Are you considering opening your own freight brokerage business? If you have experience in the industry that’s great, but what should you do if you’re starting from ground zero?
While no training is legally required for freight brokers, many schools offer excellent programs to get you up to speed on the latest industry trends, technology, and best practices. These can really make the difference between a decent start in the industry and a fantastic start.
Check out some of the best freight broker training schools in the industry:
This school has a great reputation and offers continuing assistance after you’ve finished classes. By providing you with referrals and software discounts, TTI is designed to both help you get started and help you along the way. Courses are available both in-person (in Atlanta and Dallas) and online, with prices ranging between $1,000– $2,250. They also offer a variety of special discounts on their courses.
Brooke offers 5 day freight broker and agent training courses to start your independent transportation broker business in a variety of locations: Ontario, California; Charlotte, NC; Dallas, TX; and Jacksonville, FL. Their courses are offered for a flat rate of $2,495. The course is specially designed to match you with an existing company, so you can work hourly or on commission, but you can also use your newly acquired skills to start your independent freight brokerage.
FBC offers online packages ranging from the $99 basic to the $699 deluxe. On the high end they provide everything from online training to website templates, assistance in filing for licenses, and a 550,000+ transportation directory to help you find shippers and carriers to work with. This makes FBC a great value.
Some colleges and universities also offer freight broker classes. Some examples are at Northern Maine Community College and Houston Community College. These can be great options if you’re already enrolled in the relevant school. Otherwise, don’t forget to look for freight broker training online.
There are grants and financial aid packages available for both universities and specialty schools. This is especially true for veterans, as the FMCSA has been making large grants to fund such training for years. Be sure to check out all of your options to see how affordable your freight brokerage training could be.
If you want more information about the experiences of others, be sure to check out this great forum about freight broker schools.
For a complete guide to every aspect of becoming a freight broker, download our free e-book, The Freight Broker Starter Kit:
Through biting winds cold enough to deter even the most avid runner, Team JW Surety Bonds toughed it out to a strong finish in the third annual Officer Brad Fox Memorial 5K held April 11, 2015.
Brad Fox was a K-9 police officer with the Plymouth Township Police Department killed in action in September of 2012. A former Marine who served two deployments in Iraq, Brad’s life was devoted to service. JW Surety Bonds has a special connection to the Fox family and were proud to support this effort to honor his memory.
Funds raised from the 2015 5K event will go to the families of both a state trooper and a fire fighter killed in the line of duty last year, the Special Olympics of Montgomery County and a scholarship at Brad’s alma mater.
Thank you to our always willing runners and walkers for coming out to support this important community event.]]>
JW Surety Bonds again participated in the annual Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids’ Sake, held this year on March 22, 2015. Believing that support for our local youth is a vital investment in the future, we gathered a total of 33 bowlers who, with the company’s sponsorship, raised just shy of $3,000.00 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County.
Six separate bowling events held over two weekends are offered as a celebration to all who raise funds. For over 40 years, Bowl for Kids’ Sake has been a much anticipated community event and BBBS’s most successful annual fundraiser.
Congratulations to our winners
The little brothers and sisters of course were the big winners of the day, but we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge our high scorers and top fundraisers.
Cheers to our very own “King Pin” Matt Gerdes, for rolling a solid 194. Captain Eric Weisbrot’s team “The Dudes Abide” smoked the competition, turning in the highest average for the entire session with 153 points.
An enormous thank you goes to Collette Vierling for her fantastic fundraising effort, earning her both individual and team fundraising awards.
Bowl for Kids’ Sake is an event open to the public that supports the important work of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County. For more information, please visit www.bbbsbc.org.]]>
Making a great business plan is an essential step of any business, especially if you’re starting your own freight brokerage. There are many ways to get started. For example, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has a useful online business plan tool, which you can use. But, there are some specifics relating to how to become a freight broker which you should definitely keep in mind. Here’s our step-by-step guide to help you along:
Deciding which legal structure will work best for you is an absolute must. Only once you’ve made this choice can you begin the legal process of founding your company.Legalzoom offers some excellent and inexpensive assistance in this process. As for the type of company, your main options are:
Limited liability is exactly what it sounds like – it has the advantage of avoiding personal liability on the part of the owners for any debts incurred by the company. It’s also easy to raise funds by selling new membership interests with this type of structure. For the other advantages of an LLC, check out Legalzoom’s excellent summary.
When two people decide to form a company together, this is the simplest way to do it. A partnership can take many forms, but it always has certain advantages and disadvantages you should consider in terms of liability, flexibility, and longevity.
This is essentially a company which consists of a single individual and would be a great option for someone looking to start a smaller freight brokerage on their own. However, a sole proprietorship does involve putting all of your eggs into one basket, so to speak. Thus, be sure to consider liability issues involved with this business structure.
Corporations are more complex and difficult to set up, but they offer serious tax and legal advantages if you’re looking to build a larger freight brokerage business. The biggest difference between S and C corporations is that C corporations pay taxes as a corporation and as an individual shareholders while with the S type taxes are only paid by the shareholders. But unless you’re looking to sell shares and employ more than around 20 people, you can probably stick with a simpler business type.
Technology is a critical part of any modern freight brokerage business. It’s not only crucial to choose the best brokering software for your needs, but it’s also important to take advantage of standard business tech to streamline your work. That includes having a smartphone, so you can keep up with developments on-the-go, and using accounts and billing software to simplify your life at tax time. Plus, by using the latest applications to more efficiently match freight with carriers, you’ll be a step ahead from the start.
While transportation brokerage can be done remotely, face-to-face meetings and personal contacts can really make a big difference. It’s important to think strategically about where economic growth is highest so you can position your business to benefit from the increased freight shipments which accompany your main location.
Beyond positioning yourself in a great location, finding a market niche can help boost your business’s natural potential for growth and success. For example, by finding an area where a lot of commercial retail development is about to begin you can build contacts early and become the go-to freight broker for all new businesses as they open their doors and require regular product shipments.
While starting a freight broker business is quite affordable, compared to many other types of companies, it’s still important to understand the licensing fees, application fees, etc. Therefore, the question of funding needs to be incorporated into your business plan from the start. Fortunately, there are many new companies like Lendio dedicated solely to finding peer-to-peer lending options, so keep in mind you have options beyond a traditional bank loan.
Don’t allow your business to become just another statistic by letting it fail simply because you never put together an adequate business plan. If you’re wondering how to become a great freight broker, this is an unmissable step. Things may seem obvious but the foresight and perspective a good business plan gives you are invaluable. Once you’ve got that, you can jump into new opportunities with confidence! For a complete guide to every aspect of becoming a freight broker, download our free e-book, The Freight Broker Starter Kit:]]>
It’s a fantastic time to become a freight broker, as several industry trends from 2013-2014 are coming together to make 2015 look great for the industry. Here’s why:
The entire industry is still adjusting to the huge 750% increase in bond requirements instituted in October 2013 under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).
This new law has had wide ranging effects, but on the most basic level, MAP-21 increased standards by ensuring that fly-by-night brokers are pushed out of the industry. It’s also helped brokers understand their liabilities in case they fail to fulfill a contract. This means new brokers won’t have to deal with competitors who operate under lower standards.
MAP-21 effectively pushed 35% of all US freight brokers out of the industry. These were largely brokers who were unable to comply with the greater bonding amounts, or the fly-by-nighters we just mentioned.
So, alongside increasing industry standards, we’re seeing decreased competition. But while this has been the trend for 2014, the advantage won’t continue forever, as brokers adjust to the new industry reality. Thus, it’s clearly better to enter the freight broker industry sooner rather than later.
Current forecasts predict solid 3% GDP growth for 2015. The high level of integration which shipping enjoys within the larger US economy means that this trend is sure to benefit trucking brokers as well. If you can couple this with starting your business in a high growth area of the country, then you’ll be positioning yourself well!
New software promises to make the process of finding the right carrier for your client’s freight easier and easier. With hundreds of options out there and new ones entering the market regularly, you’re sure to have ample opportunities to keep your business running efficiently.
Combine this with the declining costs of the most basic tools of the trade, like computers, and it’s clear that technology is another reason to enter the freight brokerage industry.
Becoming a freight broker is surprisingly affordable, here’s a breakdown of all the costs.
This is a one time fee for obtaining a license from the FMCSA.
The process and cost of registering a business is different in each state. But fortunately, the federal process is standard and described in our article on getting your MC Authority & other legal requirements. [LINK}
For a basic freight broker just getting started, a computer, phone, and an internet connection should suffice. As you expand, you can consider renting office space, but there’s no need to factor that into your initial budget, as most freight brokers initially work from home.
It’s important to note here that this is going to vary depending on your credit score, business financials, and the agency with which you obtain your bond. With JW Surety Bonds, 90% of bonded freight brokers pay less than $2000 a year.
There’s a huge variety of software available (100+ just in 2015) and new market products are constantly arriving. Some of the most popular options include:
Like any business, you need insurance to control legal liability. Freight brokers can be sued for fatalities or injuries from a third party carrier, for not following legal contracts or for employment disputes.
There are a lot of potential marketing strategies out there from simple cold calling to complex online content marketing campaigns. These have widely varying costs. If you’re starting off with personal contacts to get your business off on the right foot, you might save a bit of money here. But if you’re really starting from scratch, it would be best to budget for some serious marketing.
This is really up to you. Ideally, you’ll want to keep a reserve, so you’ll be prepared for unexpected costs like having to replace equipment, which might suddenly break, or handling payment issues from a shipper. Keep in mind that early cash flow problems are a classic small business killer.
Ultimately, making the decision to become a freight broker (or not) is all about taking a hard look at the big picture and seeing where your opportunities lie. The combination of factors affecting the freight broker industry today aren’t repeated often, but only you can decide if they’ll make for the perfect opportunity for you.
For a complete guide to every aspect of becoming a freight broker, download our free e-book, The Freight Broker Starter Kit:
JW Surety Bonds will be closed Friday, April 3, 2015 to observe Good Friday. We will resume normal business hours on Monday, April 6, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.]]>