04/20/2023 by Greg Massey
Proper carrier selection may be one of the most important tasks for Freight Agents to keep their business safe.
I remember the first time I dispatched a driver to pick up a shipment thinking, “Wait, I just met this carrier for the first time. I’ve sent their driver to pick up a shipment for one of our top customers.”
Needless to say, I made about 10 calls to the driver, carrier, and shipper to verify everything was legit. It still boggles my mind to think that a shipper, whom I have never met, will entrust thousands of dollars in THEIR freight to a company that will then send a driver, whom they may have never met, to haul it away.
This scenario happens thousands of times daily across the U.S. and the world. Most of the time, everyone involved does what they say they will do correctly. But there are times, albeit very rarely, when one of the parties is involved for the wrong reason.
First, let me say Trinity Logistics and other logistics companies in our space get the chance to work with great carriers each day. Yet, there are still some bad actors out there. They want to involve themselves in our industry and do things the wrong way, often at the expense of hard-working and trustworthy carriers and Freight Agents.
So, Freight Agents, what can you do to protect your small business and the business of your customer, when arranging shipments with carriers? This is where having a carrier selection process is key to best serving your customer and mitigating any risk. Here are some items you should verify every time you arrange a shipment with a carrier to ensure its success.
“What’s the name on the side of your truck?”
While this seems like a simple question, it’s the number one question that can identify a potential double-brokering situation. Now, there will be times when the name on the side of the truck doesn’t match the carrier with whom you booked the load. Leased-on drivers are a great example of this.
What do you do if the answer to this question is different from what you expected?
Well, it gives you the opportunity to ask follow-up questions to investigate. It’s far better to find out this information before versus after the shipment has been picked up. I‘ve also heard of some requiring the driver to text a picture of the side of the truck door for added assurance.
Does the email and phone number match what is registered with FMCSA?
Again, there may be legitimate reasons for the phone number or email not matching the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website. Maybe the carrier’s contact information has recently changed for valid reasons. Perhaps it’s an owner-operator that registered with their home or office phone number but is on the road and calls from their cell phone.
In any event, it gives you a reason to pause and ask more questions to ensure you have confidence that this is the actual carrier with whom you trust to handle your customer’s freight.
What about the stuff you can’t see by looking at the FMCSA website?
You can quickly see things like liability insurance coverage or a carrier’s operating authority history on the FMCSA website. But what about referrals – good or bad – from other logistics companies?
Luckily there are tools available to see beyond the information reported by the FMCSA. There are platforms like CarrierWatch, Carrier 411, or Highway that provide a glimpse into any skeletons that may be hiding in the closet. It’s important to note that these are pay-to-play platforms. Freight Agents that choose to partner with an experienced logistics company, like Trinity Logistics, have access to a Carrier Compliance Team that continuously monitors these comments to protect you and your customer’s best interests.
Carrier selection is important as you are placing your trust in them to meet your customer’s shipment needs. Doing a little bit of homework and, when necessary, trusting your gut with your carrier selection, will save you future headaches and, ultimately, protect your Freight Agent business.
We’re here to help your Freight Agent business succeed all around, and that includes your carrier selection. Safety and exceptional service are our highest priority, and so our Carrier Compliance Team takes care of our rigorous carrier vetting to verify that the carrier you select is qualified and experienced.
With our People-Centric Team and best-in-class technology applications at the ready, Freight Agents working with Trinity Logistics can spend less time on back-end tasks like carrier selection and more time growing their business.
Go ahead and choose to get in touch with a Trinity Freight Agent Representative today so you can start receiving world-class support to get ahead of your competition. Call 800-846-3400 x 1908 or click the button below to begin your conversation with Trinity.
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