How to Check a Freight Broker’s Credit Score

freight broker working on his laptop at his desk

Last Updated on January 29, 2024

Freight brokers play a crucial role in the logistics and transportation industry, acting as the middlemen that connect shippers with carriers. But how do you ensure that the freight broker you’re working with is financially reliable and trustworthy?

The answer lies in checking a freight broker’s credit score, a vital step that could mean the difference between a successful partnership and a financial fiasco.

Why Is Checking a Freight Broker’s Credit Score Important?

Performing a comprehensive credit check of your freight broker acts as a shield, ensuring you’re associating with a financially responsible entity. It is a proactive measure that identifies and mitigates potential risks associated with a broker’s financial status.

A broker’s inability to manage their financial obligations can lead to delayed or non-existent payments, jeopardizing your cash flow and overall business stability. You never want to deal with the hassle of figuring out what to do if you don’t get paid by a freight broker.

What Is Considered a Good Credit Score for Freight Brokers?

Before understanding what constitutes a good credit score for a freight broker, you must first recognize that business credit scores function differently than personal credit scores.

Unlike personal credit scores, which range from 300 to 850, business credit scores are measured on a scale from 0 to 100, in which a higher number indicates better creditworthiness.

For freight brokers, scores above 86 are considered excellent, signaling a low risk of delayed payments. Scores ranging between 70 and 86 are considered a moderate risk, and anything below 70 is seen as a high risk.

How Do You Check a Freight Broker’s Credit Score?

Embarking on a broker credit check won’t require too much effort on your end. Here are three ways you can check a freight broker’s credit score:

1. Consult Commercial Credit Bureaus

You can check a freight broker’s credit score by requesting a copy of their credit report through a major commercial credit bureau, such as Equifax, Experian, or Dun & Bradstreet.

Commercial credit bureaus specialize in gathering and dispensing financial data on businesses, including freight brokers. They provide exhaustive reports detailing a broker’s credit history, current debts, and overall financial health.

Requesting a report from a commercial credit bureau equips you with a granular view of a freight broker’s financial stability, enabling you to make an informed and confident decision about which freight broker to hire.

2. Ask the Broker for References

Don’t stop after you’ve scanned the freight broker’s credit report. Another important verification step is checking their professional references, which brokers should have no problem with handing over.

When calling their former business partners, ask a few specific questions about what their working relationship looked like with the broker. Confirm that they were reliable in terms of paying on-time and acting professionally throughout the partnership.

3. Try Freight Factoring

Freight factoring is a popular alternative financing solution for truckers. While the main purposes of freight factoring are to improve cash flow for trucking businesses and provide an immediate boost in working capital, an indirect benefit is that any reputable factoring company will perform a freight broker credit check for you!

Many business owners who utilize freight factoring have testified that this freight broker credit check is a unique perk of choosing freight factoring.

Other Tips When Choosing a Freight Broker

Choosing the right freight broker goes beyond just checking their credit score. It’s about building a partnership that can withstand the ups and downs of the trucking industry. Here are additional tips to consider when comparing freight brokers:

Evaluate Their Industry Experience

Experience in the freight brokerage industry is invaluable. A broker with years of experience has likely encountered various challenges and learned how to navigate them successfully, making them industry experts.

Check Their Credentials

A freight broker must be licensed to operate their business, so be sure to verify their broker authority with the FMCSA and check that they have a surety bond or trust fund.

Assess Their Communication Skills

Effective communication is key in the freight brokerage industry. When evaluating whether you should work with a new freight broker, consider if they are transparent, responsive, and proactive in their communication, especially in the early stages when you’re still negotiating freight rates. Once you start working with them, they should keep you informed throughout the shipping process and be readily available to answer any questions you may have.

Look for Financial Stability

While checking a freight broker’s credit score provides insight into their financial stability, it’s also important to consider other indicators of financial health.

If you have access to a company’s financial history, you should take a look at their financial records to evaluate if they are in good standing.

You can also learn how they manage customer payments and debts by asking them what payment terms they usually work on, why they prefer said terms, and if they’ve had any payment issues in the past.

You can also familiarize yourself with common cash flow problems and customer payment issues which can help you ask all the right questions.

Conclusion

By taking the time to thoroughly assess a freight broker’s credit ratings, experience, and reliability, you are setting the stage for a successful and profitable partnership. Remember, the goal is to build a long-lasting relationship that benefits both parties, ensuring smooth and efficient shipping processes now and in the future.

Freight Broker Credit Check FAQs

What are the three main commercial credit bureaus?

The three major commercial credit bureaus are Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax. These bureaus collect and provide financial data on businesses, helping you assess a freight broker’s creditworthiness and financial stability.

What factors might affect a freight broker’s credit score?

Several factors can influence a freight broker’s credit score, including their payment history, outstanding debts, and overall financial health. Late payments, high levels of debt, and financial instability can all lead to a lower credit score. On the other hand, a history of timely payments and financial stability can contribute to a higher score. Understanding these factors is crucial in assessing a broker’s reliability and making an informed decision.

How do I check my business credit score?

You can check your business credit score by utilizing one of the three main commercial credit bureaus: Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax. These bureaus will charge a small fee for providing credit information, but you will receive a thorough report of your credit score and credit history.