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Dealing With Shipping Companies - Can You Trust a Shipping Services Broker? from Mohammad Daniyal's blog

When it comes to moving and furniture shipping services, some websites advise against using shipping services brokers under any circumstances. They're wrong. Why? Because legitimate brokers are like travel agents. Not only do they provide access to more options, they can often get you a better rate than you can get on your own.

In fact, you've probably used a shipping services broker in the past without even realizing it.

Here's an example: You go to the mail and parcel store in the local strip mall to have them ship a box that's larger than a parcel... congratulations, you've just engaged a shipping service broker.

That's right, even the best known mail and parcel stores (for example, think in terms of the color brown!) broker the shipping of items that are larger than parcel size. That's because they're independent businesses - franchisees, actually - and although they ship parcels via their parent company, they're generally free to ship larger items with any carrier they choose. That makes them brokers. And that's a good thing.

Why? Because they can offer the price and type of transport best suited to your particular shipment. For example, suppose you want to ship furniture - say, a large recliner. They'll consider time, price, and other factors. Then they may box it so it can be shipped with a freight carrier, or they may choose a small move specialist to get more careful handling and inside pickup and delivery.

Like bricks and mortar mail and parcel stores, a legitimate online shipping services broker offers value in two ways - they can match the customer with the appropriate carrier, and they can offer a discount you can't get by going directly to the carrier. The only caveat is the same one that applies every time you go online to buy goods or services: Take the time to find out about the company you're dealing with. Here are five ways to do just that:

Look on the company's website for contact information. There should always be an "about us" page or a detailed "contact" page. Be wary of companies that don't list their complete address.

Call the broker, even if you can Air freight services from China a price online. A good shipping services broker knows that the more information they have about your shipment up front, the better.

Find out some company history. How long have they been around? What's their DOT license number? Like location, this type of information should be on the website. If it isn't, that's a red flag.

Check with the Better Business Bureau at And be aware that all shipping and moving companies incur complaints. The test is whether or not the company has worked to resolve them. The BBB site will list all of that.

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