These days, there are many opportunities for those who want to become an independent freight agent. However, there are many misconceptions about what independent freight agents actually do. It is also common for people to confuse independent freight agents with other types of freight agents or even freight brokers. If you’re interested in becoming a freight agent, it is important that you know exactly what your duties and responsibilities will be. Read on to learn more about what independent freight agents actually do.
What Freight Agents Do
After training and obtaining their licenses from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, freight agents get to work connecting shippers and carriers.
Essentially, freight agents serve as the middleman between a company that has a load to be shipped and a Sydney transport company who can ship the load.
The agent finds clients and then meets the clients needs by finding a trucker in the right area with the right equipment to carry the client’s load. Agents also negotiate fees. In addition, it is the agent’s responsibility to plan pickup and delivery times. Finally, a freight agent must solve any problems that occur during the transportation of the load, such as theft or damage to the cargo.
Differences Between Freight Agents & Independent Freight Agents
As you can see from these similar job titles, freight agents and independent freight agents do essentially the same job on a day-to-day basis. The only difference is that independent freight agents are self-employed individuals who work as contractors for freight brokers. Freight agents, on the other hand, are employed by brokers. Independent freight agents have more freedom, but their income may vary greatly depending on their network of contacts and on the season. Freight agents employed by brokers have a steadier income, with many even being salaried employees with benefits.
Differences Between Freight Brokers & Freight Agents
Freight brokers and freight agents work in the same industry, but they have very different jobs. The processes for becoming a freight broker and becoming a freight agent are also very different. Brokers must obtain a license from the federal government. They also have to carry a bond of at least $75,000. Thankfully, they do not need to pay for the entire $75,000 up front, as bond companies offer these bonds to brokers for a fee of between 1% to 10% of the amount per year. Finally, freight brokers will need to carry both general liability and cargo insurance in case something happens to a load.
Freight brokers are responsible for the big picture, while freight agents are responsible for individual loads. Brokers collect payment from the shippers and pay the truckers after getting their fees. Freight agents work under the broker by actually handling the logistics of loads while brokers handle the regulations, liability, and payment process. Many brokers have numerous freight agents working under them, especially if the brokerage is large and well-established. Some brokers are also self-employed and work only with freelance freight agents. However, even large brokers often work with freelance freight agents.
Benefits of Working as an Independent Freight Agent
There are numerous benefits associated with working as an independent freight agent. Independent freight agents can work from home and set their own hours. They can also work with multiple brokers, and can easily stop working with a broker they don’t like. Picking and choosing which brokers you work with allows you to only work with brokers who pay promptly, which helps make your freelance income more reliable. You can also vary which jobs you take on so that you can grow your skill set and learn everything about the freight brokerage industry.