Every day, all day, your life as a freight agent is a steady stream of fires that need to be extinguished. From negotiations, to late deliveries, and the phone ringing off the hook, keeping your head above water is the only thing that you dream about at the end of each day.
Remember those dreams of growing your freight agent business into a large income producing machine? You knew that one day you wanted to take your business to the next level, but now the idea of taking time away just to pick up lunch is a pipedream – let alone planning a full-scale growth strategy.
So, how do you do it? How does a freight agent know when it’s time to take the leap into growing his or her business? How do you know what to do next? Check out our guide to the first steps in recognizing the time for growth and moving your numbers in the right direction….Up!
1. Know where you are.
The first step to reaching your growth goals…or even deciding what those goals are…is knowing where you are now. This step always seems like a no-brainer. Sure, you know how much the deposit into your bank account is every week – but do you really know how it got there and how much you possibly left on the table at the end of the week?
This is where you have to take some time and learn your numbers inside and out. How many shipments do you move in a week? What is your average margin per shipment? What is your net revenue? How many customers do you arrange shipping for every week? Then, how do these numbers compare to this time last month? Last quarter? Last year? Have you grown since last year? Are you moving more shipments, but your deposits are the same? These questions will help you decide what your next step is in planning your growth strategy as a freight agent.
2. Know how much it costs you to do business as a freight agent.
And don’t forget--that time equals money! Do you have fees associated with the company you broker through? How much goes in your pocket compared to how much goes to the company? What does it cost to use the operating system? Load boards? Ancillary services?
So, now you know where you stand…are you ready to take the leap? Growth can be a scary thing, so here are two areas to help determine how to jumpstart your growth:
1. Determine the need for additional hands.
Are you a one-person operation moving 100 shipments per month? Think about the time it takes you to cover one shipment, track it, handle any issues that arise, and keep your customer informed throughout the entire process. Now multiply that by the number of shipments you have waiting to be booked, or in transit, each day. Maybe, it’s time to bring in some help!
You will never be able to bring on new business and keep the service level you need to maintain with your current customers when you are managing 15-20 loads per day all on your own. This seems to be a “sweet spot” for many freight agents. You know, that “magic number” to let you know that it’s time to bring in help!
Start looking for someone who shares the same values and work ethic that helped your business get where it is today. Then, have them slowly start taking on some of the day-to-day duties that keep your head submerged under water - so that you can do what you do best – build those customer relationships!
2. Analyze your house.
No, not your real house…your work house. What is the company you broker with costing you at the end of the day? What do they offer to help you grow? Here are some questions to start asking yourself to make sure that you are partnered with the right company:
a. Devoted freight agent support team- Are you just a number when you call and have to leave a message? Or, do you talk with an actual person who knows your business and cares about your success?
b. A reputable corporate presence-Does the corporate headquarters have executives that know the value of independent freight agents? Do you have teams at the corporate level who are billing your customers and paying your carriers that understand the value of your customer? Does the corporate office consistently communicate their vision and company goals with independent freight agents?
c. No fees-Is it costing you to broker with your current company? Are you charged fees? Upfront costs? Do you understand any adjustments to your commission payments and are they justified?
d. Continuing Education-Does your current company offer consistent education opportunities to help you stay on top of the market? How about classes to help refresh your sales skills? Does your Agent Support team continually offer coaching opportunities to find areas of your business that have growth potential?
Taking a step back to analyze all of this information will help you realize when it’s time to take your business to the next level. Make sure that you know your numbers, that you are looking for the right person to help you, and that the company you are working with is dedicated to helping you grow. Taking the leap into growth can be scary, but the rewards are abundant. Go ahead, take that first step!
Trinity Logistics is a non-asset based 3PL that has been in business for 38 years. With over 98 independent agent offices branching across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, Trinity’s Agent Division is a major part of the company’s success. With a dedicated Agent Support team who know our agents by name, the company is always looking for agents to partner with us who are motivated and ready to grow. Reach out to us today to get more information about the Freight Agent program at Trinity Logistics.