Starting a freight brokerage business can certainly seem like a mountain of a task—and it is.
Look, I’m not going to pretend that starting and running your own business is simple, straightforward, or in any way easy. It’s hard. It takes time, discipline, effort, great ideas, greater people, and a willingness to bend over backwards for clients and carriers.
We’ve written before about how to be a freight broker, how to set yourself apart from the crowd, how to convince shippers that you’re not like the other guys, how to make a name for yourself (and keep your reputation squeaky clean) …
How to differentiate yourself from the competition, basically.
It requires a certain type of person, but it can be done—and the modern freight broker has access to tools that allow them to do things that just weren’t possible ten or twenty years ago.
Starting a freight brokerage business requires discipline, hard work, strong marketing and branding, and a deep knowledge of the industry.
Now, marketing and branding play a role in this, specialization plays a role in this (if you can focus tightly on a specific niche industry that you serve, you’re set for success down the road), working hard and hiring the right people plays a role, picking the right customers (and turning down the wrong customers) plays a role, carefully choosing which carriers you will and won’t work with plays a role…
But, as someone who’s starting a freight brokerage business, you have a unique opportunity that brokers who’ve been in this business for a while would do just about anything to have:
You have the opportunity to build an extraordinarily lean business from day one, a business that doesn’t rely on outmoded ways of doing business, that doesn’t rely on a large staff to be successful.
Someone who’s been in the business for years, or even decades, has a lot of baggage. They might have employees whom they know don’t pull their weight but whom they can’t quite seem to get rid of. They might have old processes in place that would require extensive retraining of already-overworked staff to replace (not to mention a staggering cost to boot). They might have customers who just aren’t interested in new technology, who are never going to want to do things any differently than they’ve always done them.
You have an opportunity to avoid a great deal of this– all you need is a powerful TMS on your side.
We live in the age of robotics, and TMS software (transportation management system) is the robotic helper that old-school freight brokers always dreamed of
Except, for an established broker to bring a new technology to their team, they’re facing an uphill battle.
If you’re starting a freight brokerage business, you get to call the shots from day one. You get to decide if you want to put out an ad for an assistant and start your business with the monthly recurring cost and stress of providing someone else’s livelihood…
Or if you want to bring on a powerful software platform for a fraction of the cost.
You get to decide if you want to rely solely on your knowledge of the industry, of shippers, of carriers, of lanes, of fluctuating prices, of shipping requirements, of transit times (and how they vary from carrier to carrier) … You get to decide if you want to rely on your steel-clad memory and luck.
Or if you want to have a powerful tool on your side. One who can look at load boards and carrier websites at once, help you find a quality carrier with decent pricing and transit times quickly. One that can quickly pick a solution that makes your client happy and guarantees you a higher profit margin.
Imagine a solution that can auto-generate a great deal of paperwork and emails that would normally have to be created by hand. You get to decide if you want to make things easier on both you and your customer by providing a customized customer portal where they can track and rate shipments based on tariffs you’ve designated.
You get to decide if you want to hire a team and dig a hole in your nonexistent-currently-but-it’s-definitely-coming revenue, or if you want to take on a TMS at a fraction of the cost and see how far you can go before ever having to even consider hiring staff.
If you’re starting a freight brokerage business, the most important thing you can do is to get a TMS– because it amplifies your efforts, increases efficiency, and keeps you from having to hire for a while
There are a variety of features a good TMS needs to have to really be as beneficial as I just described. It will take a little time to learn how to wield this powerful tool appropriately, but it’s nothing compared to trying to implement one down the road with a large staff who’s not interested in learning new things.
You eliminate a lot of the busywork, you make things easier on both shippers and carriers, and you give yourself the ability to seem like 1 person doing the job of 10.
BrokerWare™ can help you do just that.
Not sure you’re ready for software as comprehensive and robust as BrokerWare™?
We’ve got you covered there, too.
Let us know if you’re interested in hearing about the next big thing to happen with transportation management systems.