How to Become a Freight Broker in South Carolina

Freight brokers are an integral part of the economy, as they are responsible for all aspects of managing shipments between manufacturers and buyers. This includes calculating costs, arranging permits and clearances and even ensuring packages are loaded in the proper order. This occupation is growing quickly and has good potential for those wishing to start a lucrative home-based-business.

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This career field is currently boasting significant growth, with South Carolina’s exports totalling $34.6 billion in 2018, a growth of $15 billion over the previous ten-year period. In 2016, more than 6,000 companies exported from the state.  These numbers are promising for anyone wishing to begin a career as a freight broker, allowing for ample opportunity to establish and grow a business.

Obtaining a Freight Broker License in South Carolina

Although, there is no specific requirement or oversight board in the state of South Carolina for freight brokers, those wishing to work in the field will need to possess a high school diploma or equivalent. Licensing will also need to be obtained through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) under the authority of the Department of Transportation (DOT).

As a first-time applicant, the DOT will require applicants to obtain both a USDOT number and a Motor Carrier (MC) number. This will cost $300 and take approximately four to eight weeks to process. Applicants will be required to have a business name and a structure of designated agents, as well as appropriate insurance and the ability to pass a background check. Once approved, the applicant is able to begin working as a freight broker.

Freight Broker Training in South Carolina

A good training program will prepare students to launch a successful career upon graduation. A few important points to look for in a curriculum include:

  • Setting up and maintaining your business, including an overview of what freight brokers do and how agencies work
  • Specific information about current regulatory and legal requirements and how to remain in compliance at all times
  • Insurance guidelines and how to obtain the appropriate type and amount of insurance
  •  Information on the various types of loads one can transport and how to transport them safely, with minimal damage
  • Teaching on basic business management skills including accounting, bookkeeping, marketing and payroll

One such program is offered at a variety of locations within the state through ed2go. Written and taught by freight brokerage specialists, the program promises to give students everything they need in order to set up a business upon graduation. Classes will cover legal requirements, contracts, insurance and business management. A small listing of the many schools in South Carolina offering the course includes:

  • Tri-County Technical College
  • Brunswick Community College
  • Southeastern Community College
  • Clemson University
  • Horry-Georgetown Technical College
  • Trident Technical College
  • Midlands Technical College
  • Greenville Technical College
  • Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College

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Once you have completed training, you might decide to seek membership in a professional organization. While not required, joining an organization like the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) will connect you to others in the industry, while helping to provide you with up-to-date information and resources. The TIA also offers additional certification as a Certified Transportation Broker (CTB).  Certification is an important mark of professionalism and expertise and can make your business stand out among the competition. In order to obtain certification, you must be able to pass an examination.

What Salary Should a Freight Broker in South Carolina Expect?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), freight brokers made an average annual salary of $44,170, slightly below the national average for this field. A comparison between the lowest and highest 10 percent of earners in this field shows a high potential for growth with a range between $28,350 and $70,570. It should be noted that these numbers do not include broker commissions, which will provide a sizable bump, to the tune of an average of $28,000 per year.

Where to Work in South Carolina?

As a general rule, larger metropolitan areas will offer more opportunities to grow your business. In South Carolina, the largest cities include Columbia, Greenville/Spartanburg and Charleston. Charleston in particular is a promising location for freight brokers, as it’s listed among the top ten concentrated areas for the profession by the BLS. However, freight brokers can work from almost anywhere, as long as there are manufacturers in need of transportation.

You can also find freight broker training in North Carolina and Georgia.