Whether you’re a seasoned driver looking for a change in speed, or completely new to the logistics industry, a career as a freight broker might be the move you’re looking for.
What’s the difference between a freight broker and a freight agent?
Freight broker, freight agent, freight carrier … it can be a task to wrap your head around who does what across the supply chain.
Before we jump into the benefits of working as a freight broker, let’s step back and define a couple of key players:
- Freight broker: A licensed individual or company that liaises between a shipper and a carrier to facilitate the transport of goods.
- Freight agent: An independent contractor that liaises between a shipper and carrier to facilitate the transport of goods.
- Freight carrier: An individual or company specializing in transporting goods from one location to another.
- Freight shipper: An individual or company (sometimes called a “cosignor”) that supplies, owns, or sells the product shipped.
Crucially, while a freight broker is licensed with the FMCSA and is legally responsible for the cargo shipped, a freight agent carries out similar work but isn’t licensed or liable for the cargo carried.
Now that those definitions are out of the way, let’s dive into what a freight broker does, what the benefits of working as one are, and whether it’s the right career path for you!
What is a freight broker agent?
A freight broker is an independent contractor that arranges for the transportation of another’s property.
To do this, a freight broker acts as intermediary connecting shippers (usually also the sellers) and carriers.
This provides immense value to the industry as a whole. Shippers and carriers alike can save time locating one another by connecting through a reputable broker, and the broker in turn benefits from their successful operations.
Types of freight brokers: Asset and non-asset
There are a couple of different types of freight brokers, and exploring the differences between them may help you to figure out whether this is the career for you.
The two main types of freight brokers are asset-based freight brokers and non-asset-based freight brokers.
Asset-based freight brokers
Asset-based freight brokers, as the name suggests, have access to their own assets, such as equipment, vehicles, or warehousing.
These freight brokers typically coordinate directly with shippers to arrange for the transportation and storage of shipments.
As this type of freight broker, you can increase efficiency by reducing the number of steps needed to plan a shipment journey. However, having access to your own equipment and fleet upfront can prove a significant barrier to those wanting to get started as a freight broker.
If you’re not in a situation where you already have your own trucks at your disposal, you might be interested in becoming a non-asset-based freight broker.
Non-asset-based freight brokers
Non-asset-based freight brokers, on the other hand, don’t hold the necessary freight equipment or have a fleet of their own at their disposal. Instead, these brokers work closely with carriers and providers to negotiate contracts that optimally manage your logistics needs.
Working as a non-asset-based freight broker can be a great choice for many, since it enables you to work remotely, doesn’t require you to own your own trucks, and provides plenty of opportunities to coordinate with other providers across the industry.
What does a freight broker agent do?
We’ve covered what a freight broker is and the two main types – asset and non-asset-based – that are common in the industry. At this point, you might be wondering: what does a freight broker do on a day-to-day basis?
A day in the life of a freight broker will vary depending on demand as well as the type of broker you operate as. However, there are some common tasks and responsibilities that you’ll encounter in this role, including:
- Generating leads and maintaining a pipeline of sales prospects
- Reaching out to potential customers to discuss the services you offer
- Providing logistics services (directly or indirectly), including transportation and storage
- Providing clients with quotes for shipping and/or storage
- Optimizing journeys for speed, efficiency, and cost
- Coordinating and booking shipments with third-party carriers
- Tracking shipments while they are in progress
- Coordinating pickups, drop-offs, and transfers of goods
- Keeping customers updated on the status of their shipment
These types of tasks can require high levels of organization, making a career as a freight broker a great fit for those with a background in project management.
What are the benefits of becoming a freight broker agent?
There is a whole range of benefits to becoming a freight broker, such as the opportunity to:
- Operate as an independent business owner
- Set your own priorities and targets
- Receive the support
- Have no limit on your potential earnings
- Improve your sales, negotiation, and customer service skills
- Increase your working knowledge of the logistics industry
What do I need to become a freight broker?
What you need to get started as a freight broker depends a little on who you want to partner with.
While larger companies may ask for significant transportation or sales experience, this isn’t the case for all companies.
Regardless of experience, to succeed as a freight broker you’ll need to be:
- Honest and reliable
- Self-motivated and proactive in setting up and running your business
- Keen to learn more about the logistics industry
- Flexible and able to adapt to changes
- A good communicator with great customer service skills
- Passionate about providing an excellent logistics experience
As we mentioned earlier, it can also be beneficial to have a background in sales, project management, or in a different logistics-related role.
Ready to get started? Reach out to Jansson today
When you partner with Jansson as a freight broker, you gain access to the expertise and infrastructure of the entire Landstar network – without needing to have worked in logistics before.
At Jansson, we choose our freight brokers based on potential – not on years of experience.
If you’re ready to kick start your career as a freight broker and want access to paid training opportunities, flexible hours, and unlimited earning potential – all from the comfort of your own home – then Jansson is ready to welcome you on board.
To find out more about what it takes to become a freight broker agent, or to apply to get started, reach out to Jansson today!
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