A freight broker taps into a huge network of freight carriers to find you the best rate for your freight shipments. We looked at the most popular options and rising stars and decided to review FreightPros, uShip, and eFreightLine. These companies covered the range for small businesses in terms of customer service, small business accessibility, and price. Read on for our comparison and review of these three options, as well as our top recommendations.
Best Freight Broker for Small Businesses: FreightPros
FreightPros claims our top spot for consistently delivering the lowest freight quotes of all the freight brokers we tested for this guide. Plus their answers to our questions were helpful and, best of all, accurate. FreightPros also scores a whopping 9.4/10 stars in TrustPilot’s customer reviews, the highest of all listed freight brokers, so it seems we’re not alone in our assessment.
Freight Broker Comparison Table: FreightPros vs. uShip vs. eFreightLine
|Pricing - Lowest Quote for Our Comparison Test|
|Credit Card or Net 15 with approved credit||Credit Card||Credit Card or Net 15 with approved credit|
|Account Setup Required for Quote or to Ship Freight|
|Quote - No|
User account created automatically if you ship with them
|Quote - No|
You’ll create an online account to book your quoted shipment
|Quote - No|
User account created automatically if you ship with them
|Website Ease of Use|
|Medium - Lots of features for the shipping pro||Easy - Simple for someone who’s never shipped before to use|
Plus! Mobile App for managing your shipments on the fly
|Medium - Lots of features for the shipping pro|
|Number of Carriers|
|50+ Major Nationwide & Regional Carriers||778,000 providers, includes major & independent freight carriers, and specialty transport||50+ Major Nationwide & Regional Carriers|
|Freight & Service Types|
|LTL, FTL, Rail, and various specialty freight||LTL, FTL, and various specialty freight and small transport services||LTL, FTL, Rail, and various specialty freight|
|Online Shipping Resources & Tutorials|
User-friendly blog, how-to videos, and ebook shipping resources
Step-by-step guidance for every shipping need
Shipping and website how-to’s, rather technical and corporate-speak, but very complete
|Phone, Email & Online Form|
7am-6pm CST, M-Th
7am-5pm CST, F
|Phone & Online Form|
7am-7pm CST, M-TH
7am-5pm CST, F
10am-4pm CST, SA
|Phone, Email & Online Form|
8am-6pm EST, M-F
In our review of the best freight brokers, we use several freight shipping terms and processes, like LTL (less-than-load), FTL (full-truck-load), and many more. If you’re unfamiliar with these terms, our comprehensive LTL freight shipping guide walks you through everything you need to know to get started.
Best Freight Broker for Small Businesses: FreightPros
We chose FreightPros as our number one freight broker for small business because they delivered low quotes along with great customer service every step of the way. Their professed focus is serving the freight needs of small business owners, and proved this to me throughout the entire process.
Whether you have one or ten dozen shipments in their system, FreightPros delivers account management-level service at every step. Our other top picks offer good customer service too, but not to this level for the small shipper. eFreightLine, a traditional broker like FreightPros, is a larger outfit so their reps juggle more accounts. uShip is an exchange, not a traditional broker, so it’s a more DIY system compared to the other two.
FreightPros breaks away from the pack by proactively overseeing your freight bookings from pickup, throughout transit, to delivery. This is something our other top picks tend to leave to you. FreightPros tracks every shipment in their system to pinpoint and resolve transit and delivery issues the moment they pop up. This saves you time, headaches, and unexpected costs.
I’m not the only one who appreciates this. Customers rate FreightPros an impressive 9.4/10 stars on TrustPilot, which is quite a feat since shipping freight involves many moving parts. “No surprises” was the consistent theme in user reviews. As someone who’s shipped a lot of freight over the years, this made me take notice. Having a “no surprises” reputation in this industry says a lot about a freight broker’s commitment to service, pickup-through-delivery. It’s FreightPros proactive approach that makes this possible.
In my tests, FreightPros made it a point to know my business, know what I was shipping, and how to ship it at the lowest cost. In this, FreightPros and eFreightLine are neck-and-neck, though FreightPros delivered lower quotes overall for different types of shipments. uShip’s knowledgeable reps will assist, but they don’t develop account relationships like our other top picks. Plus, uShip’s prices are based on shipment size and weight only, unlike the other two that use goods-based pricing which can, in some cases, be more flexible.
Both FreightPros and eFreightLine know their freight carriers and include only those that are a good match to your needs in your quotes. They also will advise you in cases when the cheaper option may not be the best for your specific shipment. This is unlike uShip, which leaves the carrier choices to you. However, their detailed customer reviews of carriers are helpful in making wise choices.
Like uShip and eFreightLine, FreightPros has terrific online tools for quoting, booking and tracking your freight loads. And like eFreightLine, they’ll also handle it all for you if you prefer. This is a super nice feature that allows you to be as hands-on or hands-off as you wish. Of the three, only uShip doesn’t give you a full-service option.
A Next-Gen Freight Broker Solution: uShip
uShip is the technology-driven new kid in town, and is quite likely the wave of the future when it comes to managing small business freight needs. Unlike FreightPros and eFreightLine, uShip isn’t a traditional freight broker. It is an online freight exchange, which gives you direct access to a full network of carriers without going through a freight broker. If you are a DIY type or an experienced shipper, try uShip. But if you prefer hands-on freight account management and personal service, go with our traditional broker picks.
That said, you’re not all on your own if you decide to ship with uShip. Not only do they have terrific online tools that anyone can easily navigate, they followed up my initial test quote with personal contact from an account rep. I didn’t expect this at all. I figured uShip was a uniquely online tool that left it all up to me. Not so.
uShip’s customer service reps clearly understand the freight business and are happy to answer your questions and advise you every step of the way. What they don’t do is handle it all for you, unlike FreightPros, eFreightLine, and other traditional freight brokers.
One thing that sets uShip apart from traditional freight brokers is that all freight rates are based on your shipment’s size and weight only – called dimensional pricing. Our other top picks who use the more traditional rating methods called NMFC classing, which bases most freight rates on the type of goods being shipped.
The benefit of this is that uShip won’t ever pin a freight reclass upcharge to your bill, which can happen with goods-based pricing. However, good freight brokers like FreightPros and eFreightLine know how to prevent reclass upcharges. We won’t delve into all the details of that here, but you can learn more about it in our LTL freight guide.
With uShip, you have to make the carrier choices, book your shipments, and track delivery yourself. Plus, since your rate is based on size and weight, this must be accurate to avoid additional charges upon shipment. Learn how to measure and weigh your freight here. Once you have your shipment details, uShip’s easy-to-use online tools, in-depth carrier reviews, and handy mobile app make the DIY shipping process as hassle-free as possible.
Another Great Freight Broker: eFreightLine & Redhawk Global
eFreightLine, like FreightPros, is a traditional freight broker. It’s run by Redhawk Global, a large full-service freight broker and end-to-end logistics provider. Whatever you need to move, wherever you need to move it, Redhawk Global can get it there, and eFreightLine is the online tool that makes it happen.
I have years of positive personal experience with this outfit, and that’s why they made the top three. But they didn’t take the #1 spot for one reason: they’re a big outfit and their reps handle many accounts, some very large. By comparison, FreightPros is more focused on supporting a small business owner’s day-to-day shipping needs. FreightPros would be my first choice if I was just starting out.
Another reason eFreightLine was edged out by FreightPros is that they returned higher quotes across several different types of shipments. Again, eFreightLine is a bigger outfit and may not be as hungry to bring on smaller accounts as the smaller broker, FreightPros.
Like our other picks, eFreightLine provides shippers of all sizes with great online freight quoting, booking, and tracking tools. But unlike FreightPros, eFreightLine typically leaves it up to you to follow up on shipment status and deliveries. However, you can specifically request freight tracking support and eFreightLine reps will assist, unlike uShip. But don’t expect the same proactive, hands-on, day-to-day account management approach that FreightPros provides.
That said, the account reps at eFreightLine are top-notch and have expertise in moving all types of freight. They offer great shipping guidance and will do anything you ask, like create shipment paperwork or track freight in transit. Here, both of our traditional brokers top uShip which, as an exchange, leaves this up to you. That said, it’s still something you have to request of eFreightLine, unlike FreightPros, which makes it an integral part of their small business account services.
In-Depth Review: FreightPros vs. uShip vs. eFreightLine
Pricing & Freight Quote Comparison
If you’re new to shipping freight, there’s one thing you need to know. Freight costs are moving targets. Freight prices, called rates, fluctuate almost daily based on the supply and demand of available truck space across the nation. Plus fluid factors like fuel costs and even weather conditions affect pricing, too. This is why the rate you get today may not be the same next week, even if your shipment is identical.
To this we’ll add the way the freight business works. Freight brokers and exchanges tap into freight carriers’ wholesale rates, which is pricing not offered directly to most shippers. Brokers and exchanges then add a percentage, essentially their service fee, to wholesale prices to provide shippers a final rate. What you get for this is, usually, a cheaper price than you would have paid working direct with the carrier. Plus you get an experienced pro in your corner, working for you.
Because of the fluidity of freight rates, it’s hard to pin one broker or exchange as being higher- or lower-priced than the others on each and every shipment. So for this guide, I test-quoted several shipments and looked for price, carrier, and delivery time consistency. Each of our top picks provided consistent rate results across all of the test quotes.
Here’s the shipment I used to illustrate the rate comparisons below:
- A 1-pallet shipment
- Measuring 44” x 48” x 60”
- Weighing 285-lbs.
- Freight class 150
- Goods shipping: plastic plates and bowls
- Business to business
- Liftgate service at pickup
- Travelling via Standard Freight from Houston (zip 77429) to Los Angeles (zip 90025)
- Goods valued at $2200 (no additional insurance requested)
One note before we continue. It costs nothing to get freight quotes from different brokers and exchanges, just as I did. Shopping around gives you negotiating power and ensures you always get the best rates from the brokers you use.
On this shipment FreightPros, our top pick, was the least expensive right out of the box: $250.93, circled in red below. Optional insurance adds another $50. It’s nice that they include this option even though I didn’t request it up front.
On this shipment, uShip’s quotes were the most expensive overall, with the lowest being $282.39.
Here’s a look at the choices on uShip:
Another option uShip offers that the others don’t is opening your shipment to auction. This lets carriers with open space bid on your shipment. If your freight delivery isn’t time-critical, you can sometimes get a lower price through the auction.
However, in this case I didn’t:
On this shipment, eFreightLine’s lowest quote was in the middle of the pack, at $275.59.
Traditional freight brokers FreightPros and eFreightLine let you open a billing account to pay via check, or you can pay using your credit card per shipment or per statement. Monthly billing options are handy if you ship in volume. uShip is an online-only exchange and all shipments are billed via credit card when you book your shipment.
Account Setup Required
All three of our top picks will provide you a freight quote without an account. However, to quote and book shipments yourself and access their online freight management tools, you’ll need an account. Traditional freight brokers FreightPros and eFreightLine also will provide quotes and book shipments via phone or email, while uShip is do-it-yourself, online-only.
Website Ease of Use
uShip tops the pack here. Their website is completely geared to the freight shipping newbie. The online quote process is very intuitive and walks you through every step from quote, to booking and scheduling a shipment, to printing paperwork, to tracking. Plus they have a full-featured mobile app.
Our two traditional freight brokers, FreightPros and eFreightLine, offer very complete online freight shipping tools, too, but there is a learning curve to their systems. In both cases, their excellent account reps will train you or your staff in their use.
Their website is modern and informative with plenty of shipping how-to resources. Online shipping tools support a huge range of shipping needs, but there is a slight learning curve. Here’s a look at their quote entry screen:
uShip’s online freight management technology tops the traditional freight brokers’ online tools. Modern web design and a very intuitive, beginner-friendly interface makes uShip’s website the hands-down winner of the three. They make it pretty darned easy to get started:
Plus uShip has a full-featured mobile app that lets you quote, book, and track your uShip shipments on the go:
Redhawk Global’s website is great and very helpful with plenty of shipping how-to resources. Their eFreightLine shipping tool is very powerful with many advanced bells-and-whistles, but there is a learning curve. However, they are updating their system now and the new eFreightLine online tool appears to be much more intuitive than the current account access-only version. Here’s a look at their new online freight tool:
Number of Carriers
Traditional freight brokers like FreightPros and eFreightLine operate through network of 50 or so major nationwide and regional freight carriers. uShip is different. Being an exchange, it taps into the same carrier networks, plus lists thousands and thousands of independent and specialty shippers across the nation. So if you need to ship something unusual, try uShip first.
Freight & Service Types
Our two traditional freight brokers, FreightPros and eFreightLine, are full-service logistics providers. They offer virtually every freight service imaginable, including everything from single pallet LTL shipping, to refrigerated trucks, to FTL full truck loads, and even rail containers. uShip offers a full range of truck freight options, but not the rail and container services that traditional freight brokers support.
Like all traditional freight brokers, FreightPros can figure out how to get just about anything from point A to point B:
uShip lists all types of freight and specialty transport throughout the US and Canada. From heavy equipment to a basket of kittens, you can access a carrier or specialty provider that ships about about anything:
Like FreightPros, eFreightLine is a traditional freight broker and offers a full range of logistics, delivery, and transportation services from truck to rail:
Online Shipping Resources & Tutorials
There’s a lot to learn in the world of shipping and all three of our top picks’ websites offer a wealth of information to help you navigate this ever-changing field. Of the three, FreightPros’ video bank, ebook library, and blog is the most informative and accessible resource for the small business freight shipper. But the other two have plenty to offer as well.
FreightPros offers great, updated industry information and shipping tutorials geared to guide the small business shipper every step of the way:
uShip is another rich resource for the shipping newbie. However, their online resources are geared more to working within their system than understanding how the whole world of shipping works:
Like FreightPros, eFreightLine offers great, updated industry information on their website and covers just about every shipping topic that could possibly affect your business. However, their delivery is a bit formal and big-business-speak than FreightPros and uShip’s more personable approach to information sharing:
All Freight Broker Options
Our top picks met or exceeded every requirement in our freight test and service reviews, but they’re hardly the only top-quality players in the field. So why not stick with my motto and try several? Remember, it costs nothing to get freight quotes from different brokers and exchanges, so shop around to ensure you always get the best rates.
Here are all of the freight brokers and exchanges that made the cut in our tests and reviews:
|Software/Service Name||What It is Best For||Description|
|FreightPros||Occasional and regular shippers, and those needing full logistics solutions||Our top freight broker pick for small businesses, they combine traditional broker services with full-featured online tools, great resources for beginners, and excellent customer service.|
|uShip||Occasional and regular shippers||The next-gen freight exchange solution for all types of freight shipping needs. uShip gives you all the tools you need to manage shipping yourself every step of the way.|
|eFreightLine / Redhawk Global||Occasional and regular shippers, and those needing full logistics solutions||Another top freight broker that offers every tool you need to manage occasional or daily shipments, and enterprise-wide logistics.|
|FreightorGator||Occasional and regular shippers||A freight exchange that’s very similar to uShip and with great user reviews. uShip’s tech-savvy approach edged it out of the top three, but it’s a strong service with competitive quotes.|
|FreightRate Central||Occasional and regular shippers, and those needing full logistics solutions||A top freight broker that offers every tool you need to manage occasional or daily shipments, and enterprise-wide logistics. Great customer reviews.|
|Freight Center||Occasional and regular shippers, and those needing full logistics solutions||A top freight broker that offers every tool you need to manage occasional or daily shipments, and enterprise-wide logistics. Good customer reviews.|
|Unishippers||Occasional and regular shippers||A top freight broker that offers every tool you need to manage occasional or daily shipments, and enterprise-wide logistics. Mixed customer reviews.|
The Bottom Line
Managing logistics can be challenging, but the services of a good freight broker or freight exchange will help you save money and eliminate surprises. Freight brokers like FreightPros are first and foremost service providers, so take advantage of what they have to offer. Each of our top picks has a proven track record of fair pricing and customer satisfaction, and it costs you nothing to get a quote from one or all of them.
Each of our top picks offers a wealth of learning resources to help you learn the ins, outs, and processes used to ship all sorts of goods any number of ways. If you’re just getting started in freight shipping, check out our LTL freight guide which covers all of the basics, plus our guide with tips for getting the best freight quotes.