1. What is the size of your fleet?
Many shippers ask this question and trucking companies may feel pressured to exaggerate the number. But for establishing long-term relationships, honesty is the best policy. You will also want to ask a company about their experience and years in business because this will be an indicator of how reliable they are (or will be).
2. What kind of transportation modes do you offer?
While truckload motor carrier services are the most common, you will likely want to inquire about other modes, such as LTL, van, air-freight, and rail intermodal, to name a few. You should do this for two main reasons: first, having multiple options available to you means that you can be more flexible and can therefore adapt their service to your particular circumstances. Second, it’s helpful to work with a trucker who has many partners and can offer more than one option for each of the modes in order to satisfy your demands.
3. Are you financially stable? What is your Dunn & Bradstreet rating? Credit score?
Shippers will want to make sure that the trucking company they do business with doesn’t have any financial and/or credit issues. You may want to look into their finances and possibly run a credit check. If their business is profitable, this is a green light for shippers. In addition, be ready to ask about payment terms and conditions.
4. Do you have a freight broker bond?
A freight broker bond means the carrier or broker is properly licensed and bonded. It’s also designed to protect shippers in the case a carrier is not upholding its contractual agreements and is delaying payments to its vendors.
5. Do you have cargo insurance?
Shippers should always ask about cargo insurance. If a shipment is lost or damaged, the carrier should be able to compensate you in full by means of their insurance. Carriers are not required by law to have this insurance, but you really don’t want to work with a carrier who does not carry it.