How To Quickly Compare Rate Quotes With Multiple Carriers At Once

Written by Paul Forand

 freight-cost-34More and more businesses are waking up to two realizations:  The first is that their freight charges are going up.  The second is that they could be doing something about this if they had the right technology in place.

Driver shortage, new government regulations and capacity issues are among the numerous reasons for the currently high freight rates, and many businesses lack the ability to efficiently compare prices on shipments. It's a busy market with dozens of carriers available for virtually any route, and standardizing that process is a good way for a company to compare them.

And, of course, a customer trying to place a sale doesn't want to wait a week for you to painstakingly compare carriers through phone calls.  They want a quote quickly, and at a competitive price.

There are a couple of options for companies in this situation.  Let's take a look at their benefits and drawbacks.

Ways To Quickly Compare Shipping Quotes

1 - Integrate With Your Own Carriers

Any serious freight carrier will have their own Transportation Management Software (TMS) platform with their rates loaded in, and most will be willing to talk about directly tying your systems into theirs. After all, it means you become a guaranteed customer.

However, there are no standard interfaces\software for this.  They might have their own system, but in all likelihood, you would have to hire software developers to create the software for you.  As with buying a TMS platform, unless you happen to have this expertise on-staff already, along with the necessary networking systems, this can become extremely expensive to implement.

That doesn't mean it cannot be a cost-effective option, but the ROI needs to be carefully considered.

2 – Use The Technology of A Good 3PL small__14565350736

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of Third Party Logistics firms in the world.  Most could be termed "broker billing" 3PLs, because they work strictly on a broker model:  You hire them to make a shipment, they hire a carrier, and then they add a percentage to cover their own costs.

Many such 3PLs maintain relationships with different carriers and can incorporate their rates into your software systems, allowing you to compare prices between the carriers they work with.  

The downside here is because of the way the broker billing system works, these 3PLs really have little incentive to reduce your costs.  After all, they're working on a percentage, usually in the 15% range.

The alternative in 3PLs are those who will work with you directly, and treat you as an ongoing client.  Rather than working as ad-hoc brokers, these 3PLs partner directly with carriers. 

In this way, non-broker 3PLs can get aggressive rates that are transparent to the shipper and, as a result, the costs are usually lower – sometimes by 10% or more.

They also maintain open systems and databases designed to easily interface with their clients' existing systems. Their rates can be easily tied into ecommerce shopping carts, and sales staff can quickly look up quotes and know they've already been price-matched against multiple potential carriers.

For a growing company, this often hits the "sweet spot" of low upfront costs and long ongoing benefits.

ReTrans is an industry-leader in freight management technology solutions with decades-long relationships with both carriers and clients. Our integrated software systems can quickly revolutionize any company's shipping procedures and bring significant long-term freight cost savings throughout an organization.

To learn more, contact us for a free consultation!


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photo credit: Nguyen Vu Hung (vuhung) via photopin cc