Looking for a new third party logistics software can be a headache, especially once you start comparing the pricing. What’s worth paying more for? What’s not?
What’s worth paying for at all?
When it comes to the 3PL software that keeps your business running smoothly, free isn’t likely to be the best option.
The best software options aren’t free for a reason – it takes money to make a quality piece of software, and it takes money to maintain it. The people it takes to build software, the servers it’s hosted on, all of the moving parts all require money.
If something is being offered for free, it’s because the company offering it is getting something else from you in return.
This often takes the form of charging you for specific actions you need to complete a shipment or manage your accounting, or simply to upsell you to a higher priced version of their software. Most “free” transportation management software options really are only free to install – to actually make them worthwhile and useful, you end up paying more and more over time.
So instead, you’re better off looking at software options that don’t try to hide their cost. It’s more honest, and it allows you to set an appropriate budget for what you need. No surprise charges when you need to call support, no fees for using loadboards or limits on the number of shipments you can process each month.
So if you’re not going to just go with the freemium TMS that looks the prettiest, how do you choose the best TMS for the price?
First and foremost, you need to look at what exactly you need from your transportation management software. Are there things you haven’t considered from your TMS that maybe you should?
Things like safety – an extremely valuable offering you could be providing your clients is the ability to know the up to date insurance and safety ratings of your carriers. A TMS that integrates with tools such as SaferWatch or DAT Carrier Watch ensures that you and your clients know exactly how safe your carriers are.
What types of shipments does your business handle most often? Do you prefer (or most often book) LTL shipments? Or are full truckloads where most of your business comes from?
Each type of shipment has its own nuances, and LTL in particular can be incredibly fickle. Rates and available trucks change constantly, and you need to be able to post available trucks easily. Can your TMS integrate with the biggest and most used load boards out there?
You shouldn’t have to pay extra for integrations with load boards such as Truckstop.com, DAT solutions, 123 Loadboard, GetLoaded, or Post Everywhere – and you should be able to post to all of them at once. Not having to copy and paste the loads you need to fill to each and every load board is a huge time saving option.
One that not all transportation management software options provide. BrokerWare™ does.
Would it be helpful to your business to allow your clients to login and book shipments themselves? Does the TMS you’re looking at offer a client login portal?
Have you considered just how happy a login portal would make your clients?
They can log in to their own portal and check on shipments, get quotes, and book their own shipments. You no longer need a massive sales team to call or talk to each and every client – they can book shipments on their own.
Time saved for your team, allowing your salespeople to seek out new business.
And money made for you – more efficient booking means more loads you can facilitate, which of course, means more profits.
Client portals can be tricky, but with the right TMS, they’re easy to set up, and easy for your clients to use. You can even integrate BrokerWare™ with LiveChat or BoldChat, allowing for your team to easily provide customer service exactly when your clients need it. Online chat options can be significantly lower in their costs to manage, especially compared to phones.
Not all clients want to call you every time they need to book a shipment. They know what they need to ship, or they make the same shipments every week or every month, and they know what information to provide to book the shipment.
With their own portal, they can just book those routine shipments. No need to pick up a phone – they can continue to efficiently run your business, and as their 3PL provider, you’re the freight broker they’re happy to use because it’s so easy.
If you’d rather still talk personally to each and every client, then you don’t necessarily need to provide a client login portal.
Chances are, however, that they’d prefer it.
Does your TMS integrate with your accounting software? Whether it’s QuickBooks Online, desktop QuickBooks, or Sage Software, your TMS must integrate with it to be as effective as possible.
This valuable integration ensures you don’t have accounting errors as a result of double entering information from one form or screen into another. It also saves valuable time – not just from simplifying your data entry, but by combining all of your necessary documents and data in one place.
If you’re still keeping track of things with good, old-fashioned pen and paper, then this isn’t likely to be much of a help for you.
But if you are using accounting software, then ensuring that the TMS you use integrates with that software is vital. It’s really not an optional feature if you want to remain competitive these days. Clients are unforgiving of billing errors, and double-entering your data from your freemium TMS to your accounting software is a huge risk for errors being made.
Not confident that your carriers are providing you the best rates? Have a request for a shipment that’s outside of your usual shipping lanes? You need a TMS that can allow you to check shipping rates for lanes outside of what you normally use with your regular carriers.
BrokerWare™ allows you to utilize an option called RateShare, which lets you check for the rates of other carriers that you don’t currently have a negotiated rate with. Find something that allows you to set a higher profit margin and still remain competitive? Book it through RateShare!
A single portal, a single place, with everything you need to manage your freight forwarding business.
If your TMS isn’t aiding your business in growing and increasing your profits, is it really doing what it should?
If the new option you’re reviewing isn’t a step up – just a different version of the same limited options – maybe it’s time to invest in a quality software that will actually help you make more money.
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