How to Become a Freight Broker in Iowa – Get Your License

If you’re looking for a way to break into the freight business and make good money, freight brokering might just be the thing for you.

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Freight brokers are an indispensable part of the freight industry; they’re vital to its growth. Freight brokering is also financially rewarding since you can look to make an average of $22.53 hourly with room for plenty increase in your wages.

Therefore, if you are a motivated person with excellent negotiation, communication, and organizational skills, this is a great career path for you.

You don’t need special educational qualifications to start your freight brokering business. You just need to understand the business, get the basic federal requirements down and stay consistent.

This article will cover the basic skills and requirements you’ll need to get started and how to get excellent results in your brokering business. Let’s start with a proper definition of what freight brokers do.

What Are the Main Responsibilities of a Freight Broker?

Freight Brokers are in charge of handling the transportation of goods from shipping to the final destination. Think of freight brokers as that vital link between shippers and carriers that ensure timely and smooth transportation of packages.

That implies that they are in charge of things like:

  • Helping shippers find the right motor carriers to transport their goods
  • Negotiating the rates and delivery time with the carriers
  • Tracking the freight (goods)
  • Keeping records of transportation time, pickups and deliveries

All of these functions will determine if the freight arrives at its destination on time and without any damage.

Skills To Become a Freight Broker in Iowa

Now that you understand the function of freight brokers, you should know that you need some skills to succeed in this business.

You’ll be working closely with several shipping companies and carriers and as such must have strong peoples’ skills. You’ll need:

  • Strong communication skills to interact with your clients and solve their problems efficiently
  • Excellent Negotiation skills to get the best deals for your clients and yourself
  • The ability to make quick and effective decisions under pressure
  • The ability to remain calm and cool-headed to pacify your clients under serious unexpected situations
  • Great time management skills

You’ll also need strong managerial skills to manage your workers or contract staff.

While you can learn all these skills without formal training, it is advisable to seek educational resources to kickstart your career faster. We will list some schools/training programs you can consider as a freight broker in another section.

Required Licenses and Certification to Become a Freight Broker in Iowa

The state of Iowa doesn’t have any particular certification requirement to start your freight brokering career. However, to be a freight broker anywhere in the United States, you need a special federal license.

The Freight brokering industry is controlled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Tourism and it regulates the activities of freight brokers in the country.

A Federal Freight Broker license – the Motor Carrier Authority license (MCA) from the FMCSA authorizes you to be a freight broker in Iowa.

Before applying for this license, you must have a high school diploma or GED. Below are the steps to follow to get your MCA license:

  • Apply for a USDOT (Department of Transportation) number through the Unified Registration System (URS) of the FMCSA if you are a first-time licensure applicant
  • Obtain a Surety Bond (Form BMC-84) or Trust Fund Agreement (Form BMC-85) that is worth $75,000 or higher
  • Appoint a Process Agent and apply for their registration through FMCSA Form BOC-3 (Your Process Agent is the legal representative in the state where you will be operating as a broker.)
  • Pay the $300 application fee and wait 4-6 weeks for your license to be processed

Although not a requirement, some certifications can help increase your growth in the industry. The most widely recognized of such certifications is the Certified Transportation Broker (CTB) offered by the Transportation Intermediaries Association.

These certifications will give you an edge by increasing your experience and knowledge of the industry.

Relevant Educational Training

Although you don’t need any further educational training after high school to become a freight broker, getting one increases your success rate.

The best part is that most educational training programs are online-based; there are flexible. Therefore, you can get a certificate in no time at your pace. With most of these programs, you’ll learn everything you need to start your brokering career, including:

  • The legal aspects of freight brokering
  • Business
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Managerial skills

Here are some schools worth taking a look at in Iowa:

  1. Des Moines Areas Community College, Ankeny
  2. Iowa Community Colleges, Marshalltown and Fort Dodge
  3. Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids
  4. Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, Clinton

Career and Salary Expectation

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), freight brokers in Iowa earn on average around $46,870 annually with a mean hourly wage of $22.53

Top freight brokers in the 90th percentile can make up to $70,270. However, as a new freight broker, you might be starting with around $29,250.

As for the career outlook, freight brokering is one of the “bright outlook” career areas listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industry is expected to experience at least a 30% increase in the coming five years

Working in Iowa as a Freight Broker

Iowa is an agricultural state with huge tons of farm produce that needs transportation quickly and regularly. That means shippers are always looking for efficient freight brokers that they can trust.

To help fast-track your career, you can start as a freight agent. As a freight agent, you’re not required to hold a license. Instead, you work under the license of another freight broker and share the brokerage fee.

You can also work with a freight brokering company and get paid commission. However you choose to start your freight brokering career, remember to gain experience and build connections. These experiences and networking opportunities are vital to your growth in the business.