Evaluating Freight Brokers for Your Business Needs

Choosing from a range of Freight Brokers to find the right match is integral to the success of any company that regularly ships products or materials. You risk damages, delays, and frustrated customers with the wrong Freight Broker. However, finding and vetting the perfect partner can be time-consuming and complex. This comprehensive guide breaks down the key steps when choosing a Freight Broker for your business.

1. Define Your Shipping Needs

Before starting your search, thoroughly analyze your company’s unique shipping and logistics requirements. Essential factors to consider include:

Shipping Volumes

Do you need to move a few LTL (less than truckload) shipments per week, or multiple full truckloads daily? What are your peak periods? Understanding your volume will help you find a Broker suited for your level of business.

Delivery Timelines

Are your shipments time-sensitive? Do they need to arrive within 24 hours, or can 5-7 day transit work? Fast shipments often require different Brokers than slower LTL routes.

Shipping Lanes

What are your most common origin and destination points? A Broker specializing in your key shipping lanes may provide better service.

Commodity Types

Are you shipping refrigerated food products or dry goods? Hazmat or oversized items? Specialized cargo like pharmaceuticals? The commodity affects the carrier type needed.


How are products packaged? Pallets, boxes, bags, drums, or custom crates? A Broker experienced with your packaging can find better carrier matches.

Clearly outlining your logistics profile makes it easier to identify Brokers who fit your needs and provide the right solutions.

2. Vet the Freight Brokers’ Carrier Networks

You want assurance your shipments will be safe and arrive damage-free. Brokers should willingly provide the following:

Carrier Acceptance Standards

Review carrier onboarding procedures like safety audits, insurance verification, and ongoing vetting. This strategy ensures quality networks and streamlined operations.

Network Scale

Ask how many contracted carriers they use. Large networks provide more routing options and redundancies to cover capacity.

3. Evaluate the Required Freight Broker Services

As you evaluate Brokers, weigh how well their service offerings align with your needs:

Shipping Modes

Can they handle your transport needs, including LTL, or do you need multiple Freight Brokers?

Specialized Moves

Does the Broker claim experience coordinating oversized, temperature-controlled, hazmat/dangerous goods or tradeshow shipments? These require special handling.

Cross-Border Expertise

For Canada to US shipping, you’ll want to choose a Freight Broker experienced in navigating customs Brokerage, border processes, security filings, and duties/taxes.

Technology Integration

Can their platform integrate with your Transportation Management System (TMS), Warehouse Management System (WMS), and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for seamless shipping communication and visibility?

Casting a wide net helps find a Broker who can securely handle all your company’s shipping needs.

4. Start Small to Test Reliability

Before committing high-value shipment volume to any Broker, test them with a few shipments.

  • Start with 1-2 modest LTL or TL shipments your business can comfortably risk.
  • Closely track transit events and proactively communicate about potential concerns.
  • Document the ease of working with the Broker, their responsiveness, and transparency.
  • Inspect deliveries for any damages or compliance problems.
  • If satisfied with the pilot runs, gradually increase shipment volume as the partnership solidifies.

Approaching new Freight Broker partners cautiously helps ensure a smooth onboarding process for both parties.

5. Maintain Open Communication

Clear, frequent communication cements successful Broker-shipper partnerships. Be proactive in discussing:


Share weekly/monthly projections of your upcoming shipment volumes, commodity types, and origins/destinations. This enables better capacity planning.

Regulatory Changes

Notify of new security filings, customs documentation, or hazmat requirements impacting your freight and shipping.

Ongoing Feedback

Provide periodic constructive feedback for your Freight Brokers to address any gaps.

Review KPIs & Success Metrics

Discuss opportunities to improve KPIs like transit times, pricing, freight tracking, or automating processes.

On average, shippers who invest time communicating with their Freight Brokers typically report a tangible improvement to their customer service over a 12-month period; the effort pays dividends.

Freight Brokers: Finding the Right Strategic Partner

Selecting and onboarding reliable Freight Brokers can result in improved customer service, reduced shipping spend, and peace of mind knowing your supply chain is in reliable hands. You’re on the right track to finding a strategic Freight Broker partner capable of helping you deliver and scale your business.

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