We’ve been fielding a lot of questions about online freight broker courses lately. And let’s set the record straight: ambition is a great thing! At Tallgrass, we’ll be the first to cheer on anyone who wants to learn and grow.
If you’re interested in online freight training courses, that’s a great sign that you want to expand your horizons and take control of your future. But we’ve got be clear. If you want to learn about being a freight broker, we feel pretty passionate that there’s a better path forward.
So if you want to get started as a freight broker, the way to begin isn’t with an online freight course. What should you do instead? If you’re interested in a career as a freight agent, here’s what we recommend.
Build Your Freight Experience
Sure, you can read all about logistics. But the truth is, no amount of learning via an online course can truly paint an accurate picture of what it takes to succeed as a freight agent. The most effective way to start a career in freight is to gain real-world experience — it’s as simple as that.
Instead of enrolling in an online training academy, find a local brokerage, get your feet wet and put in the work day in and day out. If you’re driven, committed, and willing to put in the repetition (think: picking up the phone 100+ times each day), then there’s no substitute for gaining hands-on experience.
Where you work make a difference as well. A brokerage’s credit rating will give you a crucial glimpse into their reputation, reliability and stability — and will have a direct impact on your career. You want to work with a brokerage where you’ll learn the ropes and try things hands on: how to sell, how to plan out your week with regard to sales calls, who your target audience is, etc. Then you can rinse and repeat. Because the reality is, anybody can make calls for a week. The real test is what you do week two, week six, five months later and so on. Are you able to put in the same level of intensity? The same volume of calls?
“Learning from people who are successful can be a game-changer for your career.”
“That’s the kind of work ethic I really want to see,” says Tallgrass President Sean Richardson. “Can you do the grind? Because you can teach anybody about freight. But what I want to gauge is whether you can put in the hours, the dedication, the repetition needed to build up a book of business and retain it.”
That’s why we look for candidates with at least one year of experience under their belt. Because the ability to show up and go hard day after day is what it’s going to take to run your own agency. So, you’ll want to look for an opportunity with a small to mid-sized brokerage that can give you a genuine feel for the business and if it makes sense for you.
“One thing to be aware of,” Sean shares, “is finding a brokerage that doesn’t have a non-compete. Most will have a non-solicit; six months to a year is pretty reasonable. It’ll also be helpful to try and find a mentor, because learning from people who are successful can be a game-changer for your career.”
Strengthen the Skills That’ll Help You Thrive
There are certain inherent character traits that are non-negotiable for success as a freight agent. Characteristics like being ambitious, thick-skinned and tenacious should be ingrained in who you are both personally and professionally.
There are other qualities and skills, however, that can be learned — and strengthened! — over time. Problem-solving skills, for instance, are key in this industry because, let’s face it, issues will crop up. When things go awry, you’ll need to take ownership of the problem, be proactive in finding a solution, and advocate for your customer. Your ability to communicate and build relationships is everything in this business.
You’ll also need to develop and fortify your sales skills, such as cold calling, networking and closing. Sales is all about perspective and maintaining that “glass half full” outlook. Every “no” is getting you closer to a “yes” and investing time in relationships can pay off big time in growing customer accounts and building a referral network. It takes mental fortitude, but if you’re driven, consistent, and have the right attitude, you’ll be able to put in the work needed to thrive as a freight agent.
Another important facet of honing your craft? Staying up-to-date with market trends. Understanding the market will allow you to capitalize on opportunities, navigate uncertainty and provide clients with an added layer of value. As a broker, you want to live and breathe all things freight. This will make your job easier and give you an edge over the competition.
You’ve Put in the Time. Now What?
“Once you get to a point where you’ve built your book of business to a certain threshold, you’ve been able to maintain it, and you’ve shown the ability to basically rinse and repeat for two years, then you’ve gained a real taste for what it takes to be successful,” Sean shares. “Now we can start having conversations about what it looks like to open up your own agency with Tallgrass.”
Ready to chat with us? Learn more about joining our freight agent program and achieving the lifestyle you’ve always envisioned for yourself.