A flexible schedule, the chance to work from home, and commission-based pay?
While it might not be the first role that jumps to mind when reading the description above, working as a freight agent can deliver on all those benefits – and more.
If you’re considering a role in the logistics industry, you might be wondering what it takes to become a freight agent.
In this article, we’ll break down what a freight agent does, the type of salary you can expect, the career advancements available to you, and most importantly, how you can get started.
Let’s dive right in!
The role of a freight agent
Freight agents are responsible for linking businesses needing to transport goods from one place to another with freight carriers able to do so.
Hint: freight = the goods being transported.
The role of a freight agent varies, including sales, negotiation, customer service, project management, and logistics.
It’s important to note that a freight agent is a slightly different role to a freight broker, which is a role including similar tasks but requires a slightly different legal setup, licensure, and qualifications. For more on the distinction between these two roles, click here.
Freight agents jobs: Job description
A freight agent is usually responsible for a range of tasks, including:
- Taking freight transportation orders from customers
- Organizing and optimizing shipment routes
- Negotiating terms and rates with customers
- Coordinating with shippers and carriers to arrange the pickup and drop off of shipments
- Recommending shipping and packaging types to customers
- Preparing customer invoices and recording financial transactions
- Tracking shipments and keeping customers updated
- Ensuring all legal and safety requirements are met
Freight agent salary expectations
Independent freight agents are typically paid via commission.
Depending on the broker you partner with, you can expect to receive between 50-70% back as commission. This means that for every $1 of profit, you’d receive between 50-70c. However, the exact percentage may vary depending on the brokerage company you’re working with as well as your level of experience as an agent.
As an entry-level freight agent, you can expect a salary of $30,000-50,000 per year, with the average annual salary for a freight agent in the US around $48,412.
Factors affecting freight agent salaries
Your exact salary as a freight agent will vary based on various factors, including your geographical location, experience level, and whether you opt to partner with a logistics or carrier firm or work independently.
Typically, working as a freight agent based in metropolitan areas will afford you a higher base salary – although it’s important to consider that city living is typically also accompanied by a higher cost of living.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the metropolitan areas boasting the highest average freight agent salaries include:
- Virginia Beach, VA: $73,159
- New York City, NY: $68,983
- Minneapolis, MN: $66,231
- San Francisco, CA: $65,847
- Seattle, WA: $64,831
- Birmingham, AL: $50,962
- Milwaukee, WI: $50,590
- Nashville, TN: $49,326
- Washington DC, DC: $48,521
Experienced freight agents can expect to earn significantly more than the average salary mentioned earlier.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, experienced freight agents (with 10-19 years of experience) average an annual salary of $69,478, while late-career freight agents (with 20+ years of experience) average an annual salary of $86,619.
Freight agent career path
As you progress in your career as a freight agent and widen your expertise, there are various opportunities for career advancement.
How can I advance as a freight agent?
On-the-job training can help you gain additional skills in specific software systems, and certifications and licenses allow you to test your theoretical knowledge and demonstrate your capabilities as a freight agent.
Experience and industry-specific knowledge can also lead to opportunities for increased responsibility as a freight agent and the chance to gain managerial experience.
Working in logistics offers additional benefits such as the chance to work remotely, grow your own freight business as an independent contractor, and experience a varied workload coordinating with diverse individuals nationwide and globally.
Other roles in the logistics industry
In addition to working as a freight agent, the logistics industry offers a range of other employment opportunities, including the chance to work in roles such as:
- Logistics manager
- Operations manager
- Supply chain manager
- Warehouse manager
- Distribution manager
- Import/export coordinator
- Purchasing agent
- Supply chain consultant
- Customer service representative
Experience as a freight agent can open doors in many other industries that value quality sales and logistical skills.
Ready to jump-start your freight agent career?
If you’re looking to get started as a freight agent, you’ve come to the right place!
Jansson is a premier logistics provider with over a decade of experience in logistics and transportation.
As an independent agent of Landstar, Jansson can equip you to leverage the extensive network of third-party carriers active across North America and beyond – without needing prior experience or a book of existing customers.
If you’ve got the will to succeed, then Jansson is here to provide the training, tools, and resources you need to kick start your freight agent career.
To find out more or to take the first step towards your career as a freight agent, reach out to Jansson today!
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