Starting a logistics company: Infrastructure you need to get started

So you’ve formed an LLC and established an operating agreement with your business partners. Great – but now what? What will you need to get started? Starting a logistics company requires some basic infrastructure needs you want to have in order to be successful.

Set up a professional-looking website.

You’ve gone through the process of setting up your LLC and operating agreement so you can be a real business. That’s great. Now you just need to look like one. If you’re going to be calling shippers and carriers to broker freight, you might get Googled. Those who look you up need to like what they find.

This doesn’t have to be super complicated. You’re going to need to:

  • Buy your domain name
  • Set up your website

Squarespace is probably the best platform to do this all on. It will be really simple.

What should you put on your website when starting a logistics company? Good question.

You are creating a website so you can establish credibility with customers, suppliers and new hires. If you want to get something simple up and then wait until you can delegate creation of the rest of the site to someone who’s a little more web-development savvy, then focus on achieving the following two things:

  • Show who you are. Use a friendly-looking photo of yourself.
  • Write, in your own words, how important great service is to you.

You are in a service business. What ultimately will decide your success or failure as a freight broker when starting a logistics company will be, do you deliver great service, and do people like you? There are a million other guys out there just like you. They would all be happy to take your freight. But assuming you’re price competitive, you have a great on-time percentage and that your shippers like you, you can survive.

The on-time percentage will come. Right now, you need people who visit your website to 1) Like you and 2) Read how much you value delivering great service.

 

Set yourself up on easy-to-use freight broker software.

You’re new to the game, so you really need to impress your first couple of clients. You really, really need those first loads to get picked up one time, get delivered on time and know exactly where that load is, preferably using GPS to track it vs. a log of driver update calls.

Most importantly, you need a software that has been built to make all your day-to-day freight-related tasks as simple to do as possible. You’re going to be spending a lot of time on a computer, clicking through screens to log information. If you had to chose, would you pick a software that takes 16 clicks to accomplish a task, or would you chose the freight broker software that has taken that same task and made it so the task can be completed in 1 click?

16 clicks or 1 click? When it comes to getting stuff done, clicks matter. Pick the most simple freight broker software solution.

Starting a logistics company: Affordable office space

Your office space doesn’t have to be fancy when starting a logistics company, but you may want to consider starting at a WeWork or other co-working space. This will allow you to list their address as your address. Showing you operate out of an office building can help increase your credibility with customers and carriers. Not only are co-working spaces great for getting started, but they will allow you to expand more easily as you grow and add people.

Starting a logistics company by setting up shop in a co-working space can also be beneficial from a quality of life standpoint. If you’re not used to working alone, the loneliness of self-employment can be a drag at times. Co-working spaces are generally filled with other entrepreneurs who know what it’s like to build a business. Not only can you meet new people, but those new people might know people who know customers. Referrals are great. What can you do to get more? Know more people.

 

Next: Starting Your Own Logistics Company – The Financial Model

 

Manage your freight remotely. Complete visibility to your transportation supply chain is as close as your phone, tablet or computer. Freightflow freight broker software is the most easy-to-use freight broker software available today. The best part? It’s completely free to try. Don’t wait. Get started today with your no obligation, 100% free trial.

 

How to Become a Freight Broker – Steps to Do It Right

Want to know how to become a freight broker? Third Party Logistics can be a very rewarding career; you just need to know where to start. What are the steps to take to get started? Here’s what you absolutely need to know.

 

How to Become a Freight Broker: Stay Legal from the Start

Register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Freight brokers are regulated by the government. The first thing you need to do fill out an application the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Then, post a $10,000 surety bond and fill out a proper process agent form called a BOC-3. There is a long road ahead. This is just the start.

 

Register to get a USDOT number with the Department of Transportation

While this is not specifically required in order to become a freight broker, the USDOT number is required when you apply to be a freight broker through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The rules states:

“If you are going to be a company that operates commercial vehicles transporting passengers or hauling cargo in interstate commerce must be registered with the FMCSA and must have a USDOT number.”

What does this get you? A USDOT number serves as a unique identifier when collecting and monitoring a company’s safety information, acquired during audits, compliance reviews, crash investigations and inspections. Want to be 100% sure if you need a USDOT number, you can take this short quiz to find out, here.

Obtain Broker Authority

What is Broker Authority? It’s is a license from the FMCSA authorizing individuals or companies to act as a freight broker. How do you obtain broker authority, by application of course. You apply for broker authority by filling out MFCSA form OP-1 and selecting the “broker of property” option. Form OP-1 requires contact information for an individual or company, and your USDOT number. This application comes with a $300 fee.

You need to get a surety bond or trust fund.

What does the surety bond provide? The surety bond or trust find acts as insurance to guarantee that the shipping companies will be paid for their cargo space. If a shipper doesn’t pay for the shipping service, the cost fall on the freight brokerage. So what happens if the freight broker can’t cover the cost? This is where the bond company or trust fund covers the cost. Not only does a freight broker need to have a $10,000 surety bond or trust fund, but they’ll need to pass a background and credit check.

Have Legal Process Agents

If you want to understand how to become a freight broker and grow your freight brokerage business, you’re going to be operating in multiple states. Hopefully many, many states! And when you get to this point, your freight brokerage business needs to register legal process agents for every state they operate in with the FMCSA. The process agent provides legal representation within their state for any situation where legal representation may be necessary. Law firms with offices in multiple states should be retained in replacement of a process agent.

 

Forming your LLC for your freight brokerage business.

Part of understanding how to become a freight broker is understanding how to set up your LLC. If you don’t feel 100% comfortable forming an LLC on your own, it is best to speak with an attorney who is well versed in handling this type of matter. But, the steps are generally as follows:

  1. Choose an available business name that complies with your state’s LLC rules.
  2. File formal paperwork, usually called articles of organization, and pay the filing fee (ranging from about $100 to $800, depending on your state’s rules).
  3. Create an LLC operating agreement, which sets out the rights and responsibilities of the LLC members.
  4. Publish a notice of your intent to form an LLC (required in only a few states).
  5. Obtain licenses and permits that are required for your business.

 

Manage your freight remotely. Complete visibility to your transportation supply chain is as close as your phone, tablet or computer. Freightflow freight broker software is the most easy-to-use freight broker software available today. The best part? It’s completely free to try. Don’t wait. Get started today with your no obligation, 100% free trial.