Freight brokers serve as a liaison between motor carriers and shippers. Shippers find it easier to contract with freight brokers to find carriers for their shipments because a broker is able to dedicate his time to finding carriers, whereas a shipper would have to hire more employees just to manage the carriers. Freight brokers receive pay for shipments from the shippers and pay the carriers after keeping a percentage for themselves. Freight broker training can teach you the ins and outs of brokering before you take the step of receiving your own authority.
1. Apply for a job with a brokerage to gain experience, or seek freight broker training through various colleges either on campus or online. Experience or training will help you to understand how to operate your own brokerage, although it is not a requirement for your authority. Anyone can receive broker authority as long as he has the application fee, process agents and a trust or bond.
2. Name your business. Pick a name that is easy for your shippers and carriers to remember.
3. Apply for an employee identification number (EIN) with the IRS (see Resources). This is the number you will use to file your business taxes and pay your employees.
4. Incorporate the brokerage in the state where you have the home office. Incorporation will help save your personal assets in the event of business failure.
5. Apply for local and state business permits. Permit requirements vary with state and local governments. Your local chamber of commerce can help you know what permits you need.
6. Arrange for a line of credit from your bank or credit union. Your customers will pay you on a 30- to 60-day cycle. You will need to pay your carriers no later than 30 days of delivery. You will find it difficult to contract with carriers if you do not pay on delivery.
7. Open the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) registration forms website (see Resources). If you have a credit card, you can file the application online by clicking on the “Submit these forms online” link. Follow the directions on the form to fill in the application. If you will be paying the application fee by check or money order, download and print the application and send it to the address listed. You will receive your MC number immediately, but your authority will not be active until your forward your BOC-3 form and proof of trust or bond to the FMCSA.
8. Authorize process agents (see Resources). The government requires a process agent in each state where you operate. There are commercial firms that will provide an agent list for a fee.
9. Contact a bank or insurance company to arrange for a bond or trust for $10,000.
10. Complete your application by forwarding your BOC-3 form (agent list) and proof of trust or bond to the FMCSA. The address and fax number will be in the email you receive that has your authority MC number.