How to Become a Freight Broker Agent

Freight agent brokers handle the mechanics of shipping cargo.

Freight agent brokers handle the mechanics of shipping cargo.

A freight broker agent works with companies that are shipping items, finding them the best transportation option and handling all the details of shipping. Freight agents are trained to understand the costs and drawbacks of each type of shipping method, as well as customs or licenses required for shipping in different areas. Freight agents frequently work for themselves as independent contractors, working from their home at their own schedule, making it ideal for stay-at-home mothers.

Look into educational programs. The best way to learn about the shipping business is to take a course in freight agent training. Many colleges and community colleges offer courses in freight agent training through their continuing education programs. There are also multiple options for online training programs. These programs will provide you with valuable information on different shipping options, customs requirements and training on shipping software.

Apply for jobs as a freight agent with another company. Having the educational background will give you an edge as an entry-level freight agent, and on-the-job training will help you develop real-world experience before striking out on your own. Many of these jobs enable you to work from home, or work part-time, so it should be feasible even for stay-at-home moms.

Work for a year or two as a freight agent, to develop your skills and become comfortable with the business.

Purchase shipping software. There are many options available to choose from. For example, the American Broker Academy uses LoadPilot. Research cost and features and make a decision that seems appropriate to you.

Fill out and pay for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration form OP-1, which is required to become a federally authorized broker. Once your application has been processed, which takes several weeks, you will be given a carrier number, which you will need for your insurance company.

Get a surety bond, which you need to operate legally as your own broker. Most people contact their insurance company for this. The insurance company provides the bond as a form of insurance, and you pay a yearly fee. The amount that you have to pay per year for this varies based on your credit worthiness.

Consider incorporating as a business through your state's secretary of state office. Although it's not required, doing so can make you seem more professional to your customers and can minimize your liability.

 

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