If you want to pursue a career in the logistics industry, you might be interested in being a freight agent. Freight agents are tasked with linking shipping companies to carriers that want to transport goods. They find carriers by making use of load boards. Also called a freight board or freight matching service, a load board is an online marketplace where freight agents can share information about their client’s freight with carriers that might be interested in hauling the load.

Moreover, freight agents negotiate contracts for clients that own cargo ships and truck fleets for delivering goods to customers. They document shipments and ensure that the goods arrive as expected. They keep tabs on paperwork as well, like bills, invoices, and customs declarations if goods need to be transported globally.

Continue reading to learn about what you need to become a freight agent.

1. Education And Training

What Is CPE and why You Need it as an EnrolledAgent

Although a bachelor’s degree isn’t required, some freight agents are college graduates while others have a high school diploma or a GED. To succeed as one, you just need to gain practical experience with logistics or shipping. For instance, you could work as an administrative assistant.

However, you can still become a freight agent by receiving assistance from a respectable parent company. A parent company is equipped with a team of in-house brokers and a vast network of carriers. What’s more, they build most of the infrastructure and offer cargo insurance, invoice customers, provide credit, take care of claims, and pay carriers.

Along with the support of a reliable parent company, you could take a training course. Different schools currently provide freight agent training courses, which you can do online or face-to-face. But before you undergo training, see to it that you pick an institution with a good reputation.

2. Good Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are vital in the freight industry. As a freight agent, you need to be a professional and an effective communicator.

You can improve your interpersonal skills by following these tips:

  • Practicing active listening.
  • Be aware of your body language. Show that you care through non-verbal cues, such as eye contact and gestures.
  • Use the proper tone of voice. You can be informal, formal, serious, or assertive, depending on whom you’re talking to.

Why It’s Worth Becoming A Freight Agent

A Freight Agent

  • Flexibility

One reason why it’s worth working as a freight agent is that you can decide your own schedule. You can be paid based on the number of loads you’re in charge of instead of the number of hours you’ve completed.

  • Work-from-home setup

Aside from a flexible work arrangement, you can work anywhere you want as long as you have an internet connection. You can help seal the deal between carriers and clients from a remote setting since you’ll be communicating with clients from different countries. In addition to a work-from-home setup, you’ll get to save on commuting.

  • Profits

You’ll be able to earn a lot as a freight agent, especially if you’re driven and confident in your skills. How much money you make will depend on how much freight you handle. So, the more freight you transport, the more money you could bring in.

  • Low costs

It doesn’t cost much to become a freight agent. You just need to be equipped with the necessary tools, including a desktop or laptop, a phone, and an internet connection. Besides these tools, you can take advantage of a transportation management system (TMS) to communicate with clients and carriers effectively and make delivery more efficient.

Difference Between Freight Agents And Freight Brokers

Generally, freight agents work with freight brokers to move goods. However, many people tend to confuse the two. Freight agents and freight brokers are different in terms of liability and licensure.

Freight agents are independent contractors that can be an individual or a group of people. They aren’t required to be licensed and aren’t accountable for the cargo. Because they’re not licensed and aren’t allowed to arrange the movement of freight on their own, they need to team up with freight brokers and work under freight brokers’ operating license. At times, they’re considered sales agents since they offer services for the freight brokers they collaborate with.

Become A Freight Agent

Furthermore, they don’t have to check a client’s creditworthiness. Part of their responsibilities are to manage the fundamentals of logistics and establish positive relationships between employees and clients.

On the other hand, freight brokers are companies that are required to be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and are liable for the cargo. They’re responsible for paying freight agents, confirming whether their carriers are paid for any loads shipped, and working with freight factoring companies.

Wrapping Up

If you want to pursue a career in the logistics industry, then you might enjoy working as a freight agent. You may not need a college degree and license, but you’ll need to build experience or seek assistance from a parent company. Once you finally become a freight agent, you’ll reap the benefits of the job, such as flexible hours and financial stability.

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