Are you looking for a shipping carrier that can handle the unique shape and hefty weight of your products? Having trouble finding a shipping company that you trust with incredibly valuable or personal deliveries?
Maybe you're thinking of going back to school, and you're interested in finding a career that lets you combine your love of problem-solving with mathematics, analytics, and customer relations.
No matter where you fall within the above examples, one thing is for certain: now is the time for you to look into a logistics broker.
More commonly referred to as a freight broker, this is the person or business responsible for matching the right shipping carrier/container with the right cargo.
Read on to learn more about what you can expect from working with or working as a freight broker.
What Kinds of Transportation Does a Freight Broker Arrange?
Here's what's both challenging and rewarding about working as a freight broker: your job is to find the best possible -- and most convenient -- match for shipping any kinds of goods anywhere, and using any mode of transportation.
However, LTL freight brokers aren't the ones actually driving the shipment across the country or handing the package to its recipient in a final mile delivery. Instead, they help to connect companies that need items shipped to the companies that are the most well-equipped to ship a specific fright.
This means that freight brokers don't actually own cars, delivery trucks, or boats/airplanes themselves. However, they have established contacts with companies that do.
The goal is to help companies save time and money, as well as to ensure that the shipping carrier and method of shipment keep items secure throughout the shipping process.
They get a commission for their work.
Though the most common type of a freight broker is truck loads brokers, be aware that they can also arrange shipment via mail, air, sea, final mile, and more.
The Main Responsibilities of a Freight Broker
One of the most important aspects of working in the LTL freight shipping industry is negotiating with shipping companies to get the best possible price for their clients.
In order to do this, they'll need information regarding the weight, density, size, and special packing/shipping requirements regarding the shipment.
Once they have that basic information, they use their industry connections to negotiate a better price with shipping companies.
This is possible because freight brokerage companies often provide an incredibly high number of job opportunities for these shipping companies. The shipping companies, understandably, want the broker to use their services again in the future.
So, the broker's client financially benefits from this relationship.
Brokers also need to ensure that they connect their clients with reputable and experienced shipping companies.
Many businesses simply don't want to go through the trouble of interviewing multiple shipping companies, collecting many different estimates, and checking in with past references.
It's the responsibility of the freight broker to do their due diligence when looking at potential shipping companies to work with.
However, it's important to understand that a freight broker's job doesn't end when they match a carrier with cargo. They also need to track the shipping process and provide their clients with updates about arrival time, potential roadblocks, and of course, delivery information.
The broker is also responsible for organizing and verifying shipping schedules and ensuring that the timeline is followed as closely as is possible. This, in particular, is especially important, given the increased consumer demand for faster shipping and on-time delivery.
Communication is especially key in this instance. Many brokers will use tracking devices and even directly communicate with drivers through apps or software to get real-time updates about where the shipment is at any point.
Freight Broker Training
In terms of soft skills, superior communication methods are the most essential.
This will ensure that client expectations are clear, that shipping companies understand what's expected of them, and that everyone is on the same page about the timeframe and the cost of a shipment.
Plus, the better your communication, the stronger your professional network of quality shipping companies to choose from.
The hard skills needed to become a freight broker include a knowledge of shipping software, freight scheduling methods, an understanding of different shipping options, and more.
You will also need to master digital and print marketing, learn how to dispatch loads, and understand how to measure and calculate freight shipping requirements and rates.
You can usually take a training course online, or receive an in-person certification in a few weeks.
You'll also need to consider the kind of insurance you'll need, and ensure that you have a valid license to act as a shipping broker in your state.
Are You in Need of a Freight Broker?
Whether you're thinking about becoming a freight broker yourself, or if you're simply tired of wasting valuable selling hours negotiating deals with shipping companies, we hope you've found this post helpful.
If you're working as a broker, remember to collect as much information about the shipment as is possible, and work only with verified, experienced shipping companies.
If you want to hire a freight broker, make sure you read reviews from past customers just as you would when working with a shipping company directly.
Need more advice about how to get your cargo from point A to point B? Want to learn about other transportation and shipping careers?
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