Freight brokerage is a career with a low barrier of entry compared to other businesses and also affords a person a fast track to working independently. Due to this, thousands of individuals go through the process to become a licensed freight broker every year. However, though it can be easy to start on this path, the high pressure and costs also mean there is high turnover in the industry. It also means that many brokers are unable to successfully arrange carrier services for their clients.
So, how can freight brokerage be successful? What should you look for in a freight broker? Here we will answer these questions and break down our tips for successful freight brokerage based on the benefits of hiring a freight broker, what makes a good freight broker, and other key tips on freight brokerage.
What Does a Freight Broker Do?
When you need to ship cargo, it can be difficult to navigate the best trucking routes and carriers to get your items where they need to be. A freight broker is an individual who has built up connections with carriers (trucking companies) in order to find the best ways to ship your cargo. This takes the burden of finding a carrier off of the shipper and also helps to filter work to carriers.
Freight Brokerage Technology Tips
- Emphasis on Expanding Technology: Technology is in every aspect of our lives and that is true in freight brokerage as well. Successful brokerage requires consistently updating technology. For example, there are now apps that will match a shipper’s cargo to an available carrier.
- Advanced Transportation Management Systems: TMS make up the backend of a successful freight broker. While simpler systems will still work, advanced TMS allow for greater customization.
- Reliable Tracking: Technology also affords us consistently better ways to track packages. A successful broker will provide tracking information that can be checked at any time for accurate updates. Tracking makes the process smoother for the shipper, carrier, and the broker.
- Great User Experience: It is not enough to simply have an app that shippers can use to track their packages, that app must be user friendly. A frustrating user experience on an app can turn a successful freight brokerage into a negative one.
Freight Broker Specialty Experience
- Cross Border Shipping Experience: If you plan to only ship within one country, this may not be overly important. However, cross border shipping between Canada and the United States has become almost necessary for many companies. Brokers with an established network of carriers in both countries and experience with the requirements in each can help you reach new markets with ease.
- Intermodal Shipping Experience: Intermodal shipping means a shipment will be transported by two or more methods: freight, ship, plane, and/or train. RoadLinx has established connections with carriers on each mode of transportation and specially designed intermodal containers to transfer cargo with ease.
- International Shipping Experience: Shipping internationally beyond just cross border shipping requires an additional set of skills, a greater network and other considerations. Shippers who want to send cargo internationally should look for a broker with successful international shipping experience.
- Knowledge of Specialty Shipments: A good freight broker will also have knowledge of specialty shipping needs such as temperature controlled trucks and fragile item handling.
What All Successful Freight Brokerages Need
- A Broad Carrier Network: Freight brokers with more expansive carrier networks and established relationships will be better able to match loads to the fastest and best carriers. This can also often lead to better rates and deals. At RoadLinx, we pride ourselves on our extensive network of relationships with carriers throughout the U.S. and Canada to serve our clients better.
- Licensing: To be considered a freight carrier officially, an individual must be licensed. This not only ensures a certain level of expertise but also means the broker can have a surety bond.
- Surety Bond: All freight brokers must have a surety bond. This helps to ensure a carrier is paid for their services.
- Consistent Communication: Communication is important in all aspects of business but is especially important when working remotely. The broker must be able to successfully communicate to both the carrier and the shipper as needed.
- Sense of Urgency: As demands for faster shipping increase, a successful brokerage will be conducted with a sense of urgency. A reliable carrier should be secured for a shipment as quickly as possible.
- Broker Authority: Along with a license and surety bond, a broker will also have an MC number which means they have been given broker authority by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Tips for Hiring a Freight Broker
- Professionalism: When hiring a freight broker you should look for an individual who responds in a timely, professional manner. Consider that their demeanor to you is likely how they treat their other duties as well.
- Someone You Feel Comfortable With: Does your broker invite questions or dismiss them? Your broker should always be willing to answer relevant questions about your shipment and make you feel comfortable about asking.
- Proven Track Record: This is especially important when hiring an independent broker working on their own. Ideally, an independent contractor would have worked for a company before setting out on their own or have been established for at least a year.
- Knowledgeable: Your broker should be knowledgeable about the trucking industry and also have knowledge of any special requirements you might have. Such as cross border shipping, transportation of refrigerated goods, etc.
- Good Communication: A good broker will communicate with both their shipper and especially with their carrier. A broker’s process for how they assign shipments and how they communicate should be clear from the start.
- Continuing Education: The shipping industry is consistently updating and a successful broker will stay abreast of these changes. This means being aware of global or national changes that may affect shipments. It also means using new technology for better, faster communication and service.
How to Hire a Freight Broker
Need freight brokerage services now? RoadLinx has you covered. Our experienced freight brokerage team has an established, trusted network of carriers throughout the United States and Canada. We specialize in cross border shipping and offer Full Truckload and Less than Full Truckload options. Transport all your goods safely with our intermodal containers and temperature controlled vehicles.
We pride ourselves on offering the kind of communication, updated technology, and expedited services we would want for our own shipments. This allows us to maintain and grow our network of trusted carriers to serve you better. To request a free quote on any of our services, contact RoadLinx today at 905-760-1141.