How to Become a Freight Broker in Illinois

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How to Become a Freight Broker in Illinois

Freight brokerage professionals connect shippers with shipment carriers.

Freight brokering is an excellent career for those interested in logistics, exceptionally organized, and have an innate act for working with people to solve problems logistically.

The demand for logistics professionals has exploded since home deliveries became the prevailing norm in 2020.

As a result, becoming a freight broker offers limitless opportunities.

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Freight Broker Duties in Illinois

Freight brokers are the professionals tasked with the responsibility for coordinating the movement of freight between suppliers and carriers.

Their duties when working in Illinois include:

  • The negotiation/establishment of rates and delivery timetables.
  • Compliance with state and federal freight laws.

The legal aspect of a freight broker’s job is most important.

In addition to posting, freight brokers manage freight shipments as they traverse the country through changing municipal, state, and federal regulations.

As a result, much of a freight broker’s training includes knowledge of federal regulations and procedures established by the FMCSA – the  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration49 CFT 371.

But note, a freight broker does not handle shipments; freight forwarders do that.

Freight brokers are often independent workers and often work with freight agents.

Agents are not bonded or licensed like an Illinois freight broker.

Licensing Requirements to Become a Freight Broker in Illinois

A freight broker’s actions and professional choices must comply with federal law, although Illinois Statute 625 – 18c Chapter 5101 (Unlawful Activities) denotes that it is unlawful.

Unlike other professionals, like real estate brokers, insurance agents, and general contractors, freight brokers are not issued licenses at a state level.

This is advantageous as it allows freight brokers to work anywhere in the lower 48 states without acquiring an additional license.

There are only a few steps to becoming a licensed freight broker in Illinois:

  1. Possess a high school diploma or equivalent
  2. Complete a Certified Transportation Broker specialized training program.

Freight broker classes are available online and by professional schools.

The coursework provides students with the procedural and practical skills to become a successful freight broker – operating within federal guidelines.

Other classes include invoices, contracts, and transportation types, to name a few.

  1. Set up and register a business entity, as required by Illinois law.

There are various business entities to establish a freight brokering business.

They range from Sole Proprietor to an LLC, a Partnership, or Corporation, among others.

The type of entity selected is based on various strategic aspects, like taxes, payroll, personal protection, ownership, and simplicity of operation.

  1. File for a License.

The next step in a freight broker career path is to submit a completed application to the FMCSA – the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for a freight brokerage license.

The following forms must be submitted:

  • Form 1 – Operating Authority (OP-1) – submitted with an FMCSA fee of $300.
  • Form 2 – Proof of Surety Bond or Trust Fund (BMC-84) – for a minimum of $75,000.
  • Form 3 – Acknowledges the requirement of a legal agent in each of the contiguous 48 states regarding the serving of legal processes. This requires a $50 filing fee.

First-time applicants can use the Unified Registration System.

When Interstate Operating Authority is issued (by issuing an MC Number), this can be done quickly online.

Freight Broker Programs in Illinois

There are various specialized Freight Broker programs available for those seeking a career as a freight broker in Illinois.

The following offers a glimpse into the available programs:

Salary Information for Illinois Freight Brokers

Freight broker salaries vary based on the broker’s skill, industry experience, and reputation.

Freight brokers generally receive a commission of 10% to 35% for their facilitator role in the shipping process.

Salary.com notes that the average freight broker salary in December 2021 was $33,462.

The Bureau of Labor Services includes freight brokers within cargo and freight agents – with a median 2020 salary of $43,770.

According to the BLS’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, Illinois has the fourth-highest employment level of all states – with more than 7,100 jobs in 2020, with an annual mean salary of $47,020.

Salaries for freight brokers across the state are as follows:

Annual Salary Range:
$46K
$54K
$62K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Chicago $55,959
Rockford $51,946
Aurora $55,492
Naperville $54,953
Peoria $50,949
Springfield $48,686
Joliet $54,571
Elgin $55,009
Waukegan $52,808
Cicero $55,959

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Illinois require a business to register?

Yes, conducting business in Illinois or with Illinois residents requires registering with the IDOR.

Can you register a business in Illinois online?

Yes, the My Tax Illinois site offers a one-to-two-day process.

Does Illinois issue a state-level freight broker’s license?

No, the only required license is federally issued.

USA Freight Broker License by State


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