If you enjoy planning, and logistics and consider yourself a people person, a career as a Freight Agent might suit you. As a freight agent, you plan and expedite incoming and outgoing shipments of freight and cargo and map the routes for their movement. You could work with booking these shipments on airlines, trains, and via trucking terminals and river or ocean-going ships. A freight agent receives customer orders, then arranges the freight pickup and delivery to the loading docks. You will also prepare bills of lading, including calculating the shipping charges and tariffs. Learn how you can become a Freight Agent.
How to Become a Freight Agent
Freight Agents form an essential part of any shipping or freight pipeline. This key logistics position requires specialized training that takes place after working in the logistics industry for some time.
Where in the US Do Freight Agents Work?
You could work as a freight agent in any state in the US, but some areas of the country employ more individuals in this job. Each of these areas offers a metropolitan setting near a major transportation hub. In the US, the following ten cities house the areas with the greatest number of freight agents.
- Los Angeles, CA
- Chicago, IL
- New York City, NY
- Miami, FL
- Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
- Houston, TX
- Cincinnati, OH
- San Francisco, CA
- Detroit, MI
- Atlanta, GA
Median Freight Agent Salary
According to the <a href=” https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes435011.htm#ind”>Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)</a>, the average salary for a Freight Agent is $46,910 per year or $22.55 per hour. Depending on your location, education, and experience, a freight agent could earn as much as $69,450 or $33.39 per hour. A wide range exists for the payment of these positions though, with entry-level agents earning $14.43 per hour or an annual salary of $30,020.
One caveat exists though to this position. Those figures don’t reference a guaranteed salary. Instead, the position pays on commission. For some positions as a freight agent, as much as 75 percent of the salary comes from commission. This means that your assertiveness and willingness to chase dollars decide your total income.
Working as a Freight Agent
Do you love the idea of being an essential worker that shipping firms need and count on to route plan and ensure that each shipment leaves and arrives on time and undamaged? If the logistical challenges and planning appeal to you, you might like a career as a Freight Agent.
Training to Become a Freight Agent
Freight Agents typically begin their careers with on-the-job training. They do eventually attend a formal program and continuing education programs, but they don’t attend a vocational school or college straight out of high school, then start their job.
So, where should you get your job to start your education or on-the-job training? Here’s a list of the top programs.
Tallgrass Freight Co.
You can become an independent freight agent at Tallgrass using its employee training program. The company handles four different types of shipping – LTL, expedited, rail, and truckload shipping. The program offers an employee support framework, technology tools, continuing education and agent development, and back-office support. It offers one of the best programs for those just starting out in the industry.
If you already have experience in the field, D&L Transport offers advanced training, so you can advance in the transportation and logistics industry. This on-the-job training provides you employment while you study to become a freight agency. You can earn more than the standard commission of 70 percent per load commission on every load with its year-end bonus program. The shipping firm’s program ensures that its agents receive protection from bad debt.
Logistics Dynamics, Inc (LDI)
Headquartered in Buffalo, NY, LDI puts a heavy emphasis on trust and teamwork. LDI offers agents a proprietary TMS that can link directly to client internal order management software via electronic data interchange (EDI). They also provide online customer and carrier portals and the option of electronic invoicing and payment.
LDI is clear about its agent requirements. According to their agent page, prospects must have a customer base of active shippers and manage the full life cycle of customer freight. Agents must also have access to basic office technology (computer, fax machine, phone, and high-speed internet). Lastly, they must be customer-service-minded with a winning attitude.
The venerable firm known as Trinity Logistics, founded in 1979, ranks 18th in the 2020 Top 100 Freight Brokerage Firms. Its in-house training program provides the initial educational program and continuing education in the areas of business strategy and sales. The Delaware firm aims to provide added value to its agents-in-training. It also pays a 50 to 70 percent commission. You won’t receive much training regarding bills of lading, however, since the firm outsourced its customer billing process. It maintains a small agent base to manage its carrier network of more than 90,000. Although in training, the company includes agent load and profit margin minimums.
Formerly known as Sunteck or TTS, MODE bought out the company in December 2019. It still offers one of the best on-the-job training programs, since its company handles rail intermodal, air, ocean, drayage, parcel freight, truckload, and less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments. You’ll already need to have copious amounts of experience in the industry though, and some sales experience. It ranks as the 10th freight brokerage firm in the US. The firm pays a 65 to 70 percent commission per load. You’ll need to sign up for a five-year contract as an agent. That’s considered a long contract in the industry.
You have many choices if you want to become a freight agent in the US. You’ll need experience with a freight company, but it doesn’t have to be in sales. You can have worked in an office position or in customer service, even as a janitor, and break into the field of freight agent through on-the-job training. Contact your choice of employer/school today to begin your career.