Lighten the load of shipping goods by finding the right brokerYour company's shipping needs may have outgrown retail shipping companies, but securing quotes from and monitoring the routes of trucking companies can be daunting. For that reason, many small businesses turn to transportation brokers to help navigate the sometimes tricky ins and outs of arranging for the right transportation.
Working with a transportation broker can help your business save:
- Time — searching for carriers for every destination
- Aggravation — sorting through which carriers are both reputable and available
- Money — paying one broker instead of several individual carriers
Where to find the right broker for your company
Check qualifications and insurance before signing onThe best brokers will carry three types of insurance: “contingent cargo” (a backup policy that pays if the carrier fails to deliver), liability, and “errors and omissions” insurance. Insurance isn't required by law but is a good sign your broker is reputable. Ask your broker how long they have been in business and about their financial solvency.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Web site contains company safety and security records and fact sheets on various topics related to carriers and brokers. RTS Credit Services specializes in performing credit checks on transportation brokers.
Get your agreement in writingMake sure to have a clear, written agreement with your broker. This avoids misunderstandings, spells out expectations and delegates roles and responsibilities.
- Ask brokers if they offer discounts for regular customers or larger shipments.
- If you'll be shipping hazardous waste, ask your broker about additional charges or regulations governing this need.
- Brokers belonging to the Transportation Intermediaries Association adhere to a code of ethics as a condition of membership — ask if your broker is a member.
- Ask how your broker finds its carriers — does it merely post electronic requests for carriers or does it work more closely on an individual basis with a solid network of transportation companies?
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