Before I get into my post about what you need to know, I want to tell you about an experience I had a couple days ago. My future wife, was reading my last post about being prepared and happened to mention to me that my grammar sucked, my sentences were too long, etc, etc……I guess I should have never asked her to proof read it. My goal was to see if it made sense to her, not to critique my grammar. My response to her was I’m not some college professor that needs or wants everything I say to come out perfect, I don’t want my readers to think they are reading from some type of manual and to follow everything verbatim. My goal is for you learn things relevant to becoming a Freight Agent. I’m not a teacher, I’m more of a story teller and my stories come from experiences that I’ve had while in Business as an Agent. I think to myself about how I would want this information brought to me and that’s in terms I would understand. I’m not polished in my grammar but if I can get my point across, that’s all that matters to me. Ok, back to the task at hand, things you need to know.
The first thing we need to discuss is Contracts. Contracts are legal and binding documents that we pass along with either Customers or Carriers when conducting transactional business. The first type you need to know about is Carrier Packets. I send out Carrier Packets on a daily basis. A Carrier Packet is a 7 or 8 page document to show either your Customer or Carrier that you are legal to do business in the state that you’re working in. It will have Your MC (Motor Carrier) Authority, you’re W-9, and you’re Insurance. Along with this you will need some sort of Contract showing your terms of payment, what you pay per hour after the first 2 free hours for detention. These are the 4 most important documents you will need. There will be other things in your packet also like maybe some references, safety documents, a SCAC code document and whatever else your Company might throw in there. This will be the packet you send out to Carriers. In return they will send to you something similar but the 4 most important things you need to get back from them are MC (Motor Carrier) Authority, their W-9, and their Insurance and a signed contract. Without these things they should never move a load for you…ever. Not to worry too much about these things though as the Brokerage Company you are with will supply you with the documents you will need to give to your Carriers. Once you have a Carrier Packet, it’s just a matter of updating the insurance on a yearly basis.
The second Contract I will discuss is called a Confirmation. Confirmations are your life blood of your business. Every load you will ever move will have a Confirmation attached to it and this will follow the load all the way until it is invoiced. A Confirmation is a Contract between yourself and the Carrier saying that the terms you agreed on while in negotiations on the phone are agreeable to both parties. When you send the Confirmation to the Carrier, he or she will sign it and send it back to you. Under no circumstances should you ever have a carrier move a load for you without a signed Confirmation sent back to you from the Carrier. These are legal and binding documents and if something were to go south, a signed Confirmation is the first place your company will look to see if you have one. The Confirmation will have everything in it that pertains to load that the carrier will be moving. It will have all the Shipper and Receiver (Consignee) information including addresses and hour of operation and whether the time to load is either by appointment or first come first serve. It will have what the product is that the carrier will be hauling, the weight of the product. And most importantly it will have the rate that yourself and the carrier agreed upon.
Most Confirmations aren’t made out by hand. This is where Brokerage software comes into play. A good piece of software is essential for making out Confirmations. I’m going to discuss the software that I use in my next post so stay tuned. Until then, if you like my post, leave a comment, otherwise, I’m always here.