Just do a quick search for “how to get started in freight” and you’ll be hit with freight broker online courses galore. From webinars to guided courses, there are a lot of digital training programs out there! And first, let’s give you a round of applause. There’s nothing better than wanting to learn, grow and lean into the freight world!
But the real question is: are these courses worth it?
We’re going to give it to you straight. If you want to learn about the freight industry, we’ve got some great ideas beyond online freight agent training! We promise there’s a good reason why we’re advising you to avoid these courses. Let’s dive in.
It’s true that a freight brokerage career can be extremely lucrative and give you a life of financial freedom. Many of these online courses really try to sell that vision. But they fail to paint an accurate picture of what it takes to achieve that lifestyle.
Oftentimes, you’ll see advertising for a three-day or one-week course that promises you’ll learn everything you need to know in this wildly short timeframe and then, ta-da!, you’re ready to go out on your own.
To put it bluntly: It just doesn’t work that way.
As Tallgrass President Sean Richardson shares, “People often focus on the end result. They see all the glitter and gold, and that’s what they want for themselves. But they don’t see the grind that goes into being a broker. Those freight brokerage courses don’t tell you that four out of five days, you’re going to be making calls to people who have no interest in speaking with you. And you’ve got to find a way to mentally push through and remind yourself that every ‘no’ is one step closer to your next ‘yes.’”
Your success as a freight agent relies on hard work. There’s no sugarcoating it. You have to be willing to put in the hours and pick up the phone 100+ times every single day. Rinse and repeat. And the courses may not teach you how to do that.
No course can serve as a substitute for real-world freight agent experience.
They Don’t Offer the Right Training
The most impactful way to get started in freight is to get real, hands-on experience. The best way to start your career in freight is to literally start your career in freight.
Now, before you think we’re anti-education, let’s set the record straight. We’re fully supportive of anyone who wants to learn, grow and get equipped for success! But freight agent work is unique in that the best way to learn it is to do it. Our agents have a wide variety of educational and career backgrounds before freight. Some have advanced degrees in business, while others were bartenders!
“I can teach you all about trucks. I can teach you what can fit on a reefer,” Sean says. “And many freight brokerages will basically hand you a sales pitch. But what these classes don’t show you is the most important ingredient for success: Do you have the will and constitution to outwork the competition every single day? Because that’s the key separator between success and failure.”
No course can serve as a substitute for real-world freight agent experience. You’ve got to put in the work and repetition to get a genuine taste of what a day in the life looks like. Here at Tallgrass, we’re actively recruiting independent freight agents who have freight experience and have built a book of business before. And the best way to build that background is to get started.
They Aren’t Certified or Accredited
Many of these online freight broker training programs are not accredited in any way. Unfortunately, the freight industry doesn’t have safeguards in place to ensure the curriculum meets a certain threshold for excellence.
Why does this matter? There’s no standard in place to ensure you’ll learn the right skills. Without any kind of oversight, you could be in for a big disappointment.
What’s more, you don’t know who’s running these courses. Some instructors will have operational experience, but have they ever actually been a broker themselves? Have they successfully run their own book of business? We frequently see courses out there that are taught by people who simply don’t have any real experience grinding it out as a freight agent.
Are Freight Agent Courses Worth It?
Here’s the bottom line. Are freight broker online courses worth it? We’ll always applaud those who want to take their future by the horns, of course! But there’s no replacement for on-the-job experience. And without quality standards, without ensuring the training is right, without setting realistic expectations . . . these courses may not be worth it in the end.
But is becoming a freight broker worth it? Yes!
The moral of the story here is to steer towards real-world training. The more effective way to use your time and money is to get a couple of years of experience under your belt. And we’ll dive more into what you should do in lieu of an online training program in part two of this series: Freight Broker Training and Online Courses: What You Should Do Instead.