How to Get a Freight Broker License in Idaho

September 14, 2023

Are you interested in connecting shippers with carriers that can transport their items in a timely manner? Working as a broker agent allows you to manage the shipping process and keep customers satisfied. In this position, you'll operate as an independent contractor.

While Idaho doesn't have any state-specific requirements for people who are looking to become freight brokers, you'll need to obtain a federal license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This process involves everything from getting insurance to buying a freight broker bond.

As a freight broker, you'll be contracted by businesses that have cargo they need to ship and are searching for the right transporters that will get their shipments to the intended destination. Intermediaries are highly sought after. Freight brokers often work from a computer and phone to complete their tasks. These tasks include:

  • Processing shipment paperwork
  • Having comprehensive knowledge of transportation laws, the trucking industry, and the freight broker market
  • Negotiating pricing between the transportation company and shipper
  • Handling communications between the transporter and shipper
  • Tracking all shipments to ensure they arrive at their destination on time and undamaged
  • Creating a list of consistent and reliable transporters

Requirements to Become a Freight Broker in Idaho

If you wish to become a freight broker in Idaho, you must:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Obtain insurance and a freight broker bond (BMC-84)
  • Seek a USDOT number from the Department of Transportation
  • Have EIN and MC numbers
  • Wait for 15-30 business days to receive your freight broker license

Steps to Get a Freight Broker License in Idaho

Follow the steps below to earn licensure in Idaho.

Step 1: Receive Education

The only education requirement to become a freight broker in Idaho is to have a high school diploma or GED. However, you can broaden your knowledge of the industry by first seeking a job in shipping or by attending a freight broker school.

Step 2: Get an EIN

Your freight broker business must be registered directly with the IRS, which will allow you to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can register as a corporation or LLC in Idaho by submitting your freight brokerage name and registration form with the Idaho Secretary of State.

Step 3: Obtain a DOT Number and MC Number

You'll need a USDOT number and MC number before you receive your federal license. A USDOT number is available from the U.S. Department of Transportation and can be obtained from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The same is true of a Motor Carrier number.

To begin this process, seek a USDOT pin on the FMCSA website via the Unified Registration System. The application fee is $300. If you submit an online application, you'll receive these numbers immediately. When you apply by mail, you must wait four to six weeks.

Step 4: Provide Proof of Insurance

Once you've obtained an MC number, you can apply for insurance immediately. Your insurance provider will have 90 days to file the necessary forms that will allow you to get insurance. If you don't have insurance once 90 days have elapsed, you'll need to redo your entire application form. The forms that your insurance provider needs to file include:

  • Form BMC-34, which is cargo liability insurance
  • Form BMC-85, which is a Trust Fund Agreement
  • Form BMC-91 or BMC-91X, which is public liability insurance

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 5: Obtain a BMC-84 Surety Bond

The primary freight broker bond you must obtain to receive your federal license amounts to $75,000. Keep in mind that you only pay for around 1%–5% of the bond amount if your credit score is high enough, which means that your bond premium will likely range from $750 to $3,750.

Step 6: Wait to Get Your License

You'll need to wait at least three to six weeks to obtain approval and have your license mailed to you by the FMCSA. During this time, find a process agent who's licensed in Idaho and will represent you in the event a claim is ever filed against your brokerage business.

Idaho Freight Broker Training Programs

There are several agent training programs you can enter to improve your skills before seeking contract work as a freight agent. While only a high school diploma is necessary to become a freight broker, having extensive knowledge of the transportation industry can help you advance in your career. Consider attending a freight broker school. The topics that you'll learn during freight broker training include business organization, legal responsibilities, and management.

There are plenty of online and in-person programs you can take to become a more skilled and knowledgeable freight forwarder or broker. For instance, Brooke Transportation Training Solutions offers a 180-hour program that you can take online in around six months. Whether you live in Meridian or Nampa, attending an online school allows you to avoid traveling for coursework. This course is available at numerous technical and community colleges throughout Idaho.

Career Growth and Salary Expectations of a Freight Broker

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), freight brokers make an annual salary of around $49,700. However, the maximum freight broker salary can be much higher depending on your level of experience. There are over 10,292 freight brokers in the United States. This profession is in high demand, which means that the number of people who work as freight brokers should increase over the next decade.


How Much Does It Cost to Become a Freight Broker in Idaho?

The costs associated with becoming a freight broker usually range from $8,000 to $16,000 depending on the path you take. For instance, a training course will likely cost you a couple thousand dollars. Some of the additional expenses you might have to pay include:

  • Brokerage company registration - $100–$250
  • MC broker authority - $300
  • Business insurance - $350–$3,500
  • Computer and necessary software - $1,500–$5,000
  • Freight broker bond cost - $750–$3,750
  • Office space rental - $1,000–$2,000 every month
  • Marketing - $1,000

How Long Does It Take to Become a Broker in Idaho?

The process of becoming a broker in Idaho can be completed in anywhere from two to nine months. If you choose to take part in a training program, these can last for 30 days or up to six months.


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