What is a freight broker?
A freight broker is a person who contacts carriers and handles all the load-moving processes. A good freight broker is one point of contact for all your transportation needs.
Freight brokers liaise between your business and the carrier to ensure all your shipments arrive at their destination. Freight brokers can often move your freight through all the primary modes of transportation, including truckload, LTL, air, rail, intermodal, and others.
These professionals provide you with high-level customer service, letting you access their logistic carrier network software systems, and will negotiate the freight rates for you and your business.
Why should you use a freight broker?
Many shippers either underestimate the role of freight brokers or have a skeptical attitude toward their business. This misunderstanding of direct freight services results from not knowing how brokerage services function and how to work with them.
Working with freight brokers can significantly reduce your time spent on load arrangements and carrier searches. Freight brokers have pre-existing relationships with carriers, so they can often provide lower freight rates. Once you collaborate with your freight broker, you can eliminate transportation costs because of their reduced rates and have more efficient logistics processes.
What exactly does a freight broker do?
Freight brokers take many steps to ensure successful freight delivery and client experience when moving a load.
1. Order Tender
In the first stage of the transportation process, a freight broker will work with a company and review the company’s request to schedule a load. You or your business will provide the 3PL company with all the necessary information during the quote process. Quotes can include a standard shipment, particular order, or even a special event.
Apart from address and contact information, the broker will ask you to include all the handling conditions, commodity type, and other valuable load information for the broker or carrier.
2. Load Scheduling
Once you have stated the accurate information, the broker will enter all those details into their online freight transportation management system (TMS). Working with freight broker software like a TMS lets your broker-agent finds a reputable and experienced group of carriers who can move your shipment from Point A to Point B. You can rest assured that all the transportation freight carriers are licensed and have the appropriate equipment to achieve your shipping journey.
After booking the load, the broker connects with the driver and discusses the handling requirements for your shipment. They will double-check the information provided and schedule both pick-up and delivery.
Loading is a crucial step when hauling freight. Brokers will stay in touch with the carrier from the start, ensure the driver has no issues while transporting your load, and notify you of any possible delays.
At this point, the freight carrier signs a Bill of Lading, meaning that the driver is now liable for your freight and its shipping process.
A 3PL broker will constantly stay in touch with you and your carrier throughout the transit process. A good logistics provider has advanced tracking systems, like our PLS PRO TMS, that give you and your complete business visibility into your shipment’s location plus the truck’s condition.
After unloading, the carrier notes the delivery time, and the consignee signs the Bill of Lading. The freight broker typically waits for the paperwork to invoice you and your business after they receive the delivery documentation.
Finally, the freight broker agent gets all the documents and prepares everything for the payment to send you the invoice and payment documents.
These freight and payment documents can include the following:
- Receipts: Lumper and Driver Work
- Proof of Delivery (POD) or a Bill of Lading (BOL)
- Rate Confirmation
Freight Broker: Bottom Line
Working with a freight broker can help take a lot of burdens and responsibilities off your shoulders. They handle the entire transportation process from A to B, including payments. With a reliable 3PL, like PLS Logistics Services, you can rest assured that all the information is correct, and you’ll have a smooth shipment process.
The key to a positive experience with freight brokers is being direct about your needs and providing the correct information about your freight through their software systems like a TMS. The more details you tell your broker agent, the higher the chance is of finding a suitable carrier and successfully moving your shipment.
PLS Logistics Services: Freight Brokerage
Transport Topics ranked PLS Logistics Services as a Top 50 Freight Brokerage Firm for 14 years. Our freight brokers will help you through the process and find the best rates for your shipment from over 55,000 carriers in our PLS network. Connect with a freight broker today when you fill out our Get a Quote form!