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In May, this blog talked about what needed to be done to set up a freight brokerage company, you walked through the steps, and you are a legal freight brokerage company. Now what? How does a budding freight brokerage company make money? Answer: the same way a long time existing brokerage does – they work hard at it.
The two high focus areas that need to be considered when starting are (1) a broad carrier base, and (2) a broad customer base. Sometimes these two areas fall in the "catch 22" drawer – customers will work with you if you have a broad and accessible carrier base, and carriers will only work with you if they know you can choose from a broad customer base.
Here is one way to build a carrier base. Early each morning, before the delivery day gets started, stop at all the local truck stops. Wander through the truck parking; write down the names and addresses of the various carriers stopped there and the number of trucks from each carrier; talk to the drivers if they are up and moving, find out where they are from, where they haul to, and what they haul. See if you can get a phone number and a name of the dispatcher that handles their truck. It’s always nice to have a name when you call the company.
Now that you have some carrier names, go to yellowpages.com and get the phone numbers for those you are missing. Call the dispatchers and ask them the important questions. How many times do they come to your area per week or month? Are there other areas of the country they service? Are there areas they go to where freight is hard to find? Who do they deliver for, and to, in your area? Who do they pick up for, and from, in your area? What kinds of freight do they prefer to haul? Would they be interested in giving you a chance to provide freight for them? And the question that many brokers forget, do they have freight they can’t move? And, would it be possible for you to move that freight for them?
Another way to build your carrier base is to search through your local yellow pages in the various listings for trucking, freight, and any other label the phone company might use to identify a trucking company. Don’t call these companies, go and visit them. Find out what they haul, where they go, and how you can help them be successful.
Now, how to build a customer base. Remember we asked the carriers where they were going and who they delivered to or picked up from? Armed with that information, you must locate phone numbers and start making calls asking for freight to move. You will want to talk to buyers, logistics managers, warehouse managers and anyone else in the company that looks for trucks. Don’t confine yourself to just the freight in your local area. Be sure to ask them about the trouble spots. If you want a quick "in" with shippers and receivers, find them a truck for areas they struggles with. Depending on your freight focus, look in the yellow pages of your local phone book for warehouses that fit the focus. Just like the local carriers, go and visit them. Show them you are interested in helping them move their freight.
Now you have carriers, and you have customers who are willing to work with you, this means you have freight to broker. Be sure you have TruckMaster Freight Brokerage Software to help you manage your business. The software is so intuitive it reminds you when carrier insurance certificates are about to expire. It warns you when a customer is a bit slow on paying. And it will help you keep track of where the trucks are, where the freight is and how you can get them together. Bottom line, this is how you make the money. Understand that carriers and customers will be cautious, but if you are persistent, they will give you a chance at one time or another to help them out.
Good luck on your new adventure!
TruckMaster Solution Provider
TruckMaster Your Freight Brokerage™
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