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Why Joining a Company With an Internal Brokerage Could Cost You Your Business

In the right circumstances, becoming a freight agent can be a fantastic career choice, filled with opportunities to focus on bringing in first-time clients, building relationships, and exceeding the expectations of shippers and carriers. The freedom, pay, and level of control can be enticing. However, in the wrong situation, joining a freight brokerage can be a debilitating decision.

One of the riskiest moves for a freight agent is stepping into an organization that runs its own internal brokerage. As an agent, you shouldn’t have to compete within your company to keep the business you’ve already secured.

The professional relationships you’ve developed are a huge part of your success — both now and for many years to come. You may lose some of those relationships through natural attrition, but that healthy fear of competition should stem from external agents, not from people within your company. Freight agents who are forced to compete with an internal brokerage spend too much time looking over their shoulders.

Burning Out From Unnecessary Competition

The constant struggle to drum up new business is as American as apple pie, but it’s not always necessary. While a certain level of competition is good for keeping you sharp, undue competition — the type that’s common with internal brokerages — burns salespeople out far too quickly.

Within a brokerage, each independent freight agent should be able to plan his or her business development strategy based on the tools at hand, without fear of being blindsided by salespeople who supposedly are on their own team. Natural growth unfolds as a result of healthy competition — not because of stressful, excessive pressure from an internal brokerage.

At Freight Tec, we sign a non-compete, non-disclosure agreement every time we partner with a freight agent. Read over the document here.

Lack of Freedom and Support

Many experienced freight agents are recognizing there’s a balance between too little freedom and too little support. The sweet spot is where independent freight agents thrive.

With a company like Freight Tec,  these talented independent agents have the autonomy to use their time-tested processes to close deals, enjoy the fair gross profit commission split they deserve, and have the back-office support that’s so difficult to obtain outside an established company. Benefits such as paid-for technology platforms and exhaustive back-office administrative help are game-changers for many agents.

Leave Internal Brokerages Behind

The presence of internal brokerages is a thorn in the side of many excellent freight agents. If you’re interested in leaving internal brokerages behind, explore the benefits of becoming an independent  freight agent by emailing your questions to info@freight-tec.com. Or, learn more about the perks of the independent freight agent lifestyle in our infographic.

5 Tips For Making the Leap to Independent Freight Agent

Whether you’re a longtime veteran of the freight industry or coming from a totally different industry, becoming an independent freight agent is a big step. If you know what you’re doing, the transition can be very smooth, with success from the outset. Even if you don’t, there are some key things to remember to make the transition more smooth.

Make Sure to Find the Right Brokerage

The most important component of your success will be your own talent and hard work, but joining a great brokerage is vital, too. Look for one that is interested in supporting you in a variety of ways, including:

  • Providing a fair commission split
  • Not requiring agents to sign a non-compete
  • Guaranteeing it won’t steal agents’ clients from within
  • Providing back-office support and operating capital

Finish a Business Plan

Business plans come in all shapes and sizes, but the most important thing is the process. Developing goals, a timeline, and action items is vital for getting in the right frame of mind for the job at hand. Regardless of the extent to which you actually reference your business plan as you move forward, the benefits of the critical thinking process will prove invaluable.

Make Sure You Have the Right Technology

In today’s market, independent freight agents need a robust portfolio of software solutions and platforms at their disposal such as cloud-based TMS (Transportation Management Systems), web based MS systems and access to industry leading load boards and online market places.

If a brokerage pays for the technology tools that its agents use, that’s a good sign that the organization is well-invested in each person’s success.

Ongoing Learning & Training

Even the best salespeople are in a state of constant learning. In hopes of staying competitive for many years, highly motivated independent freight agents often are committed to ongoing education opportunities.

There are many online freight-related courses and events all over the U.S. that can be very helpful, but even outside-the-box training can prove valuable. Anything that keeps you growing as a person and a freight forwarder can help contribute to long-term success.

Learn More About Becoming an Independent Freight Agent

To learn more about what it takes to become an independent freight agent, check out Freight Tec’s Become an Agent infographic.

3 Surprising Ways to Improve Your Bottom Line As a Freight Agent

For freight agents, there is strong, vast potential to grow a client base and make a lot of money. Of course, like in any industry, there are challenges that must be overcome.

Many of today’s freight brokers and agents feel pressured to stay up to date with the latest software — the type of industry-specific platforms that quickly are becoming “table stakes.” They also struggle to keep up with the escalating number of back-office administrative tasks necessary to run a successful freight business. What’s more, freight agents feel the burden of ages-old issues such as exorbitant overhead expenses.

Luckily, there are ways to improve your bottom line as a freight agent, including:

How to Attract the Right Clients to Grow Your Business

On many levels, freight agent clients are no different than customers in any other industry. They want their needs met, they need to be treated fairly, and they crave predictability.

Sounds simple enough, right? However, it definitely takes a certain type of person to attract the right clients to increase freight business. It takes an exceptional freight agent, not just someone who is extroverted and great on the phone.

Independent freight agents with a special set of skills display these qualities that help them find and retain the right clients, or shippers:

The Pros and Cons of Starting a Freight Brokerage Company

Before entering any industry, gathering as much information as possible is vital. Of course, fact-finding alone isn’t enough. In a highly competitive industry such as freight transportation, stacking up the potential benefits against the likely drawbacks is a key way to determine whether the rewards are worth the risk.

When it comes to opening up a freight brokerage, there are some really powerful pros and cons to consider.

Does Your Freight Brokerage Do These Three Things?

 

Whether you work for a freight brokerage or operate your own, it’s important to now and again take stock of what’s working and what’s not. There are some key questions to ask yourself about the industry and your brokerage.

Most of these questions are about common freight broker frustrations such as tedious, tiresome administrative tasks that take time away from actual sales activities. For brokerage owners, it’s important to think about the status of ongoing operating costs and risks. For agents, it’s worth asking, “Am I being supported by my company? Am I being enabled to thrive?”

If you’re being honest about your future in the shipping industry, think about whether your freight brokerage does these three things:

How to Expand Your Customer Relationships as a Freight Agent

For a freight agent, having loyal, high-volume shipping customers is a must. But securing MANY of these reliable customers really is a key indicator of long-term success and low stress.

A lot of agents are good at maintaining strong relationships with existing customers, but how about finding new ones? With the combination of diligence, talent, and skill, you can forge new bonds on a regular basis. Here are several tips for how to expand your customer relationships as a freight agent:

3 Benefits of Working with a Freight Broker That Offers Cutting-Edge Technology

When choosing a freight broker to work with, access to technology might not be the first factor that comes to mind. Your questions likely center on issues such as credit, industry compliance, insurance, reputation, and communication skills.

Here’s the irony: Each of these issues for freight brokers can be better managed and made easier through technology. When used intelligently, cutting-edge freight broker technology frees up agents to do their work with more efficiency and passion than ever before.

How to Find a Brokerage that Will Help Serve the Needs of Your Clients

In a highly competitive industry such as freight, independent freight agents are always looking for an edge. In particular, they want to find a brokerage that can help them serve the needs of their clients, or shippers.

There aren’t any magic pills that solve the challenges that agents face, but there certainly are small but powerful tools and support that can make a big difference.