How to Get a Transportation Broker License

Are you considering a career as a transportation broker? It’s an exciting field that involves connecting shippers with carriers and facilitating the movement of goods. To start your journey as a transportation broker, you’ll need a license. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps required to obtain a transportation broker license in the United States.

Understanding the Role of a Transportation Broker

Before diving into the licensing process, it’s essential to understand the role of a transportation broker. Transportation brokers act as intermediaries between shippers and carriers. Their responsibilities include:

  1. Connecting Shippers and Carriers: Brokers match shippers with carriers that can transport their goods efficiently.
  2. Negotiating Rates: Brokers negotiate rates and contracts between shippers and carriers, ensuring both parties are satisfied.
  3. Documentation: Brokers handle paperwork and documentation, including bills of lading and insurance certificates.
  4. Tracking Shipments: They track shipments to ensure they reach their destination on time.
  5. Problem Solving: Brokers troubleshoot any issues that may arise during transportation.

Steps to Get a Transportation Broker License

1. Meet Eligibility Requirements

Before you can obtain a transportation broker license, you need to meet certain eligibility requirements, including:

  • Being at least 21 years old.
  • No felonies involving transportation or fraud-related crimes.
  • A process agent for each state in which you operate.

2. Register Your Business

You’ll need to register your transportation brokerage business. This involves selecting a business structure (such as a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation), obtaining a federal employer identification number (FEIN), and registering your business with the appropriate state agencies.

3. Get a Surety Bond

To protect shippers and carriers, you’ll need to obtain a surety bond. The minimum bond amount required is $75,000. This bond serves as insurance in case you fail to meet your financial obligations.

4. Apply for Authority

Next, you’ll need to apply for operating authority from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This authority allows you to act as a transportation broker legally. You can apply for authority through the Unified Registration System (URS) on the FMCSA website.

5. Obtain a Broker License

In addition to the FMCSA authority, some states require you to obtain a state-level broker license. The requirements for state licensing can vary, so be sure to check with your state’s Department of Transportation or a similar agency for specific guidelines.

6. Complete the Application

The application process for a transportation broker license can be extensive. You will need to provide detailed information about your business, financial history, and any criminal background. Be prepared to submit the necessary documentation, including your surety bond and any state-specific requirements.

7. Pay Application Fees

Licensing typically comes with application fees, which can vary depending on your location. Be sure to budget for these costs as you prepare to become a licensed transportation broker.

8. Pass the Broker Authority Test

To ensure you understand the regulations and responsibilities of a transportation broker, you’ll need to pass the Broker Authority Test. This test covers topics like insurance, contracts, and transportation laws.


Becoming a licensed transportation broker can be a rewarding and lucrative career choice. It allows you to play a vital role in the transportation industry while facilitating the movement of goods for various businesses. As you embark on your journey to obtain a transportation broker license, make sure to carefully follow the steps outlined above, meeting all eligibility requirements and fulfilling the necessary obligations. With the right preparation and commitment, you can become a licensed transportation broker and start building a successful career in this dynamic field.