A trucker agent, also referred to as a trucking broker or freight broker, acts as a go-between for companies that need products shipped over the road and independent truck drivers or small trucking companies that can fulfill that need. The trucker agent negotiates a rate that is acceptable to both parties and hammers out other details. In exchange, the agent or broker receives a portion of the established rate, usually taking a cut from what the trucker or trucking company receives.
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► Gain extensive knowledge of the trucking industry. If you have experience working as a truck driver or dispatcher (driver manager), you will have a leg up. You will need to know Federal Motor Carrier Association rules and regulations, such as the number of hours a driver can run in a day or week, in order to schedule loads.
► Fill out a Federal Motor Carrier Association application for freight forwarder authority (form OP-1) online or by mail and pay the required fee ($300 per application, as of May 2009). Wait for acceptance, which may take several weeks or a few months.
► Assign a “Process Agent” who will serve as the representative responsible for being served court papers in the event that legal proceedings are ever brought against you. You are legally required to designate process agents in every state where you have offices or contracts. There are businesses offering nationwide process agent services.
► Purchase a $10,000 “Broker Surety Bond,” which will pay the parties with whom you work if the contract is not carried out.
► Find shippers and carriers who want to do business with you by visiting Internet freight boards, reading industry publications and networking.