Becoming a Freight Broker in Illinois
If you’re a friendly individual with exceptional negotiation and organization skills, a freight broker career might be perfect for you.
To qualify for freight broker jobs in Illinois, you’ll need to undergo comprehensive training, learn about the federal and state requirements for freight brokers in IL, and develop the necessary communication and sales techniques to thrive in this occupation.
Education & Training
A high school diploma, GED, or equivalent is the minimum education requirement for aspiring freight brokers in IL. Some employers may be willing to hire applicants who are fresh out of high school and provide on-the-job training to teach them about cargo and freight shipping, as well as the various other aspects of the trucking and transportation industry.
On the Job Training
Those who work as CDL truckers, diesel technicians, or auto mechanics might be able to work their way up to a freight broker position after years of on-the-job training as well. However, enrolling in an accredited training course at an Illinois trade school or community college might be the better option if you’re looking for a faster way to qualify for freight broker jobs in Illinois.
Freight Broker School
Each school has its own unique course curriculum for freight brokers in IL. Even so, most institutions offer the following classes to students in their freight broker programs:
- Transportation Law
- Freight Types
- Brokering Basics
- Shipper and Carrier Relations
- Documents for Shipper and Carrier Packets
- Communication and Negotiation Techniques
- Brokering Shipper and Carrier Contracts and Agreements
- Operations Software
- Insurance Requirements
- Determining Rate Quotes
Your training course might also include information to help you develop the best business practices for running an independently-owned-and-operated freight broker company. For example, your instructor may cover topics like:
- Exploring niche markets
- Marketing and advertising strategies
- Financial management and accounting
- Effective sales techniques
- Developing your corporate identity
- Completing business registration and office setup
How Long is Freight Broker School in IL?
Training courses for freight brokers in IL vary in length, depending on where you decide to take your classes. Several schools offer six-month programs for students who want a thorough, in-depth understanding of the industry. However, most students opt for courses that take five days or less to complete.
Tuition rates for freight broker certificate programs also vary by institution. For example, an intensive freight broker training course might cost anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 at some schools. Other institutions offer online classes that only cost about $600. Tuition assistance may be available for students who complete company-sponsored training programs.
Illinois Freight Broker Requirements
If you’re planning to work with an established shipping or carrier company, you may only need a high school diploma and some industry training to qualify for freight broker jobs in Illinois. However, those intending to start their freight broker businesses must comply with state and federal guidelines.
Federal Freight Broker Regulations
Like brokers in other states, aspiring freight brokers in IL must obtain an official broker license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). To get this license, you’ll need to take the following steps:
- Apply for a USDOT number through the federal Department of Transportation’s Unified Registration System
- Pay the required $300 application fee
- Purchase a Surety Bond or Trust Fund Agreement worth at least $75,000
IL Freight Broker State Licenses
It usually takes about four to six weeks to receive your brokerage license from the FMCSA. Once you get it, you’ll need to apply for a broker’s license from the Illinois Commerce Commission. Obtaining state licensure involves submitting another application form and purchasing an additional surety bond or trust fund agreement worth $10,000.
After receiving your broker’s license, you can register your freight broker business with the state of Illinois and start accepting clients.
If you’re hoping to work with larger shipping and carrier corporations, consider obtaining an official Certified Transportation Broker (CTB) credential from the Transportation Intermediaries Association. The organization recommends that test takers have:
- Six months to one year of logistics management, property brokerage, or other third-party experience
- At least a bachelor’s degree in logistics or a related field
Passing the three-hour competency exam to receive this widely-recognized certification is an excellent way to prove your qualifications and expertise to potential clients.
Freight Broker Salaries in IL
For entry-level employees, the average freight broker salary in Illinois is usually about $36,874 per year. However, your annual earnings typically depend on which part of the state you live in. On the list below, you’ll discover regional salary information for entry-level freight brokers in IL:
- Chicago $36,869
- Rock Island $34,540
- Waukegan $37,347
- Rockford $38,687
- Peoria $36,065
Over time, experienced freight brokers in IL may earn salaries closer to $60,000 per year. Those who run their own freight broker businesses might be able to make even more than that, depending on their rates.
What Do They Do?
Freight brokers in IL serve as go-betweens for shipping and carrier companies, helping to ensure product shipments arrive at their destinations safely and on time. Duties for these professionals include:
- Coordinating deliveries by finding qualified carriers to transport the shipper’s products
- Negotiating pay rates for shipping and delivery services
- Establishing quick, realistic pickup and drop-off times for product loads
- Selecting the best transportation routes to ensure a timely delivery
- Tracking carrier vehicles during transport
- Avoiding delays by re-routing transport vehicles as needed
- Maintaining contact with vehicle operators to ensure loads arrive on time and damage-free
- Keeping detailed, organized records of each shipment to confirm payment and avoid breaches of contract
Reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate a projected nine-percent increase in the demand for freight brokers over the next decade. Aspiring freight brokers in IL can take advantage of this expected growth rate by completing an accredited trade school or community college course to improve their chances of finding a well-paying freight broker job in Illinois.