At times, brokers and carriers can seem to be at odds, vying for the loads of shipper customers in the auto transport industry.
But at Super Dispatch, we think the entire car shipping industry is based on great communication – especially between carriers and brokers. Despite protests from some carriers, brokers provide a necessary service for some shipping clients, which can be overlooked. Here are a few underrated services that a broker might offer a shipper.
With life on the road, Carriers don’t always have the ability or time to consistently communicate with their clients. Car transport brokers can remove this burden from the carrier. In turn, this helps the shipping customer feel at ease with more consistent communication on their work order.
This is why a broker can be valuable for a shipper – it truly is a different job. A job that is contingent primarily on communication. A carrier’s job is driving, inspecting, loading, unloading, and paying attention to his elogs. Some companies can call or email updates for every shipping client, but it’s not feasible for everyone. This is where brokers come in: clients pay for communication.
Availability and Flexibility of the Broker – Shipper relationship
A freight broker has far more flexibility and knowledge to find carriers for loads than any single carrier company. Booking directly with a carrier can be great if they aren’t busy, across the country or full at the exact moment a load needs to be shipped (which a great carrier probably will be!)
With how our industry is setup, it’s not always easy for a Shipper to locate a network of reliable carriers. Some of the greatest carriers in auto transport don’t have enough time in the day to create websites and marketing materials for shippers to find.
Conversely, brokers have time to reach out and create relationships with shippers. They also have time to work with multiple car haulers to build a trusted network of carriers. This gives them more variability and flexibility. When certain demanding clients need cars moved now a good broker can send load offers to 20-30 of his preferred carriers to turn transportation around faster.
Carriers are more limited. While booking directly with a carrier can mean lower prices for a shipper, it can also mean limited time and space for cargo. This arrangement works for some shippers, like lower-volume companies or consistent vehicle movers. But a broker is a huge asset for certain shippers, such as one-off clients, demanding shipping clients with quick timelines, multi-truck loads and auto auctions who require a lot of flexibility.
The right broker will provide an added layer of security for their car shipping clients. Do you think most shippers can check Carrier Insurance Requirements? Or be a certificate holder for cargo insurance? Do you think they would even know what a cargo insurance certificate holder is?
Not only that, but good brokers will have contingency cargo insurance or surety bonds, in addition to the cargo and liability insurance of a carrier. That is two layers of protection for a shipper. Auto Transport is a high-stakes game. Some shippers will pay more for a broker who makes the extra investment in security.
So what kind of shipper needs a broker?
Ultimately, this is a personal choice. Some shippers will lend themselves more to a direct carrier relationship – they can take the time to find create good carrier relationships. These shippers (usually larger operations) will bring their transport in-house and manage those relationships internally. But some shippers need auto transport to be easy – they need timely deliveries and extra security for the expensive cargo. This requires a touch from a broker.
Read more to see how brokers use data to get more clients or speak to a specialist on how Super Dispatch’s Shipper TMS can help your business today.
While some brokers and carriers think that they are competing for the same customers, auto transport is not a zero sum game. Shipper customers who work with brokers will almost never be the same as those that work with carriers. Carriers and brokers provide different services, for different customers.