Is Becoming A Freight Broker The Most Sensible Career Change For Truckers?

Here at Bryant Surety Bonds, we have been in contact with a good number of truck drivers who work with us to get their freight broker bond, as they are either switching to brokering freight, or complementing their business with it. This is why we decided to provide a recap of why it may make sense for you to do so as well.

If you’re an experienced truck driver, and wondering how your career can grow and progress, brokering freight might be just the change you need. Whether you’d like a complete career change, or simply to add brokering to your business, as a freight broker you’ll be able to draw from your vast knowledge about the trucking industry.
Still, brokering freight is a tough, competitive job, so let’s look at its pros and cons and you can decide for yourself if it’s right for you.
While it may not be the biggest motivator in a job, money is certainly something on the mind of someone switching jobs. In this respect, the job of freight brokers is slightly ahead that of truck drivers.
The median yearly salary of truck drivers is $37,930 (source: CNN Money), compared to $46,000 (source: Salary Comparison) for freight brokers. Bear in mind that this number can increase with experience. Freight brokers with 5 years of experience typically earn closer to $60,000 per year. On the other hand, keep in mind that truck driver pay will inevitably go up in the near future, as companies struggle to cope with the shortage gap.
Working Conditions
Truth be told, what makes for good working conditions is a very subjective matter. Trucking certainly for everyone, as it requires an adjustment in lifestyle and giving up many of the modern commodities which we take for granted. This may, in part, explain the driver shortage that has been troubling the industry for a while.
At the same time, truck driving holds a great appeal for many, which enjoy the independence, being on the road, and constantly seeing new places and meeting new people. Plus, the driver shortage, though worrisome for the industry, means that drivers will not have to worry about lack of jobs, and can advance in their career more quickly than ever before.
Freight brokers, on the other hand, can have flexible hours– allowing for better work-life balance– and can even set up a home office for their brokering business. One obstacle you will face if you choose to broker freight is the fact that certain brokers have created a bad reputation for the profession, so you’ll have to go the extra mile to earn the trust of carriers and shippers. 
As far as transition goes, it’s more about the pros rather than the cons. You may have decided you no longer want to be behind the wheel, but why waste the expertise you have gained throughout the years?
Choosing a career in brokering freight will bring you the change you need without having to start from square one. As a truck driver you have probably dealt with many and different freight brokers, so by now you know a little something about their trade. Plus, you have seen the other side, so once you’re a freight broker, you will be much better at dealing with motor carriers, meaning you get more business. You’re probably aware that some freight brokers seem to attract friction with truck drivers, so this is a valuable asset to have.
As a truck driver, you’re no stranger to numerous regulations, and your job certainly doesn’t lack in responsibility.    
Being a freight broker, of course, carries a lot of responsibilities of its own. Unlike driving a truck it doesn’t require expensive lessons and certification, meaning you don’t have big start-up costs. It does, however, require that you get licensed, maintain a $75K freight broker bond, a type of surety bond, and renew both each year. To make sure you stay out of claims it’s very important to understand FMCSA’s regulations, and to always pay shippers and carriers on time.
These are the main things you need to consider before choosing a career change into brokering freight. If you are not 100% sure, you can try it out as a source of supplementary income, as many people do, and see if you like it. It might take up a lot of your time initially, but once you start you are likely to find you enjoy doing it. But even if you don’t, being a truck driver still remains one of the most influential and necessary jobs for the smooth running of the American economy.
What would your advice be to anyone starting out as a freight broker? Help your peers out by sharing your thoughts in the comments below.
Todd Bryant is the president and founder of Bryant Surety Bonds. He is a surety bonds expert with years of experience in helping freight brokers get bonded and start their business.
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