How To Become A Freight Broker/Agent

Interested in the trucking industry but not driving a truck? Check out a career as a freight broker!
Career Overview
Median/Average Annual Salary$47,170
Median/Average Hourly Salary
Job Growth or DeclineNA
Job Outlook
Certifications/LicensesNone

What Does A Freight Broker Do?

Interested in learning how to become a freight broker? Well, you found the right place! Below is everything you know about getting started in a career as a freight broker – or freight agent.

Ever give thought to how your goods get from point A to point B? We know that truck drivers often deliver the goods, but how do those drivers know where to go and what to do? A truck driver might work for a trucking company who will assign them a route, but the trucking company will often work with a 3rd party to get those shipments on the road.

That 3rd party is called a freight broker.

Some of the responsibilities of a freight broker include:

  • Providing potential customers quotes for shipping
  • Contacting trucking companies and other carriers to arrange scheduling
  • Procuring freight carriers that are reliable and trustworthy
  • Negotiating with carriers on pricing to get their customers the best rates
  • Completing all required paperwork required for deliveries
  • Keeping customers informed of delivery status updates
  • Collections when invoices are not paid
  • Payment to freight carriers
how to become a freight broker

A freight broker typically will work for themselves and create their own business as outlined below.

It is important to note that a freight broker does not do any deliveries themselves. They outsource the transportation needs to different motor carriers.

Freight broker is one of our suggested jobs for people with back problems.

What Does A Freight Agent Do?

This career guide focuses specifically on how to become a freight broker, but if you are looking for something with a bit less responsibility – then becoming a freight agent may be just the thing.

A freight agent will do a lot of what a freight broker does, but cannot work on their own and typically is not responsible for the financial or negotiating aspects of a broker’s job.

They will work as an independent contractor under a freight broker and are not required to get the same bonds and licensing as a broker. You can follow the steps below to become a freight agent, just omit the needs for starting a business and getting bons/insurance.

How To Become A Freight Broker

A great understanding of the freight industry is needed to be successful in this job, so some education will definitely be needed. Below are the steps on how to become a freight broker.

1 | Basic Requirements

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • High school diploma or GED

2 | Education

Although not required, attending a school that specializes in freight brokerage is highly recommended. Attending a school will help you better understand the freight industry, allow you to learn about tools the industry uses, and how to set yourself up in a freight broker business.

There are both online and in-person schools for your to consider.

3 | Choose and Register A Business Name (only for Broker)

Now that you have your training complete you can decide on a name for your business and register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

We highly recommend you do a trademark search and check with a lawyer and accountant before starting your business. This will ensure you are on the right path! This is a great time to get that business plan going as well so you have a clear path to success.

4 | Apply For USDOT (Only For Broker)

A USDOT number is required for all freight brokers. Using an OP-Form you can apply and when approved you will receive a USDOT number that certifies you are an approved broker. Please note this process can take up to a month.

5 | Freight Broker Bond – BMC 84 (Only For Broker)

A required bond called the BMC-84 shows trucking companies that you are financially able to send payment in the event you do not follow contractual obligations. The bond requirement is $75,000 and acts as insurance. The amount you pay will be dependent on your credit score, and you can be denied a bond if your credit is poor.

6 | Find Trucking Partners (Only For Broker)

Before you even think of bringing on customers you will need to make sure you have amazing freight carriers to work with. Interview different carriers, do an analysis of them online, and try to get as many customer reviews as possible. After all, your success as a freight broker depends on them.

7 | Get Marketing

You are now ready to kick off your new career! With everything in place you can now get your marketing plan going. Whether you choose cold calling, online marketing, or in-person events this is the time to get out there and make a company want to work with you. What makes you different? Why should a company change from their existing freight brokerage?

Freight Broker Course + School Options

Below is an option for at home study with someone who has done it and lived it!

Check out the Freight Broker Bootcamp by Dennis Brown. He is the owner of Logistic Dynamics and offers everything you need to kick start a freight broker career.

The school search below will help you find freight broker courses near you.

Search Freight Broker/Agent Training Programs

Get information on Freight Broker/Agent Training programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Recommended Skills For Freight Brokers

Getting education and training are only part of the process! Below are some skills that will help you be successful as a freight broker.

Customer Service

Because you will be responsible for ensuring deliveries are made on behalf of clients, customer service skills will be critical. When delays happen or other issues arise, you will need the patience and ability to calm upset customers.

Detail Oriented

Creating quotes, planning schedules and arranging shipments is not easy task. With all these moving parts it is important that you have exceptional skills when it comes to looking at the little details.

Team Player

There are drivers, shipping companies, customers, and of course co-workers you might be dealing with. It takes a village to make shipments happen and you will need to work well with that village to keep customers happy.

Math

There is a lot of math happening in this job. From calculating miles to shipment sizes – you should be able to run different calculations to ensure quotes are accurate. Working in various spreadsheets will also help you be more successful.

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Pros & Cons Of Being Freight Broker

The pros and cons of being a freight broker may vary if you are working for yourself or for someone else. Below are a few of the most common pros and cons of this career depending on the path you choose.

PROS

  • Income potential
  • Working as an entrepreneur
  • Work from anywhere
  • Low investment to get started
  • Sell your business in the future

CONS

  • Self-employed brokers always have to look for new customers
  • Stressful
  • Overtime and weekends are sometimes required
  • Can be lonely if you choose to work alone

How Much Do Freight Brokers Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for freight agents (which typically make a bit less than a broker) in 2020 was $47,170.

There was no specific data for freight brokers, but there are freight brokers earning 6-figure incomes and more. How much you can make is dependent on your motivation and sales aptitude.

The median annual salary of a freight agent is $47,170.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about this career. If you have other questions that are not listed here – please email us or leave a comment below and we will be sure to add it!

*Data source: ZipRecruiter