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How to Become a Freight Broker

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Freight brokers match individuals or companies that need shipping services with motor transportation operators. They determine the needs of shippers and find reliable carriers that can transport cargo to a specific location and at a fair price. To begin a career in freight brokering, you need an intricate understanding of the shipping industry, the right skills and an occupational license.

Get the Education

Competent freight brokers are proficient in computing freight rates, negotiating contracts, finding reliable freight providers, tracking cargo and using broker software. To gain this knowledge, pursue a freight broker certificate program offered by institutions such as California State University at San Bernardino. In addition, you can earn an associate degree in business to enhance your knowledge of sales and marketing techniques, and gain an edge over other job candidates. It is also possible to start as a freight agent, who works under a licensed freight broker to gain the experience and know-how required to become a broker.

Master the Skills

To excel in this profession, you must be an accomplished negotiator with strong customer-service skills. The job involves finding carriers for shippers who are often unwilling to meet market freight rates. You must be skilled at negotiating with potential carries to lower their freight charges, while encouraging shippers to up their offer. This calls for strong math skills to make accurate calculations of freight charges, service commissions and other costs. Multitasking and coordinating skills are essential, too. During busy periods, for example, you must be able to attend to the needs of several shippers.

Meet Registration Requirements

You must be licensed by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Career Safety Administration. To earn the Broker Authority license, you must pay a licensing fee and be a holder of a surety bond. As of 2014, the FMCSA required brokers of freight to have surety bonds worth $75,000. The Transporters Intermediaries Association awards the Certified Freight Broker designation to brokers who pass a certification exam. Although this certification is voluntary, earning it can improve your prospects for employment.

Get a Job

As a qualified and licensed freight broker, you can start out by working for established freight brokerages. After gaining vast work experience, building professional relationships with several carriers and raising sufficient capital, you can establish your own brokerage. To run a successful business, focus on hiring agents who can help you gain clients in various regions. Strong skills in personnel management, and service pricing and marketing are must-haves, too. In accordance with FMCSA requirements, you must list a process agent in each state your business operates


Based in New York City, Alison Green has been writing professionally on career topics for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in “U.S. News Weekly” magazine, “The Career” magazine and “Human Resources Journal.” Green holds a master's degree in finance from New York University.

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