Best practices for working with shippers and brokers

Here are a few best practices for managing your relationship with a broker.

There are hundreds of thousands of licensed freight brokers working in the U.S., an amount that continues to rise as the transportation industry grows. The purpose of freight brokers is to provide an essential service to carriers by easing the process of moving loads. Not all brokers have the same methods nor do they offer the same level of expertise. Here are a few best practices for managing your relationship with a broker!

Choosing your broker

Choosing a freight broker is the first step, so you want to verify that they are legitimate. One way to do this is by checking with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to check if their license is up-to-date.

You should also narrow your search for a reputable broker by accessing a few other things:

  • Are they the right size for your needs?
  • Do they have experience and knowledge in the shipping world?
  • Will they be dependable?
  • Can this turn into a long-term working relationship?

Check that they have a bond or trust

A part of the proper licensing requirement for brokers includes having a bond or trust. This is a federal requirement that ensures the protection of customers. A bond or trust of at least $75,000 is legally necessary. Don’t forget to ask for a broker’s documentation to safeguard your business. 

Verify experience 

A best practice when working with any broker is verifying their past experience in the industry. One thing to keep in mind is that brokers are responsible for going through formal training before sustaining a license. Equally important is a hands-on experience. Knowing that a broker has both training and real-world experience can give you peace of mind. 

Ask for references

Just like asking job candidates for references, it’s completely normal to ask brokers for customer references. Any broker with an adequate amount of experience on the job should have plenty of happy customers with success stories to refer you to. It may be a red flag if a broker is hesitant to provide you with that information. 

Have a communication plan 

Communication is an important part of any working relationship, especially with freight brokers. You must feel confident in your broker’s choice of communication when it comes to letting you know that a load was shipped.

With proper communication comes the ability to troubleshoot logistical problems. If you partner with a broker who has extensive knowledge in the field, they would have no trouble knowing exactly what to do to secure important shipments or just dealing with issues such as weight, measurements, etc. 

As your business expands, so do the needs and obstacles you will face, and it’s important to partner with an established professional that will make your business more successful and not take away from all the hard work.