As your freight brokerage or 3PL grows, you're probably thinking about buying a new TMS software or upgrading your existing TMS software. However, with many freight broker software vendors not revealing their pricing, hidden fees and confusing pricing schemes, it can be hard to find the real cost of a new freight broker TMS software. In this article we break the potential costs down along with pricing details on specific TMS softwares including FreightPath, Rose Rocket, Tailwind TMS, AscendTMS, LoadPilot and more.
SaaS, or Software as a Service, is the best way to purchase a new freight broker TMS software today. What it means is that instead of paying a huge upfront cost and being stuck with the same software forever, you pay a monthly, quarterly or annual fee to use freight broker TMS software that is always up-to-date and constantly upgraded. If this SaaS freight broker software is also cloud-based or web-based, it means that you can access your TMS and key business information anywhere, from any device - as long as you have an internet connection.
With SaaS freight broker TMS software it reduces your upfront costs, removes the pain of upgrading your software, and gives you the flexibility to upgrade, downgrade, pause or even cancel your subscription at any time (unless a vendor makes you sign a multiyear contract - be careful!).
Of course, it's not all good with cloud or web-based SaaS freight broker TMS software. To increase margins and make it easier to sell you software, many freight broker TMS software vendors will show an attractive low initial monthly price, but with hidden tricks that can make the real cost much higher. When you fall into tricks like these, it can cause you spend much more money on a freight broker TMS software than you were initially expecting - sometimes even 3-5x more!
Let's start with the easiest to understand - hidden costs. Many SaaS freight broker TMS software vendors will break their software into many different packages and add-ons to make their prices look cheaper than they actually are. What does this look like? Take a look at this example screenshot from LoadPilot's website.
That looks like a great price for a freight broker TMS software! Let's focus on the monthly cost option - $99/month seems pretty easy to afford. But - scroll down the page a little bit and you already see how their website is misleading.
What you see now is that $99 is only the initial cost of the software without any users - you have to pay and additional $50/month/user. Now, this is still pretty reasonable, even if you might've missed it at the top of the page if you were in a rush or not super tech-savvy. However, even this doesn't cover all the costs involved with buying this freight broker TMS software. Nowhere does it mention that you have to pay for add-ons and extensions to access basic features, but...
Once you log into their software you notice that you have to pay an additional $25/month to communicate via email and fax, and an additional $25 PER SHIPMENT to use Macropoint tracking (which isn't even included, it's actually a different service that's sold as an add-on!). What this means, is that even though a salesperson might have sold you on the friendly pricing of $99/month, you could end up paying $99/month PLUS $100/month for two users PLUS $25/month to communicate via email PLUS $250/month for the 10 shipments you need to track for your shipper. What does this mean? Your total cost could end up being $475/month!
And this is for LoadPilot - a budget freight broker TMS solution that DOESN'T automate your paperwork, DOESN'T have a built-in driver mobile app, DOESN'T have customer portals, and DOESN'T have PoD capture or eSignatures. What a scary thought for any freight broker that ends up trapped in one of their annual or quarterly plans!
Another issue that you might have encountered in your search for a new freight broker TMS software is hidden or unavailable pricing. Many freight broker software vendors will not show you their pricing until you call them and complete a demo with them. Why does this matter?
It matters because not knowing a freight broker TMS software pricing ahead of time can make you more susceptible to shady sales tactics. Imagine going to a car dealership to buy a car or truck without knowing what it's worth! That's what it's often like shopping for TMS software. That's why we always recommend that you avoid software that isn't open about pricing unless you're looking for a sophisticated enterprise (think $50,000+ per year in budget) or custom software solution. And if you do decide to follow through with a freight broker TMS software that has hidden pricing, make sure you do your research on alternative options (check out our handy TMS comparison page) and go in with a defined budget (if you need help, check out FreightPath's pricing)
Knowing a firm budget ahead of time, your exact requirements for a new freight broker TMS software, and having a variety of competitor alternatives lined up can help you get the best deal on your next freight broker TMS software.
The last thing you'll want to look out for when looking for a new freight broker TMS software is the promise of a low monthly price in return for an annual or multi-year contract. While it might seem great at first (who doesn't like paying less per month?) signing up for long-term contracts without the ability to cancel can lock you into a poor performing TMS software with no way of getting out.
Sure, the monthly cost might only by $300, but if you sign an annual contract, you're stuck paying $3600 a year whether you love the software or hate it.
That's why we recommend that you pick freight broker TMS software options that are clear with their cancellation policies and do not enforce long contracts without a discount to you. For example, at FreightPath, we give our customers two free months for every year if they sign on the annual plan (check it out on our pricing page). Whether you choose FreightPath's award-winning freight broker TMS software or an alternative, make sure you ask about discounts when you pick annual plans, and make sure you confirm that monthly plans don't have a nasty annual contract attached to them!
Monthly estimated cost for a single-person brokerage booking/tracking 50 loads: $239.99 (cancel anytime)
Monthly estimated cost for a ten-person brokerage booking/tracking 500 loads: $2399.99 (cancel anytime)
At FreightPath we believe that you should be able to get award-winning easy-to-use freight broker TMS software for one all-inclusive price. That's why we've made our pricing as transparent and simple as possible, with $239.99 per user per month getting freight brokers and 3PLs all of FreightPath's features (our annual only enterprise plan includes special on-site training options, change management, implementation, etc.)
Is FreightPath the cheapest TMS you'll find? Definitely not - but it's the only TMS that regardless of plan or seats gives you unlimited driver app access, unlimited track & trace, unlimited customer portals and free 24/7 HYPERCARE. This make FreightPath's award-winning freight broker TMS software a fantastic option not just for newer startup freight brokers, but scaling and large freight brokers and 3PLs as well.
Summary: An all-inclusive award-winning freight broker TMS software that scales easily as you grow
Monthly estimated cost for a single-person brokerage booking/tracking 50 loads: $500.00 + ? training ($25/driver app, $25/customer portal, ~$300 base) ANNUAL CONTRACT REQUIRED
Monthly estimated cost for a ten-person brokerage booking/tracking 500 loads: $10,000.00 + ? training ($25/driver app, $25/customer portal, extra per/hour for training/support) ANNUAL CONTRACT REQUIRED
Rose Rocket's TMS is also fairly well featured, although their pricing leaves much to be desired compared to FreightPath's award-winning freight broker TMS software.
Not only do they charge a per-driver add-on fee of $25 to access their driver app and a per-customer add-on fee of $25 to access their customer portal, their pricing is not available online without requesting a demo, requires an annual contract even when paid monthly, and charges extra per/hour fees for onboarding, training and customer service. This means that while the base cost of Rose Rocket is comparable to that of FreightPath's award-winning freight broker TMS software, it can become extremely cost-prohibitive when companies grow due to larger customer bases, more tracking requirements, and greater customer success needs
Summary: A powerful freight broker TMS software with hidden fees that can create barriers to growth
Monthly estimated cost for a single-person brokerage booking/tracking 50 loads: $176.99 + $399 training (cancel anytime)
Monthly estimated cost for a ten-person brokerage booking/tracking 500 loads: $2350 + $999 training (cancel anytime)
Tailwind TMS is another popular choice for freight broker TMS software. It has a variety of features for small and large freight brokers, with individual plans limiting tracking to 25 loads, 50 loads and an all-inclusive expensive enterprise plan. However, compared to FreightPath's award winning freight broker TMS software, it lacks on ease of use and charges a "poison-pill" onboarding fee of $999 to set up teams of larger than 5 and an onboarding fee of $399 for smaller teams. They also charge additional monthly fees for 24/7 customer support.
While a good option, the large onboarding fee can be a strong deterrent for companies - we've found at FreightPath that customers who completed at least 5 training sessions on average achieved 40% greater success with their TMS software compared to customers who did not opt for training.
Summary: A solid freight broker TMS software with large setup and customer success costs