1. How do they select their carriers?
Just as you must do your homework when selecting a broker, the broker must also be careful to screen his carriers carefully. What are their safety records, what is their industry reputation, how long have they been in business, what is the average age of their equipment fleet, how many trucks/drivers do they have? You want to ask your broker some pointed questions about their vetting process. Their carriers are about to become your carriers.
2. How are their communication skills?
How are their verbal and written communication skills? Will they represent you the way you want to be represented with your best customer? Also, consider the accessibility of senior management. Can you reach them after-hours and on weekends when your best customer is calling you about status on that critical shipment?
3. Do they provide cargo insurance?
An often overlooked consideration until it is too late. Especially with truck freight brokers. Shippers often naively assume that all trucks carry $100,000 of cargo insurance and that they are automatically covered up to that amount. Don’t bet on it. Make sure your broker is able to provide both general liability and cargo insurance certificates to your satisfaction and that they are willing to name you as the certificate holder.
This may sound like an obvious one, but many people overlook it. You wouldn’t hire a new employee for a critical role without at least checking a few references would you? Your freight broker is every bit as important. Take the time to talk to a couple of their references, preferably from your own geographic area and industry. What has their recent performance been like? Are they responsive to special requests? Does their size match your own business size and offer the level of personalized service you require to grow your business? Now is the time to find out.
5. How good is the billing department?
This is much more important than it may seem. Is their billing to you accurate, detailed and timely?