A freight broker bond, also known as a BMC-84 bond, is a type of surety bond that is required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for individuals or companies that operate as freight brokers. Brokers that operate without the proper bond in place may have their broker license revoked by the FMCSA. The bond requirement is officially documented in Title 49 of the U.S. Code.
The bond amount required is $75,000. The bond is meant to ensure that brokers operate according to industry regulations and offer a financial guarantee to motor carriers/shippers if freight brokers fail to comply with contract agreements.
Our starting price for a $75,000 BMC-84 freight broker bond is $938 for a 1 year term. There are several factors that go into the pricing of the bond:
In general, a good credit score, experience and a clean claims record will result in a cheaper quote. We work with over 10 carriers to ensure that brokers get the cheapest rates. Get started below to get a quote in 3 minutes!
The purpose of a BMC-84 freight broker bond is to provide a form of financial protection for carriers and shippers who work with freight brokers. Let’s illustrate this with an example.
Let’s say that freight broker John contracts with carrier Jill to transport a shipment of goods from New York to California for $100,000. Jill performs the transportation as agreed, but John fails to pay Hill the agreed-upon rate.
In this case, Jill could file a claim against John’s freight broker bond. Jill looks up John’s license on FMCSA and contacts the surety company that John is bonded with the make a claim. She provides evidence of the agreement, as well as proof that she delivered the shipment as agreed. She also provides the surety company email exchanges with John to demonstrate her unsuccessful efforts to collect payment from John.
The surety company investigates the claim and determines that it’s valid. The contract value was $100,000, but the surety company pays Jill $75,000, since that’s the bond limit. Remember, the bond limit is the maximum amount that would be paid out in the event of a claim. Once the claim has been paid out, the surety company would seek out John for reimbursement of the amount paid out. If John fails to repay the amount, the surety company could take him to court to collect payment.
The process of getting a freight broker bond could range from 1 day to a week. The exact time depends largely on whether there are complications in your application that make it difficult to secure a good quote. If you have a decent credit score, no claims history with good finances, we should be able to get you a quote relatively quickly.
Yes! We partner with carriers that specialize in providing bonds to individuals with less than perfect credit score. Admittedly, the bond will likely be more expensive, but it’s still very much possible to secure a bond. Get started with our quote process today and we’ll shop around to secure you the best quote, with or without a great credit score.
You can verify that your freight broker bond has been filed by checking with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA is the regulatory agency that oversees the freight brokerage industry, and they maintain a public database of all registered freight brokers and forwarders, including information about their bond filings.
To verify that your freight broker bond has been filed, you can follow these steps:
It should take about a week from the time the bond was filed for it to show up on the FMCSA site. If you’ve bonded with us and you don’t see it show up, give us a call and we’ll confirm your filing.
For licensed freight brokers looking to renew their bond, we will need your motor carrier number to get a quote.
For new freight brokers, a motor carrier number is not required to get a quote. However, it is necessary to file the bond with FMCSA.
You can get a motor carrier number through the FMCSA by completing the Unified Registration System (URS) application online. For the application, you will need to provide a taxpayer identification number (TIN) or employer identification number (EIN). You will also need to pay the required fee, which depends on the type of operation you run the the number of vehicles in your fleet. Once your application is submitted, the FMCSA will review and process your application. You should hear back typically within 4-6 weeks.
Freight broker bonds are valid for 1 year and need to be renewed before the expiration date. If you bond with us, we’ll keep track of when your bond is expiring and notify you well before the date to give you ample time for renewal.
If you bond with us, just contact us to tell us what you’ll like to change and we’ll file the change with your surety company. The most common updates we see are changes to the freight broker or forwarder company name and the motor carrier number.
A BMC-85 Trust Fund Agreement is an alternative to a BMC-84 freight broker bond that is accepted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Instead of purchasing a surety bond from a third-party surety bond provider, a freight broker can place $75,000 directly into a trust fund and name the FMCSA as the beneficiary of the trust. If a broker fails to pay a carrier or shipper, the trust fund (instead of a bond) is used to compensate them for their losses.
We generally recommend the BMC-84 freight broker bond to brokers because it requires less up front capital ($938 for a bond vs. $75,000 one time deposit into a trust fund). However, the BMC-85 trust fund agreement may be a better option for freight brokers who have difficulty obtaining a bond due to poor credit or other factors.
Having claims on your freight broker bond sucks, as you are liable to repayment and it becomes more expensive to obtain future bonds. Here are some tips to avoid claims on your freight broker bond:
Verify carrier credentials: Before hiring a carrier to transport freight, verify their credentials, including their insurance coverage, safety record, and operating authority. You can use the FMCSA's SAFER system or other third-party verification services to confirm a carrier's information. This is crucial to avoiding fraudulent claims from dishonest carriers
Use written contracts: Always use written contracts that clearly outline the terms of the transaction, including payment terms, liability, and insurance requirements. Make sure the contracts are signed by all parties and keep copies of the contracts on file.
Pay carriers on time: Make sure to pay carriers for their services on time and in accordance with the terms of the contract. Late or missed payments can lead to claims on your freight broker bond.
Maintain accurate records: Keep accurate records of all transactions, including invoices, bills of lading, and proof of delivery. This documentation can be used to support your position in the event of a dispute or claim.
Maintain close communication with carriers and shippers: Maintain open communication with carriers and shippers throughout the transaction. Address any issues or concerns promptly to avoid disputes that could lead to claims on your bond.