A freight broker is the person or entity that has authority to arrange for the transportation of a shipper's goods without ever having physical possession. A freight broker is the middle man in the transportation of goods. Often simply called the broker by drivers when they are not being called crooks, leeches and worse,lol. The name recognized by the feds on the books is actually property broker.
Why do freight brokers get a bad rap? Well, there are a few bad apples that causes that problem with slow pay to drivers (already struggling owner operators usually) and excessively low rates in certain lanes.
Brokers can set the percentage they will charge for
If a broker wants to gouge a trucking company that is in an area where there are no other chances of getting load out he/she can.
Usually they don't abuse this leverage as standard business practice, but as I said there are bad apples as in any job.
There are also some unhappy and unrealistic drivers out there who are responsible for some of the rhetoric. Why? Because freight brokers actually do important work and provide a necessary service for many trucking operations. THEY SHOULD get a small cut for the work they do, how else could they exist to provide the service? If the trucking companies didn't need them they would not use them.
Drivers could send their wives or partner to broker training or go themselves or learn the ins and outs of freight brokering. And enter the field themselves to cut out using another broker, instead they find it easier to bad mouth all brokers who DID put in the time, money and commitment to learn the trade.
(You see this poverty mentality in many areas of life...I digress...)
The most common comment is, "I am doing the work and they are sitting on their rears in a office taking a cut." Not a second's thought is placed on all of the work that is actually done in the office (or at home) in connection with the load that driver has hauled.
Don't get caught up in the hype of thinking all freight brokers are bad. That's just as ignorant as the mindset many people have, believing (or behaving as if) all police are bad or all drivers are cheaters or all people with dreads are thugs, etc.
Owner operators, it is smart to do what you can to make direct connections with shippers and receivers if you want to avoid the freight brokers. The good broker is simply filling a need for those without connections, often in bad or slow freight areas. Most of our (Our meaning the trucking company I drive for, not all truck drivers) backhaul loads are from Freight brokers.
Freight brokers are essential to the trucking industry and they will only become more needed as the economy recovers and manufactures need arrangement for the movement of more and more goods.
It's often cheaper for companies to outsource to Freight Brokerage Companies to get their products moved than to train their own employees for an additional task.
You can become a freight broker with the right training and guidance and the money to put up for a surety bond. If you don't have the $10,000 for a bond, you can still jump in as an agent for a freight broker after training. There are all types of freight broker training programs available online and at some training institutions.
I went to freight broker training at Transport Training America (no call Transport Training International) a few years ago. I chose them because they are the first ones that I came across that had online freight brokerage training but also classes held in physical locations across the country.
I went to the Atlanta freight brokering classes. I would recommend them to anyone because the instructor was knowledgeable and funny and most importantly, seemed to want us to learn the material.
You know, sometimes people just want to get the class over with. The money is in the bank already. Seems they had a different mentality.
Also there was opportunity to put your training in practice upon graduation as an agent for them. An agent is someone who works under a freight broker. Which could be a reason they actually want you to learn.
Becoming an agent is an excellent way for the wife or girlfriend of a trucker to get involved in the trucking industry and bring more money to the table. Especially if the husband is planning on becoming an owner operator.
The skills and experience gained pursuing the training for becoming a freight broker could be part of a plan for accelerated financial stability for the family and possibly a way for the trucker to eventually come off the road if so desired.
May be something worth looking into for the right spouse at home.
It does take the right type of person because there is a lot of paperwork, calling, following up. Once you build up clientele and a solid professional reputation the work becomes less of a challenge.
Basically it's just like many other start up as far as the dedication and persistence.
freight brokering differs from many other types of business is the
flexibility and opportunity to work from home. If you build the business large
enough, (get enough clients who decide you service is so good there is little reason to use others) you could have agents working for you while you handle your business and enjoy your family.
Any bored, go getter, wives at home should at least look into freight broker to see if they would be interested.
Get training to become a freight broker online or in a classroom. Check with your local community college and if they don't have a program check out the school I went to.
Transport Training International
Want a more personal level of freight brokerage training?
Margurit O'Neal Suwanee, Ga.
A job as a freight broker is another way to make money in the trucking industry. Freight brokers have flexible lifestyles and offer a needed service. That's why the need for freight brokers is so high.
You may hear some drivers complaining about brokers, calling them rip offs, etc. As with anything else, there are shady brokers out there who cause these reactions.
If you find a name, number scribbled on a flyer in a truckstop, I don't think I would use that broker.
Using the services of reputable freight broker is also a safe bet. The reason freight brokering is thriving is because of the quality of service and need in the industry.
They DO however, have to get paid just like we do any business do so they charge a fee for their service. It doesn't make freight brokers over all crooks.