One of the fastest growing professions in the transportation industry is the freight broker profession. A freight broker is an individual or business that works as a liaison between individual or company that needs an authorized motor carrier and shipping services. The start-up cost of freight brokerage business is easily affordable, when compared to other professions in the transportation industry. However, many people who want to work as a freight broker have doubts about the freight broker salaries, which they can expect in this business. To get an accurate estimation of freight broker salaries, you must understand the process of making money in the freight brokerage business.
How does a freight broker earn money?
The process of making money in the freight brokerage business is pretty simple. When a company wants to move a load of freight from one place to another, they will pay for the cost of transportation. Therefore, the client of freight broker pays the broker to move the freight. However, it’s not the broker who moves the freight, but instead uses its contacts and resources to find the right person for transporting the goods. In this process, the broker pays the transporter lesser amount to move the freight than the amount it got from its client. The difference of these two amount is called a “spread” and this “spread” is the profit of a freight broker. Salary of a freight broker is profit minus the operating expenses.
For example, if a freight broker charges a company $1000 for a 500 mile trip and finds a transporter who can haul the freight for $750, then the broker has made a profit of $250. The most important factor that decides the broker’s overall weekly income is the number of loads he can move per week. Some brokers are able to move 1-3 loads per week, while other can move 8-10 loads per week. Also, the spread for each load may vary. Therefore, there are many factors that influence the income of a freight broker.
Average salary of a freight broker
The nationwide average freight broker salary is nearly $43,600 per year. The yearly earnings of independent freight brokers can be much higher and reach up to $100,000 to $150,000 per year. However, there are many factors that can influence the average freight broker salaries. These factors include location, company, experience, benefits, skills, etc. A proper understanding of these factors can help aspiring freight brokers in taking decisions that will enable them to get good salaries.
Top three factors that influence freight broker salaries
The three most prominent factors that influence the average freight broker salaries are discussed below. Some of these factors influence the salaries more as compared to other factors, but each factor is important while considering the salary that an aspiring freight broker can expect from this occupation.
This is the most important factor that can influence the salary of a freight broker.
Entry-level: An individual with 0-5 years of experience is considered entry-level freight broker. They are newcomers with no experience in the field. They earn less than the nationwide average salary of a freight broker.
Mid-level: A professional with 5-10 years of experience in this business is considered as mid-level freight broker. The average salary of mid-level freight broker is more than $50,000 per year.
Experienced: A professional with 10-19 years of experience in this business is considered as experienced freight broker. The average salary of freight broker in this category is more than $60,000 per year.
Late-career: Most of the freight brokers move on to other positions after spending 20 years in this profession. Therefore, people with 20+ years of experience are considered to be in the last stage of their careers as a freight broker. The average salary of late-career freight brokers can be up to $80,000 per year.
Having good skills is another factor that is associated with high salary in this occupation. The skills in this business includes creating contacts and providing efficient services.
Contacts: The database of contacts is an important factor that differentiates a high earning and low earning freight broker. A skilled freight broker builds a vast database of contacts by using methods like personal networking, exploring professional associations, doing internet research and going through various other resources. These contacts then act as a foundation for earning a high salary in this profession.
Efficient services: Freight brokers who can deliver quality shipping methods at affordable prices have a great chance of developing lasting business relationship with their clients. Most of the times companies need long-term freight broker services. Therefore, by providing excellent service you can expect repeat business.
The average freight broker salaries are also influenced by the state where they are providing their services. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top paying states for this occupation are Connecticut, District of Columbia, Washington, Oregon and Nebraska. The average freight broker salaries for all these states are more than the nationwide average freight broker salary.
Differences between freight brokers and freight broker agents
Freight broker agents are the professionals who work for freight brokers. A freight broker carries all the liability and has to comply with federal and state regulations regarding the transportation of freight. Typically an agent has less experience and fewer resources than the broker and is going through a learning curve in this business. Most of the clients of freight broker agents are shippers that have a small business and need transportation of low volume freights. Therefore, it’s no surprise that a freight broker agent earns less money than freight broker.
Difference in earning potential of a freight broker and a freight broker agent
The nationwide average freight broker agent salary is nearly $35,600 per year. Therefore, the earnings of an agent is much less than the earning of a broker, but the start-up cost of being a freight broker agent is also very low. The factors influencing average freight broker agent salaries are the same as the ones influencing the salaries of freight brokers.
The job of a freight broker can be very exciting, but also very demanding. However, if you work smartly and have the patience then in some years, you will build a strong client base, which will make your job highly rewarding.