Experienced Freight Agent Jobs - Being ready when opportunity knocks
You've Got Freight Agent Experience & Shippers - Preparing for the interview & what to expect.
Below is an article on what is involved in the typical interview process as well as some helpful tips when exploring or looking for a freight agent job in logistics.
(note: the principals below apply to any job search)
If you are an experienced freight agent, transportation broker and have good client roster, know dispatching with the ability to run an independent office you are a big step ahead of many of your fellow competitors.
We would like to offer some tips and ideas on how you can be ready to grab that freight agent position when opportunity knocks.
Are You A Freight Agent Working As A Direct Employee ?
If you are currently working in an employee salary/commission type position and are thinking of setting out on your own as a independent freight agent which means, you own your own book of shipper clients and get paid on a straight commission basis.
Before you give notice or apply for a independent freight agent position it is essential to:
- Review your current employment agreement do you have the right to move clients with you to your own business? Meaning did you sign a non compete agreement?
Make a list of your shippers contact information and the carriers you work with.
How many of those clients do you think will follow you to your new position / business. This is where your pay is coming from so this is crucial indicator if you will have a sustainable income when you make your move.
While you are there it is good to know how much freight you are moving monthly as well as what your profit margin is.
- Gather a list of references both professional & personal and construct a basic resume with experience, contact info, references.
- Do you have at least a month or two's savings that can cover your bills until you get your office up and running and see how many clients followed you?
- If you are receiving benefits that are crucial to you, ie health insurance etc. start checking out self insured plans before you leave and sign up and with the above (having a rough idea of what your business /personal budget is) will this be do-able for you.If all is looking good to you than your ready to take it a step further.
- Start paperwork for your business license, yes even as a freight agent under a 3PL you will need your own business license. This is for tax purposes both federal and local. Know what type of business structure would work for you. Sole-proprietor, LLC or Corp. for just starting out businesses many opt for the LLC structure.
- Get business insurance - Yes even though you will be operating under another's umbrella it is always good to have buffer protection for your hard earned personal assets. Call your insurance person ask about an umbrella over your homeowners policy, Error & omissions policy etc. (note these are not bad in the scheme of things price wise) having that with a LLC is a good thing to do considering most independent freight agents work out of a home office.
By preparing to take your freight agent career to the next step while your employed the transition from employee to independent will be smoother and easier and help you be quick to the opportunity when it arises.
This is good for a whole host of reasons being that you do not want a delay in being able to service your clients because their shipping needs don't change and they could possibly find another agent. Secondly, when in the hiring process lengthy delays, or lack of knowledge on your business potential might disqualify you for a creditable position.
Already Working As A Independent Agent
If you are currently working as a independent freight agent looking to work with another company or you have been impacted by the logistic company your working for closing than there are some things you too can do to make finding a new home for your business easier.
- Prepare your numbers, know what you are running and what your profit margins are. Be able to produce reports if required.
- Gather a list of references both professional & personal.
- When applying either online through a form or in a traditional manner, complete their application in or provide the requested information at application.
- Show up for the interview on time be it via phone or in person.
Always read position requirements sought, employers post for specific job skills and experience if you fulfill those requirements than apply, if not than don't.
Why? You want to show yourself in the best light possible, demonstrate what value you are bringing to the table and that by providing the initial "asked for requirements" that you are a serious applicant.
Working as a freight agent and for logistics companies as well time is a precious commodity,
Companies that you are considering teaming with look at the information points listed above. Being prepaired both you and the companies your considering teaming with quickly will be able to see if you are a right fit for each other. Futher demonstrating respect for your time and theirs because in shipping and freight clients needs stands still for no one.
Looking For A Freight Broker Agent Job
So now your ready to begin your search for a job. There are many souces where you can find companies looking for Qualified Freight Agents and are offering serious positions. Know that if their ad states Experienced, Qualified or other simular discriptives, they are looking for Agents that can hit the ground running and these types of positions are not usually a good fit for those whom may have only limited experience, or no experience within the functions of being a Freight Agent.
So you found some advertised positions that sound interesting to you.
- Follow their application directions if it asks for a resume, than send one.
- Provide a contact number and be available for a initial phone call. (if your currently employeed you can state this in your application and ask to be called at: or set up a time to talk via email.Tip: Responsiveness and following guidelines is a key element in the Agent job function not providing information as requested with application or difficulty communication with you would be an indicator of how you work, so just a little advise to start the process on the right foot.
So You Got A Call For A Interview - Congrads
This is where it gets exciting for both you and your potential new home
Typical Questions The Logistics and Freight Brokerages Ask Freight Agents:
- What is your volume numbers - or how much freight do you run in a month, has this been consistent
- What is you profit margin - ie what percentage rate above cost do you get on average . Good is about 15 - 20%
- Why are you leaving your current position?
- Do you specialize in a certain type of freight?
- Do you have an active client book? Are most willing to follow you?
- What load boards are you familiar with?
- Are you financially ok for a month or two when transitioning to a new company.
- When would you be ready to start working? Finding out if you have other commitments.
- They will want the ability to check references.
Questions you should ask during your interview
- How long have you been in business?
- Financial's, are you/do you have solid credit rating?
- What is your commission split rate?
- How long has the average agent been with you - this is an indicatior that agents like working there and are treated well and have their carriers and are paid on time (this is a big deal)
- What support systems do you provide ie, software, loadboard subscriptions, credit checks etc.
- Are your clients protected - have they had poaching issues
- Ask questions that give you an idea of the type of environment/ relationship style that works for you. Family Feel type, team approach or supportive when needed. Do you like the person that you will be working with or through?
- How many agents are in my area - competitive?
- Can I expand my office and bring in others underneath me and grow my business?
Usually there is an initial review of your resume and intro phone conversation think of it as passing by the gatekeeper. Typically it is roughly a three step process.
- Talk to the gate keeper who will verify your initial information to see if you are qualified for position advertised- if this pans out, meaning you sent in the initial info. requested, were reachable and responsive and qualified then on to step two.
- You will then be scheduled for a interview with the decision maker this is where you / company will be able to assess if experience and personalities fit and will/could lead to a productive Broker/Agent relationship.This is where you will ask your questions, discuss payment structures etc.Commission vary across the board some are high some are lower than average.
Make a careful decision here, if commissions rates are within percentage points of each other and you base your decision sonly on commission rate , you could be leaving yourself open to a company that is not solid financially or has history of non payment or other issues.
Remember the above tip in checking your prospective broker relationship. You should make your carrier decision based on the whole picture which besides commissions includes, support services for building & protecting your business, payments on time for you and your carriers, company environment.
- Final Interview, this is where decision to pass Contracts/Agreements happens When you receive agreement and you have any questions in regards to the agreement write them down then call them or email to schedule a time for walking through the agreement to answer any questions.
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Thank You and Good Luck
We hope you found this article helpful in understanding how a little preperation as well as due dillagience can benefit you and help you find the right opportunity for you.
At closing would like to say thank you to Coastal Transportation for taking the time to answer my questions on what to expect, how to increase chances and how they determine who's a good fit for their Freight Agent Job