How to Become a Freight Broker in Florida
Freight brokers have lively careers full of sales, negotiation and conversation with clients. They spend their days arranging transportation for various types of freight by negotiating prices, then keeping their clients up to date about each shipment’s status. Freight brokers have licenses and insurance, while freight agents, who often work as independent contractors for brokers, do not have these provisions. Instead, agents are tasked with sales and finding carriers to meet clients’ needs.
Requirements for Becoming a Freight Broker in Florida
Those interested in becoming freight brokers in Florida must meet the federal requirements for becoming a broker. The state itself does not require any additional qualifications. Brokers should have a high school diploma or equivalent, a $75,000 surety bond, contingent cargo insurance and general liability insurance. While there is no formal training program required to become a broker, some people may find such programs useful in their career paths.
Florida Schools for Freight Brokers
Many freight brokers begin working right away after receiving their licenses. Some, however, choose to enroll in a training course before beginning. These courses can teach people who are unfamiliar with sales and the trucking industry how to succeed as a freight broker. The following programs are available in Florida:
- University of North Florida The University of North Florida offers training programs for both freight brokers and freight agents. The course teaches prospecting, sales, marketing and negotiating skills, among others. Graduates have access to weekly events that are designed to help them connect with other people in the industry.
- Valencia College alencia runs an online, self-paced course for freight brokers and agents. Students have 180 days to complete the course once they enroll. They will learn how to start their own freight broker business, manage finances, understand marketing and overcome typical challenges within the industry.
Certifications for Becoming a Freight Broker in Florida
Freight brokers in Florida must be licensed by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Before obtaining this license, brokers must register the name of their business and get a U.S. Department of Transportation number. This information can then be submitted with the license application and registration fee of $300 to the FMCSA.
The state of Florida does not require freight brokers to take a formal exam before beginning their business operations. However, Transportation Intermediaries Association offers a Certified Transportation Brokers exam for those who would like a formal acknowledgement of their skills.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
The freight industry is growing rapidly. As more people are able to start businesses, particularly online, more trucks are needed to transport inventory around the country. The outlook for the freight broker industry is therefore positive, with an expected growth of 29 percent by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The national average salary for freight brokers is $43,926 per year, with higher salaries available in large cities. The annual average salary in Florida is nearly the same at $44,050.
Working as a Freight Broker in Florida
Freight brokers have two options regarding where to work. Many choose to join an existing brokerage. Salaries at brokerages will typically be highest in large cities, such as Tallahassee or Miami, with jobs more plentiful in these areas, as well. Brokers can also start their own businesses, working from home or their own office instead. Working as a freight broker offers a large amount of flexibility and the ability to make a sustainable living outside of the traditional office setting.