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Module 5:

How To Get Carriers


In this module, we go in to how to establish and build a “vetted” carrier base of owner operators of different equipment types, what equipment types to focus on, what types of trucking companies to look at, the carrier packet, and the other documents needed for carriers to be approved.




The equipment types starting out as a new freight broker or freight agent under a brokerage that you should target are the 53’ Dry Vans, 53’ Reefers (Refrigerated trailers), and the 48’/53’ Flatbed trailers.  Flatbeds are the easiest to start.


Starting out as a new freight brokerage it is a good idea to research trucking companies who are local to where you are based, as you did when you researched customers (shippers) who were local to you.  Focus on the smaller companies first (1 – 10 assets or truck/trailers) in order to build good and lasting relationships.  Get those carriers signed up and begin booking loads with them in order to become consistent and grow.  Again, focus on the local Dry Van, Flatbed, and Reefer companies locally.  Ways to source carriers are:

- Local trucking companies/carriers (visiting them and talking to carriers)

Truck stops (visiting them and talking with carriers)

- Cold calls from Load Board searches (Search Directory, DAT Directory lookups)

- Social Media (LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook groups, etc.)

- Text campaigns (Text Magic, Text Line, etc.)

- Email campaigns (Constant Contact or Mail Chimp)

- Word of Mouth (friends or family)


Vetting a potential carrier to be approved (or ONBOARDED) for your freight brokerage involves checking to make sure that various criteria (in accordance to what your particular customer requires for running their loads) are met and are in compliance.  Some of these criteria can include, but is not limited to, CSA (Compatibility, Safety, and Accountability) scores, licensing and insurance information (via SAFER FMCSA website), etc.  It also includes making sure that the carrier is not connected to another brokerage (double brokering).  Get the “MC” or “DOT” number from the carrier when they call you and ask about an available load.  Here is where you look up their information (a matter of public record) based off of MC or DOT to determine if you will proceed further.  If the information is in compliance with your customer’s criteria for running their loads, now you send them a carrier packet to complete and return for approval.


Once the initial “vetting” process has been completed, it is now time to get the carrier set up and approved under your brokerage to run loads for your customer(s).  A Carrier Packet is a Broker/Carrier agreement and it lays out the terms and conditions both parties need to adhere to in order to be legal and in compliance with one another as well as satisfy the shipper.  It goes over insurance requirements, payment options (quick pay, ACH, standard or factoring), detention pay, etc.  The carrier needs to be sure they have read and understood the contract before signing and returning.  Questions need to be asked and answered satisfactorily prior to signing and returning the carrier packet.

Carrier Packet


In addition to signing the carrier packet and returning it to the brokerage, most freight brokers also require at least 3 other documents in order to officially set up an approved carrier or "onboard" them to their freight brokerage.  These include the carrier’s W9, carrier’s Certificate of Insurance and the carrier’s MC Authority Letter from FMCSA/DOT.  If the carrier has a factoring company, then a credit application and an NOA (Notice of Assignment from carrier's factoring company) is also needed.

  • Carrier’s W9, showing that they have a Federal ID# or EIN (Employee Identification Number) # and business name.


  • Carrier’s MC AUTHORITY letter, issued from FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier’s Safety Administration) in conjunction with DOT (Department of Transportation), showing the carrier as having a unique DOT# and MC#.  The most common type of authority for owner operators, carriers, or truck drivers is a common carrier authority.  Other types of authority include:  Contract, Passenger, and Household Goods (HHG).


  • Carrier’s Certificate of Insurance (COI), showing the carrier having minimums of $100,000 cargo insurance and $1,000,000 liability insurance.


  • Carrier’s Credit Application/Notice of Assignment (NOA).  These are forms that a carrier’s “factoring company” presents to the broker or shipper for their credit to be approved.




Once these documents are returned and approved by the brokerage, they are entered into a TMS (Transportation Management System) system and that data is used for future loads.  An added note here, new freight brokerages may not need a TMS starting out.  A simple excel spreadsheet will do.

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