When evaluating truck brokers, there are several qualifications they should meet. With over 23 years of experience in the cargo industry in various roles at freight forwarders, cargo airlines, and air freight consolidators I utilized services of truck brokers…Some of them good and let’s just say some of them not so good.
After meeting and speaking with thousands of people who have utilized 3PL services throughout the years we have gathered information as to what they are looking for when partnering with a new truck broker.
Let’s take a look at 10 qualifications your truck brokers should meet
1. Authority and Insurance
It makes common sense that you should only do business with companies who are properly licensed and insured but what does that mean? Before onboarding any Truck Brokerage you should request copies of and verify the following:
- Valid MC# issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation
- Have a valid surety bond of $75K
- Have a valid Certificate of Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC).
- Have Liability Insurance Coverage of $1M per occurrence or more.
- Have a Federal EIN# and be a corporation in good standing.
2. Areas Serviced
Consider what areas the broker services. Do they cover a specific area or a wide range of areas? How many vendors will you need to work with to get the job done? The wider the area a brokerage services the fewer calls you will need to make.
3. Types of Services Provided
Similar to areas serviced, what types of services does your truck broker provide? Do they only provide Expedited Service or can they cover all types of loads? Services you will need may not be limited in nature and you may require Expedited, LTL, FTL, Special Equipment such as Flatbeds, Stepdecks, and Crane Arrangement, Drayage, and Trans-loading of ocean containers. The more services a truck brokerage provides the fewer calls you will need to make (or fewer emails you will need to send) to get loads covered.
4. Experience / Years in Business
The years in business is not the only thing to consider when it comes to hiring a truck brokerage company. Consider how many years senior team members have in the industry. Do they know the business? More importantly, can they get the job done? Look for competent experienced professionals.
5. Real-Time Tracking / Transparency
Does your truck broker provide real-time tracking on exclusive use truckloads? Are they transparent when it comes to issues that may occur (ie: flat tire, truck driver illness, etc.)? If a problem or issues arizes do they communicate it in a timely manner? Look for companies who will provide you with timely honest information.
6. Who do they work with?
Who does your truck broker work with? There are different skillsets when working with freight forwarders vs manufactures? Look for a company who understands your business.
7. TSA Certified
With all the regulations in place is your truck broker ready to handle your most difficult moves? Do they understand the requirements when shipping certain types of cargo? Look for a truck broker who is TSA Certified and fully understands the requirements when delivering air cargo to the airlines.
8. C-TPAT Compliant
A non-asset-based truck broker cannot be C-TPAT certified but are they compliant? Look for a truck broker who has a program in place that meets all C-TPAT requirements.
9. Credit Terms
Does your truck broker offer credit terms? What are they? Consider if their credit terms will work with your company’s policies.
10. Vendor Qualification Process / Relationships
Question who your truck broker work with? How do they qualify their carriers? Do they have a process to make sure your cargo will be handled properly? Do they treat their vendors positively and provide payment in a timely manner? A trucker who is paid fairly and on time does a better job than someone who feels as if they are being treated poorly.
It is important that your truck broker meets the hard qualifications listed above but consider the following:
Do you have a good working relationship with your current or new broker?
Can you count on them to respond to your requests?
Do they work for you as if they were an extension of you and your team?
Do they care about your business?
Do you have access to call after hours should you need to address an opportunity or a problem?
Are owners and senior management approachable and accessible?