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What does a freight shipper do?

There are many pieces to the entire shipping industry that all work together to get freight and cargo to where they need to be, and it all starts with the freight shipper. A freight shipper is an important part of the entire process that without them, carriers and brokers would have no reason to exist. 

However, it is important to know that the entire shipping ecosystem requires each part to work together and also know how there are ways that a freight shipper can excel and fall behind. 

What Is a Freight Shipper?

In freight, the shipper, sometimes referred to as the consignor, is the person or company that provides the items that need to be shipped. This could be any individual looking to have a large item transported or even a company with regular freight shipments of products being sent to stores. 

Some freight shippers will go through freight brokers but there will be times that a shipper will be creating direct contracts with the transportation company such as an individual or owner operator. 

What Is Freight Shipping Used For?

There are two categories that all types of shipments are categorized in. Individual packages are referred to as parcel shipping. Shipments of larger quantities such as pallets, truckloads and shipping containers are referred to as freight. 

Freight shipping is used for shipping in bulk but also for larger items. Shipping cars would be classified as freight but a couple pallets of toilet paper would also be classified as freight. 

For shipping companies such as UPS or FedEx, freight is classified as being over 150 pounds. 

How Do Shippers Pay Freight Brokers?

Freight brokers are paid not through a set number but by the gross margin of the loads. What that means is they are paid with what is left after paying the carrier. So, the shipper will be given a total sum for the services to deliver their freight. 

From that sum the carrier has to be paid and whatever is left is the gross margin. The drivers and delivery companies in most contracts will be paid faster than the broker themselves. Brokers often can expect to be paid anywhere within 30 to 60 days. 

Qualities of a Premium Shipping Company 

Freight shippers are important and provide many job opportunities to owner operators and small businesses. But it is easy for a small business to be taken advantage of, especially if the business owners have little to no experience. 

It is important to know what to look for when finding the best shipping companies to do business with, so let’s take a closer look at some of the qualities of a premium shipping company. 

Instant Quotes 

Having instant quotes and prices in any market are a good sign of professionalism. In the shipping world it can be the fastest tell as to whether or not you will take the job. This usually means that they have the money ready for payment and there should be no issues obtaining it after the job is completed. 

Competitive Pricing

Truck drivers are becoming more and more essential and what they get paid should reflect that. If the rates of a shipper are not up to the standards of what other shippers are paying, then truckers will not waste their time on that job. No one wants to be low balled for their work and when a company acknowledges the worth of their partners they will build lasting relationships. 

Low Upfront Costs

There should be very few costs to the carrier to find work but to be on certain brokerage boards and systems it will sometimes require a subscription. This as well as joining those platforms to find work should be a smooth process since the money is made on the road. A good shipper will be a part of well respected brokerage boards that gives easy access to skilled drivers. 

Live Tracking & Logistics Insights

While live tracking benefits the business it can also benefit the carrier. Real time tracking keeps the shipper in the loop of where their shipments are and whether or not they are on time.  This keeps them from needing constant updates from the carrier and also can be used to let the receiver know when to expect your arrival so they are ready to receive the shipment. 

Endless Opportunities

When a good business acts as a top tier shipper, it draws the best carriers and allows them to function at the highest level. This allows for growth and more job opportunities for drivers. With those job opportunities will come more types of services needed leading to more jobs that they will want completed by their reliable contacts. 

Offers Protection

It is always required that you have some sort of insurance on your truck and load but when the shipper offers additional protection for their shipment you know that they are going the extra mile. 

This is important in the case of any disasters or accidents that happen that are out of your control. It can prevent any extreme responsibility falling back on you but still covers the shipper and their cargo.

Vets Carriers 

Working with a shipping company regularly is a great way to build your business. But if you are working alongside inexperienced or poor drivers, it can reflect badly on you. When a shipper vets their carriers it brings a standard into the business and you are no longer having issues working with just any person who has a truck and a CDL. 

Finding Freight Shippers From Experience

Finding the right freight shipper to work for can feel like an impossible task of cycling through lists from freight brokers and job boards. You don’t want to work with just any shipper out there but it is hard to know just where to look. As you build your reputation and experience, getting the chance to work with the best freight shippers out there feels more and more attainable. 


What is a freight shipper vs carrier?

A freight shipper is a person or company that has goods to be transported, while a freight carrier is the party responsible for the actual transportation of those goods, whether by road, rail, sea, or air.

Is freight forwarding a stressful job?

Freight forwarding can be a stressful job due to the demanding nature of coordinating complex logistics, dealing with unexpected issues like delays or lost cargo, and the need for precise, timely communication with various parties involved in the supply chain.

Can shipper and carrier be the same?

Yes, the shipper and carrier can be the same if a company has its own fleet of transportation vehicles and manages its own logistics, this is often the case with large companies that have complex, high-volume shipping needs.

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