How To Find Shippers As A Freight Broker [8 Free Resources]

One of the most common challenges that Freight Broker Boot Camp students come to me with is, “how to find shippers as a freight broker or freight agent?” 

No matter how long you have been a freight broker or a freight agent you need to learn how to find shippers if you are going to be successful.

Top freight brokers prioritize finding shippers from various sources, many of which I am going to share with you today.

In this article I will be sharing 7 FREE resources to help you find shippers as a freight broker or freight agent. Plus a BONUS resource that could be a game changer for your business.

1. Google: The All-Powerful Search Engine

When it comes to finding shipping leads, Google is more than just a search engine; it’s a certified goldmine. 

Google is one of the best free tool available today to find insights about potential clients. That includes into contact information, shipper lists, types of products companies manufacture, specific types of freight carriers specialize in, and the list goes on and on. The detailed information that you can find with a quick Google search is unmatched. 

For example, if you search for “steel companies in Buffalo, New York,” you’ll get a list of businesses that could be potential shippers, complete with contact information.

By using Google, you can find lists of shippers specific to your area or the type of products you’re interested in. You can get all the details about what these shippers do, making your sales outreach more effective.

Google can do a lot more than just search. It lets you search for certain types of freight or businesses. If you change how you look, you can get lists of shippers that are great for what you need.

You won’t just be calling random numbers when you make calls this way; you’ll be calling businesses that have something in common to what you do.

To sum up, Google is more than just a search engine; it’s also a useful tool for freight brokers. It gives you contact information, product related information, lists of shippers and an opportunity to reach your ideal customers. 

VIDEO: How to Find Shippers As A Freight Broker Training

How to Find Shippers as a Freight Broker [7 FREE Resources]

2. Your Key To The Industrial Supplier Database is a great resource for freight brokers because it has a robust database of industry suppliers. You can use it to get more in-depth data on more than 500,000 industrial suppliers.

How to Find Shippers As A Freight Broker Using Thomasnet is a helpful tool for freight brokers wanting to find new shippers. It’s this huge database with info on over 500,000 companies that supply all kinds of things.

So, when you’re reaching out to potential clients (or new shippers), having all this info helps improve your sales conversations and conversions.

When you’re looking for new shippers, just type in keywords like “plastic,” and you’ll find a whopping 704 plastic suppliers across the country. This makes it a lot easier for freight brokers to find and get in touch with prospective customers. is like your personal industrial supplier database with company details on over 500,000 suppliers. Make good use of the intel found inside and you can now connect with new shippers in a wide range of markets. Your Industrial Supplier Database

  • allows you to explore over 500,000 industrial suppliers.
  • Search keywords within your niche like “plastic” to find 704 plastic suppliers across the country.

3. LinkedIn: The Best Platform For Professionals 

There are over 1 billion professionals on LinkedIn. It is a great place to meet other professionals, but it’s especially great for people who work in the trucking and logistics industry.

I may be bit biased towards LinkedIn. Why? Because my freight brokerage was able to generate well over $20 million per year in annual recurring revenue with LInkedIn for my brokerage.

And it’s free for freight brokers to use find, connect and engage with potential shipping clients. Out of all the social media platforms, LinkedIn is by far the most target rich and profitable for me.

How Freight Brokers Use LinkedIn to Find Shippers 

By using the search function to look for job titles like “shipping manager”, “logistics manager” or “warehouse manager” you can quickly see the power of LinkedIn.

Once you have established a relationship, aka LinkedIn connection, you can nurture the relationship and eventually convert it offline. Using this strategy you can position yourself as an expert and valuable resource in a relatively short time frame. 

Spending a few dedicated hours each week to grow your online network on LinkedIn can help you grow a network of prospective clients and loyal customers.

An easy way to understand the power of LinkedIn is to consider that for every 100 LinkedIn connections you add, that each have 100 LinkedIn connections, your network grows exponentially.

 LinkedIn: Your Logistics Networking Secret Weapon  

  • Professionals in the logistics and trucking business can connect with each other for free on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. 
  • Find shipping managers in your freight niche by using the search function and start getting to know them and their challenges. 

4. National Retail Federation: Discover The Top Retailers

Source: 2023 NRF Top 100 Retailers List

The National Retail Federation is a great place to find shipping clients because it has a lot of information about the biggest stores. When you look at the list of the top 100 stores, you can learn a lot about potential customers. 

Watching what’s sold in big stores like Walmart, Lowe’s, or Target can help you find manufacturers that make goods for your niche. This first-hand information makes it easier for you to sell your freight services through warm or cold calls. 

How to Use the National Retail Federation to Find Shippers 

  • Access the list of the top 100 retailers, discover a wealth of potential shippers.
  • Research products in major retailers like Walmart, Lowe’s, or Target and identify manufacturers for your niche.
  • Identify and build a relationship with the decision maker.

5. Trade Shows: Where Industry Connections Flourish

Trade shows are loaded with business possibilities, and they’re a lot more fun than they sound. As a freight broker, going to these events can be a good idea and help you in a many ways.

Picture a big event where businesses in the same field get together to show off their goods and services. That’s a trade show! It’s like a huge market where lots of different people and businesses can be found.

Trade shows are great places to strengthen relationships and discover new business opportunities. I can’t recommend them enough. 

Attending industry-specific trade shows is not just about making contacts; it’s about building relationships with potential shippers, influencers and partners.

Events America provides a list of top manufacturing trade shows for 2024 and is a great place to start when researching the best trade shows to attend.

How Freight Brokers Use Trade Shows to Find Shippers

  • Research local and national trade shows in your niche.
  • Attend to trade shows around your freight niche to meet potential shippers in person.
  • Check out groups like Events America, which post a list of the best industry trade shows for 2024. Look around, be curious, and make connections.

6. Industry Associations: Tap into Existing Professional Networks

For businesses that work in the same field, industry associations are like clubs. They help businesses in that industry or niche talk to each other, share knowledge, and understand what’s going on in their market.

Associations are an excellent source to learn about industry events and find the right person to talk to about their shipping needs. You can find a lot about a prospective client through industry groups and associations, and they’re not as hard to join as you might think.

Let’s say your area of expertise is transporting steel. You need to look for steel companies that need help moving their products.  This is when industry associations can be useful.

If you are pursuing the steel niche you might consider researching and joining the Steel Manufacturers Association. This group has a lot of steel producers and could be a gateway to new shipping customers.

Beside the members directory, which typically includes contact information, you can leverage the fact that you are both a part of the SMA as a talking point to help build trust and rapport in your early conversations.

7. Inc. 5000: The Fastest Growing Manufacturing Companies in America.

The Inc. 5000 is a list of the 5,000 U.S. based companies that are growing the fastest. Since these companies are all experiencing rapid growth, those with products to ship may likely need help fulfilling their demands. 

Ever wonder who are the fastest growing manufacturers are in the United States? I have and the Inc. 5000 list is an ideal place to begin your online search. You can use this list of companies to help you find shipping leads for your freight brokerage. 

Source: 2023 Inc. 5000 List 

8. BONUS: Discover For Access to Over 250 Million Contacts

Apollo is like a goldmine and believe it or not you can sign up for FREE and you don’t ever need to provide a credit card.

Watch this quick video where I show you how to find hundreds of shipper leads in less than 1 minute, all for FREE.

How to Find Shippers Leads For Free!

Recap: Your 8 Free Resources To Find Shippers  

We’ve looked at some great free resources that can make your job easier as you learn how to find shippers as a freight broker or agent.

 Let’s quickly review these useful tools:

  1. Google: The best search engine for finding shippers and possible customers.
  2. Thomasnet: Thomasnet has a lot of useful information about manufacturers and suppliers, which makes it easy to get in touch with possible business partners.
  3. LinkedIn: The social networking site where you can meet other professionals and find new business opportunities. 
  4. National Retail Federation: You can get useful information about the retail world from the National Retail Federation. This will help you find possible customers in this field.
  5. Trade Shows: Trade shows are fun events where you can meet possible shippers in person and make connections that matter.
  6. Associations: Associations are clubs in a certain industry that give you access to lists of businesses and contacts that can help you easily find possible clients.
  7. Inc. 5000: A list of the U.S.’s fastest-growing companies, and it can help you connect with other businesses that are rapidly growing.
  8. BONUS: Get instant FREE access to thousands of potential shippers and over 250 million contacts around the world.

These free resources can help you build a strong customer base and make your freight brokerage known as a dependable and efficient service provider, whether you’re a new freight broker or an experienced one. 

Keep in mind that these tools are here to help you succeed as a freight broker or freight agent on your path to success. 

P.S. Did you know that I offer a 60 day 100% money back guarantee to students that enroll in my online Freight Broker and Freight Agent training program?  Give it a try and if you’re not happy for any reason…I will personally refund your money!!!!


Dennis Brown


NOTE: We independently review all products we mention in our content. When you purchase through our link we may earn a small commission.

Owner, CEO

Dennis Brown the freight broker, is the owner of and former CEO of Logistic Dynamics, Inc. (LDi) one of North Americas fastest growing logistics providers. Dennis has over 25 years of hands on experience as an entrepreneur and is widely regarded as an expert in logistics, freight brokerage, business growth strategies and B2B sales and marketing. Dennis became a freight broker in 2003, as a one man operations with NO industry experience . He went on to do over $200 million as a freight broker, eventually selling the freight brokerage to spend more time with his family. Dennis Brown has trained over 10,000 students, in 16 different countries, how to become a freight broker or freight agent. Many of his students have went on to build highly successful and highly profitable freight broker businesses.

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