Many Freight Agents enter the transportation industry for the unlimited earning potential. But that income can only be generated by finding paying customers, meaning Shippers. In fact, finding loads that Shippers need moved is one of the common stressors for Freight Brokers and Agents. Fortunately, there are a variety of strategies and tools for Freight Agents to find loads. 

Note: In this article, we’re using the term “Freight Agent”. Although it is common to interchange Agent and Broker, these two roles are actually different (read this article to learn the differences). 


How do Freight Agents Find Loads? 

Some of the common ways Freight Agents find loads is by using load boards, making cold calls, making warm calls, and asking for referrals. Let’s take a look at each strategy.


1. Use Load Boards

If an Agent wants to get loads directly from Shippers, one of the best tools is a load board. A load board is a portal showing available freight that needs to be moved. It connects Shippers, Carriers, and Brokers. An Agent browses the board and chooses loads they may be able to fulfill, depending on their available lanes, and bids on them.  

Similarly, freight dispatchers find loads and work with freight brokers to source the most valuable loads for their clients. Load boards for dispatchers help identify the best set of loads that may be available for hauling in any given location.

There are both free and paid load boards. Load boards requiring a paid subscription often include additional features that their free counterparts do not, such as the ability to book within the platform. At Kopf, our brokerage provides each of our Independent Freight Agents with subscriptions to select load boards (DAT and Truckstop).  It’s just another way we equip our Agents with the tools they need to succeed. 

Some examples of paid load boards include

Some examples of free load boards include

Whether paid or free, these online marketplaces allow Agents to find available loads posted directly by the Shipper. 


2. Make Cold Calls

Cold calling is not dead, even if no one likes doing it. It simply means calling potential leads with whom you’ve never contacted before and have no mutual connection. Cold calls are the bread and butter of lead generation and an essential strategy for finding loads. 

It takes consistent effort to become more comfortable with cold calls. When it’s taking too much time, try working in 30-minute chunks. If you aren’t sure what to say, take a step back and research the company, plan to ask questions, and be yourself. And, when it seems cold calling just isn’t working, make sure you are incorporating a variety of methods in your lead generation strategy.

Our blog has a wealth of resources with cold call tips, including our best cold call script and cold email template.


3. Make Warm Calls

Sometimes a lead is warm, meaning you have a common connection or a previous positive interaction. This increases the chances a lead converts and becomes a client with loads to move. 

Planning and executing a warm call is similar to a cold call, except you will begin the conversation with your existing connection or previous interaction. 

Start by making a list of existing and past customers as well as friends and family, along with their employers. Do any of those contacts require shipping? There may be untapped shipping needs within your contact list that your business could fill. Another way to make a lead warm is to ask current or past clients for referrals.


4. Ask for Referrals

Referrals are gold! A satisfied customer holds greater weight than a cold lead. In marketing it’s called “social proof.” There are several ways to get referrals. One is to simply ask. Another is to develop an incentive. For example, at the bottom of every email you send, include a referral bonus opportunity. This could be as simple as: “Ask me about my $500 referral bonus!” Each time you send an email, you include the opportunity for a customer to send you a referral. This will not be your main source of lead generation, but it is an easy one to implement. Be sure to have a sell sheet ready so if someone wants to make a referral, you can provide them with your information promptly.


How do Freight Agents Find Clients?

The clients of a Freight Agent are Shippers. To put it simply, Shippers have a product they need moved. These products are referred to as “loads.” Essentially, this question is the same as the previous one. 

  • Current clients – Consider your current clients’ companies and research if they have additional businesses with products or freight that needs to be moved 
  • Diversify – Look up and down the supply chain and consider these best industries to target
  • Cold calls – Make cold calls and offer to run their problem lanes or to be a backup if a Shipper needs additional support
  • Social Media – Utilize social media to promote your services and find Shippers
  • Referrals – Create a referral and rewards program to make it easy for happy customers to share leads 
  • Niche – Reach out to similar businesses as your current clients 
  • Audit – Offer a free audit and provide a solution of value 

Finding clients takes time and consistency. That is why it is best practice for Agents to set aside time each day for lead generation and nurturing.


Final Thoughts

Successful Freight Agents know it is key to diversify their book of business. This means finding more Shippers. How do Freight Broker Agents find shippers? By utilizing a variety of methods to land new contracts: load boards, referrals, cold calling leads, and warm calling former customers. By utilizing multiple methods consistently over time, Agents will have a continual flow of leads, and increase revenue. At Kopf, we’ll be here cheering you on.

Are you a motivated Independent Freight Agent with a book of business interested in making a change? Accelerate your success with Kopf! Apply here to start the process.