When asked about the key to the success of the Authorized Freight Agent Team at Trinity, our answer is always the same. Relationships. The Agent Support Team at the Corporate office is dedicated to building strong relationships with all of our Authorized Freight Agents, whether their office is in the next town over or across the country. These relationships have built friendships that can feel more like family, and bring a heavy investment in the success of our Freight Agent offices.
However, it’s easy for us to say that we have great relationships with our Freight Agents, but why not hear directly from one of them? Get to know one of our Authorized Freight Agents – maybe you’ve seen her picture on the Authorized Freight Agent page of the Trinity Logistics website – Lyn Hollingsworth! By getting to know Lyn, you’ll gain some insight into the life of an Independent Freight Agent, what it takes to be a success in the industry, and a little about what it means to be an Authorized Freight Agent with Trinity Logistics. See how Lyn answered a few questions from our Director of Agent Services, Jen Hoffman.
Jen: How long have you been in the industry?
Lyn: I started in the industry right out of college where I went to school for logistics, when I went to work for Preston Trucking. I started as a cost analyst, worked multiple roles, and was with them for 17 years until they closed their doors. Then I joined a small 3PL down in Florida for a few years. There were two men that ran the company and an office manager. When talking with them about the opportunity, they said I could work four or 12 hours a day, but the more business I brought in, the more money we’d all make. I thought, well, there’s a challenge and joined them! I was able to utilize a lot of my LTL contact from Preston Trucking and transitioned that to the truckload business. I was with them for about 15 years until the owners decided to retire and then my husband told me about a company he had heard of, Trinity Logistics, and I called them. I talked to Billy Banning, who was willing to take me and my customers on and it’s been great. I’ve only grown from there!
Jen: What was different about joining Trinity from your previous company?
Lyn: Well, it was funny because everything I had done with my previous company was through phone and fax. When I came to Trinity with their online system and all of their resources, my head just exploded! Before all I did was find the business and then the office manager moved the shipments. There was very little communication and I never knew when shipments were delivered! When I think about how we operated for those 15 years, it was much less professional than here at Trinity. I was so happy to come. Here and take o ownership of the entire job – sales and operations. I talk to dispatchers and drivers, track the shipments, and tell my customers exactly when their freight has been safely delivered. That constant communication builds trust with the customers and prevents problems.
Jen: So, did you always want to go into logistics? Was that always the plan?
Lyn: When I was in school, I had no idea that I would go into logistics. One of the required classes for Business Administration was a transportation class. I walked into this auditorium of 500 noisy people. The professor walked up to the microphone and started talking. Every eye in that auditorium turned to him and you could have heard a pin drop. That man was one of the most dynamic speakers that I have ever heard in my life. He took some of the driest material and made it extremely interesting. He taught us how to look up pricing using complicated tariff matrices. It was dry, but he made it fun. He was interested in what he taught and made it interesting for us. I ended up signing up for another class he taught, then another, and another, and ended up majoring in Transportation and Logistics because of this professor. At that time, Penn State was one of only a handful of schools that even offered that degree. It was brand new. I always wanted to send him a letter after I graduated telling him that he changed the course of my life with just how dynamic and enthusiastic he was about what he taught.
Jen: You have worked as an employee for a transportation company and now as an Independent Freight Agent? What do you like, or don’t like, about being an Independent Freight Agent?
Lyn: Sometimes you can miss being around other people and sharing experiences when you work on your own. But there is nothing like not having interruptions when you are busy. You can get things done! I like being available 24/7 to my customers and carriers, they always have access to me. Coming from a company where I was only involved in sales, I prefer having control over both sales and operations.
Jen: How do you manage your business knowing that things can be very cyclical – even COVID aside – it can seem like all or nothing some days and hard to keep things consistent. How do you manage that with your customers?
Lyn: Well, pricing certainly has been cyclical over the past eight months. I’m lucky that most of the customers I have are not terribly price-sensitive. They understand when rates go up and hopefully come back down. I keep them informed about what’s going on and they understand.
Jen: Has it always been that way? That sounds like a relationship that is gained over time.
Lyn: I have worked with most of my customers for a long time. I give them dedicated service and I’m honest with them about rate trends, both up and down. Trust has been built up and they don’t shop around. That’s the only way I’ve been successful. Over the years there have been customers that I couldn’t offer competitive pricing to and they have matriculated away. But service and trust are the biggest factors with the customers that I work with.
Jen: What would you say is your favorite thing about working in this industry? Working with Trinity?
Lyn: I’d have to say the positivity of both. It’s absolutely rewarding to talk with my customers, Trinity Team members, and to talk with drivers because I always have a good time. I’m really glad when drivers pick up my shipments. I’m really glad when they call me for check calls and delivery. I tell them how awesome they are and it’s contagious. When I talk with my customers, I thank them for their shipments. Even if they are only giving me one or two shipments a week, I tell them how much I appreciate them. Then when they call me, they are in that same mood – just that same generous, hopeful, and positive spirit. All, okay, most of my customers are really fun to work with and I think they appreciate that they can call me on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and get a truck within an hour. I would definitely say that the positivity is my favorite part. I don’t have a bad day.
Jen: What does a typical day look like for you in business?
Lyn: There are no typical days. Some are slow and some days are so busy that I don’t leave my desk at all until 8:00 at night. Probably the hardest part of the job is having no idea what tomorrow is going to look like, so it’s hard to plan. Can I relax or am I going to be glued to my desk? It’s a tough question to answer.
Jen: If you weren’t a Freight Agent, what would you be?
Lyn: I don’t really know. I like to think that I’d be teaching somewhere.
Jen: And from what I know about you Lyn, you would be that professor to change someone’s life!
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