How to Get a Freight Broker License in Florida

November 29, 2022

Freight brokers are a critical part of the supply chain and logistics industry. They help connect shippers with carriers who have the capacity to move their freight. In order to become a freight broker, you must obtain a license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The process of getting a freight broker license in Florida is similar to the process in other states. You must be at least 18 years old, usually have a high school diploma, have a clean criminal record, and pass a written exam. You will also need to post a surety bond or trust fund agreement.

Once you have met all the requirements, you can apply for your license online through the FMCSA registration system. In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need to get started.

What Do Freight Brokers in Florida Do?

A freight broker is a person or company that serves as a middleman between a shipper who has freight to move and a carrier who has the capacity to move it. A freight brokerage does not actually transport the freight themselves, but rather they coordinate the movement of freight, making all the necessary arrangements on behalf of their client shippers.

In order for freight brokers in Florida to operate, they must obtain a Freight Broker License Florida from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This process involves completing a freight broker training course, passing a written exam, and submitting proof of a freight broker bond.

Once licensed, freight brokers can start soliciting business from shippers. They will work with shippers to understand their shipping needs and then find carriers who can accommodate those needs.

This requires them to have a firm grasp on subjects such as cargo insurance, types of freight,  transportation law, general liability, types of freight, and the general transportation industry, as well as great negotiation skills.

A process agent will negotiate rates on behalf of their shipper clients and then book the loads with carriers. Once the shipments are complete, brokers will invoice the shippers and pay the carriers, less any commissions or fees that are due.

Freight brokers play an important role in the logistics industry, providing a vital service for both shippers and carriers. By working with freight brokers in Florida, shippers can save time and money while ensuring that their freight is moved safely and efficiently.

What Are the Steps for Becoming a Freight Broker in Florida

A freight agent plays an important role in the transportation industry, using their broker authority to connect shippers with carriers who have the ability to transport their goods.
In Florida, a freight broker business must obtain a freight broker license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). To make things as clear as possible, we've broken the process down into steps:

Step 1

  • Get a USDOT number and broker authority by completing Form OP-1. This can now be done online so you receive your number and authority immediately.

Step 2

  • Complete the FMCSA application forms and submit them, along with the required fees.

Step 3

  • Once your application has been processed, you will be issued a freight broker license.

Step 4

  • You must then post a bond in the amount of $75,000. The surety company that issues your bond must be licensed to do business in Florida.

Step 5

  • You will also need to obtain liability insurance in the amount of $50,000.

Step 6 

  • Once you have met all of the requirements, you will be able to operate legally as a freight broker in the state of Florida.

By following these steps, freight brokers can ensure that they are in compliance with state regulations and can provide the best possible service to their clients.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Freight Broker in Florida?

In order to become a freight broker in Florida, you must first complete a training program that is approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Once you have completed your training, which you can complete at your own pace, you will need to pass the Freight Broker License Exam. After passing the exam, you will be required to submit an application to the FMCSA.

Once your application has been approved, you will be issued a license and will be able to begin operating as a freight broker in Florida.

The entire process, from start to finish, can take anywhere from one to two months.

How Much Do Freight Brokers Make in Florida?

A freight broker agent plays an important role in the trucking industry, connecting shippers with carriers who have the capacity to transport their goods.

Some freight brokers are employed by trucking companies, while others work independently.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a freight broker in Florida is $47,150 per year. However, experience and location can impact earnings, with some freight brokers earning as much as $100,000 per year.

In addition to base salary, many freight brokers also receive commissions based on the value of the shipments they book. As a result, freight brokers can earn significant incomes, especially if they are able to secure contracts with large shippers.

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Freight Broker in Florida?

It can cost between $3,000 and $5,000 to become a freight broker in Florida. The cost will depend on the training programs you choose and whether you need to take any exams.

Most freight brokers in Florida are required to have a license from the state. The cost of the license is usually between $200 and $500. You may also need to purchase liability insurance, which can cost several hundred dollars per year, and a freight broker bond, sometimes known as a “trust fund,” of $10,000.

Once you have all the necessary licenses and insurance, you will be ready to start Brokering!

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.

Freight Broker Courses & Programs in Florida

If you're looking for a career in the freight broker industry, becoming a freight broker could be a great option. And if you live in Florida, there are a number of different freight agent training courses and programs available, both in large metro areas such as Miami and Jacksonville and online, to help you get started.

Most freight broker courses will cover topics like freight regulations, negotiation tactics, transportation logistics, and how to use a unified registration system.

You'll also learn about how to find and work with shippers and carriers, and how to track and manage shipments as well as how to complete the required paperwork, such as form BOC-3, form BMC-84, and how to use a load board.

Plus, many programs will include an internship component so that you can get real-world experience working in the industry.

So if you're interested in becoming a Florida freight broker, definitely check out some of the courses and online freight broker schools available in Florida. With the right training, you can start your own freight brokerage with freight broker license Florida in no time.

If you meet the above requirements and are interested in obtaining your freight broker license in Florida, the next step is to obtain a surety bond. JW Surety Bonds can help you with this process and provide you with the necessary documentation.

We are the nation’s #1 Surety Bond provider and have years of experience working with brokers in Florida. Contact us today to get started on getting your freight broker license in Florida.

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