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.

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

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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

According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) during 2017, freight brokers working in Michigan earned an average of $22.72 per hour, which is equivalent to $47,260 per year. The top 10 percent of freight brokers in this state earned more than $70,000 that same year.

Figures provided by the BLS also state that there were 1,790 freight brokers working in Michigan during 2016, and by 2026 this number is expected to rise to 2,010. This represents a 12.3 percent expansion in the job market for freight brokers in Michigan during this 10-year period.

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.