March 21, 2023
Trucking is the bedrock of our economy. Every day, communities around the United States rely on trucks to deliver the goods they need. Likewise, shippers depend on trucking companies to help them transport this freight. And in the middle of it all are freight brokers.
A freight broker serves as the intermediary between the shipper and the carrier. Brokers are instrumental in making connections and helping to negotiate rates on behalf of both parties. Accordingly, the success of your small trucking business depends on knowing how to successfully partner with brokers. Here are five traits that freight brokers look for when working with carriers.
For brokers, above all, it is essential that the freight they are responsible for arrives on time and in good condition. That’s why reliability is the most important trait of an ideal carrier.
To evaluate how dependable your business is, brokers may look at your level of experience, the condition of your fleet, and your safety and compliance records. If you’re using a load board, your description and rating will also be considered. In addition to this, brokers may ask you for references from previous jobs that you have completed. So, ensure that you have references on hand that speak to your accountability.
Ideally, brokers prefer to work with carrier companies that can meet all of their needs. This is because working with multiple companies often increases the time involved to move their freight — and, in this industry, time is money.
Some freight has unique requirements, such as perishables that need to be refrigerated or products that can’t be exposed to harsh lighting. Investing in different types of equipment can make your carrier company more adaptable to meet the needs of a wider net of brokers.
Offering excellent customer service is another way you can stand out from the competition. Running a trucking company with customer service at the forefront will go a long way in helping you build relationships with brokers.
Many load boards allow brokers to filter carriers by different performance metrics, like reviews and complaints. Providing the best service to every broker you work with will help you secure more jobs and a higher performance rating on load boards.
Brokers and the shippers they work for want transparency and the ability to track freight when things go wrong. Good communication can mean the difference between a smooth or rocky delivery.
Giving brokers a heads up about any potential delays and touching base often about the status of the load will prevent any issues and help you build a good relationship in the long-term. Fleet tracking software, such as project44 DriveView, reduces the amount of time spent checking in with brokers by providing visibility into when the load will be delivered.
Availability is key, and a big advantage that large carriers have over smaller ones. Most brokers are looking for capacity and prefer to hire a carrier company that can haul their freight consistently. If a carrier keeps coming back and loading with them, they’ll usually favor them.
Unfortunately, this makes it challenging for brokers to build that same relationship with an owner-operator or small fleet. This is because small trucking companies typically lack the resources needed to move the volume of freight a broker might have on a consistent and timely basis. But if a broker calls a larger carrier company with 40-50 trucks, they know there’s a better chance for them to find a match for the loads they need to move that day or week.
As a small fleet owners or owner-operator, it’s easy to get lost among bigger and more experienced carrier companies. But, when you partner with SmartHop, you become a part of a larger carrier network while maintaining your independence. Joining this network gives you a competitive edge with brokers and puts you on the same playing field as the bigger guys.