Becoming a Freight Broker in South Dakota – Get Your License

Freight brokers are an essential part of the transportation industry. Everything from cars to clothing, computers and food is available to consumers due to their behind-the-scenes work. Brokers coordinate with shippers and customers to ensure that carriers deliver shipments to their ultimate destinations with minimal issues. They manage multiple shipments at once and coordinate with other professionals throughout the day.

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Freight Brokers must have a wide range of skills to succeed. Familiarity and comfort using industry software like SAP and business software like Microsoft Office are necessary nowadays. They also must have sharp communication skills to work with shippers, vendors and customers. Moreover, brokers should have sound knowledge of geography – including local weather – and a professional demeanor to keep their cool when experiencing issues. Finally, brokers must refine their time management skills to ensure shipments don’t experience delays.

If you are interested in becoming a freight broker in South Dakota but don’t know where to start, you’re in the right place. We’ll cover the basics of the position, including career outlook and salary expectations, to help you determine if it is right for you.

Requirements to Become a Freight Broker in South Dakota

There isn’t a particular course or program required to become a Freight Broker, but most have at least a high school diploma or GED. Around 30 percent have a bachelor’s degree. The government requires a few items to be a Freight Broker. Registration with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) is imperative to obtain a Broker Authority License and receive your government-issued numbers.

While training on the job is possible, taking courses to become more familiar with the day-to-day tasks of the job helps as well. The classes are essential if you are determined to start and run your own freight brokerage.

Educational Opportunities Available in South Dakota

There do not appear to be any Freight Broker programs available in South Dakota, but online programs are available in North Dakota.

  • The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND offers a six-month training program taught by experienced Freight Brokers. The curriculum includes all information and resources required to run a successful freight brokerage, including licensing requirements, operations, accounting, marketing, contracts, and negotiations.

Certification and Licensing to Become a Freight Broker in South Dakota

All Freight Brokers in South Dakota are required to obtain a license and insurance bond and government-issued ID numbers. These numbers include an Operating Authority (MC) Number and a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Number. These numbers identify each Freight Broker and differentiate them from others. Registration with the FMCSA is required to apply for a Broker Authority License, which is needed to obtain the government-issued numbers and to apply for a Broker Authority License. Numbers required for specific shipment types, such as a Cargo Tank (CT) Number, can also be obtained from the FMCSA. The application fee for the Broker Authority License is $300 and the processing time is 4 to 6 weeks.

A surety bond is purchased by each Freight Broker so that they are protected against loss due to property damage or bodily injury. The required amount of that bond is $75,000.

Salary and Long-term Career Outlook

Within the United States, the number of Freight Brokers is expected to grow by 10 percent by 2028. In South Dakota, that growth is expected to be 12 percent. There were 260 Freight Brokers in South Dakota in 2018. The growth for this profession is expected to be about 30 job openings per year.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), South Dakota Freight Brokers made an annual average of $52,170 in 2020 or an hourly average of $26.08. The highest earners make up to $69,890. The national average salary of a Freight Broker is $43,770 per year or $21.04 per hour. The growth for this profession is expected to be steady, and the pay for Freight Brokers in South Dakota is a bit higher than the national average.

Working in South Dakota as a Freight Broker

Freight brokers in South Dakota need to be especially mindful of inclement weather, hot or cold, during their busy season, which runs from mid-August through October. If the freight is temperature-sensitive, they need to ensure that there are protective measures in place, such as a climate-controlled trailer.

By entering the workforce as a Freight Agent, you can work for a brokerage as you learn on the job or enroll in the online course to become a Freight Broker and run your own business. In under a year’s time, it’s possible to have the certificate from the Freight Broker program, as well as a license, insurance bond and all the government-issued numbers needed to get started.

Busier cities like Rapid City and Sioux City will be more likely to have job opportunities for Freight Brokers available, as more freight activity is there. If running your own business is what you prefer, you can even be a Freight Broker via a home-based business, which allows you to create your own schedule.