Freight agents have seen a recent surge in demand due to the proliferation of e-commerce and the rise of companies like Amazon that require more and more shipping from their warehouses. Whether you are new to the freight industry or an experienced professional, there is something for everyone who wants to be part of an independent freight agent team. As with most industries, the freelance lifestyle has become more popular than ever. From self-employment opportunities to remote work, the freedom is endless for those who want to join a freight agent team as an individual rather than as part owner of a business. Not only does it allow you to balance your personal and professional life but also gives you more time for hobbies and interests outside of work hours.
What is a freight agent?
A freight agent is an individual who brokers freight deals between shippers and carriers. The agent gets paid a commission on each transaction he/she breaks between the two parties. This may include getting the customer to agree to ship with a particular carrier, negotiating a lower rate than the carrier’s published rate, and getting the customer the necessary documents required to move the freight. A freight broker’s work is to find customers, find shippers, and find carriers who will accept the terms the customers are willing to accept. The broker then negotiates rates lower than the published rates and gets a percentage of the proceeds, depending on the company in which they are employed. Freight Brokers may or may not have licenses and certifications depending on the state in which they operate. Since most of the job duties are similar, there are no specific requirements for being a freight broker. There are, however, certifications that can help agents improve their skills.
Freight agent job description
– Broker freight deals for customers and carriers. – Negotiates discounts for customers and accepts minimum freight terms for customers. – Stores and sorts documents for customers. – Collections and audits account receivable and payable. – Perform other duties as assigned by the manager.
Freight agent requirements
– At least one year of experience in the freight industry. – A degree in logistics, transportation management, accounting, or related field. – Ability to work weekends and holidays to meet deadlines. – Good computer skills including an online accounting program and manuscript management software. – Strong organizational skills and attention to detail. – Passion for the freight industry.
Freight broker vs. freight agent
There are many advantages of working as a freight broker over becoming an independent freight agent. A freight broker may work as an employee for a major freight company, in which case he/she has access to better deals and more information than independent agents do. They also tend to know their way around the freight industry and are often more experienced than the average agent. A freight broker can operate under their name and have a wide array of working options, from full-time employment to freelance or contract work. However, it is important to note that operating as a sole proprietor, or as an independent freight broker, brings a lot of responsibility. You need to be able to manage all aspects of your business, from bookkeeping to marketing and make sure that you are profitable.
Top 7 benefits of being a freight broker
– Control Your Schedule – Freight brokers can choose when they work. You can set your hours, and schedule, and decide how much you want to earn each month. – Better Information – Freight brokers are more likely to have the information available on different carriers and shipping methods than independent agents. – Better Deals – Freight companies are more likely to give freight brokers better deals than independent agents. – Better Luck – Of course, big shippers and brokers have better luck than independent agents. – Better Pay – Freight brokers are paid according to how much they make, not how much they sell. – Better Benefits – Freight brokers have access to better benefits than independent agents do like health insurance and 401k plans. – More Freedom – With a full-time job as a freight broker, you have more freedom than as an independent freight agent.
The legality of independent freight agents in most US states
The freight industry is comparatively new compared to many other industries, which makes it difficult to know for sure what is and is not allowed. However, states are starting to take a closer look and clarify laws and regulations, which may or may not have been enforced in the past. Currently, only seven states require a license or certification to operate as a freight broker: California, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. The remaining 49 states do not require any licenses or certifications to be independent freight agents.
As with any business, one of the biggest decisions you will make is whether you want to become an independent freight agent or a freight broker. For those who are interested in operating as freight brokers, there are fewer barriers to entry compared to those who want to start as independent freight agents. However, the rewards from a successful career as a freight broker are just as great as those who choose to be independent freight agents. Freight brokers can choose when they work, how much they want to earn each month, and how many hours they want to work each week. They also have full control over what services they choose to offer, when they offer them, and how much they charge for them. Which path you want to take will depend on what is most appealing to you, what type of lifestyle you want, and what type of benefits you want to receive.