Freight Brokers vs. Freight Agents

Freight Brokers…

The broker is the individual who owns the brokerage, the business license and brokerage’s authority to operate is obtained under their name. A broker can recruit Freight Agents to broker loads under the name of his or her brokerage.

 

  • Factoring: As the owner of the brokerage, you are responsible for paying carriers hired by you and your agents. Carriers will invoice you and you will have to pay them, often before you get paid by your customer. If you book 20 $2,000 loads in one month can you afford to have $40,000 out on the books paying carriers, waiting to be paid by your customers? If not, consider utilizing a factoring company. They can finance your invoices for you for a small fee, usually 1-3%.

 

  • Consider becoming asset-based. It’s true that more shippers will work with you if you have your own trucks.

 

  • Only once you are a licensed freight broker and you have officially obtained your operating authority may you begin to conduct business as a freight broker.

 

Freight Agents…

Also referred to as freight broker agents & logistics coordinators, a Freight Agent works for a broker (under the broker’s MC Number/Authority) as a representative of the company taking home 50% – 60% of the money he/she earns. You may want to consider becoming a Freight Agent before you start your own freight brokerage if you don’t have any industry experience or contacts, but that’s up to you.

  • Overhead: Training and the necessary office supplies are your only costs. You can work remotely from your own home office or in an office, the broker you work with will pay for any required software. The real question is how long can you afford to work without making any money? If you train “on-the-job” it is going to take longer to fully grasp every aspect of what you are doing and begin consistently booking loads. Hit the ground running by completing your training before your first day on the job.

 

  • Freight Agents are not responsible for paying carriers. There is no need for you to worry about whether or not you have the money to pay a carrier before you book a truck. Nor are agents responsible for sending invoices to customers. You can make money with someone else’s money!

 

  • Job Placement: Pass our test to receive a certificate (score >89%) and our team can help you find a reputable brokerage to work with. Our network of freight brokers waiting for certified students to apply allows us to provide a variety of opportunities to our students. You may not broker any freight until you are employed by a Freight Broker. 

Both Freight Brokers and Freight Agents…

Only the Broker is responsible for handling the administrative side of the business, both Freight Brokers and Freight Agents coordinate the movement of freight to make money. Both must be disciplined, self-motivated, possess excellent communication skills, provide outstanding customer service, and be knowledgeable of the constantly changing shipping rates and market trends so that they can competitively negotiate rates with shippers and carriers. Succeeding as a Broker or Agent is a full-time commitment that is going to require you to implement sound business fundamentals, it is helpful to learn the best practices early on. Everyone in a brokerage works together to go the extra mile for customers and doing their best to build lasting relationships with shippers. Do what you can to keep the customer long term, don’t sweat the small stuff or the things out of your control, and remember to have fun with it! 

Beneficial Previous Experience

Any accounting, finance, business administration, logistics, customer service, sales, or telemarketing experience will be useful to you as a Freight Broker/Agent. None of these are required prerequisites but they can’t hurt! With experience as a dispatcher or transportation manager, you will know what transportation managers and dispatchers like to see and hear from freight brokers.  If you have any personal relationships with ties to manufacturing, agriculture, or trucking you may already have an “in” with a customer if you are able to get a referral!

Your Journey from Here

  1. Finish your training. Become knowledgeable enough to gain the trust of an experienced transportation manager to trust you. Be confident in your own ability to solve problems when they inevitably do arise.
  2. Get to business. Either open your own authorized freight brokerage or become a freight agent for an established broker. The early bird gets the worm, be in your office at 07:00 if you can.
  3. The first thing you will need is freight, an available load to move. Start looking for shippers and available freight, discover quality leads and call them.
  4. Get set up with shippers and get transportation managers to notify you when they have available loads, get on lots of email lists. Some shippers will have freight moving every day, weekly, monthly, while others will only be busy for one or two seasons out of the year – it just depends on the business and what they are shipping.
  5. Work on the freight. Post available loads on load boards and search for trucks using online web applications. Negotiate with dispatchers and learn what lanes are worth.
  6. Book trucks and set up carriers so you may work with them. Make appointments and monitor the progress of your freight in transit.
  7. Carriers will invoice your company, pay carriers.
  8. Invoice shippers and get paid.
  9. Find more loads to move. Once you do have established some customers and you are successfully brokering freight it is VITAL that you keep searching for more shippers with available freight. Even when you are doing well, spend time prospecting. Weed out the cheap freight.

Set goals. If you want to make 6 figures a good goal to focus on is 5 loads/day. Every successful freight broker/agent knows that the rush of energy and excitement that you have when you learn about starting a freight brokerage is magnified every single time that you book a load for a great profit. You’re probably super excited to finish your training and get started but focus on the task at hand throughout the entire process. Right now you should be focused on what you need to do in order to move your first load. Be patient and commit to the process we teach you, it is likely going to take 4-12 weeks before start to see a consistent stream of income.

Relationships and Your Reputation

Successful Freight Brokers and Agents understand that the entire broker business is a relationship business. Who does a shipper give their freight to? Someone they trust. Once you have moved a few loads for someone and they trust that when you take a load that you are going to get the job done, congratulations, you have just become a reliable transportation intermediary. That trust in your services is how you get someone to think of you whenever they need to get a job done. Relationships will naturally form over time if you just do your job. There is no secret formula, it takes time and effort. Oh, and don’t take freight you can’t move! Your reputation and credibility as a broker are crucial to your success. Never let a carrier file on your bond and pay carriers in a timely manner, because no carrier is going to want to work with you if they think they might not get paid. Once you learn the technicalities behind booking a load, it’s as simple as giving the shippers and carriers you work with a quality and stress-free experience.

Why take a class?

Becoming a freight broker doesn’t require you to complete any training. But if we gave you a phone number to a direct shipper today would you know what to say to the person on the other end or would you freeze up? Without actually knowing what you’re talking about how do you expect to:

A) get them to trust you enough to give you their freight, or 

B) know how much to quote them for the shipment if they ask for a rate? If you quote the shipper too high the shipper will just hang up on you and if you quote them too low you will either lose money or lose the customer because you can’t move it.

Rates are constantly fluctuating. Trucks are a commodity and rates fluctuate across the country due to equipment availability, seasonal supply, and demand. Learn what lanes are worth, some loads are easier to book than others due to the supply and demand of trucks in both the origin and the destination of the load. Learn how to recognize the loads that are going to make your phone blow up when you post them. 

Everyone needs training in some way shape or form. Most people are not fortunate enough to have a successful mentor in their life willing to show them the ropes on the job as a beginner. When a company is considering who to hire for a Supply Chain Management position, they almost always require some sort of previous experience. But how do you get that initial experience if no one will hire you? Professional training is an excellent solution that is available to you, just make sure you get a certificate!

Know what you are getting yourself into. Taking a course is a great way to see if this career is a good career choice for you without fully committing. Don’t switch careers just to figure out that you don’t like the work.

Prepare for the challenges that are sure to arise. Learn industry standard assessorial charges so you don’t get ripped off. You have the opportunity to become an expert before you start. 

You want training that you can reference in the future. We don’t expect you to remember every detail in our courses a year or two from now, so you can always refer back to them if you ever have questions.

Handle your business. Training is important so that you don’t feel overwhelmed when you find yourself under pressure.

 

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