The job of a freight broker or agent is to find freight that needs to be hauled and pair it with a truck driver or trucking company that can provide the transportation. In order to earn a profit, a freight broker must find customers (usually the manufacturers of the inventory). Finding customers is not a difficult task, as manufacturers are constantly producing goods that need to be hauled across state lines and across the country. Even in a down economy, the trucking and transportation industry maintains a steady pace due to the nature of the business.
A broker or agent must know what type of loads and customers they want to work with in order to properly target that market. If you are exploring the possibility of becoming a freight broker, you will need to choose a specialty or specific industry in order to emerge as a professional in that area. This way, you’ll become more valuable to those who use your services and will develop lasting professional relationships. Becoming a specialist in matching qualified drivers with hazardous material loads, for example, will earn you a positive reputation in the HAZMAT hauling industry and you will earn repeat business and respect from your counterparts in the same field.
It is important for a freight broker or agent to have a high degree of knowledge of the freight they work with. They must become familiar with any specific regulations or requirements, such as flat bed hauling or refrigeration. They also must be aware of weight limitations and whether the load may require any extra protection, like a tarp or a tie-down mechanism. The freight broker should have this knowledge of the transportation industry and what it takes to haul specific loads before he or she contacts any potential customers about moving their inventory.
As well as having experience and knowledge of freight requirements, a freight broker or agent must have a thorough knowledge of the region in which they work. Those who live in an industrial region should consider specializing in the products that are most manufactured there. Conversely, a freight broker who lives in a region where lumber is produced should target the timber hauling market. A freight broker must know the type of goods that are abundant in the area and target the need for them to be transported.
Finally, it most important for the broker to make connections with those in the industry in order to get their footing in an industry that can be tough to break into. Find out who the shipping and receiving supervisors are and develop a relationship with them, as well as many truck drivers or workers of manufacturing companies. Making connections with these people and giving out your contact information will put your freight broker information in their hands and at the ready for whenever they may need your services.