What does a freight broker do?

What does the team at AMT do?

What do you really do?

I get that question a lot, and I often use the following analogy when describing the work we do at AM Transport Services

We’re a broker, kind of like a real estate broker. And like a real estate broker that doesn’t own the house they’re selling, we do not own trucks we find to haul freight for manufacturers and distributors. What we do is connect the people who need help moving their freight (manufacturers and distributors) to the folks who have the trucks (trucking companies/carriers).

Bridging the Gap

Lots of people like to characterize brokers of any kind as the middle man. And I suppose you can look at a broker that way, but in my view, the broker (and especially the freight broker) is more akin to a connector that bridges the real gap between shippers and trucking companies ensuring both sides–shipper and trucking company–are able to work with maximum efficiency.

What we’ve found in our 30+ years in the logistics industry is that most manufacturers underfund their transportation departments and view them as a cost center. They’re so focused on the widgets they produce that they often do not provide transportation departments with the funds and resources they need. Here at AMT, we think of ourselves as co-workers with these transportation departments. We’re not trying to replace anyone, but rather to provide necessary resources to ensure on-time pickup and delivery along with reasonable rates and reliable carriers.

So that’s how we work with the shipping side. Let’s take a look at the carrier side. Did you know that there are thousands of very small (5 trucks or fewer) trucking companies. These small companies are operationally focused but do not have extra resources for sales or marketing. This dynamic makes it very difficult for these trucking companies to meet the manufacturers that desperately need their services. As a freight broker with 33 years experience, we are able to connect trucking companies with excellent companies looking for good carriers.

And there you have it, in the simplest terms. AM Transport Services not only introduces the right people to each other at the right time, we also make sure the transaction goes as smoothly as possible by working as an intermediary for both manufacturer and carrier.

Working with a broker saves you time and money.

You’d think I have a pretty good understanding of the necessity of a broker and the sound philosophy behind using one. But as the story I am going to tell will show, we’re not always good at taking our own advice.

My wife and I recently purchased a house in our neighborhood as an investment opportunity. An elderly neighbor passed away last fall, and her kids were in town taking care of her affairs. At a garage sale, they showed us the property, and in a few short minutes, we made a handshake deal to purchase the property. And surely we weren’t going to need a real estate broker because we’d already found each other, and I’ve purchased property before; how hard could this be?

Well, we’re a few months down the road, and let me tell you, I would have saved time and money if I’d engaged a broker to help with the transaction. Just like buying a truck, buying a house is fairly simple. But that doesn’t take into account all the little details. That’s where you’ll find a lot of value when you use a broker.

Here at AM Transport, we call both the shipper and the receiver to make sure everyone is aware of the shipment. This enables us to catch surprises. By the same token, a real estate broker works behind the scenes to make sure the mortgage company, the title company, and everyone else involved in the transaction is completing the tasks they need to get done. 

In my case, my mortgage company dropped the ball on the appraisal, and it nearly cost me a fantastic interest rate. Fortunately, after numerous calls and emails, we were able to reach a favorable agreement, but I’m confident a professional real estate broker would’ve caught this, and I wouldn’t have been out those precious hours.

A good freight broker doesn’t let anything fall through the cracks.

I could tell you countless stories like this about how AM Transport works with both manufacturers and trucking companies to catch details that could have turned into costly mistakes. You see, our industry experience has taught us to ask the right questions and follow a proven checklist that ensures a smooth supply chain transaction. And you know what–we’re most often working quietly behind the scenes to make sure the manufacturers we work with don’t have to worry about a thing.

The house purchase worked out, but it’s the last time I’ll purchase a house without the help of an experienced real estate broker.