|A common misconception in the shipping industry is that if a shipper uses one or more brokers, they’re covered because brokers are all tapped into the same pool of truck capacity.
This is a myth because it focuses only on capacity instead of service. It overlooks the fact that a broker’s job, beyond getting the freight from point A to point B, is to provide excellent service. The broker cannot do this without the carrier. That’s why we say, “Happy Carrier = Happy Customer.” When you’re considering a broker, do a little homework. Here are three questions to ask when you’re researching a broker:
- Are they easy for carriers to work with? Get an idea of how easy or difficult a broker is to work with from the carrier’s perspective. Ask the prospective broker what processes they use to foster good carrier relationships. How easily and quickly can a carrier onboard? What’s their typical response time to driver requests? What tracking and tracing technology does the broker use? How do they dispatch the carrier and ensure the driver gets all of the shipper’s special instructions?
- Do they have good credit? Shippers tend to not look into a broker’s credit rating– they’re paying us, after all, so why should it matter? But if your broker’s finances aren’t in good standing, it will impact the carrier. Remember, Happy Carrier = Happy Customer. What are the broker’s standard payment terms to the carrier? Do they pay on that date, even if the shipper hasn’t paid them yet? Do they offer QuickPay to carriers?
- Do they have a good reputation? Ask potential brokers for references to find out if they’re well-regarded. Have they been established for a while, or are they just setting up shop? Look for a broker who is easy to work with, communicates well, and gets their loads hauled. Check Google reviews to see if the potential broker has a good reputation with its carriers.
We often hear from carriers who reach out to share that another broker is working a load for a customer they know also works with Able Transport Solutions. It would be easy for the carrier to go ahead and book this load with that other broker, but they would rather haul it for us. This should matter to the shipper of that load. The broker that the carrier wants to haul for will provide a better service because the carrier is an integral part of that ultimate service. Brokers who abuse the carrier relationship will end up opening the shipper’s freight up to anyone just to cover it. This leads not only to poor service, but it also increases the shipper’s liability.
When deciding on a broker, look for one who is reliable, has good credit, and is service-oriented. Most importantly, look for a broker who has a great reputation with the carriers.
Do you have questions? I’d love to talk more about what you should look for in a broker.