08/23/2022 by Greg Massey
We often will hear from a Freight Agency on how their business has become stagnant while partnered with either small or start-up brokerages. This could be for several reasons. For one, no business will grow unless the main driving force – which is YOU – is 100 percent committed to its success.
In fact, many of the single-person Freight Agents we have seen with great success in the past five years have a focused passion that affords them no “Plan B”. They are so determined to make their small freight agency work that they don’t even consider failure as a potential option. Having that hunger is essential but finding a partner to support your growth is vital. When considering who that partner should be, it’s important to consider several things, such as;
The days of only being a point A to point B truckload-only Freight Agency are fading. Customers have unique shipping challenges that need unique shipping solutions. Therefore, it’s important to ensure your Freight Agency’s partner has a vast network of carrier partners.
As important, is their reputation among the carrier community. It must be strong enough to foster relationships that promote carriers consistently working with them versus having to always rely on “one and done” carriers. Find out how often carriers seek repeat business with the partner company you’re considering. If it happens a third of the time or less, that could be a warning sign that carriers may give your company a shot, but the relationship doesn’t progress for whatever reason.
Typically, most Freight Agents are well-versed in truckload operations as that is where most get their start in the industry. But shipping customers have needs that don’t just require a full truckload of a product being moved.
Does your partner company have a strong relationship with less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers that will provide competitive service and rates? Will you have a team of experts to assist you with those non-traditional freight moves, like expedited, drayage, or international? What about a shipper customer with more complex needs, like a transportation management system to help manage their business?
As you look to grow with your shipper customers, the last thing you want to do is tell that customer, “Sorry, we can’t support that type of move.”
People that are successful in any business typically have a thirst for knowledge. It’s not just about learning something new, it’s also about refining and sharpening the saw on things they have known for years. Does the company you’re looking to partner with offer education and training sessions to assist in that endeavor?
And if so, are they just focused on mode education? Or operational or technical education? What about things that are not directly tied to the day-to-day but are important – like succession planning? Find out how the company you consider partnering with will support your Freight Agency and you as a person.
The sale does not end when the shipment delivers. That sale needs to continue all the way through the administrative support side of the freight transaction. But how much of your time will that gobble up?
If the partner company you’re considering indicates they will do those things on your behalf, what are their processes for those support measures? It’s great when they help get a carrier set up, but at the speed at which the freight industry moves, you know how valuable minutes are, let alone hours of waiting.
And not just normal processes, but not every shipping customer or freight move fits neatly in a box. So how will those needs be met when exceptions occur? Let’s face it, giving a partner company a percentage of the gross margin, you make on a shipment should absolutely come with a clear picture of how they will support your Freight Agency, your shipping customers, and those relationship carriers you have worked hard with to gain their trust.
Ask those tough questions about what happens when this occurs or how quickly a dispute or special need be managed. Remember, the company you partner with needs to be an extension of you and the freight agency you have created.
We realize you have a choice in who you’d like as your freight agency’s partner. However, Trinity Logistics can help your business grow and remain successful regardless of your freight agency size.
Trinity Logistics has over 30 years of experience aiding in the success of our Authorized Freight Agent offices, as well as offering many extras for our Authorized Agent network. So, if you’re looking for a long-term partnership that is supportive of your growth and offers you continued education to stay competitive, we’re more than happy to get connected.
If you’d like to talk more about how Trinity can support your journey in growing a successful business, feel free to contact our Agent Team by phone at 800-846-3400 x 1908 or click the button below.
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