4 Steps to Find a Good Flatbed Carrier

When a situation arises, it can be pretty difficult to find a good flatbed carrier quickly. One that is able to fit into your shipping operations and successfully handle all the processes to ensure you receive a quality service. If you are a dispatcher or work for a shipper then you may have found yourself struggling with this. Trying to find an outside company that checks all the boxes before you entrust them with your freight can be quite the challenge. Well, we have made the processes a bit easier by compiling a simple list of steps for the next time you need to find a carrier for your flatbed load.

How to Find a Good Flatbed Carrier:

  1. Determine Broker or Owner-Operator
  2. Focus on Communication and Flexibility
  3. Look for Experience
  4. Find a Carrier with scalability

Before we go into the list, there is step 0, which is to ask yourself, “Is this going to be a long-lasting relationship? Or, do I just need a couple of loads to be taken care of?” This will greatly impact what kind of service you are looking for. You won’t need to worry about scalability and the broker v owner-operator won’t matter as much as well. However, even if you are rarely finding yourself in need of a flatbed carrier it is still worth building that relationship even if it’s just so you don’t need to restart the search every time.

Determine Broker or Owner-Operator

The first thing you want to determine is if you are looking for a broker or owner-operator. There are pros and cons of each depending on how you run your shipping operations. If you are in a quick bind and just need someone now as a flatbed carrier either should work fine. But as we said before, you should always be looking to develop a partnership.

There is a lot to cover when talking about the pros and cons of each option, but here’s a quick rundown:

Ways that a Broker will be beneficial over an owner operator:

  • More Services Available
  • Typically more established
  • Have more tools and resources
  • Can provide more than shipping

Ways that an Owner Operator will be beneficial over a broker:

  • Work directly with the person moving your freight
  • More room to negotiate
  • Remove some of the possible barriers

No matter which option you end up going with, it’s always worth trying to build some kind of relationship, which will save you time and money in the long run while also improving your operations.

Focus on Communication and Flexibility

The second factor you want to verify while looking for a flatbed carrier is communication and flexibility. Both communication and flexibility won’t do much on their own but together they will allow for a great service. Once you find a flatbed carrier that offers great communication and is flexible, you’ll be able to ensure your shipping operations run smoothly.

With both communication and flexibility, a shipping provider will be able to be there for you when you need and meet your needs, no matter what they are. Communication means that they will always answer your call, whether it’s 12 pm or 12 am. The supply chain never sleeps, issues can arise at any time. Issues that require the need for a new flatbed carrier. So when you make those calls you want to be partnered with someone that will answer.

The amount of flexibility is what lets the carrier solve these emergency issues once they are brought up. It’s not enough to just sit there and listen to the issue, you want someone that can find a solution and get a truck out to you ASAP.

Look for Experience

Third, when looking for a good flatbed carrier, it’s important to find a company with experience. This means experience in the shipping industry, in flatbed shipping, and in your particular industry. Each one of these is going to be important and is a good and quick way to gauge the level of quality you can expect.

There are obviously situations where a newer company can be a great fit but even then there are usually people at the carrier company that are experienced. It’s always great to have a bit of a chat before handing off your shipment to make sure that the company knows what they are doing.

The biggest benefit of experience is the development of processes and responses to situations. There’s a lot that can go wrong in shipping so it’s typically better to be with a company that has faced these issues before and has the processes in place to handle them.

Find a Carrier with scalability

The last thing to check when looking for a good flatbed carrier is its scalability. This will help you out immensely in the long run. It’s very beneficial to partner with a company that will ALWAYS meet your needs. They should be able to help you whether your needs stay the same or go up tenfold overnight.

There’s a lot that goes into building and maintaining a business relationship. It will always be worth making sure that the company you choose will actually be able to be with you in the long run.

Is HTL the Flatbed Carrier for you?

At HTL Freight, we have the experience, team, flexibility, scalability, reliability and everything else needed to ensure a great flatbed service. A service that will bring your shipping operations to the next level. We work around the clock to ensure our customers are updated and provided with all the information they need in order to succeed. We have a strong carrier base, many of which work exclusively in flatbed and can take on any challenge. If you want to learn more about HTL Freight you can do so by contacting us. Or, if you want to start shipping today, click here to request a quote.


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If you have any questions, please contact us.

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If you have any questions, please contact us.