Projects have been a piece of your reality for as long as you can remember. Whether it was a fifth-grade book report, a high school shop class assignment or putting the finishing touches on that home renovation, it’s always nice to look back on projects of the past with a sense of accomplishment and pride over a job well done.
As a foundational piece of your business’s supply chain, you’re hoping to approach this next transportation project with the same gusto, dedication and intelligence that has delivered for you so many times before.
But, in the transportation industry, doing this can sometimes feel easier said than done — especially without understanding a few, crucial realities.
In regards to your next transportation project, here’s what you know:
- Successfully carrying out your upcoming project will take a high level of oversight.
- In order to stick to your timelines, having the ability to secure reliable truck space in the areas where you need it is a must.
- Although it’s important that everything stays on schedule, exceeding the dollars you’ve budgeted isn’t really an option.
All of this is reasonable. That said, meeting the aggressive deadlines associated with project freight shipping takes a high level of oversight, comprehensive planning and a reliable mix of transportation options— a fact that’s not lost on you.
No one, yourself included, wants their project to be thrown off track due to a lack of options and an inability to find timely, cost-effective transportation solutions. As such, it’s understandable that you would look to mitigate this risk and expand your reach by working with as many providers as you think it’ll take to get the job done.
But, contrary to what you might believe, this won’t actually be your best route forward. Let’s talk about why.
Here at ATS Logistics, we’ve been operating as a freight brokerage — and supplying project freight shipping capacity — since 1989. During this period we’ve seen, time and again, the damaging toll utilizing more than one freight brokerage for project shipping takes on shippers looking only to expand their pool of options, find reliable capacity and stick to their budgets.
We don’t want you to fall into this same trap.
You see, instead of helping them meet their financial and project-shipping objectives, working with more than one brokerage sets shippers up for increased prices and shoddy transportation service levels.
Getting your company’s freight — whatever it may be — to its destination on schedule, in accordance with your timelines, is crucial to the success of your project and the partnerships you hold. Utilizing multiple brokers, however, won’t help you do so.
By the end of this article, you’ll understand why.
Below, you’ll find an in-depth overview of two things:
- Why using more than one broker for project shipping usually does shippers more harm than good.
- The seven largest benefits of working with a single-source freight brokerage for your next transportation project.
This information has helped shippers in the past and will make an impact on your business in the future. Let’s jump in.
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The Problem with Using More Than One Brokerage For Project Shipping
Great freight brokerage companies are really good at what they do. Like really, really good.
The best brokers in the business have expansive networks of thoroughly-vetted trucking companies located in all areas of the United States, and many portions of the world.
These are carriers that these brokers know — based on their well-rounded vetting practices — can reliably meet the needs of their customers and safely haul each load they’re given.
With their help, this industry’s best freight brokers offer a wide array of transportation services across equipment and commodity types, including but not limited to:
- Open-deck transportation
- Dry van shipping services
- Temperature-controlled (reefer) shipping
- Heavy haul trucking
- Less-than-truckload shipping
- Partial-truckload shipping
- Hazmat transport services
Although it stands to reason that leaning on the reach and expertise of multiple freight brokers would only help a shipper execute their project shipments — as their access to these services (in theory) doubles — this is seldom the case.
You see, working with more than one great brokerage for a transportation project doesn’t increase the pool of carriers in a shipper’s area.
Instead, adding another competent broker to your network only multiplies the number of hands in the mix — raising the overall logistical complexity of each project and making it that much more difficult to manage its execution.
In the end, utilizing multiple freight brokerages — companies that have the same carriers in their networks — makes it more difficult for shippers to secure reliable truck capacity, coordinate pick-ups and drops, maintain their budget (as market competition increases) and successfully navigate the transportation of each load.
Avoid these issues in the future by vetting, selecting and partnering with a single freight brokerage for your project shipments.
As long as you ensure that the company of your choosing has a demonstrated history of successfully managing transportation projects and a sizable carrier network at their disposal, you’ll like the benefits of utilizing their services.
What Are The Benefits of Working With One Freight Brokerage?
Now that we’ve established how difficult working with more than one freight brokerage for project freight shipping — which can be handled by a single, great brokerage — can be, let’s talk about what you’ll gain by narrowing the number of brokers you utilize.
Most specifically, the top seven benefits of utilizing one freight brokerage (instead of multiple) for your next transportation project are:
- Pre-project planning and budgeting.
- Decreased transportation-market competition.
- The potential for far lower freight rates.
- The convenience of one point of contact
- Increased flexibility.
- Less complex invoicing procedures.
- Increased likelihood that you get a truck.
1. Pre-Project Planning and Budgeting
As a shipper with a transportation project on the horizon, having a single, dedicated partner right there with you from the beginning can be a huge benefit. Having a competent broker in your corner, that has visibility over the entirety of your project and a thorough understanding of your goals, will help to ensure its smooth facilitation from the onset.
With their insight and expertise (developed through years of successfully managing transportation-project logistics) during pre-planning, you’ll be able to avoid issues before they happen.
Additionally, when handed the scope of a project, great brokers can help their customers cast comprehensive projections of overall transportation spending.
In turn, this information can be used by shippers to budget according to the estimates they’ve been given and successfully manage and monitor their transportation dollars — a convenience that’s simply unattainable with multiple brokers in the mix.
2. Decreased Transportation-Market Competition
The marketplace for freight transportation services is competitive, to say the least.
There are hundreds of thousands of trucking companies in the U.S. alone.
And although only the best of them make it onto the Rolodex of industry-leading freight brokers, the largest brokerages have tens of thousands of asset carriers in their network.
To find a solution for your project freight, most brokers will post shipments to their internal load boards — thereby making them visible to each trucking company within their network. This helps freight brokers price freight correctly and select the best possible transportation solution for every shipment.
That said, your broker’s load board isn’t the only one these carriers have access to.
In fact, it’s safe to assume that just about every trucking company worth its salt keeps trucks moving by taking shipments from a wide pool of load boards hosted by a myriad of different brokerages.
For this reason, sourcing for truck capacity by using multiple brokers — which use a strikingly-similar pool of area carriers — for your project can be really disruptive. The sight of your load on multiple broker’s boards tells area trucking companies one thing: This shipper is in dire need of my services and is willing to pay to get them.
In turn, more often than not, this bargaining power is realized by area carriers and they increase the price of their services to match the heightened urgency you’re displaying.
Beyond this, trucking companies like guaranteed freight. And, the fact that your shipment is located on multiple load boards does nothing for their peace of mind.
Trucking companies need to plan out their assets into the future and like to work with brokers that they know can promise them freight. The presence of your shipment on multiple broker’s boards, however, tells them the opposite — deterring them from accepting your load in the end.
As such, if you’re hoping to avoid increasing the competition for your load (which can be damaging in more ways than one) consider using one freight brokerage for your next transportation project.
3. The Potential For Far Lower Freight Rates
Pricing in the transportation industry, like any other industry, is heavily influenced by the relationship between supply and demand.
As the supply of available solutions in one area increases, while the demand for transportation services holds steady, the cost of securing truck and trailer space in that location decreases as bargaining power shifts into the hands of shippers.
As previously mentioned, though, working with multiple brokerages — in the hopes of securing more reliable capacity at competitive price points — shifts the “chips” to the other side.
Instead of seeing your load in one place — on the load board of a brokerage they trust — using more than one broker increases the times it’s presented to area carriers — which doesn’t motivate them to price it competitively.
Working with a single-source provider to meet your project shipping needs, however, will help you avoid these price hikes. Since your load can only be found in one place and, carriers don’t see it elsewhere, their trust in your broker — which mirrors their ability to depend on your business — will increase substantially.
Additionally, as your project progresses, carriers will continually return to your one-stop brokerage to get another piece of the action — lowering the rates you pay in the interest of receiving repeat business from your brokerage.
4. The Convenience of One Point of Contact
Managing the logistics of your project freight shipments is difficult enough without needing to communicate with multiple transportation providers and direct the movement of trucks arranged by different companies.
This is where you’ll really feel the convenience of utilizing a single freight brokerage for your project freight — it’s just easier.
Brokerages that specialize in this kind of thing understand how much is on their customer’s plates and — through the use of customer portals and timely updates — constantly strive to remove a large chunk of this burden from their lives.
In the end, working with a single point of contact — who intimately understands your business, commodity and timelines — will prove invaluable. Problem-solve using their expertise, ask them for advice when you need it and reach out for assistance at any time.
And, should the need arises, your one point of contact won’t hesitate to pick up the phone and find you a solution — no matter how dire the circumstance seems.
5. Flexibility in Scheduling Pickups and Deliveries
Great freight brokerages have project teams in place, backing each shipper’s single point of contact. The expertise of these teams is crucial to overseeing a comprehensive transportation project.
When managed correctly, these teams, with their customer’s input, work with carriers to arrange freight rollout and all necessary transportation solutions.
Utilizing multiple freight brokerages, however, makes it more difficult for these teams to function properly — since they don’t have visibility over the entire project scope.
As a result, it’s not uncommon for project timelines to face delays when multiple freight brokerages work in disharmony for pick-ups and deliveries.
Trucks showing up at a pickup or drop location at the same time, for example, can be damaging to a trucker’s hours of service (as they burn their on-duty hours waiting to be loaded/unloaded) and discourage carriers from hauling freight for you again.
Working with a single brokerage will help you avoid these issues for your project’s onset. And, instead of spending your time coordinating picks and drops with multiple transportation parties, you can leave the logistics of this to your easily-accessible freight brokerage partner.
6. Invoicing Procedures Become Less Complex
Though managing your transportation invoices might not seem like your business’s largest issue at the moment, you won’t want to deal with cleaning up and collecting a mess of documentation after your project finishes. If you use multiple brokers, though, that’s exactly what you’ll do.
By working with a single-source transportation provider that has an excellent customer portal, tracking down the invoices, receipts and documentation associated with each load won’t be difficult at all.
In turn, the time you’ll save by having all of this information in order (with minimal effort on your part) can be put to use in other segments of your business. Simplify your administrative duties and record-keeping procedures by working with a single freight brokerage for your next shipping project.
7. Increases The Likelihood That You Get a Truck
Although this is, perhaps, the largest benefit of utilizing one brokerage for project shipping, it’s also the least recognized. Working with a great freight brokerage, that holds partnerships with competent carriers in your area, will make it easier to find a truck for your project freight than if you were to work with multiple. Plain and simple.
This can be tied back to our first point on market competition and, when using one brokerage, the lack thereof. Once again, trucking companies like freight that they can count on and, trusting the entirety of your project to one provider gives them plenty.
In turn, your brokerage partner’s influence and bargaining power will increase in the areas where you need capacity and make it easier for your company to reliably secure truck space — even with urgency.
Project freight shipments are highly attractive to trucking companies looking to keep their wheels turning and, by presenting themselves as the one-stop-shop for your entire project, your freight brokerage will arrange trucks — per your timeframes and budget — with ease.
How to Choose a Freight Brokerage For Your Next Project Shipment
Here at ATS Logistics, we understand the predicament you’re in: you have projects to plan for and commitments to follow through on, but finding competent freight brokerage partnerships has never been more difficult.
That said, the convenience, oversight, stability and partnership that a great freight brokerage can offer you for your next project isn’t something you should pass up too quickly.
To help you find that best-fit provider — a company that will put your needs above their own, a company that has the expertise you deserve and the ability to follow through on their commitments — we’ve put together this Freight Brokerage Selection Checklist.
Using this 26-question guide for vetting freight brokerage companies, you’ll be able to avoid selecting an unworthy provider from the get-go. And, with its help and a bit of planning, your next transportation project should go off without a hitch.
If you’d like to know more about how ATS Logistics can help you keep your next shipping project on schedule using our long history of doing so, contact us today! We’d love to help you meet your goals in any way you need.