If you are a veteran of the trucking industry, looking for a job, or maybe just getting a little tired of the road, you may want to look into staying in the logistics field, but switching to off the road work, by becoming a freight broker.
A licensed freight broker is a person or company that, for a fee, matches up shipping companies with a carrier. Many people do this type of job even from home, and it can be done part time or full time depending on your interest. With the ever growing amount of freight being moved around the country, and many more independent carrier and truck owners, the field can get complicated and confusing at times.
One freight broker company, Transportation Training Solutions out of Texas, states that there are over 4,000 licensed freight brokers in the US currently, and only about half work full time at it. With the increased fuel prices, other rising costs, and many other factors, truckers will often decide to call it a day and get off the road. Deciding to become a freight broker is one way that they can stay in the same industry.
Atex Logistics is a freight-broker training program that assists in training people to make the career change. Former truckers have an advantage at making the swap, not only because of their extensive knowledge of the industry, but because they already most likely have friends, associates and family members also in the industry that may one day become clients. John Thomas, the founder of Atex Logistics, says "So many truckers are suffering with the high fuel prices and going out of business, so they're looking for an alternative. Freight brokering keeps them in the industry." he goes on to state that at least half of their trainees are former truckers.
Becoming a freight broker has low start up costs and overhead (especially if you choose to run it from home). All that is really needed are a couple of phones, a computer, a fax machine, and a filing cabinet. Aside from that there are a few initial investments that need paid, such as a $300 fee to obtain a brokers authority from a financial institution, a surety bond or trust fund (pricing depends on your personal credit history), and another minor fees here and there. However, they do tell trainees that they can expect it to be about two years before they get established enough to start making good money at it.
Training to become a broker tends to take about two months. Once established, the potential profit for full-time brokers can be anywhere from $40,000 - $150,000 a year. One of the most important pieces of the puzzle is to pay your clients in a timely manner, within three weeks usually, in order to establish good credibility with them and increase repeat business. After a while, you will find that the shippers are calling you and your business grows.
What do you think? Is becoming a broker something you have considered? Let me know in the comments.
Jeff McCormack resides in Virginia Beach, VA. where he works as a web designer by day. In his off time he is a husband, father, mail order book store manager, and musician. Aside from being a freelance writer for this Logistics Jobsite blog, he also seeks to assist in career choices and information by contributing to other Nexxt blog sites.