Key questions to ask when choosing a freight broker
For companies whose goods must be transported, shipping is an essential component of daily operations. For the task of moving goods, many businesses rely on a freight broker. But in order to choose the right freight broker, it is important that companies perform their due diligence and consider a number of key factors.
In this post, we’ll provide insight into the process of choosing a freight broker by outlining some important questions to ask potential brokers in order to find the right fit for your company.
What is a freight broker?
First things first – what exactly is a freight broker? Simply put, freight brokers serve as a conduit between a supplier and the final destination for their goods. They connect shippers with carriers, handle contract negotiations, manage shipping timelines and payments, and address any issues that arise throughout the shipping process.
Key questions for potential partners
In your search for a freight broker, below are some key questions you should be asking potential partners to determine if they are the right fit for your company and shipping needs.
Are they licensed and/or certified?
When it comes to freight brokers, the “seal of approval” is a Federal Property Broker license through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – the organization that provides oversight for freight logistics. FMCSA licensure is a federal requirement for any paid entity coordinating transportation and requires freight brokers to be bonded and insured, while also following safety protocols. But when in doubt, check the US Department of Transportation website or simply ask them.
What is their response time?
We’ve all heard the expression, “time is money.” When it comes to shipping and freight management, this saying is especially true. Companies need to move commodities quickly and efficiently or risk impact to their bottom line. When searching for a freight broker, it is important to select a company that is responsive and timely in their communication.
At Berger Transport, we know how valuable your time is. That’s why we commit to addressing our client’s shipping quotes in 5-10 minutes. Every step of the way – from the quoting process to updates on your shipment – our team is focused on being timely in our communications and responsive to your needs and requests.
Are they financially stable?
Freight brokers that are struggling to stay out of the red or have bad credit are naturally not going to be the best choice for contract negotiations and payment issues. One of the simplest ways to gain insight in this area is to run a credit check on the company.
How do they communicate with clients?
Successful businesses know that when it comes to shipping, communication is key. Be sure to ask freight brokers that you are considering whether they offer instant reports and updates to help ensure you are in the loop and up-to-speed on your shipment’s status and any potential delays or issues. After all, it’s your responsibility to keep your customers updated and you can’t do that if you’re in the dark on the timeline and status of your shipment.
While communication methods may vary between providers, look for freight brokers that utilize the latest technology to help ensure you receive information in real-time. Cloud-based software systems, text and email updates can all be valuable communication tools between you and your freight broker.
Another key aspect of communication is the point of contact. Having a reliable, consistent point of contact is important in a freight broker arrangement. At Berger Transport, we’re large enough to handle almost any job, but we’re not a large corporation. When you work with us, you’re not just a number – you’ll have point of contact who you can reach 24 hours a day via email, text or phone for updates, questions or concerns.
The bottom line
Freight brokers play a critical role in the supply chain and offer tremendous benefits to companies looking to efficiently transport goods. However, not all freight brokers are created equal.
By referencing these key questions for freight brokers, you can narrow the field and select a partner that best meets your company’s needs and positions you for shipping success.
The Berger difference
Berger Transport is a trusted company with all of the right answers to these questions and more. We work with you throughout the entire freight management process and we’re available 24/7 to support your shipment. Contact us today to learn more and receive a quote.