers work best and what their role is in the process.
Guest post by Eric Weisbrot
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.