How to Get Your Freight Broker License! A Step by Step Guide

Want to learn how to get your freight broker license? Well I have good news for you. This article will show you how to get your freight broker license in 5 simple steps.

Step 1 – Get Trained

The first step to getting your freight broker license is to seek out a reputable and reliable training program or mentor that meets your specific needs. Proper training is a critical when starting a new venture and starting a successful freight brokerage is no different.

When I started my brokerage back in 2003 when I got started I had absolutely no experience in logistics.  At that time I invested over $10,000 to fly a well respected freight broker trainer to Buffalo, NY to help me get started.

Only after I knew the basics of how to broker freight and had confidence in my business plan did I file for my freight broker license (also known as freight broker authority) Why?  Because learning from other people’s mistakes is the best way to prevent them from happening to you!

The good news is, there are many freight broker training options these days where you can get trained. Some trainings are online, others are more like a classroom setting while others learning opportunities include on the job training. 

Free Resource – The #1 Guide to Freight Broker Training

The most important part is for you to choose a training program that is going to work for you and set you up for success as you grow your brokerage. 

Do You Need A Degree to Become A Freight Broker?

There are no educational requirements needed to become a freight brokers other than a high school diploma or GED. You don’t need a college degree to become a freight broker.

In addition, there are no certifications, tests or exams required to get your freight broker license.

Step 2 – Choose Your Business Structure

The second step is to setup an LLC or Corporation in your local state. The LLC or Corp is the entity you run your freight broker business from. I am not a lawyer or an accountant so I suggest you consult with one or both when choosing your business structure.

In addition, you are going to want to setup your Employer Identification Number also known as your EIN which is used to separate your personal income and taxes from business income and taxes.

Step 3 – Apply For Your Freight Broker Authority

The third step in getting your freight broker license is to complete and submit your operating authority application with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). 

You’ll start the registration process with the FMCSA via the Unified Registration System (URS). During the application process, you will be assigned a federal operating authority (MC Number) and have to complete the remaining two steps below before submitting your application.

freight broker unified carrier registration

What is the freight broker license cost?

There is a non-refundable one-time application fee of $300.

Here’s an article I wrote going into a complete breakdown of what it cost to become a freight broker in 2024.

How long does the licensing process take? 

It typically takes new applicants takes 4-6 weeks to get their freight broker license approval.

Step 4 – Get Your Freight Broker Surety Bond BMC 85

The fourth step is to obtain a $75,000 freight broker bond (also known as a surety bond or BMC-85). As a part of the licensing process the FMCSA will require proof of freight broker bond before approval.

Your surety bond acts as a guarantee to motor carriers, trucking companies and owner operators, that they will get paid if they perform services for a freight broker.

The good news is, a broker bond will not cost you $75,000 but typically cost $1,000 to $5,000. The two biggest factors including your credit score and business experience. Broker bond cost can go up substantially if you have bad or no credit.

A freight broker surety bond is NOT contingent cargo or liability insurance and does not cover freight damages or delays.

Step 5 – Get Your Form BOC-3

The fifth step is to file your BOC-3 also known as Designation of Process Agent with the FMCSA. You must have a designated process agent for any state you do business in. Most brokers setup all 50 states to avoid any potential issues as freight travels from state to state.

This is a legal requirement in the event you are served with any legal documents related to your freight brokerage business.

The FMCSA provides an extensive list of companies offering BOC-3 process agent services for freight brokers, freight forwarders and motor carriers.  

How to Renew Your Freight Broker License 

Once you have your freight broker license (also called Operating Authority), renewing it every year is pretty simple.

  • Renew your UCR annually (January 1st to December 31)
  • Renew your freight broker surety bond annually

Bonus Tip #1- Keep Your Records Organized

After you successfully complete your licensing process and are in business you’ll want to keep your documents well organized.

Freight brokers have to keep up-to-date records and accurate records of all transactions and operations. Your records can be inspected by regulatory authorities, so it’s a good idea to keep your documents organized. 


Follow the simple 5 step process I shared above and you will have your freight broker license in no time!

Here’s an article I wrote that that goes into a lot more depth about, “How to Become A Freight Broker in 7 Simple Steps [Updated 2024]”

Another article I wrote that you might be interested in is “How much can a freight broker or freight agent earn?”

If you found this article useful please SHARE on LinkedIn, Facebook or X. I appreciate your support.

Thanks for visiting and come back soon!

Owner, CEO

Dennis Brown the freight broker, is the owner of and former CEO of Logistic Dynamics, Inc. (LDi) one of North Americas fastest growing logistics providers. Dennis has over 25 years of hands on experience as an entrepreneur and is widely regarded as an expert in logistics, freight brokerage, business growth strategies and B2B sales and marketing. Dennis became a freight broker in 2003, as a one man operations with NO industry experience . He went on to do over $200 million as a freight broker, eventually selling the freight brokerage to spend more time with his family. Dennis Brown has trained over 10,000 students, in 16 different countries, how to become a freight broker or freight agent. Many of his students have went on to build highly successful and highly profitable freight broker businesses.

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