01 Oct 5 Mistakes to Avoid when Choosing a Freight Broker
Freight Brokers and Capacity Shortages
Paul is a logistics manager for a small, midwestern manufacturer. He’s a longtime customer who isn’t happy about escalating rates. No one is. Capacity is tight these days. And if you’re having trouble finding trucks at a decent rate, you’re not alone. Contract rates have gone out the window. Lots of shippers are hanging onto the hope that rates are going to come back down, but most experts don’t see that happening for a while.
Paul’s a smart guy. He knew weeks ago that he needed to stop the bleeding. Luckily, he’s been working with freight brokers for years, and understands just how much a good broker can help. “My freight broker often has access to carriers I couldn’t find on my own,” he explains. “This translates into better rates for me and better service for my customers.” (Paul’s 3PL is AMT.)
Working with a freight broker is a great way to navigate uncertain times. But all brokers aren’t created equal. You deserve the best broker out there, and that’s in your reach. Just be careful when you’re choosing a new provider. It’s easy to make one or more of these major mistakes.
5 Major Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Freight Broker
- Don’t wait until you’re in a tight spot to try a broker for the first time. Here’s a good analogy–you wouldn’t take a player off the bench to hit the last second shot, would you? No. You’d put them in the game a few times, you’d see how they play, how they hit. It’s the same theory when you’re trying out a new broker. Listen, here at AMT we love to pinch hit because we have great processes in place, and we’ve been in the game for a long time. But that’s not the story for everyone. Don’t give an important first-at-bat to someone you haven’t tried out before.
- Don’t believe that big freight brokers are the only game in town. The truth is small and mid-size brokers often have access to and relationships with the small, service-oriented carriers the big guys don’t work with. Small brokers have a lot to offer beginning with experienced team members who work together and provide excellent customer service. And they’re usually happy to provide you with a single point of contact for your business.
- Don’t treat freight brokers like commodities. Freight brokerages come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of service. Sure, the point is for them to get your freight from point A to point B, but you’ll also want to know how they mitigate your risk to capacity shortages, service failures, and claims.
- Don’t forget to check reviews. Any freight broker worth their salt will have excellent Google and DAT reviews. Don’t make the mistake of not looking. You’ll want to know what their carriers and their customers think of them. Don’t be afraid to ask for a customer referral either. If they don’t have one, that’s a good indication for you to look elsewhere.
- Don’t jump on the lowest price. I saved the most obvious for last. Listen, I know right now rates are skyrocketing. And you’re wanting to lock in some low rates, but right now is the time to think creatively. Talk to brokers about dynamic pricing and mini-bids. Find out what other solutions they can put in place to help you navigate capacity shortages and higher rates. Remember, the low rate you want may come with a lot of hidden costs–dropped loads, service failures, and excessive liabilities.
Forge a relationship with a trustworthy freight broker.
You don’t have the time to chase trucks and loads. Right now, what you need is consistent service from a logistics provider you can trust. Here at AM Transport, we’ve been in the transportation industry for 30 years. We have the experience and expertise you deserve. When you work with us, you harness the power of our professional logistics team and our state-of-the-art logistics technology. Schedule a call today to find out how we can help you.