Freight brokers play an important role in keeping supply chains functioning and moving goods across the country. Brokers connect shippers with carriers and handle the logistics involved in moving freight between companies, warehouses, distribution centers, and stores.
Here’s a breakdown of what freight brokers do, how to get a freight broker license in Georgia, and how to become a freight broker in Georgia.
What does a freight broker do?
They play matchmaker between shippers that need to move freight and carriers who can get the job done.
Brokers make things easier for shippers and carriers by managing the logistics, such as handling the demands of traffic management, carrier sourcing, and finding loads. The best brokers help expedite shipping and control costs.
Brokers have access to large networks of carriers, so they can quickly find carriers at competitive prices. They can also accommodate different types of loads and trucking modes, such as dry vans, reefers, flatbeds, LTL, PTL, and FTL loads. For carriers, brokers can help cut out the hassle of finding shipping partners and freight to haul.
Tips for becoming a freight broker in Georgia
While not required, it’s smart to get some experience in the transportation or logistics industry. Many brokers get that by working as truck drivers or working for a trucking company. Others work in logistics to get on-the-job training before going out on their own.
You might also want to investigate becoming a freight agent. Freight agents assist brokerages and do not require a license or operating authority. But if you don’t have experience, you’ll want to get some formal training to learn the ropes.
How much do freight brokers earn in Georgia?
Georgia sits in the middle of one of the country’s most important shipping hubs. According to the Governor’s Task Force on Freight & Logistics, logistics accounts for as much as 18% of the state’s entire economy (Gross state product or GSP) and generates more than $50 billion annually.
So it makes sense that so many freight brokers are licensed and doing business there. Established brokers can make six-figure salaries. The average freight broker salary in Georgia is $65,000 as a base with commission adding another $45,000.
Freight broker training in Georgia
You can train at several schools in Georgia and there are many online programs as well, including instruction on:
- Transportation law
- How brokers connect shippers and motor carriers
- Accounting and record-keeping practices
- Financial controls and compliance
- Sales and marketing
- Business structure
- How to set up a freight brokerage business
Next, let’s look at how to get a freight broker license in Georgia.
Freight broker licensing and certification steps in Georgia
Georgia does not require a degree or formal exam before getting a freight broker license. In fact, the state doesn’t issue licenses. Freight brokers are granted operating authority by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Authority (FMCSA), which means you need to meet its requirements.
To obtain a broker license for trucking in Georgia, you’ll need to follow several steps.
Register the name of your business.
Your journey to becoming a freight broker in Georgia starts with setting up your company. You will need to choose a name and register your business with the state and any local authorities requiring registration.
In Georgia, this means heading to the Georgia Department of Revenue. You’ll need to provide the legal name and location of your business, Employer ID Number (EIN), and the appropriate North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. Get EINs for free from the Internal Revenue Service. You can look up NAICS codes at the Census Bureau.
You’ll also need to choose how you want to structure your company: sole proprietor, limited liability company (LLC), partnership, or corporation. Consult with a certified accountant or tax attorney to determine which is best for you.
Get your cargo insurance and liability insurance.
Freight brokers are not required to have cargo or liability insurance to operate, but shippers usually require it. Insurance is important to protect you from liability in case anything goes wrong while doing business.
Different carriers have different requirements, but FMCSA recommends these minimum public liability insurance levels for freight forwarders and motor carriers:
- Freight: $750,000 to $5 million depending on the type of commodities that are handled. $300,000 for non-hazardous freight moved in vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds.
- Household Goods: $5,000 per vehicle and $10,000 per occurrence.
Get a surety bond.
Brokers must carry surety bonds of $75,000 and have a trust fund agreement to guarantee financial responsibility.
Apply for a USDOT number.
Once the above pieces are in place, apply for a USDOT number. There’s no cost, but you must register online using the FMCSA’s unified registration system.
Apply for FMCSA licensing.
Brokers are required to register with the FMCSA to obtain their license, called an operating authority. There is a $300 non-refundable fee, and it will take between four to six weeks to process your broker authority.
To apply, you’ll need to designate a process agent in the state where they will be writing contracts. Freight brokers can designate themselves as a process agent or use a third party. Process agents must live in the state and act as the official designee for any legal documents or correspondence on behalf of the broker.
Starting as a freight broker in Georgia
With these legal requirements out of the way, it’s time to get to work!
Pick a process agent for applicable territories.
If you plan to do business in multiple states, you’ll need to register in each state and pick a process agent. Many brokerages and trucking companies choose to use a third-party company that has multiple locations and can serve as a process agent for multiple states to streamline operations.
You’ll also need starting capital. There are multiple options to consider, including private funding. Potential sources include:
- Small business loans from the Small Business Administration
- Commercial bank loans
- Line of credit
- Personal loans from friends or family
You’ll need basic office supplies, a computer or laptop, mobile phone, and freight brokering software.
For example, the Truckstop Load Board for Brokers lets you post unlimited loads and perform unlimited searches. This helps you find capacity and gauge your negotiation strength to cover loads faster by setting competitive rates from the start. Other options include advanced decision tools, carrier performance rating, carrier monitoring, and predictive carrier sourcing to help you work with the best carriers, cover as many loads as possible, and make smarter decisions to scale your business. You can also get real-time updates and monitor rate trends with Rate Insights.
Plan your marketing strategy.
So, you’ve got everything in place to get started. Now, you need customers! Besides using a load board, you’ll need to plan your marketing strategy. First, identify the markets and companies you want to target.
Before you start any outreach effort, determine your unique value proposition (UVP). What do you bring to the table that your competitors do not? There are more than 106,000 freight brokers and freight-forwarding companies across the country and some 5,000 in Georgia alone. To get their attention, you’ll need to explain what you do better.
Your UVP might be lower margins, faster bookings, superior customer service, a personal touch, or more. This value proposition will become the basis for your introduction to try to solicit business.
Then, you’ll need to research potential customers and get in touch. If you have a background in the trucking industry, start by asking for referrals from previous customers.
Use load boards to find carriers and shippers.
Becoming a licensed freight broker in Georgia can be exciting and profitable work. It’s a fast-paced job that provides a valuable service for clients and consumers. With the right training and tools, you can build a lucrative career.
The Truckstop Load Board delivers a high volume of trusted drivers and trucks in a single source. Brokers of all sizes can find carriers to work with and get loads booked instantly. Get started today.