You know how the logistics world works. Now, you’re thinking about venturing out on your own. Life as an independent freight agent can be highly rewarding. As long as you do your research and preparation upfront, you can build a meaningful and exciting career for yourself.
Of course, there are a few things you should know as you get started. Those things include the benefits of becoming an independent agent, common freight agent mistakes, and what you should look for in an independent freight agent program. The more you know at the beginning, the more successful your career can become.
The Benefits of Becoming an Independent Freight Agent
First, it’s always good to know the benefits of the job. If you can clarify your reasons for starting an independent freight agent career, you can make decisions that align with those reasons. Plus, when things get challenging, you can remind yourself of these benefits to keep things in perspective.
A lot of independent freight agents choose this route because of the freedom it offers. No matter the industry, being your own boss can give you more room to stretch. You can set your own schedule and work the hours that fit best with your life. You can also run your business as you’d like to run it.
Next, when you leave a freight brokerage and choose an independent freight agency program instead, you can diversify your client list. Not only can you get to know more people, but you’ll also gain the potential to make more money. If you stick with a single brokerage, you may limit the amount of money you can make. That’s unfortunate, because the freight industry comes with a lot of growth and opportunity. The industry moves about 20 billion tons of goods per year, according to the most recent numbers, and those goods are worth nearly $19 trillion. New products and services are accelerating that growth, too. When you open up your client list, you open yourself up to business growth.
Common Freight Agent Mistakes to Avoid
Now that you’ve seen some benefits of switching to an independent freight agency program, you can make the most of those benefits by avoiding the most common freight agent mistakes.
One of the most common mistakes is not taking advantage of growth opportunities. For instance, some independent agents don’t diversify their client lists. Once they get a couple of big clients, they focus all their energy on those clients while ignoring other potential opportunities. Not only does this mistake limit their earning potential, but it can also put them in a bind when things get unpredictable. Having a lot of clients can help you create a financial safety net.
Likewise, some agents limit their options by not looking for growth opportunities. Once they reach a certain benchmark, they grow complacent and get stuck in a rut. Growth is what will keep you successful as an independent agent. Don’t stall your business by accepting an overly-predictable routine.
Next, a lot of the most common freight agent mistakes come from not seeking support. Just because you’re independent doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take advantage of all available resources. You can avoid this mistake by choosing an independent freight agency program. This way, you’ll get the best of both worlds; You’ll have all the independence of working for yourself, plus all the support you’d get from working for a brokerage.
How to Choose an Independent Freight Agency Program
Of course, once you decide to use an agency program, you’ll need to find the right one. Thankfully, there are a few traits that set the best programs apart. Look for these traits when you research your options.
- For one thing, find a full-service solution. When looking at an agency program, find out just how many services it offers. If one of your clients needed flatbed services or temperature-controlled shipping, would your agency program be able to provide those options? If not, you may have to pass up some valuable opportunities, and you can limit your potential earnings as a result.
- Second, look for a program with a solid leadership team. You’ll want a lot of people on your side, including recruiters, talent development professionals, and more. As an independent freight agent, you’ll have to wear a lot of hats. A solid support system can help keep you from getting overwhelmed.
- Third, look for reliability. Reliability makes all the difference in the freight industry, and it can take a lot of weight off your shoulders. When you know that you can count on your agency program, your clients will know that they can count on you.
Your independent freight business can change everything from your income to your work/life balance. It can change your work dynamics and give you more freedom in all areas of your life. If you’re building the kind of work that makes you excited to wake up in the morning, then that work deserves a fighting chance. Keep up with your research and resources, and you can build something amazing.