How to become a freight broker

For the freight industry to develop and function properly, freight brokers are a crucial component, and one has to learn how to become a freight broker. Also, shippers and carriers have increasingly relied to a greater extent on brokers as the trucking sector has evolved over the past few years.

There are several legal and professional qualifications to finish to know how to become a freight broker, commonly referred to as either a truck broker or a transportation broker.

How To Become a Freight Broker

Assuming responsibility for every aspect of the delivery process fully is crucial for establishing a freight brokerage industry for trucks and transportation. Before they embark on their journey, newbie freight brokers will require a good grasp of what is needed to manage an authorized freight broker business.

To know how to become a freight broker, there are several prerequisites you must fulfill. Preferably, individuals also should finish a training program. You need to register your business with the FMCSA and apply for the use of a DOT license. And lastly, you’ll require a $75,000 freight broker deposit to keep working and keep your license.

The Complete Compliance Guide for Freight Brokers

#1. Getting Work Experience and Studying

Since you’ll be doing a lot of the work over the phone or email—both for negotiating and closing deals—your interpersonal and communication skills are crucial.

It can be quite helpful in learning how to become a freight broker if you possess or can acquire significant expertise in the transportation sector in another capacity because you’ll have stronger connections to the key participants in the market.

#2. Enroll in Freight Broker Education

You might enroll in a freight broker program to thoroughly prepare for the demands of the brokering work and the normal capabilities you need to renew or build. In becoming a freight broker, investing in the best training textbooks can help you always have them on hand for guidance when you’re unclear about what to do.

Attending a freight broker college is your best choice for training programs in this area, as it will expose you to expert brokers with years of industry expertise and hands-on experience.

#3. Pick a Name For Your Business and Authorize It

As with most licensed and permitted businesses, you must use a company name and register the industry to operate a brokerage lawfully.

At the United States Patent and Trademark Office, you may find out whether the name you’ve selected is already in use.

Deciding on the type of entity you want to register is another step in the registration process.

It could be a partnership, Limited Liability Company, Corporation, or Sole Proprietor.

To complete this stage of becoming a freight broker, you must register your company with your state’s office of business licenses once you have completed the previous step.

4. Construct a Business Plan

If you want to launch your freight brokerage successfully, developing an effective business strategy is a requirement.

Your business plan will enable you to apply for a credit line with your bank. Still, more significantly, this will assist you in determining the particular niche and target demographic for your company as you learn how to become a freight broker.

Your company plan contains a go-to strategy, and the more time and effort you put into determining the particulars and studying the industry, the more equipped you will be to face its problems.

5. Choose the Proper Carriers

Like a ship without sails, a freight broker is useless without carriers.

For someone who wants to know how to become a freight broker, discovering the carriers who operate in the industry one has selected for oneself is a part of the go-to-market strategy when trying to learn how to become a freight broker.

There are many ways to find the best carriers for yourself, including networking events, online directories, and direct suggestions from other brokers. Don’t be afraid to try out a few of these methods; don’t just choose the one that seems the simplest!

6. Create an Account With USDOT to Obtain Your Broker Authority.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration must give you a freight broker license before you can begin working in the industry (FMCSA).

Obtaining a Motor Carrier Operating Authority is another name for the license (MC Authority).

Obtaining a USDOT number is the first stage in receiving a license; it is necessary for the application. The registration process is then started on the FMCSA website.

You must pay the $300 one-time application fee and complete the OP-1 freight broker application form. For completing OP-1, there are further instructions available. For the processing, two to six weeks are needed.

After the request has been accepted, you’ll have your MC number mailed to you by FMCSA.

But having an MC number doesn’t imply you can open a business yet. Anyone who detects an issue with your registration may object to it within ten days. You are given the MC permission after this time has passed.

7. Obtain a Freight Broker Bond

As was indicated in part before, you must acquire a BMC-84 bond or a freight broker bond to obtain your MC license from FMCSA. In 2013, the bond requirements were increased to $75,000 to guarantee strong industry standards and transparency.

Anyone wanting to become a freight broker has to comprehend what surety bonds are, which are essentially a three-party contract if you’ve never dealt with them. The FMCSA is the obligee, your freight brokerage is the principal, and the surety is the one posting the bond.

The freight broker bond promises that you will conduct your brokering following applicable laws and regulations—the bond is an extra line of credit for your company in this regard.

Based on this evaluation, the surety determines your bond premium or the actual cost of your freight broker bond. This annual payment makes up a small $75K bond amount.

If your credit scores exceed 700, you’ll likely be required to pay a yearly premium of between $937 and $2250, or between 1.25% and 3%.

Your yearly premium will likely be either 3.5% and 5% or $2,625 and $3,750 if your credit score is between 650 and 699.

You can still be bonded with a terrible credit program even though your credit is not quite ideal, but you will have to pay a little higher yearly premium to offset the risk.

8. Purchase General Liability and Contingent Cargo Insurance.

Your insurance (Form BMC-34 for loss and damage and, in some situations, Form BMC-91 or BMC-91X for physical injury, property damage, and environmental repair) and your surety bond, which we covered in the previous section, can now be obtained with your MC number.

You require these insurances since many, if not all, shipping companies will ask for them before you start working with them.

9. Select a Process Agent for Each State

You are ready to pick your process servers for each state wherein you conduct business after getting your bond and insurance.

Form BOC-3 (Designation of Agents for Service of Process), which you must complete and submit to the FMCSA, can be used for this purpose.

10. Get Your Equipment

Even if you don’t initially have plans to build a physical office, there are several things to think about when it comes to some material assets you will have to start with on your journey to becoming a freight broker.

The initial technological requirements include a computer, printer, copier, fax machine, landline, mobile phone, office supplies, and a reliable internet connection.

You might also look into freight brokering software, which can automate some of your tasks and increase productivity.

These are the prerequisites; over time, you’ll decide what other services or products are required and acquire them when needed.

11. Obtain Enough Startup Capital

One who is learning how to become a freight broker but doesn’t have enough cash on hand should think about getting a line of credit before one proceeds with brokering. Since one will be the go-between between carriers and shippers, one will frequently have to pay drivers for the cargo before receiving the shipper’s payment.

When your company strategy is finalized, and you have a credit line, you are financially secure and may begin successful brokering.

12. Publicize the Services of Your Freight Broker

How you’ll promote your brokerage to prospective customers is the final issue you ought to discuss. 

The degree of your efforts can range from a marketing plan, engaging social media accounts, a great website with a blog, and printed marketing content – it all depends on what you believe will most likely surprise potential customers.


In addition to their function as a middleman, brokers play a leading role in freight monitoring since they maintain meticulous records of pickups, deliveries, and other information. Since they must be knowledgeable about shipping laws and regulations, they effectively handle the legal side of transportation.

Between shippers and carriers, a freight broker serves as a mediator. Shippers may select the best motor carriers through freight brokers to get their cargo where it needs to go quickly.

In an account of the shipping company, brokers negotiate with carriers on prices and delivery windows. In exchange, they ensure pages along their desired routes and destinations have complete and consistent loads. The commission they receive for offering this kind of service to carriers and shippers is their primary source of income.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is becoming a freight broker worth it?

The reputation of freight brokerage as a reliable sector with enduring growth is strong.

Do freight brokers make money?

One thing you need to know about becoming a freight broker is that the pay is good; in the US, the typical freight broker’s salary is around $45,000. You might make up to $75,000 or more as you have extensive experience and strong relationships with shippers.

Is there a demand for freight brokers?

The National Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 9% increase in demand for freight brokers through 2024.

Is freight brokering hard?

Brokering freight is still challenging, cutthroat work, so let’s examine its benefits and drawbacks to decide if it’s the right career for you. Money is something on the thoughts of someone switching jobs, even though it might not be the primary motivator in a position.

How do brokers find loads?

They check through load boards, which they frequently subscribe to, select loads they might cover, those that are under their scope and have open lanes, and place bids on such loads. The shipper might approve their offer if they can do so at good deals than other brokers or shipping companies interested in the consignment.


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