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Broker Authority

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Considering a career in freight brokering? Perhaps you’ve been working in the freight industry in another capacity and the idea of becoming a broker appeals to you for a variety of reasons. Oftentimes, freight brokering is a natural next step in the career evolution of a freight professional by virtue of exposure to the field. Maybe you’re attracted to the benefits and perks it offers. Or maybe you’re new to the freight industry altogether and you’d like to explore the possibilities. This article provides an overview of the profession and first steps required in getting your freight broker authority.

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What does a freight broker do?

A freight broker acts as the intermediary between a shipper who is looking for carriers to haul their goods and the motor carrier who owns the equipment and employs truck drivers to do the job. A carrier might also be an owner-operator who drives and works independently. The job of the freight broker is to connect the two parties and handle the logistics that needs to occur to move a load of goods and make sure the goods arrive at the final destination on time and in good shape. It’s important that you establish relationships with shippers early on so you can build a network of shipper partners who consistently look to you to find carriers to move their goods. Responsibilities include:

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  • Generating leads for you or the company you work for. A load board is an essential broker tool as it gets you in front of potential shipper customers as well as helping you find carriers to move goods on their behalf.
  • Managing information about the goods being shipped.
  • Negotiating prices, creating quotes, and collecting payment.
  • Finding and hiring qualified carriers to build a network of go-to partners.

Freight brokers earn the difference between what the shipper pays and what the carrier charges to haul the load. You can either work for yourself or be employed by a brokerage company. If you choose to go the independent route, you negotiate the rate with the carrier, and the difference is your earnings on that load. Generally speaking, salaries range based on geographical location and how many loads you move, with the average being around $65k annually. Of course, you can choose to be a part-time broker as a side hustle, or you can lean in and make upwards of $150k a year.

Personality traits and general skills

Before you dive in, a quick self-assessment of your personality and interpersonal skills will help reveal if this is the right career path for you. In general, you should be self-motivated, communicative, and have good people skills, as you’ll be working with folks from all walks of life, solving problems, closing deals, and developing relationships.

Shane Higgins, Truckstop customer, using his smartphone to find and book loads on the load board for his dry vans.

Other critical skills that can make or break you include:

  • Negotiating
    A huge part of your job is to negotiate the best rates and balance what the shipper customer will pay and the carrier’s rate and arrive at a profit.
  • Managing time
    Shippers work within firm timelines and to meet customer demand. It’s up to you to manage the time frame and meet expectations.
  • Solving problems
    Inevitably, stuff happens. Your job is to stay calm and focused, while providing solutions to challenges like delivery delays, carrier equipment problems, or lost and damaged goods.
  • Sales and marketing
    You will need customers! Whether you work for yourself or for a brokerage, you should be skilled at selling yourself or your company’s offerings and communicate differentiators that set you apart. Emails, cold calls, and networking will surely be part of the gig, so you should be ready to execute these and other market tactics in a highly competitive field.

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Freight broker job requirements

Although no formal degree is required to be a freight broker, most brokerages will likely ask for a high school diploma or GED. And as with most careers, having a related education beyond high school or having a degree in a related field will certainly set you apart from other job candidates. A degree in communications or business, for example, can make you a more qualified candidate, especially on paper. It’s a good idea to be proactive, and prepare yourself with online training or other courses that teach you the basics of the job.

At some point, you should consider getting a certified transportation broker (CTB) certification, offered by the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA). To be eligible to take the course and get certified, you need at least five points, based on the number of years you’ve been in the brokerage industry or education beyond a high school diploma. The exam tests you on basic principles of brokering freight, traffic management, transportation contracts, and legal and regulatory issues.

Ready to get your freight broker authority?

Broker authority is the permission granted by the government that allows you to facilitate load deliveries between shippers and carriers. Trucking operations and brokerages alike need to get an MC number (operating authority) before they can begin operating as a legitimate business.

  1. Your first step is to apply for your USDOT number with the Department of Transportation. You will need it for the next step, which is to
  2. Register with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). You will fill out form OP-1 Application for Motor Property Carrier and Broker Authority to receive your MC number.
  3. Obtain a surety bond and apply for proof with the FMCSA. To apply for a bond, apply to a reputable insurance firm. Once you receive coverage, your insurance provider must provide proof of coverage to the FMCSA.
  4. Within 90 days of receiving your MC number, you must designate a process agent for any state where you do business. Your process agent represents your company and can receive documents in the event of legal action.
  5. Once you get your license, you can start doing business as a freight broker!

According to the FMCSA, operating authority documents are sent out within three to four days after your MC number has been granted.

If you’re eager to cut to the chase and would rather not handle the paperwork and footwork that comes with the territory, Truckstop offers a broker authority package that simplifies the process, which can be time-consuming and complicated. For $695, Truckstop will handle the process and guide you through the steps you need to take. The Truckstop Get Your Authority Package includes two months free of Load Board Pro, a $438 value. A load board is a must-have if you’re serious about booking loads quickly with vetted carriers. In addition to matching your freight with a qualified carrier, you’ll get innovative tools designed to help you streamline every step of the process. And the more efficiency in your work approach, the more time you’ll have to focus on growing your business and your profits.

Get Your Authority

Frequently Asked Questions

Broker authority is the permission granted by the government that allows you to facilitate load deliveries between shippers and carriers. Trucking operations and brokerages alike need to receive MC (operating authority) numbers before they can begin operating as a legitimate business.
  1. Your first step is to apply for your USDOT number with the Department of Transportation. You will need it for the next step, which is to
  2. Register with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). You will fill out form OP-1 Application for Motor Property Carrier and Broker Authority to receive your MC number.
  3. Obtain a surety bond and apply for proof with the FMCSA. To apply for a bond, submit an application to a reputable insurance firm. Once you receive coverage, your insurance provider must provide proof of coverage to the FMCSA.
  4. Within 90 days of receiving your MC number, you must designate a process agent for any state where you do business. Your process agent represents your company and can receive documents in the event of legal action.
  5. Once you get your license, you can start doing business as a freight broker!
Prices vary, but not all packages offer the same services. Truckstop offers a broker authority package that simplifies the process and cuts down both paperwork and legwork, which can be time-consuming and complicated. For $695, Truckstop will help you complete the steps, plus include two months free of our Load Board Pro (a $438 value).
According to the FMCSA, operating authority documents are sent out within three to four days after your number has been granted.

Check out our broker authority package. We make getting your broker authority much easier than going it alone.

It all boils down to the 5 Cs:

  • Find COVERAGE quickly.
  • Uncover hidden CAPACITY.
  • Connect to tens of thousands of trusted CARRIERS.
  • Leverage rate information that keeps you COMPETITIVE.
  • Better protect your business with COMPLIANCE tools that automate carrier onboarding and monitoring.
A carrier transports freight from one location to another using a vehicle. A broker serves as an intermediary between a shipper who needs to have their freight moved and a carrier who does the moving.
A dispatcher acts as a representative of a trucking company or an owner operator. A dispatcher sells loads to a carrier for a profit. If a dispatcher deals directly with a shipper and sells those loads to outside carriers or owner operators, the dispatcher will need to have broker authority.
Broker authority package is $695 and includes: MC, DOT, BOC3 Processing Agent, and a 2-month free trial of Broker Load Board Pro.
Receive DOT and 2-month Broker Load Board Pro account number same day. Receive MC and BOC3 within 24-business hours. 21-business day FMCSA process starts, however authority will not go active until bond is posted on FMCSA.
Freight Broker Bonds are necessary for operation as a freight broker in the United States. BMC-85 Trust Fund is fully funded, where the full $75K is placed into a Trust. BMC-84 is written by an insurance underwriter with premium payments.
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