You’re looking to move a shipment but are unsure of whether or not using a freight brokerage is right for you. This can be a difficult decision, but it doesn’t have to be.
At ATS Logistics, we’ve been operating as one of the nation's top freight brokerages since 1989. During this period we’ve spent a lot of time answering people’s questions about freight brokerages.
In this blog, we’ll outline the top five benefits of working with a freight brokerage so you can more accurately identify whether a freight brokerage is right for you.
The top 5 benefits of using a freight brokerage are:
- The partnership you gain
- The convenience they provide
- The money you save
- The flexibility they offer
- The oversight they administer
1. The Partnership You Gain
Since the dawn of time, relationships have been the foundation of good business. As such, the relationship between a shipper and its freight brokerage is sacred. For the broker, this relationship is a true partnership, forged in the hopes of reaching mutually beneficial pastures and staying there.
To a good freight brokerage, this relationship is about more than simply maintaining their bottom line. Brokers who value partnership will focus on achieving their clients' goals, meeting their deadlines and fulfilling their duties.
For anyone needing to ship finished or raw goods, this relationship is equally as vital. Partnering with the right freight brokerage is important. This is especially the case in an industry where even the smallest fluctuation in service quality can cause costly delays that send ripples of disruption along your supply chain.
Although these relationships can be as short as a one-off shipment, this is not often the case. A good freight broker will focus on fostering long-term relationships with its customers. These relationships are created, and maintained, on the principles of communication, transparency and trust.
Simply having an ally in this complex and ever-changing industry can be a huge benefit to any shipper. By maintaining a relationship with a trusted freight broker, you’ll have a resource to turn to with any concerns or emerging needs. Answers to questions regarding the best practices for the shipment of your freight and price fluctuations in the market are easy to access.
2. The Convenience They Provide
One of the key selling points of working with a freight brokerage is the convenience that comes from having a partner in this industry. With more than 700,000 shipping companies in the U.S., it can be difficult to know exactly which one will fit your needs.
A good brokerage knows that you simply don’t have time to sit down and meet with multiple carriers for your shipment. At the same time, they recognize you only want to do what’s best for your business. With this understanding, a freight brokerage can step in and help.
Not only do the larger freight brokerages know the industry inside and out, but they also leverage a wide network of carriers. Carriers that have already been vetted for:
- Insurance and permit requirements
- Track record
- Areas of expertise
Leaning on your partner brokerage’s pre-vetted network of carriers will make your life easier. Get back the time you’d normally spend vetting carriers and planning your shipment’s journey since this is the primary function of your brokerage.
Some freight brokerages even provide the capability to track your shipment online. This is a great example of transparency at work in these partnerships. As such, you’ll love the peace of mind you receive from the recognition that your freight is in capable hands, working for you.
Using their extensive knowledge and heavily-tested abilities to move freight, partnering with a brokerage sparks convenience.
3. The Money You Save
At the end of the day, you should only enter into business relationships that are either going to save you time, make your life easier or save you money. Partnering with a reliable freight brokerage has the potential to do all three for your business.
Using a freight brokerage can, and will, save you money in several ways.
Transport Industry Expertise
One of the main jobs of a freight brokerage is to monitor the transportation market.
As a whole, this market is often subject to price volatility, making it difficult for an outsider to know what the “best price” is for a shipment.
This is where a freight brokerage can help. A good broker will stay knowledgeable of the latest price fluctuations in the industry. When used correctly, this expertise will lead to the procurement of the best possible price for your situation.
For example, the shipping industry is subject to large supply and demand fluctuations every year due to changes in the season. Throughout the year, some areas of the U.S. become “hotter” than others.
This is typically due to a certain product coming into season and an increase in the number of trucks equipped to haul that product. Having a freight brokerage in your court can help you avoid any price spikes happening in those “hot zones.”
A large portion of a freight brokerage’s efforts are focused on maintaining their relationships with the carriers in their network. Larger freight brokerages have entire departments dedicated to doing just that. Because of the constant upkeep that goes into these relationships, freight brokerages get to know their carriers very well.
Because of this familiarity, freight brokerages understand the exact amount of price elasticity each of the carriers in their network possesses. This knowledge, coupled with their understanding of your needs, helps to ensure the best possible price.
These brokerages can pinpoint the best carriers for you, no matter the equipment type (link to trailer types blog) your situation calls for. This ensures that your freight is properly handled, and your pocketbook properly cared for.
Mutually Beneficial Partnership
When it comes to maintaining your bottom line, having a brokerage partner you trust is crucial. It’s safe to say that mutually beneficial relationships you can truly rely on are hard to come by.
That said, a good freight brokerage truly wants to save you money. Because this is a relationship built on transparency, your freight brokerage will talk you through all of your options and point you in the direction they feel will adequately fit your needs and save you the most money.
The best brokerages maintain partnerships with both their carriers and their customers. By using the relationships they maintain with their carriers, your brokerage will be able to better serve your needs as they crop up.
4. The Flexibility They Offer
The flexibility that freight brokerages bring to the table can be categorized in a few different ways, including the following:
Some businesses are seasonal. This means they are shipping far greater quantities at certain times of the year. This fluctuation in shipping volume can be difficult to properly navigate without options. Having a freight brokerage around provides these options.
By working with their carrier network, a freight brokerage can ensure your shipping needs are met no matter how inconsistent they may be.
Modes of transportation
Another way a freight brokerage can help you is by providing the flexibility of options. Often, asset carriers only have access to a limited selection of equipment options (trailer types blog). When using a freight brokerage this is not the case.
The largest freight brokerages have massive networks of carriers that specialize across all equipment types. As your shipping needs evolve, your freight brokerage will be able to supply you with the best solutions available.
Some brokerages even have teams dedicated to different modes of transport and equipment type. This translates into the best possible service as these teams possess a micro-level understanding of how each mode of shipment can be used to best fit your needs.
Breadth of Reach
This is perhaps the greatest way having a freight brokerage on your side can provide flexibility to you and your business. As previously mentioned, some brokerages maintain relationships with large networks of carriers.
These carriers span the length of the nation, and in some cases the world. No matter where your shipment is coming from or where it needs to end up, a large freight broker will be able to find the correct carrier for it.
Note that not all freight brokerages are created equal. For this reason, you must do your due diligence and pick the right carrier for you. If flexibility is a key factor in your decision, you may want to consider finding a larger freight brokerage with a wider network.
5. The Oversight They Administer
Customer experience is everything to a freight brokerage. Why wouldn’t it be? After all, it’s the customers who keep the lights on and the trucks moving. Because of this, a good freight brokerage will do everything in its power to provide a seamless experience for customers.
This includes the swift handling of any problems that occur while your freight is under their watch. From the time your product leaves your loading dock until it's safe delivery into the hands of your receiver, your freight brokerage is on the clock.
Freight brokerages work with shipments every day, so they understand the intricacy of this process. As such, you can rely on them to fill out the forms, schedule the loads, work with the carriers and pick up the phone whenever something goes wrong. This grand oversight also helps to avoid any unnecessary fees associated with your shipment.
Should You Route Your Shipment With a Freight Brokerage?
Partnering with a freight brokerage has the potential to become a great resource for your business. They remove the burden of finding the right carrier from your plate, provide flexibility to meet your needs and will certainly save you money in the process.
You should always do your research before entering into any partnership and I hope that this article has given you better insight into how the right freight brokerage could benefit you.
Now is the time to continue your search for the correct shipping partner. Subscribe to our blog for more helpful content in making this crucial decision.
As always, if after reading this you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask us.