Starting your own business is an exciting journey. Becoming an auto transport broker is even better.
There’s not many businesses you can start that’ll give you the potential to make a massive amount of money straight away. I’ve ran businesses from photography to making throw pillows to running an auto transport company. None of these were as easy as this one, auto transport brokering.
If done right, you can start your business today and make money tomorrow. If done wrong? Well, let’s not go down that path. Use your imagination.
I know you’re thinking, “Well that’s great Ashley, but how do I become an auto transport broker?”
Well today is your lucky day because I am going to share 16 Easy Steps to Become an Auto Transport Broker, the same steps I share with my students in ReloAcademy. (If you’re interested in more detailed steps on how to become an auto transport broker, how to run your business and what to do once you get your first client, head to ReloAcademy.)
But first there’s one step more critical than any of these and that’s finding out if you can secure the freight broker bond. So before you go running to start your new auto transport broker business, you should find and contact a few bonding companies. Find out how much you’ll need to pay and more importantly, if they are willing to finance you. Without the bond, there is no business, so do that first. Then you can follow these 16 steps on how to become an auto transport broker:
1. Choose a business name
Choosing a business name is very important. In fact, most of your potential clients will see your business name before anything else. If you have a name that looks and sounds like everyone else, you will get lost in the shuffle of the inbox.
According to The Radicati Group, their email national survey revealed that in 2014, people received an average of 81 emails per day which included 68 legitimate emails and 13 spam emails.
Imagine having to compete with 80 other emails. This number will be significantly higher if the person fills out one of those get 10 free quotes forms. So choose a name that represents you, your company and that will appeal to the kind of customers you want to attract.
In my case, ReloGeek fit the bill perfectly.
2. Incorporate your business name
Once you have a business name in place, it’s time to get incorporated. Incorporating is basically choosing a legal structure. Whether it’s an LLC, INC or Sole Proprietorship, this is a critical step. In fact, I highly recommend that you talk with both an attorney and an accountant.
Because how you file determines how you’ll file your taxes, how much you’ll pay and what your covered or not covered for if someone decides to sue you/your business, you need professional help.
Don’t skimp here.
3. Get your EIN
An EIN is an employee identification number also called a tax id. Once you’ve decided on a legal structure for your business, you need to get an EIN. Your EIN is what I like to call your business’s social security number.
The same way the government gives you a social security number when you’re born, is the same way you’ll need to apply for one for your business when you start. This is especially helpful as you won’t have to give out your social to every business or corporation you decide to work with.
If you ask me, thats a win win.
4. File for your DOT authority
Moving along. The next step is to file for your DOT authority. This step is the longest step of them all. It takes approximately 21 days to get your authority approved by the FMCSA.
5. UCR Registration
Tying in with the DOT authority is the UCR registration. This is required by both brokers and carriers. So make sure you file for yours.
6. Sign up for your BOC-3 process agents
Your BOC-3 Process agents are designated agents in each state to receive documents on your behalf. This is not a luxury, it’s a requirement. So make sure you get this squared away.
7. Fulfill Your Surety Bond Requirement
The dreaded surety bond! A $75,000 bond is required to become an auto transport broker. If you do not meet this requirement in the 21 day period while your application is being processed for your authority, it will be denied. Although I have this as a step after filing for your authority, it’s important that you shop around and make sure that you can secure the financing needed to satisfy this requirement.
The last thing you want is to invest time and money into becoming an auto transport broker only to find out you can’t procure your freight broker bond. You can find out the company I CURRENTLY recommend over in the auto transport resource section here.
8. Open your business bank account
Once you’ve filed for your authority and you’ve got all your other legal ducks in a row, including your bond, you will need to open a business bank account. I’ve heard of some people using their personal account but I do not recommend it.
You want to make sure you keep your business finances separate from your personal finances. If you transfer money from your personal account to your business account, be sure to mark it as a loan if it’s a loan or a gift if it’s a gift. Again, this is one of those times when I can say an accountant will be your best friend.
The IRS is not your best friend. They are very unforgiving.
9. Payments: Choose merchant service
It’s getting down to the wire. The next step is choosing how you want to get paid. Some people choose to go through their banks merchant service while others choose a third-party. It’s up to you. Just make sure their rates and terms are very clear and that you weigh all your options.
Side note: We are in what Wells Fargo calls a “high risk” business. Don’t be surprised to find out your interest rates are higher than other traditional businesses. Especially if you’re a new business.
10. CRM: Choose a CRM System
Your CRM or customer relationship management system will be your best friend in this business. It’s how you can run your business all by your lonesome without going crazy. Who you choose as your brokering software will set the basis for how hard or easy you make your job. So be sure to choose right.
Right now, your options are JTracker, Auto Broker Dispatch and Carriersoft Megabee.
11. Decide: When you want to be paid from client
You can’t talk about how to become an auto transport broker without talking about the money. When you want to get paid from your clients is just as important as how you will get paid.
Some auto transport brokers get paid upfront while others get paid on dispatch or pickup. It’s your business and its your choice. Choose what works best for you.
12. Start writing email template for clients
Once you know when you’ll get paid, it’s time to craft your email templates. In your brokering software, you’ll notice that you have the ability to save templates so you don’t have to write an email every time.
So take this time to write out your emails. If you get stuck and need ideas or help, be sure to check out the Quote Email Templates or The Follow Up Email Templates in the shop. You’ll get access to copy and paste templates for your business.
This is one of the most important aspects of your business. Contracts can make or break you. The two most important contracts you’ll need for your business are: the Broker/Client contract and the Broker/Carrier contract. You can find then auto transport broker contracts here.
14. Sign up for Load Board
Now it’s time to sign up for Central Dispatch. Central Dispatch is the number one Load Board for auto transport brokers, carriers and dealers alike. You can not get on Central Dispatch until you have your active authority.
Side note: If you choose JTracker as your CRM, you’ll need to be on Central Dispatch before you can get JTracker.
15. Leads: Sign up for Leads
Now it’s time to sign up for leads. Auto Transport leads is how you will make your money. Can you make money without buying leads? Yes. But I hope you have a really big budget.
Auto transport leads are a great way to get access to potential clients who are looking to ship their car right now. Convert these leads to clients and you’ll make money right away. This is one of the most important parts of what I teach in ReloAcademy. You can find a list of auto transport lead providers I recommend in the auto transport resource section here.
16. Start making connections
Last step in all this? Start making connections. When you start making connections, you start making money. But always remember, you have to be human. More importantly? Be you!
So there you have it. 16 Easy Steps on How to Become an Auto Transport Broker. The most important thing you will do is laying the foundation.
Think of it as building a house. If the foundation isn’t done right, the house will crumble. If the foundation is strong, you’ll have a house for many years to come. It may not be the prettiest or the most exciting part of building a home, but it’s the most important. Then you get on to the good stuff.
Same thing in your business. Laying the right foundation and getting your legal ducks in a row may not be fun or exciting. Heck, who likes to keep pouring out money? Not me. But once you lay that foundation? You get to move on to the fun stuff. Making clients happy and making money.
This article is very basic at best. Yes you can follow these steps and start your auto transport broker business, but if you are really serious about doing it the smart way? Then head over to ReloAcademy and join the auto transport broker training program.
Now it’s your turn. What’s the hardest part about this process for you? Leave it in the comments below.