Freight brokering is a growing field, and with good reason. Few business opportunities offer its combination of advantages, including high-income potential, flexible hours, and the ability to work from home. Not everyone can be successful in it, though. Being a broker requires a diverse set of skills, including marketing, sales, customer relations, knowledge of the transportation industry, and a willingness to stick with it through the challenging early stages. To gain these abilities, many people are turning to freight broker schools. But are these programs worth the time and money involved?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors. One is the level of business experience the aspiring broker possesses. Seasoned independent drivers, for example, know the transportation industry inside and out. That gives them an edge in understanding the problems faced by manufacturers, warehouses, retailers, and of course truckers on a daily basis. As business owners, they’re accustomed to handling their own taxes, collecting overdue compensation, dealing with problem clients, balancing their books, and all of the other tasks involved in running an enterprise.
Such persons probably already possess most of the skills needed for success as a freight broker. However, they might benefit from training in certain areas, such as sales and marketing, or dealing with regulations specific to the brokering business. In these cases, taking a class or two from an established institution might be the way for them to go. They may also benefit from the chance many schools offer to actually sit inside of a broker’s office and observe the day in, day out activities that take place.
Then there is the person who has experience as a driver and/or distribution center employee, but little or no business training. He or she would probably benefit a great deal from attending a reputable broker education program. There they will learn exactly what brokers do, the forms and regulations they must deal with, how to open up shop, market their services to truckers and warehouse managers, do basic accounting, run an office, hire help, etc.
If one does decide to get formal training, then it pays to be a careful shopper. Just Google “freight broker schools” and you’ll get page after page of results. Many of these programs are run by quality people and are well worth the money they charge. Some are less than wonderful, and a small number might be outright scams.
So how can a person tell a good opportunity from a poor one? One way is to check with the Better Business Bureau and they keep records on many brokerage schools, both BBB members and non-members. They also have local offices in most cities, where you can speak with someone directly.
Another way is to check with the department of education in the state where the school is located. Make sure that it has been granted a license to offer training by the proper authorities. Check on how long it has been in operation. A program that has been going for years in the same location is more likely to be legitimate than one that just set up shop last week or has moved across the country multiple times.
Perhaps the best way to gauge a program’s quality is simply to ask established brokers which one they recommend. Many of those already in the business are happy to steer a newcomer in the right direction. Checking online reviews from those who have attended a school is yet another way to separate the winners from the losers.