10 Questions a Shipper Should Ask a Freight Brokerage Firm

For a shipping company, finding the right freight broker can be the difference between success and failure. To ensure this relationship leads to success, their are a number of questions the shipper needs to ask the freight brokerage firm right from the start. The following are 10 of the most important questions the shipper should before doing business with a freight brokerage firm.

1. May I see a copy of the brokerage authority that you have?

Verifying that the freight broker has the proper legal authority is vital. Make sure that the paper work shows legal authority has been granted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They are the agency that licenses all transportation intermediaries.

2. How long have you been in operation?

This indicates how much experience and knowledge the company has and lets you know the level of expertise you can expect them to provide in dealing with carriers and customers.

3. Tell me about your dispatch process?

You need a brokers that does more than just fax your load details to carriers. Make sure they have a hands-on approach to the entire process of dealing with your load. They should remain in communication during the process, perform checks and verify on-time loading and delivery.

4. How many employees and offices do you have?

Make sure they have the resources necessary to service your account properly. Even if you primarily deal with regional loads, having a broker that has a presence nationwide ensures you will be covered no matter where your load is headed.

5. What are your pay terms for carriers?

Make sure they pay carriers in a timely manner. Their pay terms also shows their financial strength. Run a credit check on them to ensure they pay on time and in full. If they offer direct deposit and pay load advances for fuel that’s also a good sign.

6. How do you ensure carrier compliance?

Each carrier should be checked to make sure they have the proper insurance, authority, contracts with the providers and CSA Scores. This protects you from lawsuits.

7. To which trade associations do you belong?

Make sure they are Transportation Intermediaries Association members. Look at their Better Business Bureau rating. Only work with a freight broker committed to marketplace ethics.

8. What are the types of services you offer?

Choose a broker that can handle a pallet, a truckload, a rail box, or even an ocean container.  That means you can handle all your shipping needs with one call no matter the mode of transportation you need.

9. May I see references from your shipper and carrier?

Contact their references and ask about both the best and the worst experience they’ve had with the broker.

10. May I see your insurance and surety bond certificates?

Never work with a broker without seeing and verifying they have these certificates. By law all brokers must have a $10,000 surety bond. It provides carriers with protection should a broker not pay the freight charges.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

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