The Difference Between A Freight Agent and Freight Broker

The Difference Between A Freight Agent and Freight Broker

Are you thinking of becoming a Freight Agent?  Perhaps you think you should become a Freight Broker; or, perhaps you lack the knowledge to know which is right for you!  The work of a Freight Agent is very similar to that of a Freight Broker with a few primary differences. First, let’s define the terms Freight Agent, Independent Freight Agent, and Freight Broker; then, we’ll highlight the differences.


What is a Freight Agent?

Freight Agents are business owners, have their own customers, and work on commission from their home or office under the authority of a licensed Freight Broker to coordinate freight shipments.  The role of a Freight Agent is three-fold: sales, customer service, and logistics. On a typical day, a Freight Agent’s tasks include but are not limited to:

  • Sales: Cold calling potential customers, negotiating freight rates, sourcing carriers and negotiating with shippers and carriers.  
  • Customer Service: Ensuring pickups and deliveries are scheduled and fulfilled and customers are kept informed regarding the progress of a shipment.
  • Logistics: Dispatching trucks and problem-solving issues that could affect a shipment’s pickup or delivery.

Freight Agents generate sales by securing customers and finding available carriers to ship their customer’s freight.  As a result, Freight Agents have the potential to earn a significant income based on the profit their sales generate.  

What is an Independent Freight Agent?

Freight Agents are commonly referred to as Independent Freight Agents. However, the tasks of a Freight Agent and Independent Freight Agent are actually the same! 

Using “Independent” as part of the Freight Agent title clearly defines the Freight Agent is an independent contractor, not an employee, and works under the Freight Broker’s authority.  It is an important distinction!

What is a Freight Broker?

A Freight Broker is required to be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and secure a surety bond.  The Freight Broker acts as a middleman to arrange the transport of goods by matching available trucks with shipper loads/needs. 

A Freight Broker can range from a one-person operation to a larger multinational company with many employees. Additionally, Freight Brokers are responsible for the financial aspects of the company such as invoicing shippers, paying carriers, extending credit, paying agents and assisting with claims. 

What’s the difference between a Freight Agent and a Freight Broker? 

The primary difference between the two is a Freight Broker must secure a Freight Broker license through the FMCSA, is required to secure a surety bond, assumes the risk of granting credit to customers, and is liable for the transportation of the load. 

In contrast, an Independent Freight Agent is not required to secure a license or surety bond, does not assume the risk of the customer’s creditworthiness in terms of collections, and has little or no liability for the transportation of the load.     

Want to become an Independent Freight Agent for Kopf?

As an Independent Freight Agent for Kopf, you will own your business and have the opportunity to focus on the part of the business you do well…move freight! 

Kopf Logistics Group is actively recruiting Independent Freight Agents.  Established in 1980, we are a trusted, dependable, family-owned logistics provider.  Kopf provides excellent 24/7 office support, powerful TMS technology, and generous commissions and bonuses. If you are looking for a relationship-driven company that focuses on the success of their Independent Freight Agents, you owe it to yourself to consider Kopf!  We equip you with the support, expertise and financial backing you need to succeed!  

Accelerate your success with Kopf!

Are you an Independent Freight Agent interested in Kopf’s Agent Program?  CLICK HERE – or – contact Jeanie today at 574.349.5600.

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