Whether you are evaluating a new freight broker or shopping for a first it can be hard to assess what you should be looking for. Every freight broker is different; no one freight company is like the other. An integral part of your business is the dependability of your freight broker. In order for success in business your freight broker’s plan of success should be in combination with one another. Here are some questions to consider when interviewing a freight broker that is new to your business.
Are they licensed and insured?
Recently new laws have been put into place regarding the licenses and insurance that freight brokers carry. Federal law requires that anyone arranging transportation for compensation has a federal broker license that is issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Without at least $75,000 bond as well as the proper authority a freight broker should not be providing arrangements for the transportation of goods.
Have they been in business long?
Avoid working with a freight broker who has been in business less than two years. Up until this point they are in basic survival mode themselves. They have not had time to build relationships with carriers and have yet to provide proof of consistent success. With time freight brokers build history, experience, great communication and personal relationships with their carriers.
Are they multi-modal?
It is important that the broker you work with offer a variety of modes of transportation options to get your good from one place to another. Using multi-modal transportation brokers can offer business, large or small, the fastest shipping at the best price. Depending on your needs consider if you need to work with a broker that offers more than nationwide shipping, not everyone needs international shipping but if you do it will be important that your broker works with international freight carriers.
Can you get estimates and shipping rates in writing?
Cheaper is not always better. All quotes should be in writing. This allows you to see all the details including accessorial charges on your shipment. Communicate with your freight broker if charges are not clear. Don’t be blindsides with duties and taxes, these should be included on the original estimate. Your written quote should include every charge included in your shipment.
In our next installment on choosing a freight broker we will take a deeper look into how brokers choose carriers, how they bill and all about reviewing their references.