Freight brokers reported an average 2.8% increase in pre-tax profits in 2012, compared to 2011. Their annual revenues rose 1.4%, from $5.66 milllion in 2011 to 5.74 million in 2012, and margins increased from 14.1% to 14.3%, a 1.4% change.
Non-asset brokers reported almost no change in the number of loads they handled per month, a 0.4% decline year over year, according to the DAT 6th Annual Broker Benchmark Survey. Responding anonymously to an online questionnaire, 270 freight brokers and 3PLs answered questions about their financial performance, operations and personnel.
Staff Changes Reveal Competitive Strategies
The biggest changes in the 2012 report did not appear on the bottom line, but rather in staffing. A huge leap in average compensation for independent sales agents revealed the increasing importance of these "rainmakers" in the growth of today's brokerage firms. Among salaried employees, both information technology professionals and carrier relations staffers earned significantly more in 2012 than they did in the previous year, indicating a larger role for those teams, as brokers deploy new processes and tactics to hone their competitive edge .
Brokers contributed to health insurance premiums for all or some employees at 88% of the firms surveyed. Dental insurance and pension or retirement fund contributions were also provided by more than half the survey respondents. Except for health insurance, however, fewer companies provided other types of benefits in 2012, compared to 2011.
Please download the DAT 6th Annual Broker Benchmark Survey for additional details.