A freight broker company is an organization that coordinates between shippers and carriers. They are in charge of finding a reliable and cost-effective way of moving goods from one place to the next, but they don’t actually take charge of the freight or the goods.

A freight broker company isn’t always necessary. In fact, some companies prefer to handle this job themselves.

But it might be a good idea for companies to have freight brokers because they work in this industry full-time and have connections that lead to discounts, and they know who is most reliable.

What Careers Are in Freight Brokerage?

If you’re considering the freight brokerage profession, you’re probably wondering what jobs are in this business. Here are some jobs you can get working for a freight broker company.

  1. Freight Broker

    Average Annual Salary: $53,000

    This is the top dog job; it’s the person responsible for brokering the deals and making sure the freight moves from one place to another. There’s a lot of negotiation involved and building relationships.

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  2. Data Entry

    Average Annual Salary: $30,000

    Keeping track of customers, shippers, shipments, and all the extra stuff that’s happening require someone who can input the data.

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  3. Trainee Freight Broker

    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    Expect to put in some time learning the ropes in this profession. Because so much of the job is based on experience and relationships, it takes a while to get up to speed.

  4. Transportation Scheduler

    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    Some brokerage companies are large enough that there is someone in charge of scheduling, which frees the broker up to make more deals.

  5. Software Engineer

    Average Annual Salary: $95,000

    The largest brokerage companies create their own software to manage systems, and they need engineers who can create programs and fix any problems.

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  6. Operations Coordinator

    Average Annual Salary: $43,000

    Not all freight shipments go smoothly; there are weather concerns, mechanical issues, personnel problems, and more. This is why an operations coordinator might be needed to stay on top of each shipment to make sure it’s moving as expected.

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What Does a Freight Broker Do?

The person who is essential to this whole business is the freight broker; whether it’s a small business or a large one, without the broker, there is no freight brokerage. So, what does a freight broker do?

  • Networking. Getting to know people in the industry and making connections is what it’s all about.

  • Marketing. Drumming up business and presenting your name to interested parties is important.

  • Researching. You can’t just assume a freight carrier is what they say they are; it’s your job to make sure they’re reliable. You also need to be on top of the going rates for shipping, storage, etc.

  • Selecting Freight Companies. Picking the right company to use for each shipment is important and a big part of your job.

  • Creating Quotes and Making Deals. It all comes doing to doing the paperwork here. There will also be a lot of negotiations happening, so you need to be comfortable with this.

  • Keeping Track. Your job isn’t over when the paperwork is signed or even when the freight is picked up. You need to be on top of the shipment every step of the way.

This is a very competitive business, and the companies that are rated at the top are ones that have been around a long time and have earned a solid reputation. In this business, your reputation is everything.

How to Be a Freight Broker

If you’ve got your sights on becoming a freight broker, then there are some steps you can take to start in this profession and be the one in charge of making shipments move.

  • Freight Broker Training School. There are programs designed specifically for this profession. You can choose to do them online or in person. They’re the best way to learn about the industry and what’s expected of you in this position.

  • Get Experience. Even if you want to do this like a business, you’re going to want to have some real-world experience. More importantly, your future customers are going to want to know they’re dealing with someone who knows the industry.

  • Make Connections. On both sides of the deal, you need to know the key players. Use the beginning of your career to get out there and network.

  • Build a Reputation. Become that person that others know and trust. Your reputation is everything in this business.

  • Create a Business Plan. If you’re going to do it alone in this business, you need to begin with a business plan. This will include getting the proper licenses and meeting all the requirements on your own.

How to Start a Freight Brokerage Company

For the real go-getters who aren’t satisfied working for someone else, then starting your own freight brokerage company is the way to go. Just know that it’s a very competitive industry, so your go-getter spirit will be put to the test. These steps can help you get started.

  • Follow the steps above to become a freight broker and get the knowledge and make the connections you need.

  • Create a business plan that details everything you need to do to get started and push your business down the road. You might need outside help to make sure your plan is the one that you can follow.

  • Register your business with the appropriate local government agency to get your paperwork and tax numbers all sorted out.

  • Check licensing requirements in your region to see what you need to be a properly licensed broker and business person.

  • Get a freight broker bond and the appropriate insurance, so your business is protected.

  • File a BOC-3 which is a Designation of Agents for Service of Process, and you’re going to need this to do your job.

  • Make connections with people in the shipping industry and people who are in the retail and manufacturing businesses.

  • Start marketing and work on your sales tactics.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who is the largest freight brokerage?

    Currently, the largest freight brokerage is C.H. Robinson. They have a worldwide business that is estimated with net revenue of about 1.8 billion annually. This third-party logistics company is headquartered in Minnesota.

  2. How much does a freight broker make?

    Freight brokers make, on average, about $57,000 per year. Many freight brokers are paid a salary and then a percentage of the profit for that deal – that is, if you’re working for a large firm.

    If you’re an independent freight broker and have your own company, you’ll typically make a small percentage of each load. They’re in charge of making the deal happen, so they’ll charge the customer, and they’ll pay the carrier; in-between is their profit.

  3. How much should I charge as a freight broker?

    How much you charge your customers depends on your business model. Since your fee comes from the difference between what you charge the customer and what you pay the carrier, you want to be fair to both sides so you can maintain connections, but you also need to make a living. Most brokers earn an average of 15-20% of the carrier expense.

  4. Do I have to go to freight broker school?

    No, you don’t have to go to freight broker school to work in the industry, but it’s highly recommended. Some people have inherited a freight brokerage from their family and have been in the business their entire life.

    These people, along with people who have been working in the business for a long time, already know the ins and outs of this complicated field. But others will benefit from the in-depth knowledge that school provides.

  5. Is Freight Broker a good entry-level job?

    Yes, being a freight broker or a freight broker apprentice is a great job for someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience. It’s a way into the business world that provides tons of on-the-job learning and information you wouldn’t get in many other industries. You get to see shipping from both sides and learn a lot along the way.