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All About Freight Brokers

By May 26, 2023January 22nd, 2024No Comments

Freight brokers play a significant, specialized role in the freight transportation industry, a role that involves a wide range of responsibilities. They negotiate pricing and contracts. They select safe and reliable carriers. They keep shippers up-to-date on the freight process. Freight brokers oversee virtually every detail of the entire shipping process. 

With legal authority granted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), freight brokers have the ability to hire freight agents to create a broader scope of operations. Agents operate with the primary goal of bringing additional customers into the brokerage to initiate the freight transportation process. 

In the typical logistics scenario, brokers are the middleman between shippers and carriers. Shippers hire freight brokers to connect them with a network of carriers who can transport their freight. While this operation can benefit both shippers and carriers, the middleman often gets a bad reputation with customers. While some of the reasons are out of a broker’s control, many of the top complaints usually stem from issues that can be easily resolved with a little forethought and consistent follow-through.

Common Complaints About Freight Brokers

Introducing an intermediary to the freight transportation process seems unnecessary and problematic to some people. Many freight brokers have failed to prove their value to customers, giving freight brokers a bad reputation as a result. Effective freight brokers help streamline the freight transportation process. But to determine the signs of a good freight broker, we must first evaluate some common customer complaints.

1. Lack of Communication

Businesses rely on freight brokers to get their freight to its destination. This process requires consistent communication throughout the entire transportation and delivery process. 

Customers often complain about being left in the dark about their freight. Freight brokers should communicate your freight’s status, when it will be picked up and dropped off, and everything that needs to be done to guarantee a successful transit. 

With a rise in demand for freight transportation services, many freight brokers fail to keep up with the amount of freight they contract. Some also fail to prioritize communication with their customers. Without clear and consistent communication, freight brokers miss out on opportunities to build meaningful and lasting customer relationships.

Solution: Freight brokers should communicate with you from start to finish. From signing the contract to delivering your freight, you should be on the same page as your freight broker every step of the way. But that can only happen if they prioritize communication.

2. Poor Quality Service

Here at UCW, customer service is at the core of what we do. Unfortunately, many freight brokers get a bad rap because they focus on their activities and fail to prioritize the needs of their customers. 

Any freight broker can sign a contract. Whether or not they follow through on what they promise sets good brokers apart from bad ones. Failing to meet deadlines, providing unreliable carriers, and going back on their word are all signs a broker is not prioritizing their customer service. 

Brokers can fall into the habit of viewing a signed contract as the measure of their success. But success doesn’t end with a contract — that’s where it begins. 

Solution: A truly successful freight broker picks up the freight on schedule and delivers it to the correct location on time, and it does it all while prioritizing customers’ needs ahead of its own. Brokers shouldn’t lose sight of your value as a customer. Their business is centered around yours, so they should treat you accordingly.

3. Changing Rates

Sticking to the original quoted rate fosters a positive relationship between a business and the freight broker. Sounds simple, right? 

Unfortunately, many freight brokers fail to stick to their original quotes, resulting in a loss of trust from their customers. You should feel confident in the rates you agree on, but customers often fear that freight brokers will pull the rug out from under them with add-on charges and fees during the transportation process. 

Solution: Ask your freight broker what their policy is regarding price fluctuations. Trustworthy brokers will stick to the rates they set in the contract, even if it gets uncomfortable or inconvenient for them.

4. Accountability Issues

Freight brokers never want to be described as “unreliable.” Yet some brokers continually fail to show up on time, communicate delivery time expectations, or take accountability when things go wrong. Unreliable brokers are the reason freight brokers often get a bad name. 

Solution: Quality freight brokers take the time to meet deadlines and help you achieve your goals. They communicate delivery status, including any delays. And they work with you to overcome any challenges or problems that arise. You can get a feel for a broker’s responsiveness during the research process. If they’re open and honest before you sign, there’s a better chance they’ll continue that behavior once you trust them with your shipments.

The UCW Difference

Here at UCW Logistics, we believe in doing the right thing. Every time. No exceptions. Partnering with a freight broker can be intimidating, but we do everything with the utmost respect for our customers. It’s what you deserve and should expect. We pride ourselves in providing quality communication and customer service, so you can rest assured that we will follow through on every promise.

We deliver the flexibility of a broker and the trustworthiness of a 3PL provider. You should never have to question whether or not your freight will end up where it’s supposed to. We strive to be a partner you can trust, so you can focus on doing what you do best. Our team is committed to your success, and we work hard to ensure you never feel forgotten, overlooked, or dismissed.