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How to Become an Auto Transport Broker

What's in this article?
  1. What Is An Auto Transport Broker?
  2. Differences Between Auto Transport Brokers And Car Carriers
  3. What Is Required To Become An Auto Transport Broker?
  4. 1 A Broker's License
  5. 2 Insurance
  6. 3 A Surety Bond
  7. 4 A Dot Number
  8. 4 A Business Plan
  9. 5 Start-Up Capital
  10. How To Run An Auto Transport Brokerage Business
  11. 1 Finding Potential Customers
  12. 2 Converting Leads Into Customers
  13. 3 Finding Carriers
  14. 4 Negotiating Rates
  15. 5 Managing Your Business
  16. 6 Marketing Your Business
  17. 7 Growing Your Business
  18. Making Your Auto Transport Broker Business Successful
  19. 1 Offer Quality Customer Service
  20. 2 Build A Strong Team
  21. 3 Keep Your Costs Low
  22. 4 Stay Up-To-Date On Industry Changes
  23. 5 Plan For The Future
  24. 6 Maintain A Good Reputation
  25. 7 Keep Your Rates Competitive
How to Become an Auto Transport Broker

The auto transport industry has become increasingly popular in recent years as more and more people look for ways to ship their vehicles. Auto transport brokers play an essential role in this industry by connecting customers with auto transport companies.

Becoming an auto transport broker requires no formal education, although many brokers have experience in the industry working for an auto transport company.

This article will help you understand how to become an auto transport broker and run a successful auto transport brokerage business.

What Is an Auto Transport Broker?

An auto transport broker is a company or individual who finds carriers to transport customers' vehicles. The broker then arranges for the carrier to pick up and deliver the vehicle at a mutually agreed time and price.

Auto transport brokers are not affiliated with any specific company like independent property brokers. This allows them to find the best carrier for each customer based on their needs.

The broker is responsible for ensuring that the customer's vehicle is picked up and delivered on time and in good condition. They must also make sure that the carrier has the proper insurance coverage in case of any damage to the vehicle during transit.

Differences between Auto Transport Brokers and Car Carriers

Auto transport brokers and auto transport companies may have similarities, but they are two very different businesses. Here are some notable differences between the two:

  1. An auto transport broker finds carriers to transport a customer's vehicle. On the other hand, a car carrier is a business that uses its own trucks to transport vehicles.
  2. Auto brokers typically specialize in a particular type of vehicle, such as cars or RVs, while a car carrier usually transports all types of vehicles.
  3. Auto-shipping brokers work with many different carriers and can provide their customers with multiple quotes from other companies. However, auto transport carriers usually only work with one broker.
  4. Auto transporters are responsible for picking up and delivering the customer's vehicle. On the other hand, auto transport brokers are only responsible for finding the carrier and arranging the pick-up and delivery times. While brokers need to know more about the business side of marketing, customer service, and contract negotiation, auto transport carriers need to learn more about the actual process of transporting vehicles.

What Is Required to Become an Auto Transport Broker?

Becoming a legitimate auto transport broker requires a combination of business acumen and industry knowledge.

You'll need to understand the car shipping business, including the different types of carriers, the rates they charge, and the regulations they must follow. You'll also need to know how to find potential customers and market your services to them.

Suppose you don't have experience as an auto transport broker. In that case, you'll need to learn as much as you can about it before starting your brokerage business. Many online resources can help you learn about the industry.

You could also consider working for an auto transport company or experienced auto transport brokers to get some hands-on experience.

In addition to industry knowledge, here are some other things you'll need to be a successful auto transport broker:

1. A broker's license

You'll need a broker's license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This license allows you to legally operate as a car shipping broker in the United States.

The process of getting a broker's license is relatively simple. First, you'll need to fill out an application and pay a fee. Then, the FMCSA will conduct a background check and issue you a license if everything checks out.

2. Insurance

You'll also need to have insurance for your business. This includes liability insurance, which will protect you in case of any accidents or damage during the transport of a vehicle. You should also consider getting cargo insurance to cover any damage that may occur to the vehicles you're transporting.

3. A Surety Bond

Another requirement for becoming a car transport broker is getting a surety bond. This bond is like an insurance for your customers. It protects them if you don't deliver on your promises or if you cause any damage to their vehicle.

The bond amount will vary depending on the state you're operating in, but it typically ranges from $5,000 to $10,000.

4. A DOT Number

All businesses that transport vehicles for hire must have a Department of Transportation (DOT) number. This number is used to track the safety record of the company.

You can apply for a DOT number by filling out an application on the FMCSA website.

4. A Business Plan

You'll need to have a solid business plan to help you map out your goals and objectives for your business. This plan should include your marketing strategy, financial projections, and growth plans.

Without a solid business plan, it will be challenging to succeed as a broker in the shipping industry.

5. Start-Up Capital

Starting an auto transport business can be expensive. First, you'll need to have enough money saved up to cover the cost of your broker's license, insurance, bonding, and marketing. You may also need to lease or purchase office space and hire employees.

While becoming a transport broker requires some investment, it can be a very profitable business. With the proper knowledge and planning, you can build a successful auto transport brokerage that will provide you with a good income for years to come.

How to Run an Auto Transport Brokerage Business

Once you have everything in place, you're ready to start operating your auto shipping broker business. It's important to remember that the key to success in this business is building relationships with both customers and carriers.

1. Finding potential customers

The first step is to find potential customers looking to have their car shipped. There are several ways to generate leads:

  • Advertising: One of the best ways to generate leads is to advertise your business. You can do this online, in print, or through other media.
  • Referrals:Another great way to generate leads is through referrals. If you provide excellent service to your customers, they'll likely recommend you to others.
  • Networking: Another effective way of generating leads is through networking. You can meet potential customers by attending industry events or trade shows.
  • Auto lead generators:You can also use auto lead generators to generate leads. These websites allow you to enter information about the type of customer you're looking for and then provide you with a list of potential leads.

2. Converting leads into customers

Once you have a list of potential customers, you need to convert them into paying customers. This is where your sales skills will come in handy. First, you'll need to contact each lead and sell them on the idea of using your service.

3. Finding carriers

The next step is to find carriers willing to transport the vehicles. Again, there are a number of ways to find carriers:

  • Carrier databases: One of the easiest ways to find carriers is to use a carrier database. These databases list carriers that are available to deliver vehicles.
  • Load boards: Another way to find carriers is to use load boards. These are websites where carriers post information about the loads they're willing to transport.

4. Negotiating rates

Once you've found a carrier, you'll need to negotiate a rate. The rate will depend on several factors, including

  • The length of the haul
  • The type of vehicle
  • The time frame.

In most cases, you'll need to contract with the carrier before they agree to transport any vehicles for your customers. This contract will outline the terms of the agreement, including the price, the timeframe for transportation, and any other essential details.

Once you have a contract in place, you'll need to maintain regular communication with the carrier to ensure smooth transportation. You should also keep track of the carrier's insurance and licensing information to comply with all regulations.

5. Managing your business

As the owner of an auto shipping broker business, you'll need to manage several different aspects of the business. This includes:

  • Keeping track of your finances
  • Managing your employees
  • Marketing your business

The best way to manage your business is to have a solid plan. This plan should include your goals and objectives and a budget. You should also have a system for tracking your finances and managing your employees.

6. Marketing your business

To attract new customers and keep your existing customers coming back, you'll need to market your business. There are several ways to market your business:

1. Online marketing: One of the best ways for auto transport brokers to market their business is online. You can create a website or blog and use SEO techniques to attract new customers.

2. Social media marketing: Another great way to market your business is through social media. You can use social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to connect with potential and existing customers.

3. Offline marketing: You can also use offline marketing techniques, such as print ads and direct mail.

7. Growing your business

As your business grows, you'll need to adapt and change how you operate. This might mean;

  • Hiring new employees
  • Opening new locations
  • Adding to your fleet

Making your Auto Transport Broker Business Successful

You can do several things to ensure your auto broker business is thriving. These include:

1. Offer quality customer service

One of the most important things you can offer is quality customer service. This means being available when your customers need you and providing them with their information.

2. Build a strong team

A strong team is essential to the success of any business. When you're first starting out, you may not have a lot of employees. But, as your business grows, you'll need to add more auto brokers to your team.

The key is to hire skilled and who will work well together.

3. Keep your costs low

An auto shipping business can be expensive to operate. So you'll need to keep your costs low to make a profit. One way to do this is to use technology to your advantage. For example, you can use email and text messaging to communicate with your customers instead of traditional mail or phone calls.


4. Stay up-to-date on industry changes

The auto shipping industry is constantly changing. You'll need to stay up-to-date on these changes to be successful. One way to do this is to join an industry association like the transportation intermediaries association or attend trade shows.

5. Plan for the future

You need to have a plan for the future of your auto shipping company. What do you want to achieve in the next year? The next five years? The next ten years? Having a plan will help you stay on track and ensure your business thrives.

6. Maintain a good reputation

It's essential to maintain a good reputation in the industry. This means being honest with your customers and delivering on your promises.

If you make a mistake, apologize and make things right.

7. Keep your rates competitive

Be sure to keep your rates competitive with other companies in the industry. This will ensure that you attract new customers and keep your existing ones coming back.


Being a broker in the auto transport industry can be an enriching experience. It's a great way to earn a living and help people get their vehicles from one place to another.

However, it takes hard work, dedication, and determination. You might not make a lot of money when you're first starting out, but if you stick with it and work hard, you can succeed.

For more resources on the auto transport industry, check out our blog, which is regularly updated.

Finally, take the guesswork out of auto transport in the first place and count on a reliable company like A-1 Auto Transport for all your vehicle transport and shipping needs. Contact us at any time and we'll be happy to help you out.

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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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