How to Become a Freight Broker in Michigan

If you enjoy negotiating or working in business-to-business (B2B) settings, a career as a freight broker may be an obvious choice for you. Freight brokers help various items get to their destinations by connecting shipping companies with carriers. To do their jobs effectively, freight brokers must build relationships with carriers who are responsible, qualified and reliable. Additionally, it is important that freight brokers communicate thoroughly with shippers and carriers so that both parties understand expectations and are kept up-to-date throughout the process.

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Freight brokers often hire freight agents as independent contractors. Freight agents are responsible for helping connect the brokerage to available loads and carriers.

Requirements for Becoming a Freight Broker in Michigan

In Michigan, freight brokers must follow national regulations in order to practice. These regulations include a minimum requirement of a high school diploma or GED, as well as a government-issued license.

While there are no certification requirements for freight brokers, they would benefit greatly from completing a training program. Training programs can last from as little as one day to one year, depending on where you choose to enroll. These options will prepare you for the road ahead as you journey to become a successful freight broker.

Michigan Schools for Freight Brokers

Since many colleges and universities do not currently offer courses for freight brokers, most training programs will be available online. Consider the ones listed below:

  • Freight Broker Boot Camp is based entirely online and allows students to learn how to become a freight broker in as little as 30 days. A payment of $98 offers students six months of full online access to workflow diagrams, training articles, negotiating methods, financial strategies and much more.
  • Brooke Training allows tudents to acquire the basic and advanced skills needed to establish a long-lasting career. Veterans who qualify will receive free tuition. One of the main incentives of this program is that each student will receive assistance with job placement upon course completion.
  • Freight Movers School provides courses in freight brokerage basics for beginners. Those who are more advanced within the trade can sign up for a separate course that teaches students how to improve sales. This school is based online.

Certifications for Becoming a Freight Broker in Michigan

In addition to the minimum requirement of a high school diploma or equivalent, national regulations also require freight brokers to receive a license from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This license is commonly referred to as a Motor Carrier Operating Authority or Broker Authority license.

To receive this license, you will first need to register your company as a business. Next, you will obtain a U.S. Department of Transportation number. This number, along with a license application and $300 application fee, must then be submitted to the FMCSA. This organization will review your information and issue you a license upon approval. Applications are typically processed within 4 to 6 weeks.

The FMCSA requires that freight brokers carry a $75,000 surety bond at all times.

If you are interested in additional ways to market your business or yourself, you may consider becoming a Certified Transportation Broker. The exam required to receive this certification is offered exclusively through the Transportation Intermediaries Association. While this credential is not mandatory in order to practice, it may help connect you with established shipping companies or experienced carriers.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The freight brokerage industry in Michigan, as part of the broader freight transportation sector, is showing positive trends in terms of salaries and job growth. According to the latest data, the salary figures for cargo and freight agents have been updated from previous years.

As of 2022, cargo and freight agents in the United States earn an average salary of $46,860 per year. In Michigan, these professionals earn a slightly lower average salary of $46,400 annually. The top 10 percent of earners in Michigan make more than $63,120 per year.

National vs. Michigan Salaries:

Percentile United States Salary Michigan Salary
10% $32,720 $34,250
25% $38,400 $38,460
Median (50%) $46,860 $46,400
75% $58,710 $49,540
90% $70,280 $63,120

Salaries by Region in Michigan:

Location 10% 25% Median (50%) 75% 90%
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI $37,550 $39,460 $46,400 $50,250 $63,330
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI $36,330 $38,690 $44,480 $50,450 $64,240
Lansing-East Lansing, MI $37,160 $43,130 $44,740 $48,880 $61,710
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI $34,050 $37,530 $49,450 $65,040 $65,060

Freight Broker Trends in Michigan

The employment trends for Cargo and Freight Agents in Michigan (43-5011.00) demonstrate a steady growth pattern for the decade from 2020 to 2030. In 2020, Michigan had 3,240 employees working in this occupation. This number is projected to increase to 3,570 employees by 2030, representing a growth rate of 10%. Additionally, there are expected to be around 370 job openings annually over this period, which includes openings due to both growth and replacement. This trend suggests a healthy job market for cargo and freight agents in Michigan, aligning with the national average growth rate.

In comparison, the national trend for the same period shows a growth rate of 10%, which is considered much faster than average. In 2022, there were 95,900 employees in this occupation across the United States, with projections indicating an increase to 105,200 employees by 2032. Nationally, there are expected to be about 11,000 job openings annually over this period.

Employment Trends

Location Employment (2020) Projected Employment (2030) Projected Growth (2020-2030) Projected Annual Job Openings (2020-2030)
Michigan 3,240 employees 3,570 employees 10% 370
United States 95,900 employees (2022) 105,200 employees (2032) 10% (Much faster than average) 11,000

Sources of Data:

Michigan Data: The employment figures and projections for Michigan are sourced from Projections Central, specifically their 2020-2030 long-term projections. Projections Central is known for providing detailed and state-specific employment projections, offering valuable insights into various occupational trends.

United States Data: The national employment figures and projections are obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), specifically their 2022-2032 employment projections.

Working as a Freight Broker in Michigan

Since freight brokers will typically earn the most in cities with large populations, you may want to consider finding employment or beginning your own brokerage in Michigan cities like Detroit, Grand Rapids or Sterling Heights, among others.

Whether you choose to work for yourself or for an existing brokerage, this career path will reward you with freedom and flexibility. With the proper systems in place, you may find that you’re even able to work from a remote island-if you so desire. With exceptional communication and organizational skills, you could build a thriving business as a freight broker.