The most essential part of a freight broker’s job is to find companies needing to ship their product and arrange a way to get it shipped. If brokers are not able to find loads to ship they will have no business. Finding shipments can also be the most challenging part of a Broker’s job. Especially new freight agents who do not have the experience or book of business to work from can find it very challenging to get a company to trust you with their valuable shipments. Once a load is located and a rate negotiated, it is normally somewhat easy to find a carrier to transport it from point A to Point B. So how do I find a load to move and convince someone to pay me for transporting it?
There are many methods and resources for finding companies that need freight shipped. Be creative, because the less popular places you look will likely have been less “picked over” by other freight brokers out there. Begin by finding companies you are familiar with, that are located in your area, or are in an industry you know well. These connections to the companies you are looking for and might give you an advantage in finding someone that could use your services.
Look online, in the phone book, go door-to-door. Search specific and narrow keywords online to find smaller companies in very narrowly defined areas. Smaller companies will have been less heavily targeted by other brokers out there, and might even be new. Smaller companies will also likely be more willing to work with a broker who is less experienced, since large brokerages won’t bother to go after the companies moving only a few loads. With a little hard work and some good customer service you may be able to maintain them as a customer as they grow.
When companies tell you they don’t have anything for you right now, ask them when they might have something and what you could do to make yourself more competitive for the next load they move? Ask if they know or can think of anyone else needing freight moved. It can’t hurt, and more often than not companies will be happy to help out if they can.
Referrals can be one of the best sources of new customers, and is much more effective than advertising and cold calling. Especially companies in tight-knit industries will know many competitors, suppliers, and partners. Once you have a customer, work out from them to develop a network of clients that can provide more clients and a steady stream of business. As you build experience, a list of customers, and a reputation it will become easier to win people’s business and eventually business will come to you, or you will hold strong relationships with loyal customers. Remember to do everything you can to make shippers happy. Taking a few hits for your loyal customers now and then will be sure to win you their business in the future, retaining them as a customer for many years to come.
Becoming a freight broker can be a very profitable business, but it takes hard work and dedication to establish a good list of contacts and the experience necessary to make a large income. The effort is well worth it. Keep at it and you will be rewarded.