Trucking brokers are sales professionals who help manufacturers and wholesalers secure transportation services for their products. A broker analyzes the resources, needs, and shipping requirements of company and determines fair transportation rates. He or she then contacts authorized carriers to set up short- or long-term business relationships. It is common for trucking brokers to work solely on commission, collecting fees for providing a quality transaction between a distributor and a transportation company. Most countries require trucking brokers to obtain specialized licenses and apply for surety bonds from local banks or insurance companies before offering their services.
A broker can significantly ease the burden on both wholesale and shipping companies, allowing each to focus on other aspects of their businesses. Manufacturers and distributors rely on brokers to research the speed, effectiveness, range, and rates of transportation companies. Brokers are helpful to transporters as they increase the quantity or products they are able to deliver, ensuring full truckloads and steady work.
Many trucking brokers learn the skills needed in the job from formal training programs, which may take place in physical classrooms or through online servers. Teachers provide prospective brokers with the information and basic resources necessary to start building a client base of distributors, establish communication with transportation company representatives, and meet industry standards. The lengths of training programs vary, but most courses can be completed in about five to ten days.
Trucking brokers' business practices are regulated by federal codes and insurance parameters. Therefore, a person who wants to work as a broker is typically required to hold a license authorized by a national government organization. In the United States, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration will provide a property broker license to an individual who pays a fee, passes a criminal background check, and possesses a strong credit history. Brokers are usually expected to have insurance to protect themselves and surety bonds to protect the other parties involved from being shorted in payment or services.
There are no strict educational requirements to become trucking brokers, though many professionals hold associate or bachelor's degrees in marketing or business administration. College courses in economics, accounting, advertising, and other aspects of business are especially helpful to those who work independently. Many trucking brokers begin their careers at established brokerage firms, working as agents under the supervision of executives. Once they have gained experience and built up a solid client base, agents often find success in opening their own businesses. An independent broker is able to set his or her own hours and work from home with the assistance of a telephone and Internet access.