How to Become a Freight Broker:
The Definitive Guide


Working in transportation and goods can be a thrilling career path for many.

As a Freight Broker, you can gain experience working with individuals or companies who need their goods shipped to customers or businesses.

A Freight Broker helps carriers fill their trucks, but they also help businesses find those carriers to ship their goods.

Consider a Freight Broker the middleman of the transportation and shipment industry.

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What is a Freight Broker?

As a Freight Broker, you will research rates, routes, and other important information for shipments and customers.

Plus, you will be in contact with several different companies at once, so it’s crucial to stay organized.

In this career, you can run your own business or work for larger companies.

Either way, as a Freight Broker, it is your responsibility to arrange and keep track of shipments throughout the entire process.

This career is good for people with great communication skills and attention to detail.

Duties

There will likely be many assignments to do for a Freight Broker on a daily basis.

Some of the most common tasks will include:

  • Calculating the weight and volume of shipments
  • Inform clients of shipments and tracking information
  • Document shipment information
  • Provide shipment status notifications
  • Verify packages and labels
  • Connect shippers to carriers

Salary

Most of the Freight Brokers that work in the United States make about $48,000 annually.

With education and experience, you can expect to make a bit more in this career.

Those with knowledge of the career and formal education can make as much as $69,000 in some parts of the country.

There are areas that pay less, at around $39,000 a year in places like Nevada and West Virginia.

The least amount that a Freight Broker should make a year is about $26,000.

Working in areas with large populations and high socio-economic statuses will boast higher salaries as well.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

Annually National Average Salary: $46,770

$26K
$34K
$46K
$55K
$69K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Annual Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$44,330
Alaska$44,070
Arizona$41,980
Arkansas$51,640
California$47,850
Colorado$47,130
Connecticut- NA -
Delaware$43,370
Florida$42,590
Georgia$45,940
Hawaii$39,600
Idaho$46,700
Illinois$48,180
Indiana$43,220
Iowa$40,270
Kansas$42,900
Kentucky$42,340
Louisiana$46,640
Maine$53,350
Maryland$42,580
Massachusetts$44,670
Michigan$44,930
Minnesota$52,850
Mississippi$42,840
Missouri$47,730
Montana$47,470
Nebraska$53,130
Nevada$39,020
New Hampshire$51,020
New Jersey$54,500
New Mexico$46,940
New York$50,870
North Carolina$45,650
North Dakota$40,980
Ohio$42,960
Oklahoma$42,110
Oregon$54,110
Pennsylvania$48,400
Rhode Island$52,530
South Carolina$45,880
South Dakota$51,970
Tennessee$42,310
Texas$43,930
Utah$41,170
Vermont$36,910
Virginia$46,350
Washington$54,720
West Virginia$39,360
Wisconsin$45,930
Wyoming$51,270
Puerto Rico$27,300
Virgin Islands$32,570

Annual Average Salary: Top 5 States

The top earning state in the field is Washington, where the average salary is $54,720.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Washington - $54,720
New Jersey - $54,500
Oregon - $54,110
Maine - $53,350
Nebraska - $53,130
*Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey.
Conducted by: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

How to Become a Freight Broker

Step 1Get an Education

Freight Broker school isn’t required legally in the United States, but it is definitely highly recommended.

Finding a program to become an educated Freight Broker is easy, there are many online schools as well as facilities across the country.

An education program can take as little as 30 days and as much as 45 days.

Within one of these programs, you should expect to learn many techniques of this industry, including classes on:

  • Starting Your Business
  • Legal Filings
  • Contacting and Negotiating with Trucks
  • Cash Flow
  • Qualifying Shippers
  • Sales

There are many types of Freight Broker programs across the country, and the average price for a 40-day program is about $1,100.

Step 2Become Registered

The next step in becoming a Freight Broker is to become registered.

This way, you will be able to legally operate a business or as an individual.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is one of the companies that provide this registration.

The FMCSA provides the Freight Broker License Registration and US DOT Number Application.

In order to obtain registration, you must provide the following:

  • A $450 registration fee
  • Proof of insurance
  • Proof of BOC-3 form (may not be necessary for some states)

Registration will allow for you to become hired by different companies throughout the United States.

After registration, you will be able to legally work as a Freight Broker in the United States.

You can still work at a Freight Broker company without a license, but you won’t be able to do much besides work at the front desk.

Step 3Find the Right Carriers

This may be the most difficult part of the whole process of becoming a Freight Broker.

If you work for a company, they may already have clients lined up for you to work with.

However, if you are working by yourself or starting your own business, you may want to get some leads before stepping into the trade.

The types of carriers that you are going to want should be reliable, safe, and have experience working in the field.

There are many online directories and places for Freight Brokers to connect with carriers and other Freight Brokers.

Build your network and ask other Freight Brokers who they use, or you could even use good old social media to put out feelers.

Some Freight Brokers even ask friends and family for suggestions on carriers.

Step 4Expand Your Business

Once you get all of the legal paperwork out of the way, the fun part begins.

Now, you can expand your knowledge about being a Freight Broker and all of the things that come with shipping.

Taking on more with your company or as an individual may mean that you will need to take out a business loan as well.

Depending on your credit, how much you need to borrow, and any other requirements, the loan can vary.

Expanding your business could mean opening up to more clients or even developing a large market strategy that could reach around the world.

As a Freight Broker, it’s really up to you how far you want to go in this career.

Having the proper training, licensure, insurance, and knowledge of the industry can lead to a great life-long career.


Education

Even though you don’t have to go to Freight Broker school to become a Freight Broker, it’s highly recommended.

In fact, in the future, it is likely that states will start to require some type of education in order to have a job as a Freight Broker.

Freight Broker education can be fairly simple and may take as little as one month to finish.

Finding a program that is accredited is a bit tougher, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has some great resources to learn about accreditation.

When looking for a good Freight Broker program, you are going to want to find one that has been in business for some time.

This way, you know that the education is tried and true, and they should have many examples of previous students who have graduated to go on to have great careers.

There are some Freight Broker programs that you can find online, in case you don’t want to have to step into a classroom.

Many programs provide live class lectures and even let you save them for up to 60 days.

These types of programs can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500 depending on which type of program you enroll in.

A typical Freight Broker training program will provide instruction on topics that may include:

  • How to start your own business
  • Working from home
  • Marketing
  • How to find freight
  • Dispatch
  • Daily accounting
  • Developing credibility
  • Load-matching and internet tools
  • How to gain licensure
  • The art of negotiation

When looking for a school or program, make sure you know that your facility is currently enrolling.

Some schools take breaks throughout the year, so schedules may be set in order to accommodate new Freight Brokers.

Many Freight Broker programs are self-paced, which means that you can take as little or as much time as you need.

One thing to be sure of is that you learn enough information so that you can take the licensing exam.

In order to maintain a career as a Freight Broker, you will need to have registration and license.

Video About The Career


Licensing and Certification

You’ll need to make sure that you have the proper registration, licensing, and insurance in order to work legally as a Freight Broker in the United States.

This process can take a bit of time, but it is essential in this field.

Most Freight Brokers obtain their license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

This license provides you with a carrier number, or a DOT number, which allows you to verify your legality.

Not only will you need to register for this number, but you will also pay about $300.

After licensure comes insurance, there are several types that you can get as a Freight Broker, but one of the most important is liability insurance.

If you plan to be a Freight Broker in multiple states, then you will need to get insurance and licensure through each state.

Another important step in getting licensed as a Freight Broker is obtaining a Freight Broker Bond.

A Freight Broker Bond is another type of insurance, up to $75,000, that fights against unlawful practices both from Freight Brokers and customers.

Freight Brokers will also need to register with the Unified Carrier Registration.

This registration allows you to use your DOT number to verify shipments, track packages, and other information that may be necessary.

Depending on where you work and how many states you plan to work in, this registration can cost anywhere from $200 to over $1,000.

Yes, it is true that it takes a lot of time filling out many forms and spending a bit of money to become a Freight Broker, but the insurance and licensing is to help you in the future through any legal troubles that may occur.

Once you become licensed and insured, you can grow a lucrative career as a Freight Broker, and even own your own business.

Average Training Program Duration: 0-1 Year

Most licensing and registrations only take a few weeks when it comes to becoming a Freight Broker.

This is because the own requirements are that you fill out the forms and pay for registration.

Once you prove that you are competent in this career and that you have all the necessary education and paperwork, it may take a week to 3 weeks to hear back from the registration administration.

There are a lot of ways to become a Freight Broker legally, and having licensing is one of the easiest and safest ways to continue your career.

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Job Outlook

Over the next decade or so, the career of a Freight Broker will likely grow around 7 percent.

This is quite a lot more than many other types of careers in the United States.

The reason for this huge growth in this career is due to the use of freight for mail and delivering packages.

It looks to be that many more individuals, as well as companies, will be switching to more air package delivery services.

The rise in online shopping is also another reason for this incline in career opportunities for Freight Brokers.

Those with education and experience in this field will likely find more possibilities to gain promotions and raises as well.

Employment Growth Projection: 7%

97,200
2018
106,300
2028

That's a higher than average projected growth of 9,100 jobs.

Freight Broker: Interest Over Time


Should You Become a Freight Broker?

Overall Satisfaction: High

Overall Satisfaction

Skills in negotiation are very important in the life of a Freight Broker.

Those with negotiation abilities will do the best and get the most satisfaction from this career.

Other factors that help to determine if a Freight Broker is satisfied in their career is salary.

Those who make a higher salary find their careers to be more satisfactory.

Working in large corporations can earn more money than starting your own business, and having education and experience will also provide more career satisfaction.

Average Salary: Medium

Average Salary

Working as a Freight Broker can be quite lucrative if you play your cards right.

Those with a solid education and experience in the field can have a salary close to $70,000 a year.

In large populations and areas with heavy traffic, a Freight Broker can make anywhere from $43,000 to $53,000, like in California or Colorado.

Having a career as a Freight Broker may not start out paying as much.

Most people who are just beginning their career can expect to make closer to $26,000 to $30,000. 

Job Growth Outlook: High

Job Growth Outlook

If you are looking to become a Freight Broker, it seems like now would be the perfect time to do so.

That is because this career will likely grow about 7 percent over the next ten years.

While freight delivery and air delivery are popular today, it is likely that a decade from now that popularity will skyrocket.

More people are online shopping, and delivery services have become a necessity for many people.

Over the course of the next decade, we should see large growth in career opportunities for Freight Brokers.

Education Duration: 0-1 Year

Education Duration

It doesn’t take much time at all to earn an education to become a Freight Broker.

Some programs only take about 30 to 40 days to complete.

If you are looking to earn a degree to become a Freight Broker, many degrees in business are popular.

An Associate’s degree takes about two years to finish, while a Bachelor’s degree can be earned in around four years.

Depending on the level of education you desire, it can take anywhere from a month to four years to become a Freight Broker.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

Freight Broker spends their days talking to clients, customers, and businesses and must keep everything in working order.

Having great communication skills is a no-brainer for success in this career, but there are other traits that a Freight Broker should have as well:

  • Creativity 
  • Organization skills
  • Strategy skills
  • Management knowledge
  • Ability to connect with a variety of people
  • Business skills
  • Networking experience
  • Multi-tasking abilities
  • Negotiation skills
  • Technical knowledge
  • Logistics skills
  • Planning abilities
  • Ability to work as a team or alone

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How much does a Freight Broker make?

The average Freight Broker in America can make about $43,000 a year full-time.

Those who own their own business or who have been working in the field for many years can make much more.

With several years of experience, certification, and registration, a Freight Broker can make over $70,000 in some areas.

Expect to make closer to $35,000 or less when you are just beginning your career in this specialty.

Q. What does a Freight Broker do?

A Freight Broker has the important job of finding transportation for goods.

This means you will need to be in contact with trucks, ships, and other cargo carriers in order to maintain fast and easy shipments.

Businesses and individuals use Freight Brokers to help get packages around the world.

A Freight Broker will make sure that the package is tracked the entire time, and ensure the customer and client that they will receive their packages in a timely manner.

Q. What is the demand for Freight Brokers?

Many more people are going to be using a variety of shipment measures in order to obtain fast and easy delivery.

With more online businesses sending products through the mail, Freight Brokers will likely see a rise of around 7 percent over the next ten years.

This is quite high and much more than other carrier occupations.

If you are looking to begin a career as a Freight Broker, think about starting your journey within the next decade.

Q. How long does it take to become a Freight Broker?

You should expect to take about a month or two to become a Freight Broker.

This is because Freight Broker school can take about one month to 45 days, and then you will need to become registered and licensed.

While this process may take a couple of weeks, you can still find a career while you are waiting.

As long as you have your registration, license, and a solid education, you can expect to start a career as a Freight Broker in less than 3 months.

Q. How much does it cost to become a Freight Broker?

If you don’t attend Freight Broker school, then you may only have to pay a few hundred dollars in order to become registered and licensed.

However, more employers and even states are requiring some type of education to work as a Freight Broker.

The average online Freight Broker program costs about $2,500, while in-person classes may cost closer to $3,500.

With registration and licensing fees, it can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 to become a Freight Broker.


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