How to find the best bulk freight brokers

Posted on April 17, 2023 by Andrew Scibelli

When you partner with the right bulk freight brokerage company, you add an established network of reliable carriers to your transportation toolbox. Align with the wrong broker, however, and your seemingly reliable network can quickly turn into a shipping nightmare. Worse yet, this nightmare may not reveal itself until months after your loads are delivered – when a carrier comes calling for payment the broker should have handled. 

While all bulk freight brokerage companies will tell you how reliable and trustworthy they are, the truth is that some are much more reliable and trustworthy than others. By taking the time to perform due diligence and ask the important questions, you’ll be able to separate the best bulk freight brokers from the rest of the pack.


Questions to help you find the best bulk freight broker for your products

bigstock-Start-line-on-the-highway-conc-180761905.jpg1. How much experience does the broker have? When researching bulk freight brokerage companies, you’ll find ones with decades of freight experience, and ones with just a few years or even months. And, while experience isn’t everything, it counts for a lot. You want to make sure that your chosen bulk freight broker is safe, reliable, and efficient. Anything less than the best in these areas can put your products, your reputation, and the safety of the public in jeopardy.

So, do your research and be sure to ask for references from companies that have used a broker’s services before moving forward. You’ll want to learn how customers with products like yours view their experiences with the broker. Is there a history of problems, like product damage, inadequate equipment, or payment issues?

2. Does the broker have proof of compliance and insurance? You will need to ask your prospective brokers for operating authority and surety bonds, as well as regulatory compliance (as applicable). Failure to produce any of the required items should be a major warning sign. Most reliable brokers also carry their own freight carriers’ insurance in addition to that of the carriers in their networks. Common types of insurance among brokers include contingent liability insurance, contingent cargo insurance, and errors and omissions insurance.

3. Are your broker’s carriers vetted? By whom? Carrier records, once verified and vetted, do not update themselves. You need to know that your bulk freight brokerage partner is managing these carrier records and removing carriers from their database when they have severe violations or fail to update their compliance and insurance documents. Some bulk brokerage 3PLs, like Bulk Connection, have a dedicated team whose responsibility it is to keep these records updated and ensure that loads are assigned ONLY to carriers that are up-to-date and qualified to handle them.

4. Does your broker have a quality program? Certification within a quality management program like ISO-9001 shows that the company is committed to quality service and continuous improvement. The ISO-9001 standard helps to ensure quality and consistency. When a bulk freight brokerage is ISO-9001-certifed, it gives customers – both shippers and carriers of bulk freight – peace of mind that they’re dealing with a company that is buttoned up. When you work with such a bulk freight broker, you know it’s following the strictest quality standards.

5. Is there round-the-clock coverage? As transportation is not a 9-5 operation, your freight broker’s customer service operation should be ready at any time.. This includes nights and weekends. You want to work with a broker that will provide 24/7 customer service (i.e., an actual human to talk to).

6. Is the broker asking the right questions? When freight brokerage companies collect information on a load, they should be asking questions. Lots of questions. For example: what is the cargo value? Do I need a lift gate? If it’s a bulk load, what type of liquid bulk tank does the product need? Is it hazmat? Is a safety data sheet required? Brokers that ask the right questions offer a good indication they know what they are doing and are prepared to handle your product safely and effectively. 

7. Does the broker have industry affiliations? As with experience, membership in professional affiliations – whether freight shipping affiliations like Transportation Intermediaries Association [TIA] and National Tank Truck Companies [NTTC], industry-specific affiliations like the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD), and even the Better Business Bureau (BBB) – can add to a broker’s trustworthiness. It shows that the broker is dedicated to the industry(s) and attaining the knowledge and resources to grow within it.


Bulk Connection Bulk Freight Services

With tank truck capacity as volatile as it’s ever been, you simply can’t afford to make a mistake in finding the best bulk freight broker. Why? Because if things don’t go right, there may not be another truck available to swoop in and save the day. 

With three decades in the freight brokerage industry – and a tireless commitment to customer service (yes, 24/7 customer service) – Bulk Connection has the experience, the reputation, and the expertise to get the job done right. We know the lanes, the equipment and, most importantly, your products and we have the network to move them. Contact Bulk Connection today to learn more about our bulk freight brokerage services. 

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This entry was posted in Freight Brokerage by Andrew Scibelli