A freight broker does the legwork for those shipping goods by finding the best transportation company to carry those goods. This is a role many shippers are very happy to pay for, since it can otherwise be time consuming to figure out the logistics of getting product from point A to point B – especially if there are a bunch of smaller stops between the two. The following guide can help you decide if freight broker training is the career for you and then get you started on your way to becoming a successful freight broker.
Freight brokers often start off their career working for a corporation. They handle the logistics of finding the best shipping options for a single company. The average salary for employed brokers is $45,066 as of June 2015. Not all brokers work for corporations. There are also self-employed brokers that offer their service to smaller companies or those without a staff broker. Going this route effectively allows you to determine your earning power. You can operate as a small broker with a few clients, or you can hire your own team of brokers so you can manage many clients' transportation needs.
Who You Work With
There are several entities that a freight broker must be familiar with. The key to success, especially if you strike out on your own, is to foster relationships with these entities. These entities include:
Trucking companies. If you work for a corporation, you may be managing a company-owned fleet and working without outside trucking companies to get cargo where it needs to go.
Shipping companies. For anything that is traveling by sea, air, or rail, you will work with a specific shipping company to make sure the goods make it where they need to go.
Export brokers. If any of your client's or employer's goods must go overseas or cross into another country, then you will need to work with an export broker. They will help you arrange everything from sea and air transportation to customs and import taxes.
Agricultural truck brokers. These brokers are the go-between for you and regional truckers that carry specific agricultural products. They will usually be transporting these products from the source to the main shipping point for your company or client.
Shipping Association. Your client or company may belong to one of these groups, which helps them combine shipments with other companies to lower the overall cost. You will need to work with the association to make sure your client's interest are properly served during shipping.
If this sounds like the right career match for you, you will need to get the necessary training. Experience is key to getting your foot in the door. Working directly for a shipper or carrier, preferably in the logistics department, is helpful, although any transport experience is usually looked upon favorably. You can even look into private freight broker firms to see if they hire agents to help them in specific geographical areas.
Another option is to enroll in a freight broker's training program. This program will help you become familiar with industry terms and the basics of common logistics software used within the transportation industry. If you plan to open your own broker firm, a school can also help you procure any licensing that you need. In some cases, your training may also be paid for by your hiring company.