Do you want a career that revolves around your communication abilities? If so, consider a career as a freight broker who acts as a middleman between a shipper and a freight service provider. This guide will break down the skills required to succeed as a freight broker and the educational path toward getting a job. It will also include expert tips for a job-winning resume, salary information and insight into this career’s growth rate.
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What Does a Freight Broker Do?
A freight broker is a liaison between shippers and carriers to secure the transportation of goods. They work to attract new freight carriers, book orders, and assume financial responsibility in the shipping process.
The following are the typical duties of a freight broker:
Generating leads for new prospects.
Identifying reputable and safe carriers for freight services.
Creating shipping quotes.
Booking orders with carriers.
Assisting in preparing carriers for loads.
Tracking status of loads.
Staying updated with market trends in the transportation marketplace.
How Do You Become a Freight Broker?
Freight brokers will always be in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the market for freight brokers is forecasted to grow by 9% through 2024. Aspiring freight brokers will find job openings at local and international transportation companies. The annual earnings average is $49,490. Here are the steps to becoming a successful freight broker:
Based on analysis of freight broker job postings, it is possible to get an entry-level job with a high school diploma. That said, most positions ask that candidates have a bachelor's degree in logistics or supply chain management for an in-depth knowledge of business ethics, project management, distribution strategies and accounting.
Register yourself as a broker.
To start, pick a name for your freight brokerage, register it as a limited liability corporation (LLC), and receive a tax I.D. number from the IRS.
As a freight broker, you must meet legal licensing requirements before operating in the field. Start by applying for a USDOT number with the Department of Transportation in your state. You will also be required to apply for the OP-1 freight broker form, which takes about three to four weeks to process. Then the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will send you your motor carrier number in the mail.
Start applying for jobs.
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Finding the right carriers is crucial to being a broker. Select carriers that are reliable and have a solid reputation. Check online directories and research references from other brokers in your network.
Freight Broker Skills
At their core, a freight broker is a salesperson. Good communication skills are a must. If they can't build relationships, they won't succeed.
Written communication skills are also necessary. They rely on persuasive solid writing skills as a valuable communication tool for reaching busy decision-makers. Freight brokers also need technical skills like proficiency in math to calculate things like mileage for trips and currency conversions.
Freight broker soft skills:
Insights from a Freight Broker
Scroll down to get some insight into the lives of freight brokers and what they do.
What is the common career path for a Freight Broker?
The most common career path to becoming a freight broker is first acquiring a bachelor's in Logistics or Supply Chain Management. Although there may be some jobs open to high school graduates, it is much more common to see job descriptions of this sort with a bachelor's requirement. People in this industry also tend to apply for internship programs which provide the experience sometimes needed to be taken into consideration.
What should someone consider before becoming a Freight Broker?
You're going to need a bachelor's degree. Most of the things you'll learn in a bachelor's degree are rarely going to be needed because most of it is handled by corporate employees. So something to consider before applying for a job is if they offer training. There are certification programs out there that may be too expensive to afford and you might as well be thinking about attending an undergraduate program instead. But if the company offers the training that's where you want to aim for.
What type of person excels in this job?
They are self-motivated. Usually, plan strategically for results and customer satisfaction. They are usually very active in their job and attentive to detail and flexibility.
What are some of the most important skills for Freight Brokers to have?
The most important skills a freight broker can have is the ability to communicate properly and do networking. Excellent negotiation skills and knowledge of foreign languages are also a plus. High organizational mindset and the ability to market your business if you are a small or independent broker will put you on track towards success.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Freight Broker?
There are many things that freight brokers enjoy about their jobs. One of them is being independent and having control over their schedules. There is unlimited earning potential depending on how many hours you work and clients usually grow dependent on you.
How Much Does a Freight Broker Get Paid?
Freight Brokers are generally paid on an hourly basis, with the median wage in the U.S. being $20.13. Freight Brokers in the bottom 10th percentile make $11.76, while those in the top 90th percentile make $32.08.
The Top 10 States for Freight Broker Salary
Freight Broker Resources
Are you looking to dive deeper into the world of a Freight Broker? Check out this list of resources to advance your exploration.
This informational hub, which is sponsored by the United States Department of Labor, has everything you need to know about becoming a Freight Broker.
Coursera is an online learning hub that offers digital courses from real Universities. This is a great place to learn skills and knowledge possessed by Freight Brokers, such as Logistics and Project Management.
Transportation Intermediaries Association
This is the leading professional association for Freight Brokers in America. They have an education hub filled with specialized courses, and they also provide the Certified Transportation Broker designation.