Questions to Ask Freight Carriers Before Using Their Services

When it comes to transporting goods, selecting the right freight carrier is crucial for ensuring the timely and safe delivery of your shipments.

With numerous options available, it’s essential to ask the right questions to determine which carrier best suits your business needs. Here are some key questions to consider when evaluating freight carriers.

Understanding Their Services

Types of Services Offered

Freight carriers offer various services, including Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) and Full Truckload (FTL) shipping. LTL is suitable for smaller shipments that don’t require a full truck, while FTL is used for larger, full-truck shipments.

Additionally, inquire about specialized services such as refrigerated transport for perishable goods or hazardous material handling if your shipments require specific care.

Coverage Area

Understanding the carrier’s coverage area is crucial. Some carriers specialize in regional deliveries, while others offer national or international shipping.

Ensure the carrier covers all the destinations you need and ask about any route limitations or additional charges for remote areas.

Evaluating Their Performance

Track Record and Reputation

Research the carrier’s history and reputation in the industry. Look for companies with a proven track record of reliability and customer satisfaction. Online reviews, testimonials, and industry awards can provide valuable insights into the carrier’s performance.

On-Time Delivery Rates

On-time delivery is a critical factor in choosing a freight carrier. Ask about their average delivery times and on-time delivery rates. A carrier with a high rate of timely deliveries is more likely to meet your shipping deadlines.

Assessing Their Capacity and Flexibility

Fleet Size and Equipment

The size and condition of the carrier’s fleet can impact their ability to handle your shipments. Inquire about the number and types of vehicles they operate and how often they maintain and update their fleet.


Your shipping needs may vary throughout the year. Ask the carrier about their ability to scale up during peak seasons or accommodate sudden increases in demand. Flexibility in handling special requests or last-minute changes is also a valuable trait in a freight carrier.

Analyzing Their Pricing and Payment Terms

Pricing Structure

Understanding the carrier’s pricing structure is essential for budgeting your shipping costs. Ask about their rates, which could be based on distance, weight, or volume, and inquire about any additional fees such as fuel surcharges or accessorial charges.

Payment Terms

Discuss the carrier’s payment terms, including accepted payment methods and any credit terms they offer. This will help you manage your cash flow and ensure smooth transactions with the carrier.

Ensuring Safety and Compliance

Safety Records

A carrier’s safety record is an important consideration for the well-being of your goods and the public. Ask about their accident and incident rates and any safety awards or certifications they have received.

Regulatory Compliance

Ensure that the carrier complies with all relevant federal and state regulations, especially if you’re shipping specialized cargo.

Check that they have the necessary licenses and permits to transport your goods legally and safely.

Investigating Their Technology and Tracking Capabilities

Tracking Systems

In today’s logistics industry, real-time tracking is a must. Ask about the carrier’s tracking options and the accuracy of their tracking information. This will help you monitor your shipments and provide updates to your customers.

Integration with Your Systems

If you use logistics software, it’s important that the carrier’s systems can integrate seamlessly with yours. This will facilitate data exchange and streamline your shipping processes.

Evaluating Customer Service and Support

Communication Channels

Effective communication is key to resolving any issues that may arise during shipping. Inquire about the carrier’s customer service availability, such as reliable support, and their responsiveness to inquiries and problems.

Dispute Resolution

Ask about the carrier’s process for handling claims and disputes, including their average resolution time. A carrier with a fair and efficient dispute resolution process can save you time and frustration.


Choosing the best freight carrier is a crucial decision for your business. By asking these questions, you can gain a better understanding of each carrier’s services, performance, capacity, pricing, safety, technology, and customer support.

Thorough research and due diligence will help you select a carrier that meets your specific needs and ensures the reliable, cost-effective delivery of your goods.

Choose On Track Freight Systems for Reliable LTL Trucking Services

At On Track Freight Systems, we understand the importance of reliable and efficient freight transportation. With our comprehensive LTL trucking services and dedicated customer support, we’re committed to meeting your shipping needs and exceeding your expectations.

Contact us today for a rate quote and experience the difference with On Track Freight Systems.