4 Measurements of Freight Broker Effectiveness in 2018

August 9, 2018 by Meyer Baron
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Years from now, 2018 may become known as The Year of the Freight Broker.  Here’s why.

  • There is a capacity shortage in the freight shipping industry. Trucks and drivers are in short supply, loads take longer to deliver and the law of supply and demand has dictated that prices be raised. As a result, more shippers are turning to freight brokers to help them save as much money as possible while also making sure their loads get delivered.
  • The internet is overflowing with advice on how to become a freight broker. There are even online classes on how to do it. Now, failed real estate agents and mortgage brokers are getting on board to become a freight broker. The internet makes it look so easy, and suddenly we have a freight broker glut. So many newbies, when what we really need are more trucks and more drivers.

Whether you use FreightCenter or another freight broker, the answers to these four questions will help you determine how up to the job your freight broker is.

1. Does the Freight Broker Have the Necessary Credentials?

Every freight broker must be licensed through the Federal Carrier Safety Administration. If they don’t have that license, your “freight broker” isn’t legit. Here are some other credentials that a legitimate freight broker should have.

  • DOT or “Department of Transportation” Number – a federal required identifier for freight brokers and forwarders
  • MC or “motor carrier” Number – In 2017, the Department of Transportation added two extra digits to this number to allow for the expansion of new motor carriers
  • Standard Carrier Alpha Codes – a National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) unique two to four-digit identifier of transportation companies
  • Surety Bond – all freight brokers are required to maintain a $75,000 bond to cover any fraudulent activity

How does FreightCenter measure up?

Not only does FreightCenter comply with all of the above standards, we also have a proprietary Transportation Management System (TMS) that connects FreightCenter with the booking systems and rates in our carrier network while maintaining the privacy and security of our customers.

2. Do they have an adequate carrier network?

Whether your business ships occasionally or 40 times per month, you need to be sure that your freight broker’s carrier network covers all the shipping lanes where you ship or expect you may ship. Freight brokers are supposed to make shipping convenient for you. What if you need to ship to a small town in the middle of nowhere and none of your brokers’ carriers delivers there?

In 2018, this is a bigger concern than ever years past because of the capacity shortage. Relying on one carrier to be available to handle your load might be a prescription for frustration. Your freight broker should have multiple options available, and they should be competing for your business.

How does FreightCenter measure up?

FreightCenter maintains a network of 50+ LTL carriers, such as YRC (formerly known as Yellow Freight), AAA Cooper Transportation, PITT OHIO, R+L, SAIA and many more. Most of our freight carriers operate nationally, but sometimes a local carrier can offer the best combination of price and service, so our network also includes local carriers.

We also have a network of more than 1,500 carriers that specialize in full truckload or partial truckload. Through this network we can match your freight with whatever type of truck your load requires.

  • Air ride
  • Flatbed
  • Dry van
  • Refrigerated
  • Removable gooseneck

If your freight broker can’t meet ALL your shipping needs, they simply don’t measure up.

3. Can they take care of your shipment quickly?

One thing that very large and very small freight brokerages have in common is a tendency to make you wait. You request a quote, and then you wait for the quote. You need your cargo picked up today, but they can’t get it done today. In 2018, waiting doesn’t work. When you need to ship, you need it handled ASAP or risk missing a sales opportunity or having to pay a higher price.

How does FreightCenter measure up?

The combination of a TMS that produces competitive freight quotes instantly and a corps of elite shipping experts (National Account Managers) who provide live service directly to customers via phone and email allows FreightCenter to act quickly on behalf of shippers. It’s not uncommon for a customer in a major metropolitan area to call in the morning and request pickup that afternoon. As long as the shipment has been properly packaged, weighed and measured, making that happen is usually not a problem, even with the current capacity shortage.

4. Have 2018 price increases been reasonable?

As noted above, freight shipping prices have gone up in 2018. Carriers are asking for more and they are getting it. When a freight broker has to pay their carrier more (and we all do), then the shipper has to pay the broker more. But these price increases should not be excessive. You shouldn’t have to change what or how frequently you ship due to 2018 price increases.

How does FreightCenter measure up?

While FreightCenter has had to increase rates in 2018, we do hold the line on prices as much as possible. That’s why we can still offer our lowest price guarantee.

Shipping freight certainly presents challenges in 2018, and turning to freight brokers for help has been a lifesaver for many shippers. Measure your freight broker’s effectiveness by asking these four questions and make sure they are able to provide the service you need at a price you can afford.

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