Auto transport brokers act as intermediary agents between auto transport companies and individual sellers and buyers. Brokers are important for the client customers, because those customers typically don't have a good knowledge of how to get a good deal on their auto transport needs. They also help to work with the auto transport companies themselves by marketing them and encouraging additional auto transport jobs for those companies. If you are one of many auto transport shipping agents or other members of the industry who is looking to expand into the world of auto transport brokerage, or if you're interested in becoming a broker for an auto transport company, you'll need to have a license from the Department of Transportation.
Step 1 - Gather the Needed Materials
In order to apply for a license as a broker for auto transport companies, you'll need to provide proof of identity in the form of at least two different pieces of photo identification. Because you need to be legally responsible for any lawsuits that may be targeted toward you, the Department of Transportation requires that all licensed brokers have an agreement in place with a designated process agent. An agent of this type is essentially a local law firm or similar organization that can be served with legal summons and other documents in the event that you are sued. You'll need to secure this relationship with a local law firm before you can apply for a license.
Step 2 - Fill Out the Online Form
Visit the Department of Transportation online and specifically look for the portion of the website directed toward applying for an auto transport broker license. Fill out the form according to the instructions on the Department of Transportation website.
Step 3 - Acquire and Pay for a Surety Bond
You'll need a surety bond of around $10,000 to protect your business and your interests as you develop a company or brokerage. This is required by the Department of Transportation. These bonds can be secured through negotiations with a bank in your area and other bond licensing companies. You'll need to provide information about this bond to the Department of Transportation before they'll grant your license.
Step 4 - Pay the Necessary Fees
There is a small fee associated with the processing of your application. You'll also need to be prepared to pay a small fee per year to the bond grantor or bank that issued the bond. Finally, you'll have to pay for a lead in each state in which you plan to work. This is associated with the legal issue mentioned under Step 1. This typically costs around $100 per state per year, so many brokers that are just developing their companies find that it's easiest to register in only a few nearby states before they expand their business elsewhere.