How to Become a Freight Broker

Bryan Van Suchtelen

September 28, 2023


Are you considering becoming a freight broker? Do you want to know how to become a freight broker and embark on a journey that's both rewarding and challenging?

Freight brokers are an extremely important part of the logistics landscape around the world. A freight broker has important duties that help to ensure cargo transactions go as planned for everyone involved in the process. Also, freight brokers have the opportunity to learn a great deal about logistics conditions in their area of specialization. This can make them very valuable members of an enterprise logistics team.

Buckle up; we're about to guide you through the exciting process of becoming a freight broker, from understanding the basics of surety bonds, freight brokering, and the essential qualities of an experienced freight broker.

What is Freight Brokering?

Freight brokering is the art of bringing together two vital components of the transportation ecosystem: shippers and carriers. It's the fine balance between demand and supply, connecting those who have goods to move (shippers) with those who have the capacity to move them (carriers). Think of it as orchestrating a symphony where each note represents a shipment, and you are the conductor.

What Does a Freight Broker Do?

The main duty of a broker is to work as an intermediary between an enterprise that requires cargo to be carried and one that provides the necessary services at an acceptable price. This being the case, the broker does not need to be focused on the development of new logistics solutions, but must be highly familiar with existing solutions. He or she needs to have a strong background in business analysis to develop an understanding of the client company’s needs.

In the vast landscape of the transportation industry, shipping industry, and logistics industry, freight brokers are the linchpin that ensures goods reach their destinations efficiently and cost-effectively. As a freight broker, your mission is clear: "send costs packing" for your clients while facilitating seamless cargo movements.

Transform Shipping Data Into Savings

The Key Functions of a Freight Broker

  • Matching Shippers and Carriers: At the heart of freight brokering is the ability to match shippers' needs with carriers' capabilities. Picture yourself as a puzzle solver, fitting pieces together seamlessly.
  • Negotiating Rates: Negotiation skills are your best friend in this business. You'll negotiate rates that satisfy both shippers and carriers, creating win-win scenarios.
  • Ensuring Compliance: Navigating the complex regulatory landscape is crucial. Compliance with regulations like the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) and having a broker authority is a must.

When Are Freight Brokerage Services Used?

Both motor carriers and their clients may choose to retain the services of freight brokerage firms. Brokers may coordinate the logistics requirements of an entire enterprise focused on movement of cargo. Small, medium, and large-sized businesses all benefit from these services. The broker should be well-versed in business relationship management and process improvement, focused on logistics operations, in order to develop a network of contacts appropriate to any situation.

Steps to Becoming a Freight Broker

  • Obtaining the Necessary Education and Training: Before diving headfirst into the world of freight brokering, you need to build a solid knowledge foundation. Seek out comprehensive freight broker training programs that cover everything from obtaining your broker license to understanding financial responsibility. This education is your compass, guiding you through the labyrinth of logistics.
  • Registering Your Business and Meeting Legal Requirements: But knowledge alone won't suffice; you need the right credentials. Register your business and obtain the essential freight broker license. Don't forget the surety bond, a crucial element of your financial responsibility. This is your key to legitimacy in the logistics realm.
  • Acquiring Industry Knowledge and Networking: Freight brokering is a dynamic field that requires in-depth industry knowledge. Dive deep into the nuances of the transportation industry, from niche markets to freight logistics. But don't go it alone. Network with experienced freight brokers, attend industry conferences and join associations to broaden your horizons.
  • Developing Negotiation and Communication Skills: In the world of freight brokering, every conversation is a negotiation, and communication is your currency. Hone your negotiation skills to secure favorable rates, and master the art of effective communication to build lasting relationships.
  • Establishing Relationships with Shippers and Carriers: The foundation of your success lies in the relationships you build. Nurture your connections with shippers and carriers like a gardener tending to prized roses. Strong relationships lead to repeat business and referrals, essential for your growth.
  • Compliance and Ongoing Education: The logistics industry is constantly evolving, with regulations that change like the seasons. Stay compliant with evolving rules and regulations, and continue your education to stay at the forefront of industry trends.

What Does Career Progression in the Freight Broker Field Look Like?

Before practicing in freight brokerage, an individual must meet all of the federal requirements outlined above as well as any state requirements. He or she may have a degree in business, logistics, or any of a number of other fields. Once the basic requirements have been met, it is often the case that a newcomer to freight brokerage will work with an established company for three to five years. This creates the opportunity for a basic grounding in the field.

Following this period, many freight brokerage professionals find they are knowledgeable enough to specialize in certain areas of the field. For example, there are many state, regional, and international brokers whose services are focused and specific enough for them to compete effectively with much larger companies whose service offerings are broader. It is not unusual for such professionals to become entrepreneurs who work in a series of smaller enterprises for much of their careers. However, they can also cultivate larger enterprises with a vast reach. As in many fields, success usually arises from a combination of study and hands-on experience.

Qualities of an Experienced Freight Broker

  • Industry Expertise: Experienced freight brokers are walking encyclopedias of the transportation industry. They navigate regulations, anticipate market fluctuations, and understand the intricacies of the trade.
  • Adaptability: The logistics world is in perpetual motion. Successful brokers adapt swiftly to change and stay ahead of industry shifts.
  • Problem-Solving: Every day in freight brokering is a puzzle. Brokers excel at solving complex logistical challenges, ensuring cargo reaches its destination on time and within budget.

Tips for Becoming a Successful Freight Broker

  • Building a Client Base: Start small, perhaps in niche markets, and expand gradually. Exceptional service will earn you a reputation that attracts more clients.
  • Managing Finances: Effective financial management is the backbone of your business. Track income, expenses, and profit margins diligently.
  • Staying Competitive: The logistics industry is fiercely competitive. Continuously seek ways to enhance efficiency, provide top-tier service, and stay updated with the latest technology to outshine your rivals.


In conclusion, your journey to becoming a successful freight broker is an adventure filled with learning, challenges, and opportunities. Armed with knowledge, a strong network, and the right attitude, you'll be ready to embark on a career where you "send costs packing" and play a vital role in the ever-moving world of logistics. So, get ready to navigate the exciting path ahead, and let your journey begin.

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Bryan Van Suchtelen

Bryan Van Suchtelen

Corporate Director of Parcel Rate Services

With more than 34 years of parcel experience, Bryan Van Suchtelen is the Corporate Director of Parcel Rate Services at Lojistic, one of the nation’s top logistics and transportation cost management companies.

Prior to joining Lojistic in 2015, Bryan enjoyed a 26-year career with UPS where his roles included Pricing, Field Sales and Director-level Sales Management of some of UPS’s largest customers.

At Lojistic, Bryan leverages his wealth of experience/expertise to identify and execute supply chain cost management solutions for parcel shippers of all sizes. Bryan has helped his customers reduce their shipping spend by tens of millions of dollars.
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