How To Become A Freight Broker: A Getting Started Guide

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Think about this for a moment; Learning how to become a freight broker is a great way to make good money and start your own business. With proper training and business setup you can work from anywhere.

how to become a freight broker

Starting a freight brokerage is often the next step for truck drivers looking to make an exit from the road, start their own their own business and apply the knowledge they’ve acquired in the transportation industry.

It’s also a good opportunity for people for whatever their reasons are, to work from home or be location independent.

Don’t have any experience as a freight broker but want to learn?

Yes, you can do it to. You’ll just have to work a bit harder in the beginning and you’re going to need training, whether you pay for it or work for a brokerage.

In this article we tell you the basics, give you the steps to get started and provide some resources for you.

 

What is a freight broker, What do they do?

No doubt about it;

In the transportation world, brokers are referred to as truck broker, transportation broker, logistic consultant and transportation intermediary.

Essentially, a freight broker is the middleman or liaison between a shipper (someone who has product or freight to be shipped) and a fully authorized motor carrier.

[blockquote align=”none” author=”Truckers Insider”]A fully authorized motor carrier is important. If you’re dealing with a motor carrier who is trying to ‘fly under the radar’ without authority, doesn’t maintain their equipment and has a horrible safety rating, you’re asking for trouble. Check a motor carrier’s safety rating before using them. The higher the rating, the more unsafe they are.  You can check it at FMCSA’s website.[/blockquote]

 

Think of the freight broker as a bit of a matchmaker. They match up shippers with carriers to help get freight moved.

The cool thing is-

They don’t have to touch, store or transport anything and they don’t function as a shipper.

Here is the official definition of Broker in the Federal rules:

[blockquote align=”none” author=”Truckers Insider”] Broker means a person who, for compensation, arranges, or offers to arrange, the transportation of property by an authorized motor carrier. Motor carriers, or persons who are employees or bona fide agents of carriers, are not brokers within the meaning of this section when they arrange or offer to arrange the transportation of shipments which they are authorized to transport and which they have accepted and legally bound themselves to transport.[/blockquote]

 

What The Job Is, And The Two Types Of Brokers

To begin with, We know a broker is the middleman between the shipper and motor carrier. Transportation brokers also take on the the role of shipping department for their clients by handling paperwork, tracking and other shipping info.

For a lot of shippers, using a broker is a cost effective solution to handle getting their loads shipped with the appropriate carrier without having the additional cost of employing an entire shipping department.

So what does that entail?

A freight broker will usually start with a shipper (the shipper is the client) and negotiate a price that the freight is to be shipped at. After completing negotiations with the shipper, the broker will then negotiate a price with an available motor carrier to transport the load to its destination.

In addition to getting those two crazy kids together (shippers and carriers) brokers need to make sure that they follow up with the following for each load:

  • Status of the order and ensuring accuracy
  • Pickup and delivery of commodities and products
  • Receipts for sales and purchases
  • Safety and Compliance records as appropriate
  • Invoices and other business related paperwork

 

excited about being a freight broker

Your main function is to ensure that goods are picked up and shipped, complete the necessary paperwork and fees are collected.

Transportation brokers can be broken down into two basic types of regulated brokers:

So let’s take a bit of a closer look…

 

Household goods brokers

Just what the name implies; Personal effects, property used or to be used in a house or dwelling.

There is a little bit more to this definition. If you’re interested in brokering household goods, take the time to read the full definition in cfr 375.103

If you are a household goods broker, you can only arrange for transportation of household goods and nothing else.

 

Property brokers

A Property brokers deasl with a wide range of regulated commodities that are everything other than household goods. Property brokers are the most common.

Each of these different types of brokers require their own authority. One can’t crossover to the other without obtaining specific authority to do so.

If you’re interested in brokering both types you’ll need two different authorities from the feds.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew-

If you’re just getting started in the transportation business start in one or two sectors (also called niches – ex. fresh produce, LTL freight) and go from there.

 

How much do freight brokers get paid?

Starting your own freight brokerage is of course a business and how much you make in your business will depend on you.

But that’s the cool thing – your earning potential will depend on you.

There are millions of shippers in the U.S. and and tons (no pun intended) of motor carriers that want to make money. The potential is virtually limitless.

Those who choose to take on starting their own independent freight brokerage generate earnings into the six figure and over range.

You’re the captain of the ship, your earning potential is up to you.

If you choose to work as a freight agent (someone who works for a brokerage) the average salary is around $35k/year to $45K/year. The salaries for brokerage employees can either be based on a fixed salary or commission based.

 

 

How to become a freight broker

With the economy doing well and improving all the time, launching a new business may be the right decision for you.

Although it’s easier to get started than ever before (low startup costs compared to other business models), you should be aware of the steps in the process.

 

learning about freight brokering

 

Historically, getting started as a broker was difficult because the the freight brokerage industry itself was not friendly to newcomers and closed off. Times have changed, and de-regulation, technology and the availability of training have made it much easier to get into the business.

We’ll break down learning freight brokering later in this article, but here is the quick list things that need to be done to set up your freight broker business:

  • Decide on a legal structure (llc, sole prietor)
  • File for operating authority through FMCSA
  • Fill out a BOC-3 to designate a process agent
  • Get a surety bond of $75,000
  • Register your business with Unified Carrier Registration
  • Fulfill State and local requirements for your business
  • Set up your office

Those are the basic steps. Now we’ll break down those steps and other things you need to get started.

 

Start with training

Let’s dispel a myth.

You don’t need training to get a certification to be a broker.

If you fill out the paperwork, pay your fees and follow all the right steps you will have your freight brokerage up and running.

freight broker myths

So why freight broker training?

There are some regulatory hoops you’ll have to jump through as well other tips, tricks and info you’ll need to get started. Training helps you learn to navigate regulations, dispatch trucks, find leads and learn negotiating tactics.

Training is recommended whether brand new to the transportation industry or have worked in it a while.

Here’s the thing;

There are a bunch of freight broker schools that you can choose from to get the training you need to get started. Freight broker schools fall into two categories:

  • Live training (seminars, college courses)
  • Online training

You’re going to need to do your own research and decide what works best for you.

If your serious about getting freight broker training, Keep this in mind;

Any live training event (whether it’s a seminar or college) will cost you a weeks worth of time (college will be more) and cost around $2500 – $3000+ just to figure out how to do the job.

This is of course before you spend money to get other licenses, authority and equipment you’ll need to operate your business.

Did you want to spend thousands on training before you even start to set up your business?

Didn’t think so.

 

Online freight broker School

By contrast, online training allows you to study how to become a freight broker at a fraction of the cost of attending live training. No expensive tuition and travel costs to worry about and you can train anywhere where you have an internet connection.

To top off, live event training costs can be a serious barrier to entry for most people to get started and why it’s recommended doing training online.

Think about it;

Attending online training allows you to study how to become a freight broker or a agent at a fraction of the cost of attending live training. No expensive tuition and travel costs to worry about and you can train anywhere where you have an internet connection.

This helps to drastically reduce not only your learning curve, but the barrier to entry (or what it takes to get started) to start your business.

Here’s the deal –

If you’re looking to get into freight brokering either owning your own business or as an agent check out our recommendation for freight broker training online that’s  get you started fast and not drain your wallet. It’s excellent training and a great money saving alternative compared to other training options.

 

Decide What kind of freight do you want to deal with

Although freight brokers can and do arrange for shipping of all kinds of products (known as general commodities), they do have the option to specialize with certain commodities.

What’s awesome about is this –

If you’ve gained specialized knowledge dealing with certain types of sensitive cargo such as hazardous materials, perishable items, you can do well assisting your client (the shipper) with finding an appropriate motor carrier that’s equipped to handle the load.

As a quick example, if you have experience in dealing with oversize loads you can help a shipper set up proper permitting for the load, find a pilot car as well as find a specialized carrier that deals specifically with hauling heavy equipment or large objects.

There are a lot of state and local rules that shippers and motor carriers have to deal with when hauling oversized loads. You can do well just by helping them get through the red tape.

 

Dealing with hazardous materials loads

A word of caution about hazmat –

If you decide to be a broker for hazardous materials loads you need to know that it’s an animal all its own. Hazardous material shipments have to comply with a lot of other regulations in addition to federal motor carrier rules which can be quite confusing if your not used to them.

Here’s an example:

You need to know the package that the shipper wants to ship a product in, is in compliance with hazmat rules for authorized packing and that the shipping papers have been prepared properly.

 

dot placards on truck

 

Know this;

Failure to do either one of those things means that your shipment can be detained by law enforcement until the problem gets corrected. Having your load detained can cost you both time and money.

You need to be familiar with rules like, shipping papers, marking, labeling and hazmat placarding regulations to assist carriers.

Does that mean you should never mess with hazmat loads?

No, what it means is this-

Unless you already have specialized knowledge, you will need some extra training to deal with hazmat, so it may not be the area to get involved in when you’re first starting out. Later on once your business is up and running, take a class on hazmat shipping so that you understand hazmat rules.

Don’t forget;

It’s your choice to decide to specialize and carve out niche for yourself in a specific transportation sector. However, do some homework and choose wisely.

 

You need a business plan

So there you  are;

You’ve conceptualized how to start a business by drawing on some napkins and chatting with friends, but a real business is started with having some sort of official business plan.

Why have a business plan?

Business plans help you get focused and do proper research before shelling out money to get the business started as well as provide information to any potential investors or lenders.

If you properly prepare your business plan you’ll know your market and who the players are so you can start finding leads. If you don’t prepare a business plan, you’re setting yourself up for failure and flying blind.

freight broker business plan

Draft a Business Plan

Would you take a trip someplace you’ve never been without a map?

Of course not.

You’d get lost in a hurry, frustrated and your trip wouldn’t be any fun. If you have a spouse you’ll wind up in an argument.

Look:

Think of a business plan as a roadmap to help you get to where you’re going. Keep your business plan as simple and direct as you reasonably can.

Business plans include (but are not limited to) the following information:

 

Executive summary

Why the executive summary is important-

This introduces and summarizes what your business will be provides info on your service or product. It explains who your customers are and company objectives.

It helps you transfer the whole ‘big picture’ from your brain onto paper.

 

Description of your company

Your company’s mission statement, legal structure and any members of the company go here.

Keep the mission statement as short and sweet as possible, but you’ll want to include info like where you are from and when you founded the company.

Remember;

You’ll need to decide on a legal structure. Are you going to be a sole proprietor or are you going to form an LLC? This is where you may want to consult both a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and/or a tax specialist.

 

Research Your Market

Get this:

Doing market research should really be one of the first things that you do before getting started as a freight broker.

You’re going to need to know who your target market is, who your competitors are and decide on the geographical are you’re going to operate in.

  • How will you communicate with your potential clients?
  • Are they on social media and other websites?

No doubt about it-

To achieve the best results as possible as soon as you get started, you want to have a firm understanding of who the players are in the area you’re going to operate.

Knowing this information will also go a long way to help find sources for new leads as you get started.

Always remember: No matter what business you’re in, leads are it’s lifeblood!

 

Know your customers

Just think about it.

As a freight broker, you customers are shippers who to have commodities delivered. If you’ve done your homework well with your market research, you’ll have an understanding of your potential clients so that you begin to start developing relationships and defining niche customers.

With a lot of free internet tools at your disposal to find other businesses, it’s easier than you think.

 

Who is your competition

Knowing who your competitors are will go a long way in finding areas of the market and finding areas that may be underserved by other freight brokers.

Check this out…

It sounds crazy simple but you can start by doing some basic ‘google’ research for your area.

Just doing a simple google search of ‘freight broker [you city and state]’ will yield tons of results that you can add to a spreadsheet later.

For example, entering ‘freight broker jacksonville fl’ (you do not need the quotes) yields the following:

 

find freight compeditors

 

Scroll down the page and you’ll spot more competitors that you can research in the area you want to wok in:

 

more compeditors for area freight brokers

 

Don’t stop at page one. Go several pages deep and add that info to a spreadsheet you can come back to later for more research. You can build up a list of your compeditor’s websites this way. Knowing their websites helps you to reverse engineer them and find out who their clients are.

Here’s what else you can do;

Once you have the information on your spreadsheet, you can start to research your competitors customers and their competitors.. Whew!

This is one way of finding new leads for your brokerage.

Another quick hack is this-

You can also find competitor information by finding local business directories and your local county business license office.

 

business directory for freight brokers

 

Don’t forget to check other resources like Yelp, Google My Business and Bing to check their directories for competitors and clients.

 

Outline the product and/or the service your offering

Define what the service is that your going to offer to your client, show your pricing structure and identify your intellectual property rights.

Sales and Marketing

Let’s face it.

If you’re applying for a load or pitching to a potential investor, you need to define how your company will use marketing strategies and sales strategies to grow the business and acquire new customers.

That’s not the only thing.

You’re lender or investor willl also need to know your game plan on how you will stay in contact with with your clients.

  • Will it be by phone?
  • Your website?
  • Social media?

You’ll also need to specify what your growth strategy will by over the next few years. For example, where you want to be in 3, 5, 10 years etc, and a plan to get there.

Do financial projections

Chances are that if you’re going to be doing a pitch to lenders and investors you’ll want to ‘run the numbers’.

Remember this;

You start by defining your company’s potential for profit, debt and monthly money obligations, sales forecasts and a projected cash flow or potential lenders will not consider you.

In short, you need be familiar with all of your profit, loss and debt potential and enter those numbers onto your business plan.

Need help writing a business plan?

Never filled out a business plan before? No worries.

There are a number of resources online that can give you a hand getting organized.

This website offers a free business plan where you choose your industry and fill in the appropriate information.

 

Steps To Getting Your Freight Broker License

Admit it;

You want to get started (that’s why you’re reading this!) but you need to know the steps.

Up to this point we’ve discussed what a freight broker is, how to get low cost online freight broker training and how to write a business plan.

With the exception of the training, the preliminary leg work to get started is free if you do your due diligence and homework.

But now it’s time for the ‘rubber to meet the road’ to actually set up your freight brokerage and start making money.

 

Decide how to structure your business

One of the first steps you’ll need to do in becoming a fully licensed freight broker is to establish your business structure. You’ll need to do this before you can start filing the appropriate paperwork with FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and other local government entities.

New flash:

This where you may want to take some time and get professional help from either a Certified Public Accountant, tax professional or business attorney. You need to have a complete understanding of the pros and cons of each business structure.

You’re going to have to decide on one of the 3 structures:

  • Corporation
  • Partnership
  • Individual/Sole Prietor
  • LLC

 

Because it can be a pretty big decision that can affect your business for years to come it’s worth spending at least a couple of bucks on professional advice.

When you set up your business you will also need to register with your Secretary of State for the individual state you’re in. You can find out more about fees and procedures for all 50 states here.

Don’t forget-

Make sure you file for your Employer Identification Number (or EIN) with the IRS. It’s a quick and simple process and free (at the time of this writing). You can apply for your number online on the IRS website here.

 

 Obtain a Surety Bond (BMC-84)

The simple truth is this;

This step can be the most confusing and a little dicey, but you’ll need to get this step taken care of before you can move on to applying to get your authority through FMCSA.

How a surety bond generally works, is that a the premium is paid by the broker (referred to as the principal) to guarantee that the insurance company (Known as the Surety) pays any money to settle any claim against the broker.

If a broker fails to comply with the terms of their surety bond, the damaged parties (the obligee) may file a claim against the bond. If the claim is justified or valid the surety company pays to settle the claim against the bond.

Here’s the rub;

Once the claim has been settled, the broker or license holder is required to reimburse the surety company the amount of the claim. Brokers are required by FMCSA to have bonds no less that $75,000 since October 2013.

Because bonds for freight brokers can be risky, most underwriters will check an applicant’s credit and financials to calculate the premium (the portion you pay). Calculating the premium for the bond is based on paying a percentage of the $75,000 required.

The industry standard for surety bond percentage rates for premiums run between 1.25% and 12% annually.

For example with some surety bond companies if you have a credit score of 680 and over you may qualify for a 1.25% rate.

1.25% of 75,000 is around $938 (rounded up). So in this example, you would pay $938/year.

Keep in mind that this was just an example, and every surety bond seller is different, but how they issue their bond will be tied to your credit/financials. You’ll want to shop around as much as possible to find the best bond company to work with.

Can you obtain a surety bond with bad credit? Yes, but the percentage will be much higher – Usually in the 10% plus range.

 

[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’1′ hide_logo=’1′ hide_controls=’0′ hide_title=’1′ hide_fullscreen=’0′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Txos9A_AUmU&feature=youtu.be[/responsive_video]

 

 

Getting Your Surety Bond Lowered

What’s the magic formula?

You need a good credit and a track record.

Once you’ve been in business and registered with the FMCSA over a year, you can show that you’re a stable business thats are financially stable and your credit is good, try and negotiate your bond premiums with you provider.

The fact of the matter is the bond provider will check your credit again and look at claims activity over the past year. Good business and personal financial statements will be key trying to get your premium lowered.

If your a qualified applicant in a low risk state you may be able to qualify for the 1.25% rate ($938 annually).

Think of the whole process just like shopping for new car insurance. No accidents or claims you can qualify for a lower rate.

Here are a couple of surety bond companies to help you get started. Both sites have excellent information for you about the details of what you need to obtain a surety bond.

Who’s better? That’s up to you. There are other companies besides these two. It’s best to shop around as much as possible.

Bryant Surety Bonds

Suretybonds.com

 

Designate A Process Agent

You’ve established your business structure and got your surety bond so now it’s time to find yourself a process agent.

A Process Agent is defined by the FMCSA as “a representative upon whom the court papers may be served in any proceeding brought against a motor carrier, broker or freight forwarder”.

boc3

 

In short a process agent is the party that legal and/or court papers can be sent to in the case of any legal proceeding. You’ll need to find a process agent in each state that your brokerage operates in (writes contracts in).

There are companies available that provide services that offer ‘blanket coverage’ allowing process agents in multiple states.

You can also have any employee be a process agent, but if your a ‘one man band’ (sole proprietor, no employees) you can designate yourself.

No matter what you’ll need to fill out a form BOC-3 and submit it to the FMCSA at:

FMCSA

1200 New Jersey ave SE (W63-105)

Washington, DC 29590

 

Here is an online BOC-3 that you can fill out. If you lose the address, read the fine print and it will give you the address to send it to.

 

Submit An OP-1 Form To FMCSA

The paper trail continues!

Once you have everything established, you’ll need to submit an OP-1 form and provide all of your general business information and apply to get your motor carrier number or MC number. Although you’re not a motor carrier, you’ll still need to have this number.

op-1 form

 

If you apply for you MC number and fill out your OP-1 form online, processing your application may only take about 4 weeks. In section III of the form for the type of operating authority you’ll want to select either ‘Broker of household goods’ or Broker of property (except household goods)’.

Just to let you know-

Once FMCSA has issued you a number, you will need to wait an additional 10 day protest period. While in this period your application may be contested by another company, however you are still allowed to continue the application process.

Filing for your OP-1 will cost $300.

 

Register Your Brokerage with Unified Carrier Registration

Last but not least:

Register your new brokerage with Unified Carrier Registration (UCR).

Note that not all states are members of UCR (for example, Florida). But as a freight broker you’re required to register with them no matter whether your state participates or not.

At the time of this writing, brokers, leasing companies and freight forwarders pay only a flat fee of $76.00 to register with UCR.

 

State And Local Requirements

Don’t forget any state and local laws that you’re going to have to deal with.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • Filing with your secretary of state in the state you’re in
  • County and City business licenses

Check with your local offices to see if they have a list of things that you will need to get done.

 

What Else Do You Need To Get Started As A Freight Broker?

We’ve covered the hard part about getting started as a freight broker.

  • Getting training
  • Business plan/market research
  • Applying for your broker’s authority
  • Obtaining a surety bond
  • Filing your BOC-3 to designate a process agent
  • State local business requirements

Whew! That’s a lot of stuff to get done.

So what else do you need?

After getting your basic business set up, there’s a few other basic business items that you’ll need to have. These are things needed whether you’re going to get into the freight brokerage business or any other business.

Here’s a quick list of additional equipment and services you’ll need to start your brokerage or any other business.

 

An Office

As a broker you don’t need to have to spend money on office space.

One of the perks that transport brokers like and/or get is the ability to work from home out of their home office.

This helps to reduce your costs and you can more than likely write off at least a portion of it on your taxes (contact a tax professional for specifics).

 

Computer

Your going to good computer. Having a good computer with good processing power and plenty of memory will be a must. It’s worth going the extra distance and getting a pc with two monitors.

 

home office for transportation broker

 

Extra phone lines

Chances are you may want to get a cell phone specifically for your business.

If you don’t want to have to carry two phones around you have alternative services that allow you to have a business phone number and work through an app on your phone.

 

High Speed Internet

Since a lot of what you’ll be doing in online, it’s work going the extra mile and springing for a high speed internet connection. No matter what kind of software your using to manage your business, you need info in real time when you can get it. Slow or a crappy internet connection can cost you  time and money.

The thing is-

This allows you to conduct business from your personal phone yet look professional with a business number. Theses services run the range on cost and a lot will depend on how many minutes a month you’ll need.

You’re also going to need a fax machine and an extra phone line in your house in order send and receive documents from shippers and motor carriers.

 

Get a small business website

Let’s be honest;

Whether you start a broker business, small trucking company or any other type of small business, your going to need a website.

Having a company website is a great marketing tool for your business and a way for your potential customers to get into contact with you. A company website while not mandatory, is really a must in today’s business world.

Honestly, if you have a business and you’re trying to promote it by either word of mouth or online, one of the first questions from people interested in your product or service will be “Do you have a website”?

Here’s the good thing;

Creating a website is easier than it’s ever been so there is no need to pay a developer thousands of dollars to get your website up.

The dirty secret is this –

You can start and create a website for around a $110-$120.

You can purchase a domain name for your business for around $10 and depending on the web host that you choose, it will only cost you about $100 for the first year.

All that being said, it’s not recommended that you use services like Wix and Go Daddy for a variety of reasons. Why I don’t recommend them is another blog post entirely.

Feel free to use those services, but there are tons of other professional options that are inexpensive and easy to use.

The whole point here is to have a way of potential clients and customers to find you online.

 

Do You Need freight broker software?

Don’t kid yourself;

As a broker you’re absolutely going to need to software to manage your business. There are a lot of options to choose from but what is the best freight broker software?

Freight broker software comes in a two different platforms:

  • Computer software
  • Cloud based software or ‘web apps’ or online service

 

There are pros and cons for each, let’s take a look at the difference between the two;

Computer software is just that; Software that you have to install on a computer.

Using computer software might be cheaper than online solutions but there are a couple of things to consider:

  • How long has the software been around?
  • Does it work for both mac and pc? You want to make sure you have options with what computer you purchase.
  • Is it still being supported by the software company? Meaning, does the company that sells the software updating the software on a regular basis.

If the company doesn’t update or maintain the software, don’t buy it.

Cloud Based Web Apps or online

People often get confused by the term ‘in the cloud’. In the cloud simply means that your information or the service you subscribe to is stored and managed on a server somewhere vs on your personal computer.

Here’s what’s awesome;

Nothing to install on your computer. You just login and start doing your thing.

Cloud based trucking software is going to be subscription based and may be cost a bit more than outright purchasing the software.

However, If you want the freedom to manage your business from any location, with any kind of device (computer, phone or tablet) this solution is for you.

Here are some freight broker software options that you can check out. These are in no order with no recommendations one way or the other.

Online Services

Computer Software

These are just a few of the options that are available to you. In the end, you’ll want to get want you can afford and upgrade later.

 

How Do Freight Brokers Find Shippers

The goal for any business is to get fresh leads or customers and finding new prospects and letting them know what you have to offer.

It can be a challenge to find customers in any business, but here are some sure fire tips to help get you started.

Here are some great quick tips for freight broker lead generation:

  • Try and obtain new leads every day
  • Make sure you research the market you’re in
  • Build relationships with your both shippers and carriers
  • Get ready to hear NO a lot and expect resistance
  • Make sure you follow up with potential clients

 

Here is an awesome infographic that shows the process:

freight broker leads
Image courtesy of Logistic Dynamics

 

Google it!

Yes, it seems obvious. But a lot of times we all ten to make things harder than are.

Try googling a name of a commodity that’s commonly shipped and then add a geographic location to it.

For example, ‘frozen food shippers los angeles’ (no quotes)

possible freight broker clients

 

Go page as many pages as you need to, don’t just stop at page 1 results. Add potential clients into a spreadsheet for later follow up.

Personal contacts

If you’ve worked in the transportation industry as a driver or you know someone, get with them to spread the news about your business and get some suggestions for leads. Who you know can be a great source of leads to get started.

 

Focus on a couple of niches

Target one or two specific markets and learn all you can about them. Once you have a clear idea of what your niche is and who the players are, learn all that you can to build your expertise.

If you have specific knowledge in a particular market, this is where you get to put it to good use!

 

Be active on load boards

There are a ton of load boards out there, both free and paid. If you’re starting out you may just want to focus on the free load boards in the beginning.

There are of course advantages and disadvantages to free and paid. On paid load boards you’ll more than likely find more reliable carriers and shippers.

 

Cold Calling

Nobody likes to do it, but it works. Do some google research and make a spreadsheet of the shippers in your area.

It’s going to be hard and you’ll hear a lot of ‘no’ in the beginning. You’ll get better at it once you get more experience on how to talk to people and understand what will work and what won’t.

 

Keep a pad and pen with you

This allows you to make notes of products and companies you see as your doing your errands around town. Make any notes you need, write down locations and phones where you can for laters calls.

 

Check business licenses

Go to your local county offices or offices where you’re interested in operating and check for any new business licenses and current business licenses filed in your area. It’s all public information, all you have to do is ask and you might find some great leads!

 

Use social media

If you’ve done some research and know where your prospective clients ‘hang out online’ create social media accounts.

It’s not necessary to be active on every social media platform, and to do so will wind up being a time thief that keeps you unproductive.

For example, if you know that your industry hangs out specifically on linkedin and nowhere else, don’t waste your time with facebook.

 

Use Thomasnet.com

Thomasnet.com is a place where you can find suppliers as well as all kinds of industry information. From suppliers in the adhesives industry, chemicals, apparel and lots of other suppliers it’s there.

Free to join and a valuable resource!

 

Pay attention to where your loads are picked up and dropped off

Do some google searching or find local directories in these locations and start making phone calls and sending emails. Will you get shot down? Maybe.. but you never know unless you try. Be professional and be persistent!

 

Research free website resources where you can

There are a lot of great online websites that freight brokers can use to find leads. Here are some great resources that you can find some prospects to sell your services to.

This video has some other great next level ways that you find some leads

Conclusion

Do you hate working for someone else and want to start your own business?

Looking to build a business that you can run from or just about anywhere, your creative, not afraid to put the time and the work in?  Then learning how to become a freight broker may be for you.

If you have experience in the transportation industry (like being a driver) it can be a definite plus but not mandatory. There are people that have no experience that can do well, but you will have to work twice as hard and be creative to find leads.