If you’ve ever thought about becoming a freight broker, 2023 is a great time to get started.
A current Freight Broker Market Analysis by Technavio projects that between 2021 and 2025, the freight brokerage sector will grow an astonishing $41.6 billion—translating into lucrative job opportunities
The guide below dives into how to get started in this in-demand profession by answering FAQs, such as “how much does a freight broker make?” and “how do freight brokers make money?”.
For more information on freight broker careers beyond salary, check out our freight broker guides.
How Much Do Freight Brokers Make?
In 2022, the average freight broker salary in the US was $53,372 + $33,000 (commission).
A freight broker’s salary ranges depending on a multitude of factors, which include:
Education: While some freight broker jobs only require a high school diploma, others have a prerequisite of a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as Business or Supply Chain Management & Logistics. Often positions that require a degree pay more.
Experience: Like most jobs, pay increases with years of experience. Entry level freight brokers earn less than those with a solid reputation and experience under their belt.
Location: The average salary of a freight broker will vary regionally. Freight brokerage businesses in larger cities generally offer higher salaries, with New York and Detroit topping the list ($60,000+ per year). The state you work in will also make an impact on your earnings. Tennessee is particularly desirable for freight brokers as it offers generous pay paired with one of the lowest costs of living in the US. For more well-paying locations, see States with the Highest Freight Broker Salaries in the next section and the infographics under Freight Broker Salary vs Similar Professions
Beyond salary, freight brokers also commonly get benefits such as 401k and 401k matching, health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, paid time off, and the ability to work from home.
States with the Highest Freight Broker Salaries
Freight brokers looking to maximize their earning potential should consider the states that offer the highest freight broker salaries. Keep in mind that higher paying opportunities will also help you recoup the cost of becoming a freight broker much quicker.
While the five states with the highest national average salaries are California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, the only state in the top 8 for freight broker earnings is New York. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Zippia, the states that offer the highest average freight broker salaries are as follows:
- New York - $66,730
- New Jersey - $62,881
- Michigan - $61,443
- Alaska - $59,526
- West Virginia - $58,590
- North Dakota - $56,028
- Tennessee - $54,091
- New Mexico -$53,478
States with The Lowest Freight Broker Salaries
The states below have the lowest average freight broker salaries in the US.
- Montana - $32,131
- Louisiana - $33,335
- Nevada - $33,845
- South Dakota - $33,873
- Hawaii - $34,785
- Vermont - $35,516
- New Hampshire - $37,880
- Massachusetts - $39,456
Freight Broker Salary vs Similar Professions
While freight brokering can be a rewarding career, it does require a freight broker license issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and a BMC-84 surety bond. Here is how it compares salary-wise to related jobs—most of which do not require licensing or bonding.
Freight Agent - $47,167
Works for a freight broker, finding available carriers to take on loads. They are an independent contractor that does not assume liability for shipments. Unlike freight brokers, they do not need to be licensed or hold a surety bond. Note that this job title is often shortened to ‘freight agent’.
Freight Forwarder - $43,475
A freight forwarder deals with the logistics of shipments. It tends to be a more hands on job compared to a freight broker, with tasks that include preparing loads for shipping, dividing shipments, preparing documents and shipping certificates, and supervising a shipment from point A to B. No special education or degree is required.
Freight Dispatcher - $38,299
Can work independently or directly for shipping carriers. Their job is to receive and transmit information to help track cargo while it is on the move. Like freight brokers, they need to know how to use load boards. However, they are unregulated and do not require any licensing or bonding.
Logistics Manager - $77,984
Works in a warehouse arranging and cataloging inventory, processing shipments, and managing staff. They deal with transportation and storage problems regularly, such as delays due to weather, damage, theft, and geopolitical situations. Generally, logistics managers hold a bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain Management or Business.
Freight Brokers’ Income Sources
It is common for freight brokers to have both a base salary and commission. However, some freight brokerages only offer commission.
With either payment structure, it is essential to understand that commission isn’t based on how big a truckload is. Rather, it’s a percentage of the difference between the price the shipper pays and the shipping rate. According to a Freight Waves survey, the average commission is 13% to 15% of a load’s net revenue.
A shipper pays $4,000 to a licensed freight broker to move a load. The freight broker negotiates $3,000 with the trucking company to transport the load, leaving $1,000 net revenue. If their commission is 13%, they will get $130.
$4,000 (shipper payment) - $3,000 (transportation cost) = $1,000 (net revenue)
$1,000 (net revenue) x 13% (commission rate) = $130 (freight broker’s take home)
How to Find Freight Broker Jobs?
The job descriptions should give you salary estimates and an idea of what brokerages are looking for in applicants. Use those desired qualities and skills to ready your resume—highlight how your past employment and/or education has equipped you with the skills they want in candidates.
Pro Tip: Make the most out of your job search by setting up Job Alerts—a feature available on most job searching websites. Once you sign up, you will receive an email alerting you of new job listings that match your saved query.
Are Freight Brokers Able to Set Their Own Rates?
Yes. In fact, that’s what freight brokers do. A freight broker’s rates are determined by how well they negotiate with both the shipper and freight service provider. Therefore, it is in their best interest to charge a shipper a lot and negotiate the lowest possible rate with the shipping company. This is just one of the many reasons why great communication and negotiation skills are essential to a successful career as a freight broker.
Want to know more about what other skills are a must for freight brokers? Check out our guide on How to Become a Freight Broker. It covers all the FAQs, including how to get a freight broker bond, where to apply for a license, and more.