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Old 03-24-2017, 09:16 AM   #126
feedmykids2
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

Congrats and good luck!
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Old 04-27-2017, 01:38 PM   #127
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

Thanks for the thread, very informative read. I was actually interviewing for freight broking jobs in late 2014 after finishing school (took a niche trading job instead). Thinking of looking again at the industry. What's your 5-10 year outlook for freight brokers? Could Amazon's Uber for trucks and/or other technology platforms hurt profitibility for brokers/eventually eliminate them entirely? How will your role in the industry change(if at all) once a huge majority of the trucks are self driving ? Thanks again man!


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Old 04-28-2017, 05:12 AM   #128
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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Originally Posted by Duffman08 View Post
Thanks for the thread, very informative read. I was actually interviewing for freight broking jobs in late 2014 after finishing school (took a niche trading job instead). Thinking of looking again at the industry. What's your 5-10 year outlook for freight brokers? Could Amazon's Uber for trucks and/or other technology platforms hurt profitibility for brokers/eventually eliminate them entirely? How will your role in the industry change(if at all) once a huge majority of the trucks are self driving ? Thanks again man!


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The 5-10 year outlook is that brokers will move more freight for less money per piece... which will cause the average freight brokers pay to increase while the total number of jobs available decreases.

Our role isn't going away, but technology is making us ever more productive. I'm completely fine with this trend as I'm comfortably burrowed into the top 5% of my occupation in terms of technology and operations capability.

I can say that the age of the semi stupid freight broker who made a lot of sales calls and burned through customers on a regular basis because of operational errors is coming to a close. The freight broker of the future will be significantly smarter and significantly less charming.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:22 PM   #129
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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Originally Posted by BoredSocial View Post
The 5-10 year outlook is that brokers will move more freight for less money per piece... which will cause the average freight brokers pay to increase while the total number of jobs available decreases.

Our role isn't going away, but technology is making us ever more productive. I'm completely fine with this trend as I'm comfortably burrowed into the top 5% of my occupation in terms of technology and operations capability.

I can say that the age of the semi stupid freight broker who made a lot of sales calls and burned through customers on a regular basis because of operational errors is coming to a close. The freight broker of the future will be significantly smarter and significantly less charming.
Could you expand on this, specifically operational errors? Other than a negligible amount, why do you think "customers" will be looking to work with less charming, but smarter brokers? Wouldn't more charismatic/charming brokers be able to develop better relationships with trucking companies/owner operators?
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:37 PM   #130
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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Could you expand on this, specifically operational errors? Other than a negligible amount, why do you think "customers" will be looking to work with less charming, but smarter brokers? Wouldn't more charismatic/charming brokers be able to develop better relationships with trucking companies/owner operators?
Charming isn't a lot of good when your trucks are late 150% more often than mine are. If I'm at 90% and you're at 70% and I'm doing it for 50 bucks cheaper you are toast. Technology is making it possible for the brokers who make the best decisions to rapidly rise to the top over brokers who screw up a lot or cost a lot.

The larger volume customers are expecting better service for less money, and they give freight brokers so much money that we will pretty much do whatever they want as long as it's physically possible. And if we can't someone else will. It's the way of the world.
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Old 07-15-2017, 07:24 AM   #131
Garden State
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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Charming isn't a lot of good when your trucks are late 150% more often than mine are. If I'm at 90% and you're at 70% and I'm doing it for 50 bucks cheaper you are toast. Technology is making it possible for the brokers who make the best decisions to rapidly rise to the top over brokers who screw up a lot or cost a lot.

The larger volume customers are expecting better service for less money, and they give freight brokers so much money that we will pretty much do whatever they want as long as it's physically possible. And if we can't someone else will. It's the way of the world.
Interesting...

What technology do you think you utilize more than the average broker?
Now that you're on your own, how do you go about acquiring new customers?
How many new customers have you acquired since you started?
How do you sell them initially to use you?
What has been the biggest benefit of being on your own?
Hardest part of starting your own business?

Thank you.
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:03 AM   #132
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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Interesting...

What technology do you think you utilize more than the average broker?
Now that you're on your own, how do you go about acquiring new customers?
How many new customers have you acquired since you started?
How do you sell them initially to use you?
What has been the biggest benefit of being on your own?
Hardest part of starting your own business?

Thank you.
What technology do you think you utilize more than the average broker?

I can't answer the first question. Not because I don't have an answer but because the answer is serious as a heart attack proprietary. It's not just one thing either.

Now that you're on your own, how do you go about acquiring new customers?
I research prospects using linkedin and use a decent crm to keep track of my sales data and follow up. It's a drag but it works.

How many new customers have you acquired since you started?

I really have no idea how many accounts I've moved one or two loads with and then stopped. In terms of major customers I landed 7 my first year, 2 my second year (I spent the majority of the year actively not prospecting as I wasn't planning to stay where I was), and 6 since my non-compete ended back in September. I'm considering anyone who I've done 100k in sales with 'major'. I've only had 3 accounts that I've done more than 1M+ in sales with and they were the vast majority of my total sales since I started. I often find almost all of my time being bought during the produce season by major produce shippers. As a result I make over 100k from 5/1- Halloween and am pretty slow the rest of the year. I'm definitely looking to break that cycle this year somewhat.

How do you sell them initially to use you?

I call them and ask what the process is for getting setup. And then I sound like I know exactly what I'm doing. Being confident because you know you're great is a pretty strong sales tactic lol. Being insanely honest to the point of oversharing is great too. I contrast VERY well with random early 20 somethings from TQL who call them all day.

What has been the biggest benefit of being on your own?

I'm no longer looking over my shoulder wondering if I'll have a job the next day. Seriously my first freight brokerage was a very dysfunctional place to work. I've never made anyone so much money while simultaneously being so scared they were going to do something self destructive like fire me right before the produce season started.

Honestly though I think I'm just a lousy employee. I also may be a lousy boss because I just had to fire the second of the two guys I hired for the season the beginning of last week. I'm a ****ing fantastic vendor though.

Hardest part of starting your own business?

I made the conscious choice to do all of the paperwork/regulatory stuff on my own. I got my S Corp setup through legalzoom and did all of the thinking myself. I'm doing my own taxes, and I don't plan to hire a CPA any time soon. I'm sure that this approach will cost me in fees and fines here and there but I have a very difficult time believing that I need ANY 'experts' in my life whose work process I don't know anything about. By the time I get around to hiring a CPA I'll have learned enough about the nuts and bolts of this stuff that I'll be able to cut down their fees drastically for the rest of my career. I see it as an investment in business intelligence. Very unlikely to cost me more than 3 college credit hours would lol.

That being said it sucked so hard you wouldn't believe. Damn near became a Republican dealing with the paperwork nightmare they inflicted on me between federal, state, and local taxes alone. Holy **** does government need some simplification.

Last edited by BoredSocial; 07-15-2017 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 09-01-2017, 02:57 PM   #133
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

Hey bored, you think this business is going into a cyclical decline? Seems this business does best when there is either shortage of trucks or vast oversupply of trucks.

How is this year going so far?

You got any opinion on international logistics business (like between borders)? Is that an attractive business, what are barriers of entry like?

Finally this may have been asked, but what is your view on uberization of your line of business? Seems like there are some things you guys do that an app cannot do?

Anyway, thanks for doing this, learned a thing or two reading this so far .
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:07 PM   #134
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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Hey bored, you think this business is going into a cyclical decline? Seems this business does best when there is either shortage of trucks or vast oversupply of trucks.

How is this year going so far?

You got any opinion on international logistics business (like between borders)? Is that an attractive business, what are barriers of entry like?

Finally this may have been asked, but what is your view on uberization of your line of business? Seems like there are some things you guys do that an app cannot do?

Anyway, thanks for doing this, learned a thing or two reading this so far .
The trucking business is absurdly good right now. Brokers are getting max money for their time because trucks hard hard to come by and customers NEED them badly. Trucking companies are literally feasting on these rates. Easily possible for a 1 truck owner operator to NET 2-3k a week right now paying max for insurance.

I'm having the best year of my career. If I hadn't blown up about 15k on those employees it would be even better.

International logistics is like any other area of logistics. It's about knowing how things work and being able to provide good service consistently while knowing about how much it will cost you. If you're from a country that isn't the US and you have strong connections to the US this is a great time to get filthy rich.

The app would have to be many many times more complex than uber is currently. Actually uber for freight is already with us and is *confirmed* a joke. What isn't a joke is Convoy. The reality is that big corporate logistics has been automating rapidly for years along the same lines as purchasing departments have. At the end of the day the app needs to be able to find trucks, and this market is basically as decentralized as a market can be... And it's bat**** crazy competitive. Not an easy space for a monopolist as the barriers to entry are pretty low.
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Old 09-14-2017, 08:30 PM   #135
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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Originally Posted by BoredSocial View Post
The trucking business is absurdly good right now. Brokers are getting max money for their time because trucks hard hard to come by and customers NEED them badly. Trucking companies are literally feasting on these rates. Easily possible for a 1 truck owner operator to NET 2-3k a week right now paying max for insurance.

I'm having the best year of my career. If I hadn't blown up about 15k on those employees it would be even better.

International logistics is like any other area of logistics. It's about knowing how things work and being able to provide good service consistently while knowing about how much it will cost you. If you're from a country that isn't the US and you have strong connections to the US this is a great time to get filthy rich.

The app would have to be many many times more complex than uber is currently. Actually uber for freight is already with us and is *confirmed* a joke. What isn't a joke is Convoy. The reality is that big corporate logistics has been automating rapidly for years along the same lines as purchasing departments have. At the end of the day the app needs to be able to find trucks, and this market is basically as decentralized as a market can be... And it's bat**** crazy competitive. Not an easy space for a monopolist as the barriers to entry are pretty low.
IIRC, you were supposed to call me for advice about hiring employees...
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Old 09-14-2017, 09:07 PM   #136
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

Are you familiar with flexport? Any thoughts on them?

I do a lot of business with flexport, I think they are generally good but I'm paying a premium to use them for sure, but virtually everyone I know in e-commerce is using them.
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Old 09-18-2017, 08:28 AM   #137
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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Are you familiar with flexport? Any thoughts on them?

I do a lot of business with flexport, I think they are generally good but I'm paying a premium to use them for sure, but virtually everyone I know in e-commerce is using them.
It's not really my area. If you don't mind my asking what do you like about them? What advantages do they have that are causing you and others like you to use them?

They look like they are mega user friendly from the website. Is that the main thing they are offering or is it more?
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Old 09-18-2017, 10:07 AM   #138
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

Thanks for making the thread Bored, it's been an interesting read so far.

I randomly went online and found a job posting for a freight broker for a company named landstar. It's home based, and I'm guessing it's a 100% commission compensation structure. Most people scoff at 100% commission jobs which is kind of why I like them, I'm also a sucker for "unsexy" industries.

For someone who has zero experience in the logistics industry, but who has tons of prospecting and sales experience, motivation etc etc how long would it take for me to start earning a healthy income (>$150,000 USD/year). I know it's a stupid question and you're missing a tremendous amount of variables, but I've worked 100% commission sales jobs and have been able pull in a six figure income within only a few weeks on the job.
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Old Yesterday, 01:14 AM   #139
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

I'm not sure if you do any work w/ heavy equipment trucking? Do you have any idea off the top of your head what I should expect to pay to have a 45,000 lb, 9'6" w, 30' l, crane moved 250 miles?

Any idea who best to contact to actually get it moved in Missouri? Is this the sort of thing I can arrange to happen in days or weeks?

thx
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Old Yesterday, 12:07 PM   #140
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Re: AMA about the logistics industry or working at a freight brokerage

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It's not really my area. If you don't mind my asking what do you like about them? What advantages do they have that are causing you and others like you to use them?

They look like they are mega user friendly from the website. Is that the main thing they are offering or is it more?
The good parts: far less friction than most freight forwarders, a communication system that makes it easy to get quotes, they have solid partners on the ground on the china side that can actually get answers in reasonable timeframes (usually). They also have partner warehouses near the ports to help stage inventory. They are also well versed in the world of amazon.

The bad parts: you pay up for this service. They started off on par with others but as they've become the leader they have raised prices fast.

Every other freight forwarder I've dealt with has been a massive pain in the ass. As you know the whole industry is largely paper based and it shows. The people in this industry just have horrible customer service, set expectations very poorly, and have no ability to understand what is "right" vs what their checklist says to do. It is no wonder flexport is taking tons of marketshare.

If you can provide good service and build relationships overseas and actually have managers who are solely responsible for customer communication, you can take a bite out of their share even if you don't have the technology advantage they have.
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