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9 Common Freight Broker Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

In 2023, the freight forwarding industry is worth around $121.2bn, measured by revenue. And one of the Top-rated Freight Brokerage Company is MX Solutions – thanks to the firm’s dynamic transportation options, competitive rates, and industry-leading customer service.

But some businesses don’t enjoy the industry’s cake partly due to errors on their part. Let’s break down some of the broker mistakes some firms make and discuss ways to steer clear of them.

1. Incorrect Freight Classification

In their haste to complete jobs, some brokers rush through the process of freight classification. Freight class typically determines a shipper’s rate for transport, so it pays to classify items correctly.

If a freight broker misclassifies an item, it can lead to costly disputes with shippers. For starters, consider using the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) system. The standardized system comes in handy if you’re unsure of a freight item’s class.

2. Disregarding the Weather

We get it; you’re probably running behind schedule and want to get your cargo to the destination ASAP. However, inclement weather can upset your apple cart, if we may. Before you confirm a shipment, ask carriers about their policy on weather-related delays and if they can provide alternative routes.

3. Failure to Inspect Packages

Some freight forwarders receive shipments and load them without a second thought. However, prudence dictates that you should go over the products one last time before they leave your facility. That way, your business won’t incur losses due to damaged or lost packages.

For extra safety, you can take and keep photos of the freight items before shipping them off. And before accepting goods for shipping, a good ole’ once over should do the trick.

4. Not Reading into Delivery Dates

Delivery estimates are only as good as the information you supply to carriers. Usually, carriers don’t know how to factor in long delivery times for freight. Hence, you should always give them a realistic timeline of the duration it would take to get goods from your warehouse to the intended destination. That way, they can set their expectations and plan accordingly.

5. Improper or Poor Packaging

Sure, the client’s packaging might be nothing to write home about, but you need to step in and inspect the package for safety. If a package is flimsy or improperly sealed, then carriers may have difficulty handling it.

Likewise, if the customer tasks you with packaging their products in bulk before shipping, do so for maximum safety. To this end, use the right packaging materials while accounting for the item’s fragility, shape, and other variables. While at it, stick to your firm’s packaging guidelines to ensure goods are ready for transportation.

6. Ignoring Insurance

Insurance, mostly, seems like an unwanted expense, until a package goes missing or gets damaged. Such unexpected costs may leave you in the red and strain your budget.

While some carriers offer cargo insurance, it is not always mandatory. As such, consider investing in quality insurance and work with trusted carriers to mitigate the risks associated with freight shipping.

7. Being Unaware of Carriers’ Policies

To play the game, you need to know the rules – put it plainly. Thus, it pays to know the regulations the carriers you partner with comply with, so you can make the right decisions. For instance, some carriers may have strict policies on the number of pallets you can send in one shipment or might require special packaging for certain goods.

Also, research and understand how carriers calculate their rates, whether they provide tracking updates, if they accept cash on delivery payments, and more. That way, you can avoid issues later.

8. Inadequate Communication

Imagine dealing with a freight broker who keeps you in the dark regarding shipping progress. Would you feel confident they are giving your business their best shot?

Regardless of your client’s shipment size, ensure you have an effective line of communication with the shipper and recipient. Also, inform your carriers of changes in the shipment’s destination or date and other intricacies that might arise to ensure efficient delivery.

9. Underestimating Weight or Dimensions

You probably have a general understanding of the size and nature of the goods you will be shipping. Still, it won’t hurt to measure and weigh the items before picking a carrier. Such hard data can help you avoid errors resulting from miscalculations. Plus, it helps you keep carriers in the know about the package’s features so they can charge you the right amount.

Freight brokerage involves dealing with diverse stakeholders and requires a lot of coordination. By avoiding the common freight shipping mistakes above, you can continue to offer top-tier services. Otherwise, such errors could leave a dent in your business operations, an eventuality you wouldn’t want to face, no?

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