Most of the carriers in the U.S. have fewer than twenty trucks in their fleet. Much of this group does not have a sales team actively locating freight for their respective fleets due to economic factors. That is one of the reasons thousands of freight brokers exist in the world of transportation.
Besides handling sales for the small fleet, what else does a freight brokerage do for their cut of the freight bill?
- Brokers analyze current demand from shippers as well as forecast future demand. They do so with historical data collection.
- Brokers benefit the shipper community by acting as an “in-house” transportation department and allowing the shipper to focus on what they do best.
All of this allows smaller carriers to have a seat at the table with larger shippers.
Now that you know the extended role freight brokers play, what traits do you look for besides the best rate in your desired lane?
- Legitimate and trusted. Look for a legitimate and trusted freight broker you know will provide good loads and no issues with payment.
- Market experts. Your broker should be able to provide information about lanes and practices you could not access otherwise.
- Communication superstars. The cornerstone of a broker relationship is communication. The broker needs to communicate to their client where their freight is accurately and efficiently. If they don’t communicate along those lines, they likely won’t have that client for very long. Brokers also need to be transparent with carriers about important logistical details for carriers to be efficient with their fleet.
- Technology friendly. Use freight brokers that embrace technology for efficient communication. An Electronic Logging Device (ELD) connects with GPS applications and allows shippers, carriers, and brokers to stay connected. These devices allow all parties access to important shipment information without communicating directly. Less non-essential back and forth chatter means more time for the carrier and the broker to concentrate on finding available freight opportunities.
- Easy to use. Broker-specific load boards allow carriers to access the best rates possible for their desired lane. Instant load booking features for network carriers are a huge convenience factor.
- Quick payments. The use of document imaging speeds up the payment cycle. Thanks to this innovation, images of load information can be immediately processed after the load has been delivered.
- Industry leaders. Industry-leading brokers can help smaller carriers stay up to date on emerging technology. Brokers regularly work with new vendors and test new technology. They can pass on what they learn to carriers.
Broker and carrier relationships are essential in the transportation industry. Remember to build positive relationships as much as possible. This action will increase the likelihood that you’ll grow your network of industry contacts and trusted connections.
The England Carrier Services (ECS) division offers various services for carriers ranging from maintenance to support. As ECS members, carriers have access to nationwide discounts on fuel and tires from dedicated team members committed to finding the best price. ECS also provides factoring services with benefits such as same-day funding to a bank account or fuel card. These options allow carriers the freedom to focus on growing their business while saving time and money.