Freight shipping plays a vital role in business. Almost all products sold in stores are shipped there, and manufacturing plants rely on shipping to receive materials and distribute finished products. Freight brokerage businesses assist the shipping industry by establishing connections between shippers and freight companies. Freight brokerage businesses are licensed as property brokers by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. USDOT Number Before you can start a freight brokerage business you must first apply for a USDOT number with the Department of Transportation. Though not specifically required to become a freight broker, the USDOT number is required when filling out the application to become a broker through the FMCSA. Broker Authority Broker authority is a license provided by the FMCSA authorizing individuals or companies to act as freight brokers. Broker authority is applied for by filling out MFCSA form OP-1 and selecting the “broker of property” option. Form OP-1 requires individual or company contact information, the company name filed on a doing business as form (if applicable), and the applicant’s USDOT number. A $300 fee must accompany the application. Surety Bond Or Trust Fund A surety bond or trust fund acts as insurance to guarantee that the shipping companies will be paid for their cargo space. If the shipper does not pay for the shipping service, the freight brokerage must absorb the cost; should they not be able to, the bond company or trust fund will cover the expense. A freight broker must have a surety bond or trust fund worth $10,000 or more. A thorough credit and background check is generally required before a surety bond will be issued. Proof of the surety bond or trust fund is filed with the FMCSA using form BMC-84 or BMC-85. Legal Process Agent Freight brokerage businesses must register legal process agents for each state they operate in with the FMCSA. The process agent provides legal representation within their state, though law firms which have members in multiple states may be retained for use in each of these states. Process agents are registered with the FMCSA using form BOC-3, with spaces provided on the form for every state. A filing fee of $50 is required with form BOC-3. Being a Freight Broker requires great perseverance and determination to make the business running smooth and successful.
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