A freight broker license, commonly known as a broker authority, is a certification from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that allows a broker to act as the intermediary between shippers and freight companies to arrange transport and logistical assistance for goods. Freight brokers are often required to have a USDOT number and an MC number prior to obtaining broker authority.
Applicants for a broker authority must fill out Form OP-1 from the FMCSA and supply all required documentation. Broker authorities cost $300 per license, as of 2015. The application allows applicants to select from a list of eight possible authorities, and the choice depends on the types of materials the broker intends to handle in addition to whether or not the broker seeks common carrier or contract carrier status.
A company must have a USDOT number if it operates a vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more or if it transports hazardous materials. In some states, all vehicles that require a commercial driver’s license must also have a USDOT number, regardless of weight or classification. This number is not necessary for a company that acts as a brokerage without operating vehicles. The MC number is also optional in a few specific instances where the company relies on the vehicles of other organizations for transport of goods or passengers.