The logistics industry is fast-moving and varied, attracting many talented individuals.
If you’re looking for your entry point into a career as a freight agent, then enrolling in a formal freight agent program can be an excellent way to jump ahead of the competition.
However, it doesn’t take much research to determine that not all independent freight agent programs are made equal.
What makes a freight agent program worthwhile? Is it better to prioritize a competitive commission structure or comprehensive on-the-job training?
In this article, we’ll outline the most important factors to consider when choosing an independent freight agent program at the start of your logistics career – let’s get right into it!
What are independent freight agent programs?
Freight agent programs work with and equip individuals to succeed in a career as a freight agent – a logistics professional who works to facilitate and optimize the transportation of freight from one location to another.
Depending on the freight agent program you work with, you might work towards building your book of business or entering the company as a permanent member of their freight agency team.
Regardless of the program structure you’re looking for, several common factors can indicate a high-quality freight agent program – let’s tackle each factor.
How to select the right independent freight agent programs for you: Factors to consider
Choosing a freight agent program can feel overwhelming – especially as there are so many programs and offerings to compare. You can use the following categories as you draw up a list of possible programs:
- Assets, technology, and industry expertise
- Earning potential, commission structure, and benefits
- Training and back-office support
- Company culture
However, depending on where you’re at in your freight agent career, certain characteristics – such as the level of training provided – may be more or less relevant to you.
As with any career choice, it can be helpful to consider which program characteristics are most important to you personally and to use this to guide your decision-making process.
Assets, technology, and industry expertise
As a non-asset-based freight agent, your career relies heavily on the tools you have access to.
From the extent and variety of vehicles or carriers you have access to, to IT and phone support for technical difficulties, having a reliable and well-equipped program behind you can make a world of difference as you begin to book clients.
As you consider a program, it can be helpful to ask yourself:
- Does the program have an established network of carriers?
- Does the program have a strong reputation?
- Is the software/technology used by the program up-to-date, efficient, and fit for purpose?
- Does the program access additional technological solutions, such as real-time tracking or forecasting tools?
- Is the company able to provide LTL or intermodal logistics solutions?
Earning potential, commission structure, and benefits
One of the most pressing questions for job applicants is the all-important matter of salary.
Since most freight agents work on a full or partial commission-based pay structure, it’s important to assess up-front what percentage commission you would receive for the loads you book.
In addition to a base salary and commission, freight agent programs may offer varying benefits, operate different tax collection methods, and offer possibilities for write-offs. These can be important to consider alongside the salary and commission percentage – what looks at first sight like a fantastic offer might not stack up as well with the fine print taken into account.
Back-office support and training
As a new freight agent learning the ropes, it’s especially important to opt for a program that provides a high level of on-the-job training and the back-office support you need to feel confident in the role.
Ideally, freight agent training should be comprehensive and ongoing to ensure that agents stay updated with developments in their area and the wider industry. It can be helpful for new freight agents to receive basic training in:
- Sales and negotiation
- Software and logistics technology
- Goal setting
- Time management
- Freight carriers and packaging
Mileage can vary considerably when it comes to the amount of training provided by a freight agent program. Picking a program with a strong training element will set you up to progress in your career and even boost your earnings.
Finally, don’t forget to consider the company culture that a freight agent program provides.
A team that motivates you provides constructive criticism, and supports you as you learn can make a world of difference as you embark on your new career.
Working with a small independent agent of a larger firm can be a smart way to gain access to first-class assets without sacrificing the friendly feel of a smaller freight agent program.
While the freight agent program you choose isn’t likely to entirely make or break your career, it can go a long way at getting you off to a great start – so choose wisely!
Start your independent freight agent career with Jansson
Industry leader Landstar’s independent freight agent program equips freight agents with the tools and support of a multi-billion dollar, Fortune 500 company.
With unparalleled capacity across North America and beyond, freight agents have access to an extensive network of vetted carriers to ensure clients receive the best the transportation industry can offer. Landstar freight agents receive highly experienced back office support and benefit from the security that comes from working with a well-known brand.
If you’re starting your career, partnering with a Landstar-affiliated logistics company can give you access to Landstar perks at a lower entry point.
At Jansson, we’re dedicated to setting up new freight agents with the training and support they need to succeed – no prior experience is required. To learn more about how you can kick-start your independent freight agent career with Landstar, reach out to Jansson today!