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The Good and the Bad: How to Choose the Right Freight Broker for Your Transportation Needs

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Matthew Schore

A freight broker helps you select the best carrier for your needs and budget, and navigates issues to resolve them smoothly. The right freight broker will help your business achieve new successes with optimum capacity, good rates, and excellent communication. The wrong freight broker can be costly due to shipment costs, delays, and mistakes. In short, freight brokers are essential, and choosing the right broker is even more so. If your business is looking for success in logistics and transportation, check out this article about selecting the right freight broker for all your needs.

The Importance of Freight Brokers

The freight market is vast and disjointed. Freight brokers are essential partners who act as intermediaries in transportation. They help connect you to the right carrier and can even negotiate better rates based on the total volume they move (compared to what you, as an individual company, move).

Matching you to the right carrier is just the first step. Freight brokers are a lifeline during transit. They help streamline logistics and communicate with carriers about any issues. Just like they use their total size to get you better rates, they can also use that influence as a big customer to resolve any problems quickly and effectively when they arise.

Three Red Flags to Watch for When Selecting a Freight Broker

Finding the right freight broker is a process, and it’s not foolproof. However, with our considerable experience in freight brokerage, A.N. Webber has some knowledge about the biggest red flags to look out for.

1. Lack of Transparency

Your freight broker is handling your shipments and, thus, needs to clearly communicate what’s happening at each step. Brokers should provide clear and consistent communication about the status of your shipment, expected arrival times, and anything you or they can do to make moving the cargo more efficient and effective. If a freight broker is not keeping you in the loop, you risk late deliveries, angry clients, hidden fees for missed pick-ups, additional fuel or labor costs, and more.

2. Hidden Costs and Excessive Fees

The average freight brokerage fee is about 13 to 15% of the total freight cost. If a freight broker is asking for considerably more than that, it’s a concern. If the brokerage fee is much higher, ask about the cost: what services are they offering you that you can’t get elsewhere?

3. Unreliable Communication & Service

A significant red flag for freight brokers is poor communication and service. This includes everything from failing to return your inquiries in a reasonable time frame to missed pick-ups and delayed shipments, poor customer service, and an inability to properly fix the situation when things go wrong.

Three Signs That You've Found the Best Freight Broker for Your Transportation Needs

We’ve mentioned what to look for, but how can you know you’ve found the right broker? Whether you’re looking for a one-time shipment or a long-term freight broker partner, an excellent freight broker will provide transparent communication and industry expertise, supported by an impressive pedigree of reputable recommenders who praise their service. Strong freight brokers will also leverage modern technologies like real-time tracking, temperature monitoring, and route optimization to consistently improve their services over time.

Reliability and Reputation

You don’t want just anyone handling your freight, and one of the best ways to ensure that you trust your shipments to the right broker is to do your due diligence and ensure that your broker has an excellent reputation.

Once you’ve assembled a list of potential brokers, a web search is your first stop for finding a wealth of information about your potential broker partners. Review overall ratings and the negative comments to see trends. Remember, not everyone leaves a reliable review, but persistent comments about delayed shipments or hidden fees might hold some truth.

Once you’ve selected some candidates, ask them for their references. Any reliable carrier will be happy to furnish references from satisfied customers.

Transparent Operations

Just as reputable brokers should be open to sharing references, they should also be able to clearly communicate how they operate, details of their licenses, accreditations, expected capacity and pricing, and what kind of freight they can handle. Make sure you and your potential broker can communicate easily. It’s also a good idea to share your expectations, communication style, needs, and goals.

Expertise and Industry Knowledge

Finally, you want a freight broker who knows their stuff. Ask if the broker has experience with your particular kind of freight. Ask how long they’ve been in business and their account managers’ experience level. When a freight broker is knowledgeable and experienced, they can better handle situations with creative solutions and help optimize transportation through innovation.

Looking for a Freight Broker? Connect with A.N. Webber!

The right freight broker can help you access the best rates and optimize your shipping to save money and time. Freight brokers should be reliable with solid customer service, strong industry knowledge, and transparent operations.

A.N. Webber meets all these criteria with ease. Their best-in-class employees are industry experts with extensive experience in freight and can handle a wide array of shipping needs, including full truckload, flatbed, heavy haul, step decks, reefer, and rail. They are committed to transparent pricing and clear communication. If you’re looking for the best freight broker, now is the time to get in touch and request a quote today.


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