How to Start a Brokerage Firm
  • Broker Authority – obtain through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) .  Complete Form OP-1. There is a one-time $300 application fee.

  • Surety Bond or Trust Fund – Within 60-days of receiving their MC# from FMCSA a broker must obtain a surety bond or trust fund from a bank or bonding company. The cost varies depending on your personal credit. You are required to carry a $75,000 bond or trust.  TIA offers the TIABond at the $75,000, $100,000, and $250,000 levels. Apply for a free quote here .

  • Processing Agent – All broker applicants must designate a process agent in each State in which offices are located and in which contracts will be written. Process agents who will accept legal filings on applicant’s behalf are designated on FMCSA Form BOC-3. Form BOC-3 must be filed within 90 days after the date notice of the application is published in the FMCSA Register. TIA has an agreement with the American Moving and Storage Association to file BOC-3. Please contact a TIA staff member to obtain the form. There is a one-time fee of $29, and an annual renewal fee of $45.

  • Brokers are required to submit an annual filing of information required within the UCR agreement. There is an annual filing fee of $76.

  • Cash or credit. As a part of your initial start up costs, a broker must have cash or available credit to pay carriers. Shippers may not pay for services from 60 – 90 days. 



The following image was published in the document titled "SMALL ENTITY COMPLIANCE GUIDE FOR BROKER OPERATIONS" published by the FMCSA. The source document including further information for potential new brokers can be found on the image which links to the FMCSA website.

Freight broker activities are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), successor to the Interstate Commerce Commission. The FMCSA defines a broker as “a person who, for compensation, arranges, or offers to arrange, the transportation of property by an authorized motor carrier”.