The distribution and transportation of goods is a vital part of the U.S. business network. Trucks, which move things as varied as fresh produce and gasoline, comprise a large portion of freight transportation services. Truck brokers act as intermediaries between manufactures, distributors and wholesalers on one side and trucking companies or owner-operators on the other to schedule and arrange the shipment of goods. Some freight or truck brokers focus on small loads, referred to as LTL or less than a truckload, while other brokers focus on container freight. With some transportation background knowledge, the required license and a strong organizational system, you can start a successful truck broker business.
Obtain experience in the transportation industry. Consider working for a short time to learn the lingo and common practices and obtain important contacts within the transportation industry. A strong understanding of financing and payment arrangements is critical to a start-up truck broker business. Balancing accounts receivable with payments to your trucking businesses is essential to long-term sustainability.
Obtain your brokerage license. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, you must file an OP-1 Application for Motor Property Carrier and Broker Authority. This application will give you an MC, motor carrier, number.
File proof of insurance and pay the application fee. Before obtaining your brokerage operating authority, you must file proof of insurance for $10,000. This insurance can be a trust fund agreement or a surety bond. When you file your application proof with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, also submit for the BOC-3 Designation of Process Agent Form and the required $300 process fee.
Set up your brokerage system. Truck brokering requires handling a large volume of paperwork and communications. Set up a filing system, fax, email and phone system for quickly submitting bids and coordinating freight agreements. Also set up a strong accounting system that helps you keep up with all payments, outstanding funds and the amounts due to each contracting truck or trucking company. Successful truck brokers are able to quickly and easily manage multiple contracts and information requests simultaneously through a well-developed organization system.
Obtain clients and freight connections. Sign up owner-operators or small trucking companies who want to use your truck brokering services. Advertise your services in truck stops, on the Internet and through signs on every truck that uses your services. If you provide excellent service that keeps truck downtime low, mileage rates high and meets the home time requirements of drivers, your business will expand rapidly through word-of-mouth advertising. Look for freight connections through online freight brokerage sites and personal connections.