Wondering how to find freight shippers? It’s a question as old as the industry itself. You have your feet (or wheels in this business) under you, and feel like you have several clients where you’re moving enough steady freight to at least sleep through the night. Or, maybe it’s the opposite. You’re shipping only very niche freight, say produce, from a specific region of the country. Either way, your business could benefit greatly from expanding beyond what you’re currently doing. Expanding your logistics business is definitely possible. You just have to be smart about how you do it. How? Here are three keys that explain how to find freight shippers.
How to find freight shippers: hire pros who know the industry
Logistics is a relationships business. Whether you’re on the customer side or the carrier side, an experienced professionals relationships are what can allow someone to flourish or flounder. But when you bring in someone with a track record of success in a particular niche, this can be a win-win situation. But, you should base some of the compensation on performance. Let’s say you’ve made steady inroads with the dry van full truckload market. You see opportunity to capture more freight from an existing customer who does a lot of LTL work. This could be the perfect opportunity to grow business with a current customer while expanding into a separate niche all together. Spend some time on LinkedIn to see if you can find people with LTL experience. Maybe even people who are running their own small operation. Would they be swayed to join your team with the promise of being able to do even more? Maybe they’re growing tired of being a small-time operation and would enjoy a change of scenery. Regardless, look for professionals who can come in and leverage their existing relationships to help you expand your business. This is essential when learning how to find freight shippers.
Start a new business so support your existing one.
You know you need to grow your client base in one mode of transportation. You also know you have to grow important relationships within one organization. This may be an opportunity to serve different customer needs. If you start as a straight 3PL, have you thought about creating a separate asset-based division to handle short runs within a large metro area? Adding assets to an otherwise entirely-brokered fleet could help you manage questions from future customers who want to know you have some of your own trucks who could handle freight for you. Would it be possible to consolidate services with a fulfillment business, or a corrugate manufacturer? What related services could you offer key clients that would see you as more of a single-source provider?
Protect Your Reputation at all Costs
In order to create opportunities to expand, focus on building the best reputation possible. Ask customers whom you’ve done great work for to post a review on Glassdoor or LinkedIn. Putting positive customer feedback in places where future partners and customers can see it will grease the wheels for your own success, since much of the background checking into your credibility will be done unbeknownst to you. No matter how big of an industry you’re in, and the transportation industry is surprisingly not that big. Starting a business isn’t supposed to be a smooth ride, particularly not in the early days. If you’re in the freight brokerage business, you have to remember that it’s a volume business. You have to move a lot of freight to make a lot of money. So, it’s going to take several years to move a lot of freight, or build up a large enough customer base to move a lot of freight. This also means you need to accept that there will be times where you need to tighten the belt, reduce costs and feel stress. So, don’t cut corners. Provide great service, every time. Over time, you’ll find that the golden rule will be your best margin protection. Good carriers will help you out. Customers will give you the benefit of the doubt. And your business will grow.
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