To manage the fast-paced business of matching carriers and shippers, choosing the right freight broker software is essential for your success as a broker. Especially if you’re just starting, you might think an off-the-shelf accounting package or generic transportation management software will do the job. But freight brokers need specialized solutions that help manage carrier relationships and perform freight matching needs, invoicing, payments, and financial tasks.
Freight brokers need freight brokerage software that makes each step of the process more efficient. Functions include transportation management software (TMS), freight load boards, customer relationship management (CRM), and accounting software. You can use an all-in-one suite or cherry-pick the best option in each category. Automating allows you to spend your valuable time booking freight instead of doing administrative work.
Here are the key features you should look for in freight broker software and some of the software options in the market today.
Key features to look for in freight broker software
Here’s a review of the features your freight brokerage software should include. If you select a solution without these capabilities, you could be spending too much time completing the essential tasks for running a freight broker business. Before you choose software for your business, check to see if it includes:
Load search and posting
One of the most critical tools for freight brokers is load searching and posting to match loads with carriers. It’s your bread and butter to match vetted carriers and shippers with freight and book the loads immediately. This function is provided by a load board service and may be integrated into a freight broker TMS.
Brokers must vet or research carriers to ensure their credentials, safety ratings, and compliance records, including CSA scores, meet standards before booking loads. Carriers that don’t meet your criteria should be excluded. Carriers without the proper insurance coverage or acceptable CSA scores could lead to higher liability in case of an accident or product loss. A thorough vetting process provides brokers and shippers with protection against risk.
After vetting a carrier, brokers must onboard them into the freight broker software system. You’ll need to input carrier records, payments, and other information into the system to set up the carrier to accept loads. Look for a system that automates this step as much as possible so carriers are ready to book loads faster. The best automated onboarding solution can be up to 80% faster than manual processes.
Once carriers are vetted and onboarded, continuous monitoring is necessary to ensure the carriers continue to meet safety and performance standards, even after you’ve onboarded them. Ideally, your solution will provide alerts whenever there’s a change in a carrier’s status.
Automate your compliance.
Explore your options for automating carrier onboarding and monitoring
Every shipment requires an invoice, so your software should make invoicing easy to help keep your cash flow coming in. Ideally, you should be able to create and send an invoice with just a few clicks.
After you invoice, payments will start to flow in from your customers and out to your carriers. Your payment solution should be able to handle all types of payments and connect with your accounting software to simplify the process for everyone.
Paperwork is a fact of life, so look for a solution that manages documents, such as broker agreements with carriers and shippers, load tenders, rate confirmations, bills of lading, insurance certificates, and other critical pieces of information. Handling these documents in a digital form saves time and errors and provides a higher level of security and backup. It’s easier to share documents internally and externally.
Electronic data interchange (EDI)
To eliminate or reduce paper processing, exchange load information using standard formats among shippers, brokers, and carriers. Eliminate manual data entry for seamless communication that speeds up shipments and payments.
Routing and dispatch
Your freight broker software should support selecting the most efficient routes and dispatching carriers. Select routing that avoids delays and optimizes fuel use, and takes traffic information, speed limits, and fuel prices into account. Pick a solution that eliminates the need for phone calls and faxes to get the freight moving in the right direction quickly.
Shippers want freight visibility, so load tracking is a critical function. Brokers can save time by not having to call carriers for updates, and geofencing provides alerts for selected events. Carriers appreciate working with a broker that can help prevent fines.
Your freight brokerage software solution should connect with other critical tools without additional programming or costs. If you have a TMS in place, your favorite load board should be accessible through it for a seamless experience and connect with your accounting software.
7 best freight broker software tools for 2022 (by use case)
Used for: Integrated portfolio of freight broker solutions
Truckstop offers a full-featured portfolio of solutions for brokers integrated with the industry-leading load board that pairs carriers and shippers. The easy-to-use automated tools accelerate daily workflow, helping brokers close more deals faster, and improve customer service. It integrates with a variety of TMS’s, accounting, and CRM software solutions. Financial management features include creating invoices, setting credit limits, and managing accounting tasks. You can also integrate carrier management functions, including sourcing, vetting, onboarding, and monitoring.
- Truck/lane searching
- Predictive carrier sourcing
- Load management
- Carrier vetting
- Carrier onboarding
- Carrier compliance monitoring
- Real-time updates
- Payment processing
- Supports dual authority brokers
Used for: Accounting software
Aimed at small and medium-sized companies, QuickBooks handles the financial basics of running a business, from invoicing to payments and taxes. There’s a range of pricing options to fit your budget. While QuickBooks has its place as a bookkeeping solution, it is not specialized freight broker software. If you want load management or routing/dispatching functions, you’ll need to purchase add-ons or integrate with other freight broker tools.
- Track income and expenses
- Invoice and accept payments
- Maximize tax deductions
- Track miles
- Manage 1099 contractors
- Manage and pay bills
- Track time
- Manage employee expenses
- Batch invoices and expenses
- Customize access by role
- Automate processes and tasks
- (Advanced version)
Used for: Small business accounting software
Also targeted at small to medium enterprises, FreshBooks is a cloud-based option that you can access via mobile app. FreshBooks will send invoices, track time, manage receipts and expenses, and accept credit cards. While useful for small-business bookkeeping, FreshBooks is not a specialized freight broker solution.
- Customizable invoices
- Automatic late fees
- Received invoices
- Receipt attachments
- Automatic payment recording
- Automatic expense recording
- Automated bank reconciliation
- Generate P&L reports
- Time tracking
Used for: Customer relationship management
One of the best-known CRM tools, HubSpot offers a free version. It’s a flexible tool that integrates marketing with sales and follow-up but doesn’t offer much in the way of broker-specific functionality. You can sign up for higher levels of contacts and more functions as your business grows.
- Build customer database
- Track leads
- Contact deal and task management
- Email tracking and engagement notifications
- Email templates and scheduling
- Document sharing
- Meeting scheduling
- Live chat
- Sales quotes
Used for: Customer relationship management
Salesforce is a comprehensive CRM tool that provides a 360-degree view of shippers and consignees for brokers and manages carrier relationships. The integrated systems provide real-time visibility throughout the entire shipping experience. It’s scalable as your company grows and steps up its marketing and operations footprint.
- Manage quotes and pricing
- Manage carriers and routing
- Integrates systems and data onto a single platform
- Automate processes
- Streamline workflows
- Integrate data from any system
- Proactive tracking updates
- Targeted marketing functions
Pricing: Customized pricing
Used for: Freight broker software
Axon is an integrated transportation management software that manages all aspects of operations for brokers and trucking companies. Brokers can increase staff efficiency and load visibility by automating most processes. It does not include load board functions.
- Manage carriers, shippers, consignees
- Accounting, payroll, and web application integration
- Broker accounting applications
- Accounts receivable, billing & collecting integration
- Customizable order history
- Visual dispatching
- Fleet management
- Load tracking
- Real-time updates
Used for: Freight broker transportation management software
An integrated TMS for freight brokers automates many functions and supports custom reporting for dynamic management and planning. It automates billing and carrier settlement and manages fuel taxes, driver tracking, pickup, delivery details, and payments. It is customizable for specific broker requirements.
- Trucking dispatch software
- Automated rating
- Electronic document management
- Live load tracking
- Customer relationship management
- Customizable management dashboards
- Billing and auditing
- Carrier settlement
- Configurable EDI
- QuickBooks integration
Which freight broker software is right for your business?
Selecting the right freight broker software is a big step. You need a freight broker transportation management system that sets up your business for success. With ITS Dispatch from Truckstop, eliminate time-consuming paperwork and spend time where it pays off–with your customers and growing your business. With the range of tools at your fingertips, you can integrate workflows to increase efficiency, automate processes, and accelerate growth for your company. Don’t settle for off-the-shelf software that only does part of the job. Invest in an integrated solution with a toolbox of solutions specifically designed for freight brokers.