Best Practices for Dealing with Freight Brokers
Freight Brokers act as the go-between for shippers and carriers. Freight Brokers have the connections, technology, and experience to bring down the cost of shipping, but what are the best practices for dealing with Freight Brokers? A best practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means and is used as a benchmark. In this article, we will explore some of the best practices for dealing with freight brokers.
Choosing Your Freight Broker
Before you start dealing with a freight broker, you first need to choose one to work with. Make sure that the broker is legitimate. A broker needs to be licensed and bonded to operate. Check with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to make sure the broker has an up-to-date license to operate.
Gather as much information as you can about different brokers and compare that information. If you are in talks with a freight management company, they should be more than willing to connect you with a current customer as a reference. See what they have to say about using that broker. What kind of relationship they have with them, and the quality of the services they provide. What has their experience been? You can also gather information by searching online and checking broker ratings. In fact, we have come up with a list of the five best third-party logistics companies to work with for LTL shipping.
Brokers can be a valuable source for finding profitable loads, but the bottom line is you need to find a broker that you trust. Qualify brokers according to a few different criteria. Are they the right size for your needs? Do they have experience and knowledge in the shipping industry? Are they dependable, and do you see yourself working with them long-term? If a broker fills these criteria they may be the right fit for you.
Build Strong Relationships
Once you have chosen a broker, you need to build a good working relationship. Get to know your point people and keep the relationship open and strong. One of the key jobs of a Freight Broker is to be the liaison between the shipper and the carrier. They have spent time and effort forging relationships with carriers that have the best rates and reputations. Their connections will help you keep costs down and avoid headaches. When you deal with a broker for a while, you build trust, and you know what you are going to get from them. Having a strong relationship with your freight partner means peace of mind that your freight is taken care of, and you’re getting the best prices possible.
Part of building a relationship with your broker is the give and take of information. To build a strong relationship with your broker, you need to have a mutual exchange of information. In order for the broker to effectively and efficiently push your order through, you need to provide them with all information about your business and shipment. Give specific information about shipment measurements and weight. In turn, you will want to get all the information about shipments and carriers that you can from the broker. Exchanging information and data with a broker will help you build a database that you can use to quantify the broker and give you an idea of how this relationship is working. This information doesn’t have to be technical. It can be noted on the broker’s approach, ability to meet deadlines if they easy to work with, or anything you consider important to remember in the future.
Let Them Do The Law Work and Leg Work
One very complicated and daunting part of shipping can be dealing with state and federal laws and regulations. There are different rules for different shipments at the state and federal level. Let the broker work to make sure your shipment or business doesn’t get caught up in red tape. When you have legal trouble you go to a lawyer. When you have shipping trouble go to a broker. They have the experience working with laws and regulations and will have the solutions to getting shipments where they need to be.
Think of your broker as your designated trouble-shooter. They have experience and knowledge in the industry and therefore know how to get the job done. Since you have already exchanged information about specific shipment details, let them deal with organizing and securing the shipment.
The Bottom Line
A broker can be an essential tool to import and export efficiently through customs. The bottom line though is that using a broker should be cost-effective and make you more successful. Just like any asset or employee in your company, a broker is a long-term investment that should pay dividends. Choose your broker carefully, keep a strong relationship, let them do their job, and watch your business be a success. Here at LTX we pride ourselves on being true partners. Contact us today to see how we can be an asset to your supply chain.