Maybe you need software that simplifies your daily tasks or cost savings on load boards, insurance, and GPS tracking features. You’re probably looking for back office support to manage the mundane tasks so you can focus on increasing bottom-line profits.
Whatever your reasons, a competent and responsive agent-based brokerage is key to help your freight brokerage grow.
Choosing the Right Partner
There are many third party logistics (3PL) companies across North America, so how to choose? You don’t want a 3PL that’s too big, because you want personalized attention. You don’t want one too small because you need a 3PL that has vast carrier relationships and brand recognition.
The ideal solution is to find a partner who has been in the transportation and logistics business for several years. They need to have a cash surplus and low agent saturation. You only want to consider 3PLs without an inside sales team so you don’t compete directly or risk them poaching customers. There really aren’t too many 3PLs out there that fit all those criteria. Is it really asking too much for these few requirements? It’s absolutely not.
Ask Our Expert
We asked our own agent recruiter, Nate Cross, about what freight brokers should expect in a 3PL partner. He acknowledged the abundance of agent-based brokerages when it comes to considering options. “In the modern age of logistics, we’ve seen the emergence and growth of many smaller 3PLs.” He completely understands the decision to choose a freight agent program is almost overwhelming.
Nate’s been with LDI since 2014, and had previous logistic experience at Con-Way Freight and the United States Army. Throughout his career in transportation and logistics, he’s seen the field explode. “The United States is now home to over 20,000 licensed freight brokers.” He said, “No freight broker is the same, and availability can easily set you apart.” So what does it take to be a broker of choice?
Always Be Available
The biggest differentiator between a regular broker and a broker of choice, Nate pointed out, is to be available:
“Whether you are a ten person team or a one person operation, your availability to your customers is crucial. Ideally, a 24/7 relationship ensures your customer can reach out to you for anything at any time without having to wait hours for a response. The best brokers have overnight/weekend availability, and those are typically the brokers that maintain large portions of their customers’ business. Your customers should be able to call/text/email you and get a response within minutes, even if the response is “Hey, I will call you back in 30 mins”.
“If you are a one person operation, this can even be as simple as setting an expectation with your customer on the quickest way to reach you at certain times of the day or night. With many shippers focused solely on getting the freight moved in a timely manner regardless of cost, it’s the broker’s job to make that job as simple and untroubled as possible.”
Hold Your 3PL to the Same Standard
Nate knows that’s what it takes to be an outstanding broker, and he knows what it takes to be a great partner. A quality freight agent program has to lead by example. If they want an available and customer-oriented broker, then they need to be available and agent-oriented.
“For independent freight agents,” he continued, “this availability extends to your back office team as well. Whether you need a fuel advance, additional credit, or just an answer to a question, you shouldn’t have to wait hours or even days. At LDI, we even take it a step further – our leadership team is a phone call away. Our agents have the luxury of a dedicated agent development team to assist them in every scenario imaginable. Further, our owners and VP of Operations are always available to discuss any matters. LDI views our agents as true business partners, and we boast the environment of a family rather than a transactional corporation.”
What You Should Expect in a 3PL Partner
What are things you expect in a 3PL partner? Tell us in the comments!