How to Become a Freight Broker in Arkansas

Freight brokerage is an excellent career for people who enjoy sales but want to get out of the traditional retail industry, or who have an entrepreneurial bent but aren’t sure what business they’d like to pursue. As a freight broker, these people can run their own business of arranging transportation for shipments, finding the best prices and communicating with clients about a shipment’s progress. Unlike freight agents, who work as independent contractors, freight brokers must have a license and can oversee other employees. Agents, meanwhile, handle sales and research carriers for each client.

Requirements for Becoming a Freight Broker in Arkansas

Arkansas has no additional requirements for becoming a freight broker other than those set out by the federal government. Based on these rules, all freight brokers must have a high school diploma or equivalent. They must also obtain a $75,000 surety bond, contingent cargo insurance and general liability insurance. The federal government also issues licenses, which must be paid, applied for and approved before one can begin operating their freight broker business.

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Arkansas Schools for Freight Brokers

While no formal training is necessary to become a freight broker, many people find it helpful to enroll in a training course. This can be especially true for people who are unfamiliar with marketing, sales techniques or the trucking and freight industries in general. Here are two programs that Arkansas freight brokers can consider:

  • Taltoa. Taltoa offers training courses at its Fort Smith, Arkansas, location as well as online. Students in both types of classes receive in-depth training on how to set up their business, vet carriers and market their services. Taltoa also provides free consulting for up to one year for its graduates, to help them with any questions that arise during their first year of business.
  • University of Central Arkansas. The University of Central Arkansas partners with Brooke Training, a popular online course, for freight broker classes. Brooke Training offers two levels of training, and free tuition to qualifying veterans. All graduates can join virtual meetings each Friday to speak with industry experts, find jobs and continue their education.

Certifications for Becoming a Freight Broker in Arkansas

Freight brokers must receive a license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) before they can begin working in Arkansas. To obtain the license, brokers should register the name of their business, which will then allow them to get a Department of Transportation number. This number and an application fee must be submitted along with the license application.

After the application is approved, brokers receive their licenses within four to six weeks and can then begin working. There is no formal exam required at the Arkansas or federal level to become a broker. For those who would like to have proof of their knowledge, the Transportation Intermediaries Association offers a Certified Transportation Brokers exam.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The freight broker field is expected to continue growing through 2020, as more and more businesses require their products and supplies to be transported. Brokers can expect to see growth of 29 percent by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On average, freight brokers in the U.S. earn $43,926 per year. Freight brokers in Arkansas, meanwhile, can expect to earn an average of $52,565 per year.

Working as a Freight Broker in Arkansas

Freight brokers can either work for existing brokerages or set up their own business and start from scratch. The first option may be a more stable choice to begin with, while the second is ideal for people who enjoy a startup atmosphere. Brokers can work in an office or from their own homes as well. Jobs and valuable connections may be most readily acquired in larger cities, including Little Rock, Arkansas. These jobs are also likely to have the best salaries due to a higher cost of living in urban areas. In either scenario, freight brokers enjoy a fast-paced career in which no two days are exactly alike and can see the impact of their work each day.