This content was originally published on Entrepreneur.com.
Opening a freight agency is an exciting undertaking. But any entrepreneur knows that growing a business is not a simple mission. What do you need to do to build your freight agency?
Katie MacDonald, Landstar Transportation Logistics vice president of agent development, and Carlos Torres, an independent Landstar agent, share their experiences. MacDonald oversees the agent development department at Landstar. She is well-versed in the challenges and successes of freight agents.
Torres is a young, ambitious entrepreneur whose knowledge of the transportation industry stems from his father’s experience as an independent Landstar owner-operator. In 2017, Torres – at only 22 years old – and his father decided to open a freight agency. Torres is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the agency and leads all sales efforts. By the end of 2018, the company generated more than $3 million in revenue.
Listen To Your Customers’ Needs
“Your customer is an expert in its products, but you’re the expert in the shipment of its products. Have a good understanding of the requirements and provide the best options.” – Katie MacDonald
Every shipment and every customer is different so you need to pay careful attention each time a customer explains its needs to you. Your customers trust you to provide the best solutions to their transportation challenges. When you prove to your customers time and time again that the logistics plans you develop are indeed the best, they will continue to give you their business.
Lean on Your Support Network
“Nobody will build your business for you, but with the right connections and support, you can make it happen.” – Carlos Torres
For Torres, the professional relationships he and his father built were key to the freight agency’s rapid success. Torres tapped into the duo’s immediate network of potential customers and ran with every available sales opportunity. These connections and his tenacity helped him build a book of business to get the agency off the ground. Torres also leaned on the support he found in the Landstar network of employees, independent agents and capacity providers. He quickly developed strong relationships with Landstar’s agent development department and his assigned regional manager. He knew he could turn to any of these contacts to point him in the right direction if he ever had a question.
Utilize Your Resources
“Running a freight agency is hard work but there are ways you can make it less stressful. Take advantage of all of the tools you have access to.” – Katie MacDonald
Landstar provides entrepreneurs with the resources they need to run their businesses efficiently and remain competitive in a crowded market. Torres regularly utilizes two of Landstar’s technology tools – agent analytics and pricing tools. Agent analytics allows freight agency owners to keep track of their revenue, monitor their freight volume and analyze business performance. Landstar’s pricing tools provides independent agents with historical pricing data and access to proprietary technology to develop quick, accurate quotes for their customers.
Own Your Competitive Advantage
“Recognize what makes your business different and own it. That means really knowing your agency inside and out.” – Carlos Torres
Successful entrepreneurs know what sets them apart from the competition and how to outshine other companies. Torres sets goals for his agency and stops at nothing to achieve them. He monitors his freight volume and revenue regularly to make sure those goals are accomplished, his business is running smoothly and his customers are receiving top-notch transportation services. If your agency isn’t doing this, too, you’re leaving your business vulnerable to the competition.
For more information about aligning your freight agency with a transportation provider committed to helping your business succeed, visit landstar.com.