Why Start a Home Business as a Freight Agent?
What attracts many to a career as a freight agent is the independence this kind of career affords. In fact, you can do all of your work from home on your laptop and using a cell phone. As more and more people are looking for work-at-home opportunities, the business of being a freight agent is becoming a popular option.
Tools for Freight Agents
To be a freight agent these days, outside of licensing your overhead is really low. With the right software you can work from wherever you are as long as you have a cell phone and a laptop. Technology makes it easy for even new startup freight agents to find early success.
Some of the tools necessary in addition to having the discipline to boss yourself around are those that help you compete with big chains. Take for instance the CarrierRate 2.0 and ShipperCenter from GlobalTranz.
Both of these programs work together to give our clients the tools that they need to deliver the fastest service possible to their customers. CarrierRate 2.0 helps you manage and organize shipments through one innovative interface while the ShipperCenter gives you the tools to analyze user behaviors to better serve your customers and attract more.
In addition to these tools, here are 5 handy tips to help you work smarter and better from home as a freight agent.
Get Out and About
There is a lot to be admired about working from home. The problem is that if you aren’t careful, you will never leave the house. You still need to get out and about even when you are working from home. That means taking regular breaks and getting out into the sunshine.
For your home office, make your space distraction free but enjoyable too. If it feels like you’re going to the dungeon when you go to your home office, you’re not going to enjoy it much and your work will suffer. Make your office space livable, comfortable, secluded, but not completely isolated.
Run it Like a Business
Many make the mistake as a freight agent working from home of treating their job less seriously than they would a 9 to 5 job. When you have a boss looking over your shoulder watching your personal time you think more about it.
As your own boss you have to look over your own shoulder. Technically you have the freedom to take a break whenever you want, but are you taking it too far? Run your home business like a business with regular business hours, regular breaks, and focus on the work.
Organize Your Workspace
If you’ve worked in an office before you know what makes your job easier to do. Plus nowadays it doesn’t cost nearly as much money to create a home office for a freight agent. You don’t need file cabinets or fax machines. You may want to invest in a printer to send invoices and professional letters.
For documents, all you need is a good system to organize your paperwork in folders on your computer. Keep your work documents separate from all others. Plan your strategy for organizing financial paperwork and project paperwork and be sure to keep backup files!
Work in the Industry First
Before you start laying out cash for an office space for your own business as a freight agent, spend some time working in the industry first. You will learn a lot about the business, build professional relationships, and get an idea about the best ways to succeed as an independent freight agent.
You may even be able to find a brokerage firm that hires work-from-home freight agents. Do some research to see if there are respected freight brokerages in your area or beyond hiring virtual agents.
Get Outside Help if You Need It
When it comes to seeking outside help to get your freight business off the ground, you have to consider the Triple A’s: Accounting, Advertising, and Access. For most freight agents delegating one or all of the 3 A’s to outside professionals is the smartest thing to do.
Unless you are a licensed CPA or certified accounting professional, figuring out how to manage your expenses to come out in the black may not be your forte. It doesn’t have to be. Just hire an accountant. There are many freelance accounting professionals that can become long term clients who keep your taxes clean and your books balanced.
Marketing is not just a science, it is an art. In order to create effective advertising as an independent freight agent without the backing of a big name brokerage takes talent and specific know-how. If you lack the online marketing savvy and traditional advertising background, this is an area where expert help is very useful, especially when you are first starting out.
One of the benefits to working as a freight agent under a brokerage house is the access to a large list of clients. Many brokerages help their agents get their start by providing them parts of that client list to manage.
That kind of access is hard to come by for independent agents. In cases like that using companies like GlobalTranz where we offer access to our network database of over 20K different carriers through our Command Center program makes good financial sense.
The Opportunities are Endless
Being your own boss does not mean that you have no boss. It just means that you are the one who has to keep yourself in line and being as productive as possible. It is easier to do when you are working for yourself than when you are working for someone else. Still, you are working and it can be difficult.
Yet the opportunities to make a really good income as a freight agent while working from the comfort of your own home are endless. These tips can help you make the most out of it. To learn more about becoming a freight agent, read about our Freight Agent Opportunity Program.