Month: September 2018

Freight Brokers: Getting Things Where They Need to Go

freight-brokers-getting-things-where-they-need-to-go

We 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:
    • Accidents
    • Breakdowns
    • 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

Load Boards: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

loadboards-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly

Whether you have freight that needs to be shipped, a truck you need to get out on the road, or you’re a freight broker who needs to connect the two, more and more people are turning to load boards to get the job done.  But are they really all they’re chalked up to be?

The Good

They’re easy to use.

If you’re using a good load board, everything you need will be in a simple, clean table that appears on the front page of the site so you don’t have to go through unnecessary windows.  It will have all of the pertinent information to help you find what you’re looking for in just a few clicks.

They’re inexpensive.

While there are free load boards, they don’t necessarily include relevant information needed before committing to move the load.  The cost of paid load boards can be well over $100 a month. There are some are under $50 a month for a full subscription (Direct Freight Services is $34.95 a month).

They’re easy to access.

Web-based load boards can be accessed from any computer, phone, or tablet  with internet access. They’re also available 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year (366 during leap years!) so your load search can work around your schedule.  

They’re up-to-date

Load boards would fail if they posted old information, and whether you’re looking for a load or posting one, not having a load immediately accessible will cost you money.  Direct Freight load boards are updated in real time so you’ll always get the most current information. No lines, no waiting!

Eliminates “deadheading”.

“Deadheading” is the term that refers to empty trucks returning home after they’ve dropped off freight.  Unless there’s a return load, it’s just wasted fuel, wear-and-tear on the truck, and missed opportunity to earn money for the driver .  Why drive empty? Once you’ve set up your outward-bound trip, you can search for nearby loads for your return route.

There are no costly software updates.

With web-based load boards, there’s no need to put load software on your computer.  That means no more expensive software updates that tie up your computer while the update is being performed and no need to buy new software, ever.

You can see who you’re dealing with before you commit.

The better load boards like Direct Freight allow access to credit reports so you don’t take risks.  The reports display any legal actions taken against the freight company or shipper, public filings, credit score, and the number of days it takes them to pay, on average.

The Bad

They’re competitive.

Most free load boards get their information from the same sources so there’s competition for the loads which drives down the price truckers can make.  Paid load boards are less competitive.

You still have to do the work.

If you’re a shipper or trucker using a load board directly, you still have to search when you’re ready for or with your next load.  Some load boards offer text or email alerts that let you know when what you’re looking for is available but you still have to do some amount, albeit small, of legwork.  

You could become a victim of fraud.

With the rise of load boards, there’s been an increase in fraud.  The fraud, “double-brokering” occurs when a freight broker uses the services of a secondary freight broker who sets up the deal but then absconds with the payment.  This happens more often on free load boards.

 

The Ugly

We were kidding about that.  There’s no ugly! Paid freight boards are an essential tool to save time for shippers, freight brokers, and truckers.  They get freight shipped, connections made, and trucks on the road faster. Time is money! Even if you have regular contacts deals can fall through, product demand can fluctuate, or it may be time to expand your operation. A good load board can help you  move forward without skipping a beat.

With 3,500+ companies posting 300,000+ loads daily, Direct Freight has everything you need to fill trucks and move freight.  We’ve been serving the trucking industry since 1997 and our years of experience helps us continue to do so.. Shippers, freight brokers, and truckers alike know that with Direct Freight, they’ll get what they need.

Go to DirectFreight.com or call us at (888)894-4198 and start your 15-day free trial today!

Source:  https://www.interstatecapital.com/fraud-in-trucking-industry/#