Freight brokers are the matchmakers of the transportation and logistics world—they match a shipper with a carrier in order to get any cargo from a point of origin to its final destination. If you’re out hunting for freight broker jobs, this job description will help you assess your work readiness.
Freight Broker Duties and Responsibilities
Generally, freight brokers have four main responsibilities:
- Ensure the safe passage of shipments from the shipper to the carrier through to the consignee.
- Prepare all the necessary documentations and reports involved in transporting cargo.
- Negotiate terms and rates, and settle all money obligations due your carriers.
- Find new customers and truckers, while making sure that current customers (both shippers and carriers) are happy with your service.
Drilling down to what these duties and responsibilities would translate to, the following tasks may be part of your daily routine as a freight broker:
- Work with shippers and carriers to arrive at a fair rate for a particular load, making sure that your commission is included;
- Search for carriers or truckers who will deliver your load to the consignee;
- Prepare all load information and other documentation required for each cargo (including bills of lading and in some cases over, short and damages reports—OS&D) using appropriate software and systems;
- Monitor load movement by keeping in constant contact with drivers and shippers to ensure that your shipment is en route and on time;
- When necessary, arrange for load storage;
- Troubleshoot problems that may arise during load movement;
- Confirm with truckers and consignees that your load has been delivered according to schedule and load information;
- Bill your shippers and pay your carriers on time, with supporting documentation;
- Create the necessary marketing materials to promote your business; and
- Network with individuals, companies, carriers and other stakeholders in your niche to develop new business.
Keep in mind that your objective is to get that load where it’s supposed to go. Once any shipment leaves the customer, it becomes your primary responsibility. That load has dollar values attached to it. The key to your freight broker success is in making sure that the shipper doesn’t lose the money riding on that load.
Freight Broker Qualifications
Freight brokers are essentially entrepreneurial by nature. They have to be so as to succeed in such a fast-moving, highly demanding industry. The following skills and qualifications will give you an edge over the rest of the competition:
- Highly organized. Many things are going on at once so you’ll have to know what’s going on where without breaking stride. That means everything’s in its proper place, you know where everything is, and you know how to access and obtain tools and resources to do your work fast.
- Decisive problem solver. Problems can happen anytime the load is between the shipper and the consignee. You must know how to troubleshoot these headaches swiftly and when needed, be quick to do damage control to prevent losses.
- Good people skills. Negotiating rates with shippers and carriers, networking with relevant individuals and organizations in increase business, solving load problems, and keeping your customers happy means you know how to engage people and create lasting relationships. How well you relate with others can spell the difference between your freight brokerage business’ failure and success.
- Effective time management. With all the tasks that you need to complete before the day is over, knowing how to make good use of the time that’s available to you can help you create a reputation for punctuality and reliability.
- Efficient multitasking abilities. Between finding shippers, looking for carriers, writing loading information, filing reports, calling people to track moving loads, negotiating rates, maintaining cash flow and a million and other things that are clamoring for your attention, knowing how to juggle things at the same time and doing it right the first time will be valuable skills. Learn how to identify the tasks that are important, urgent or low priority so you can maximize productivity with your limited time.
- Computer proficiency. Computers and software applications will facilitate the grunt work, cash management, reports, documentations and many other clerical tasks so it’s vital that you know your way around this equipment. That includes the ability to make good use of the Internet to find new customers.
Freight Broker Education
Whether you’re fully employed or work in a large logistics company, being a freight broker means you must at least have a high school diploma or a GED. To add to their know-how, aspiring freight brokers attend reputable freight broker training schools. Others work with companies who conduct one-day training seminars or apprenticeship programs to gain a solid grounding in the ins and outs of freight brokering.
While you’re looking for freight broker jobs, continue to refer to this freight broker job description to determine what skills you already have and what you need to acquire.