How to Get a Freight Broker License in Arkansas

To become a licensed Arkansas freight broker, you must get a freight broker license. This license is issued and managed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It ensures freight brokers are prepared to offer professional services ethically and lawfully. 

Freight broker services and duties include:

  • Sourcing new customers/clients (shippers with cargo that needs to be moved).
  • Finding reputable transporters (trucking companies or similar with the means to move a shipper's cargo).
  • Navigating load boards to fill trucks and find transporters. 
  • Acting as an intermediary for shippers and transporters.
  • Negotiating contracts and pricing with both parties. 
  • Organizing and tracking shipments from pickup to drop-off.
  • Filling out paperwork and invoices.
  • Keeping detailed records of shipments. 

For more details on what a freight broker's job involves, visit: What is a Freight Broker?

Our guide below breaks down all the requirements to get an FMCSA freight broker license. In addition, we cover education requirements and salary expectations—everything you need to prepare for a successful career as a freight broker in Arkansas. 

Requirements to Become a Freight Broker in Arkansas

  • Age: Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Criminal History: Have no disqualifying convictions.
  • Education: Have a high school diploma or GED.
  • Surety Bond: Get a freight broker bond (BMC-84 bond).

Surety bonds are explained further in the next section.

Steps to Get a Freight Broker License in Arkansas

Freight broker licenses are issued at a national level (there is no state-specific licensing in Arkansas for freight brokers). However, in order to make a freight broker license valid in AK (also commonly called an Arkansas freight broker license), the licensee must get a processing agent for that state. Step 7 goes into more detail.

Step 1: Register Your Business

You can skip this step if you plan to work for an existing freight broker business. However, if your goal after licensing is to open your own freight brokerage, there are a few extra forms you need to tend to. After you choose a business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or LLC) and a business name, visit:

More information on registering a business in Arkansas can be found on the SOS website.

Step 2: Get a USDOT Number & PIN

You can apply for a United States Department of Transportation Number (USDOT Number) and a USDOT PIN quickly and easily online.

  • USDOT Number: Head to FMCSA's Unified Registration System (URS). The system will guide you through the application step by step. In addition, it will inform you if you need any other permits or registrations to qualify.
  • USDOT PIN: Once your USDOT Number registration is approved, you will automatically receive a USDOT PIN (required to get your Broker authority in Step 4). If you don't receive a PIN or lose it, a new one can be requested through the FMCSA website.  

Step 3: Choose a Broker Authority

You may only broker freight if you have the broker authority to do so (also called an operating authority). There are two types of authorities, and you may choose one or both. 

Broker of Property: arranges the transportation of property (excluding household goods) belonging to others using an authorized Motor Carrier. 

Broker of Household Goods: arranges the transportation of household goods belonging to others using an authorized Motor Carrier (often a moving company). Household goods are personal items and property used in a home. 

Step 4: Apply for Your Broker Authority

A Motor Carrier Number (MC Number) is also commonly referred to as a broker authority or operating authority. To get this, you must apply through FMCSA's URS online and include your $300 application fee. 

Note that the online URS has replaced the OP-1 form (OP-series forms can now only be used to apply for additional authorities, not initial registration).

Step 5: Get a Freight Broker Bond

The FMCSA requires all US freight brokers to hold a $75,000 freight broker bond (form BMC-84) or trust fund agreement (form BMC-85). Most opt for the surety bond since it only costs a small percentage of the total bond amount instead of tying up $75,000. 

How Much Does a $75,000 Arkansas Freight Broker Bond Cost? 

Bond cost (bond premium) is largely based on an applicant's credit score. Those with good credit can pay as little as 1% ($750), while those with bad credit will pay a higher premium of approximately 5%-10% ($3,750 - $7,500).

Get a free freight broker bond quote today to see your qualifying rate. 

For more information and answers to FAQs for surety bonds, visit our guides:

Step 6: Get Insured

The insurance you need will depend on which broker authorities you applied for. Common insurance required for applicants includes: 

  • Bodily injury and property damage insurance (Form BMC-91 or BMC-91X)
  • Cargo liability insurance (BMC-34)

In some cases, none of these insurance types will apply to you. However, if they do, all proof of insurance forms must be received within 90 days from the filing date of your licensing application (or your application will be void). Your insurance company can complete these insurance filing requirements at your request. 

Freight Broker Bonds vs. Insurance

Freight broker bonds protect shippers/motor carriers, not freight brokers.However, freight broker insurance does protect freight brokers. 

Many new freight brokers that invest the bare minimum on insurance coverage quickly realize they are disqualified from working with larger shippers. Each year, more freight brokers are pulled into litigation, and ultimately go out of business due to huge judgments and legal fees they can’t afford.

Although insurance is not required to operate, the most important reasons to have it in place are to:

  • Protect your bottom line
  • Create increased security around your bond, and avoid leaving yourself open to paying legal fees by not purchasing insurance.
  • Increase top line: by having insurance, you become more attractive in today's marketplace to shippers and wholesalers.

Freight Broker Insurance Types

There are several types of insurance coverages that are recommended for freight brokers; please see the list below:

  • Business owner’s policy (BOP)
  • General liability
  • Workers' compensation
  • Commercial auto
  • Professional liability/errors and omissions (E&O)
  • Contingent cargo
  • Contingent auto liability

If you’d like to learn more about all of the insurance coverages available to you, please read our freight broker insurance guide.

Step 7: Designate an Arkansas Process Agent

You must designate a process agent for each state where you write contracts or have an office. Therefore, at the very least, you need an Arkansas process agent (also referred to as an Arkansas processing agent). This individual represents your business and will be served court papers if a claim is ever brought against you. 

Plan to work in multiple states? Consider a blanket company (a company with process agents that work in each state).

  • Submit form BOC-3 (Designation of Process Agents) to the FMCSA. If you choose a blanket company, they can complete this step on your behalf. 

Arkansas Freight Broker Training Programs

You can become a freight broker with no experience or post-secondary certification. However, an easy way to get a leg up in the industry and become a successful freight broker is to complete a freight broker training program.  

These online and in-person freight broker courses cover the basics of freight brokering, marketing, transportation industry laws, and more. Beyond the wealth of information they offer, instructors also frequently connect their students to professionals in the industry, providing invaluable connections and job opportunities. 

  • Taltoa: Offers an online course and in-person training at their campus in Fort Smith, Arkansas. In addition, they provide consulting while you get your career up and running. 
  • NorthWest Arkansas Community College: Freight broker/agent training 100% online and at your own pace. This course offers many real-life examples for those that learn best from business strategies in practice. 
  • University of Central Arkansas: In collaboration with Brooke Transportation Training Solutions (one of the top freight broker schools), they offer in-depth training and virtual discussions with freight industry experts.

Career Growth and Salary Expectations of a Freight Broker 

Arkansas' freight broker hiring market is not as active as other states, but if you can get in, some locations offer pay close to the national average.

According to Zipcruiter, the average US freight broker salary is $63,283, with Arkansas at $47,903. However, some AK locations have proven to have much higher profitability—with top cities like Springdale and Jonesboro hitting close to the national average.


City Annual Salary
Springdale $61,108
Jonesboro $60,889
Fayetteville $59,129
Fort Smith $57,396
Mineral Springs $56,569
Little Rock $53,714


Looking for more job opportunities? While Arkansas has 46 freight broker jobs as of 2023, top states like California and Pennsylvania have 562 and 454, respectively
[ Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics ]. Remember, your freight broker license can be carried to any state—as long as you designate the appropriate processing agent.

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