Freight Brokers: Should you specialize?
If you are a freight broker looking to increase your profits, perhaps you have considered specializing but are unsure where to begin. If so, you have come to the right place! Freight brokers and 3PLs have much to gain by considering an area to specialize in. Becoming a specialized freight broker can bring you increased profits and help your business gain a reputation for itself. There are several avenues of specialization, usually by fulfilling a niche or unusual transportation requirement. Let's go through some of them below:
One way to differentiate yourself from other brokers is to have access to a specific type of freight that is not typically used. Whether you are an asset-based brokerage or not, being able to call on certain freight vehicles is a competitive edge over other brokerages who may have more difficulty finding specific trucks for their load. Some examples of different freight trucks to specialize in are refrigerated, oversize, flatbed, and lowboy trucks. By focusing primarily on one or two types of trucks, the time spent finding shippers can be minimized.
Research your immediate area, and see if there are any manufacturing centers that can connect you with prospective clients. There may be shipments located nearby that you have not yet taken advantage of. As a freight broker, you can also find your specialization by identifying regions that are underserved or underrepresented. This can be a domestic or international specialization.
A broker or brokerage company can focus on dedicated lanes of finding carriers on the spot market. Shippers who recognize freight brokers that service dedicated lanes with long standing customers have a deep understanding of market freight rates and may be more inclined to do business with them. Additionally, since freight rates tend to fluctuate during peak season, shippers may look to experienced freight brokers to book their shipments on the spot market quickly and at a fair price.
You can also specialize your brokerage by becoming an expert in a commodity. For example, these can be in the form of raw materials. Nevertheless, you can become an expert in any commodity you think will be profitable. Additional commodities you can specialize in can be from produce and oil, to metals or anything else that can be valued as a commodity. There is a lot of flexibility here. If there is a commodity that you especially have an interest in, it will be useful to work with shippers who handle that commodity.
Specialized Service and Delivery
Two examples of these services are white glove and inside delivery. White glove delivery refers to a service that processes cargo that needs to be handled with care and delicacy, usually shipments that are either very heavy or very fragile. This shipping system can include inspection checks, special packaging, even post-shipment assembly and more. Inside delivery is not as luxurious, but will deliver your freight directly to your residential or company address. These options are very useful in helping companies retain customer satisfaction and in handling packages that require more effort.
Finding your "hole in the market" is the key to successful specialization. Have you noticed an uptick in demand for a certain truck, but limited carrier availability? Do you see an opportunity for taking? This sort of niche marketing will eventually lead to you becoming well-acquainted with your chosen market, and since the pool is typically so small, your growth there will be noticeable. Be wary of over-specializing - maintain a couple options for yourself in preparation for a rainy day.
Learn more about ways to diversify your brokerage and find success in the logistics industry by staying tuned in to ZUUM!