Why use a broker?

For my first edition of The Dispatch, I thought I’d validate our existence just a bit. Justify the old paycheck. Make you believe we’re necessary. You know, ensure our job security.

When I describe Legion’s business model to people outside the freight industry, they sometimes ask why someone like me is necessary – why a company or an individual would use a broker instead of handling the whole process themselves. Usually, they don’t understand how we fit into the scheme of things, between shipper, receiver and carrier. So I’ll break it down here, for anyone who happens to be curious.

1. What is our job exactly? We are a freight brokerage. We don’t own the freight and we don’t own the trucks or boats or planes, but we connect people who need to move things with folks who can move them. Say you have a Kettle Corn Popper that needs to go to Alaska. We’d find someone to pick it up from you, take it to Washington State, put it on a boat, float it to Alaska, load it on another truck and take it to the destination. Or, if you are in a hurry or feeling flush, we could fly it the whole way. First class.

2. How do we do it? We have relationships with all sorts of carriers – trucking companies, sea freight carriers, air freight shippers – so when a customer calls to find out pricing, we can reach out to any number of suppliers to get them the best rate possible. For LTL shipping within the Lower 48, we even have a computerized rate system that allows us to compare rates and come up with a price in minutes. To get the same number of quotes would take someone without these systems and relationships multiple phone calls, emails and haggling. (And trust me, the hold music for some of these companies is brutal – not something you want to experience more than once in a lifetime.)

3. Why is our pricing so competitive? The answer to this one is simple: volume. We do about 300 shipments (and growing) every month, so we can take advantage of superb volume pricing from carriers that a small business or individual would not be able to access. You can think of us as your own personal freight-buying consortium.

4. What’s the value-add? In other words, besides price, what do we offer?
– Customer service. Legion is available 24/7/365 to help you with any concerns about your freight. Our team works hard, day and night, to make sure you know where your freight is and what’s happening with it.
– We know the ins and outs of the industry. We can speak to the terminals, dispatchers, customs brokers and anyone else in the chain and actually understand what they are talking about. This is invaluable knowledge when there is a problem or concern with a load.
– You get to spend your time doing what you are good at, and let us handle the freight. Most small businesses can’t afford a designated shipping person, so having a company to whom you can outsource your shipping allows you to focus on what makes you money. And we all like to make money.

In other words, we like to listen to the horrible hold music and save you time and money. You have better things to do.