live in a world where we can get anything we want in a couple of clicks, whether it’s from a major retailer or someone selling books out of their garage. This means more freight that needs to get from point A to point B to point C, and more trucks on the road at any given time. Enter the Freight Broker.
What are Freight Brokers?
Freight brokers are go-betweens. They take care of things. Freight Brokers help move things along quickly and smoothly so we can get what we need when we need it. Say a shipper has some hats that need to get to Walla Walla, Washington. The shipper calls a freight broker and pays him or her to make sure the hats get to Walla Walla before the big hat festival. The freight broker finds a carrier who regularly travels to the area and makes a deal with them for the hat delivery. The carrier picks up the hats, drives them to their destination and all the while, the freight broker is tracking the truck to make sure the hats arrive on time. When they do, people in Walla Walla can buy the hats, and everyone’s happy. Freight brokers facilitate shipments from their starting point to ending points.
How do they make money?
The freight broker hired the carrier to deliver the hats for less money than they received from the shipper. This is called their “spread”. The freight broker is not merely making a better deal, they’re responsibility is to ensure that the freight is delivered safely and on time.
Why wouldn’t the shipper go directly to a carrier?
They can, and many do. However, there are many reasons why using a freight broker can be beneficial to both shippers and carriers.
- It lightens your workload if you’re a shipper. It saves time searching for a carrier and tracking your shipment, which can be time-consuming.
- The freight Broker’s main focus is the shipment. For carriers and drivers, it lessens time searching for loads because the loads find them.
- They’re experts. Many brokers got their start working other jobs in the shipping or trucking industry. They know best practices for both.
- They track the load using GPS technology, remain in constant contact with drivers and always know the driver’s location.
- They’re problem-solvers. If problems arise along the way, it’s up to the freight broker to resolve them. What could go wrong? Lots! There could be:
- Scheduling issues
- Hazardous weather conditions
- Unplanned checkpoints and other stoppages
- They’re scalable. Freight Brokers can quickly deal with busy or slow periods. If a business is seasonal or is experiencing growth or decline, a freight broker can easily adapt to volume changes.
- They have connections. They build a large network of contacts through job experience and load boards which allow them to help shippers to take advantage of volume discounts. They have route coverage all over the country.
- They want you to succeed. It doesn’t benefit the freight broker to take the shipper’s money and find the cheapest carrier or driver to create the biggest spread. Why not? You get what you pay for and if you’re paying a carrier poorly, you’re likely going to get poor service which always costs more in the end.
How Do I Pick the Right One?
Freight Brokers are a growing part of the industry and as with anyone you choose to do business with, it’s important to vet them properly. Freight brokers must have a license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and should have a membership with the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA). It’s also a good idea to check out their rating with the Better Business Bureau. Try to stay away from brokers who have recently joined the industry. The best freight brokers are ones with not only freight brokering experience but have also held jobs as carriers or shippers.
Direct Freight Services is a go-to resource for freight brokers. It can help those just starting out build a network or just help round out route coverage and fill gaps. More than 3,500 companies post freight on our site so it’s the perfect tool for helping freight brokers make new and trustworthy connections. With all sorts of useful features for shippers, carriers, and freight brokers, you’ll wonder how you ever did business without it! Go to DirectFreight.com or call (888)894-4198 and see what we have to offer.
Source: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov, http://www.tianet.org, https://www.bbb.org/en/us