When manufacturers produce goods, they need a company that will transport and distribute their goods to distributors, retailers and consumers. To find the best company to transport their goods from production facilities, manufacturers can work with freight brokers to find shipping carriers that match their needs and budgets. Freight brokers may be referred to as truck brokers, transportation brokers, property brokers and freight agents. However, whereas brokers are authorized to operate their own companies, agents must work under the supervision of a freight broker.
Freight brokers act as a main liaison between manufacturers and trucking, logistics and other third-party carrier companies. Their job is to collect information from businesses and find carrier services that fit within clients’ delivery schedules and budget requirements. After reviewing shippers’ specifications, freight brokers arrange the pickup and delivery of the shippers’ goods. They also coordinate various aspects of shipping transactions. For example, freight brokers negotiate pricing and contractual terms between companies and transportation carriers to expedite the shipping process.
There are no formal educational requirements for freight broker careers. However, freight-broker and agent training courses are offered at community colleges, vocational schools and universities. Courses typically cover topics such as licensing, operations, marketing, sales and negotiations. Institutions such as West Virginia University offer freight broker and agent training, which teaches subjects ranging from customer relations and pricing to financial management and broker requirements.
Since brokers typically own their own businesses, excellent organizational, project management, leadership and interpersonal communication skills are beneficial. It is essential that freight brokers are able to build strong relations with both customers and shipping carriers during the transaction process. Freight brokers should also be proficient dispatching and tracking shipping loads, calculating freight rates, working with computer broker software and managing subordinates. Government laws require that freight brokers obtain licensure through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
According to a May 2011 SalaryExpert report, transportation brokers in Chicago averaged $44,134 annually. Houston transportation brokers reported an average salary of $39,532. Transportation brokers in Dallas and Phoenix earned $37,439 and $49,070 respectively. In comparison, brokers working in New York City’s Manhattan borough averaged annual earnings totaling $41,304. Transportation brokers employed in Charlotte made an average salary of $40,435. Boston transportation brokers earned the highest average annual wages at $52,270, while Orlando professional averaged the lowest wages at $28,141.