Are you looking forward to becoming an independent freight agent? If yes, it’s vital to stand your ground to ensure you succeed in your venture. Being an independent freight agent comes with several benefits, such as making good money, controlling the business, working according to your schedule and within your preferred hours, and even deciding whether to work. Nevertheless, before getting there, you first need to have established and succeeded in your business, which might not be easy without proper strategies.
What’s A Freight Agent?
A freight agent is a person who works in freight transportation and connects shippers with freight brokers or carriers. A freight agent can decide to be independent whereby they find shippers’ loads and carriers to ferry the load to preferred destinations. To become an independent freight agent, you should have the licenses, insurance, and bonds to run the business legally and handle activities like dispatching, billing, and invoicing.
Alternatively, an agent can work under a freight broker who’s already established and has many clients. In such an event, the agent only brings the load to the broker, who finds the carrier and handles the rest of the process.
Under a broker, the freight agent receives a commission on each load they bring on board. The commission is consistent so long as the broker handles the client’s shipment. It’s essential to note that a broker’s commission differs from the fee an independent agent would have received for working as an independent agent. Nevertheless, it’s worth it to work under a broker as you work your way to becoming an independent freight agent for experience’s sake.
Who’s Fit To Become An Independent Freight Agent?
Anyone with experience in transportation and shipping contacts is fit to become an independent freight agent. There’s no age limit to becoming a freight agent as young people looking forward to becoming their own bosses are venturing into freight agencies and retirees who want to take advantage of their connections to make extra cash. Nevertheless, experience and contacts aren’t enough to become a freight agent; you still require adequate information, hence the need to take some courses.
Now that you know who an independent freight agent is and who qualifies to become one, here are some tips for becoming an individual freight agent:
- Get Necessary Certification And Education
Before becoming an independent freight agent, you must acquire the necessary certification and appropriate education. A freight agent is a vital element in the freight transportation industry and should understand everything concerning the industry. That said, each freight agent must have the necessary documents and education to perform their roles accordingly. It’s therefore essential to research required courses regarding freight transportation agencies to become a reputable independent freight agents.
- Register Your Freight Services Company
After getting adequate and necessary certification and knowledge, the next step is registering your services to the authorities. This move ensures the government’s aware of your services and they’re legally established. To register your services, you must name your company and provide the authorities with relevant documents to acquire an operating license.
Registering your services is essential for various reasons. First, you won’t get into trouble with the government for running an unregistered business. Secondly, you’re more likely to have many clients compared to when the company isn’t registered since most clients want to determine if your services are registered before hiring you.
- Develop A Niche
When starting your journey as an independent freight agent, it’s vital to be true to yourself, or better yet, to do what you do best. It won’t make sense to be everything everyone wants you to be. Ensure you stick to your strengths and understand your weaknesses. To know what you’re good at, ask yourself—what product do you understand well? What were you working with before becoming a freight agent?
If you’re experienced in agriculture, perhaps developing a niche surrounding agriculture products might suit you best since you already know how to handle different products at each level. If you’re more into construction, you might consider working with raw materials and other construction commodities.
If you have an opportunity to stand out among other agents, take the opportunity without hesitation. Never assume you’re an expert in fresh products if you’re good in the construction industry. Understand your strength and stick to it. While working with what you’re good at, you can take the opportunity to learn about new opportunities and expand your knowledge.
- Find A Better Brokerage To Work With
To become a successful independent freight agent, looking for a reputable brokerage to work with is essential. A good brokerage will help you get established when looking forward to becoming your own boss. Nevertheless, you must ensure that the brokerage agent of your choice can be trusted and provides you with the necessary tools and services that will lead to your success.
Additionally, you might need to research a suitable agent program. Throughout your journey as an independent freight agent, you’ll need unbeatable support to succeed. When selecting an agent program, determine their culture, how responsive they are, and their track record. For precise information, consider talking to some current agents to determine if they’re satisfied with their experience. With the proper support, building yourself and the company will be easier.
- Market Yourself
If you’re looking forward to becoming a successful independent freight agent, you must learn how to market yourself effectively. With effective marketing, you can get endless clients leading to your success. While traditional marketing strategies are still working, most individuals prefer the internet when researching services and products they require. Therefore, besides using traditional marketing methods, the internet should be your closest companion to help you succeed in your marketing endeavors.
Share your services on social media and send emails, and you’ll be amazed at how many people you can reach within a few seconds. You can also hire a marketing team experienced in marketing goods and services online.
- Take Advantage Of Technology
Currently, many technology tools help business people effectively serve their customers’ needs. For example, you can use customer relationship management (CRM) systems to remain on top of prospective and understand your clients’ actions and motives, boosting your sales pipeline. With a rate index system, you can track contracts and see market rates in every lane.
On the other hand, you can use mobile technology to track your loads’ movements. In some cases, working smart is better than working hard. And this is true when incorporating technology into your business. Using technology to enhance your services ensures a faster and quicker process, leading to your success as an independent freight agent.
- Build A Network With Your Clients
As an independent freight agent, you need to network with your clients for the consistency of your business. It would help you have regular clients to succeed as an independent freight agent. If you currently have regular clients, ensure they contact you whenever they need similar services. If it’s easier for them to contact another agent, the network isn’t as strong as it should be, and you need to sort out whatever issues that make them prefer a different agent. You must create relationships with your clients to have regular tasks. Otherwise, you might struggle to find customers and eventually cease to exist in the industry.
- Be Protected
Before venturing to the freight agency, ensure your complete protection. Therefore, you should be licensed and insured. A license will protect you against legal issues, while your insurers will be helpful if something goes wrong, especially if you’re liable for the loss. Proper insurance and coverage will also put you on top of the agents’ list with more clients since most clients want to work with an insured agent.
- Continue Learning
Though there are courses you need to complete before venturing into a freight agency, there are others you need to take while still working as a freight agent. It’s vital to understand that things change daily, and staying informed might be the only way to learn how the industry is changing and how to maintain strong professional relationships. Also, staying updated will help you stay on top of the competition and attract many clients.
- Determine Your Working Hours
When deciding to become an independent freight agent, it’s also essential to determine the hours you want to work. Your timing will determine the cargo you want to specialize in and the clients you want to work with. For instance, you should figure out if you want to work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. like most businesses or if you want to work during evening hours. Some people also consider weekends as working days.
There you go! Becoming an individual freight agent is an excellent move to making money in the transportation industry. All you need is to undertake some courses, have experience in the transportation industry, and build a network with your clients. Once you successfully become an independent freight agent, you’ll enjoy the freedom of working within your preferred hours, being your own boss, while making good money.