Freight brokerage is an industry that thrives on the connections made between brokers and shippers. New brokers often face the challenge of building their customer base, but fear not! Here are some strategies to help you connect with shippers and grow your business:
DAT Directory: Your Valuable Resource
The DAT Directory is a goldmine for brokers looking to find shippers. It's a comprehensive database of DAT customers, including shippers, and it offers several advantages:
- You can easily locate shippers within specific areas, such as within 50 miles of Stockton, CA.
- Access valuable insights about shippers, including the commodities they ship.
Here's how to make the most of it: Instructions for Using DAT Directory
Knowing Your Target Market
To succeed as a broker, understanding your target market is crucial. Identify businesses that need freight brokers, including manufacturers (e.g., GAF), distributors (like Coca Cola), and agriculture (such as Bird's Eye frozen food). Keep an eye on your competitors to identify potential shippers in your market.
Build an Online Presence
In today's digital age, an online presence is paramount. Follow these steps:
Professional Website: Create a website showcasing your services, expertise, and contact information.
Social Media: Utilize platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter to increase your visibility and reach potential customers.
Networking: Connecting with Industry Players
Networking is a powerful way to get your name out there. Attend industry events, trade shows, and conferences like MATS and TIA to meet key players. Join industry-specific associations to network with fellow professionals.
Forming Relationships with Carriers
Shippers heavily rely on carriers, making them essential for brokers. Here's what you can do:
Use Tools: Leverage tools like the DAT Directory to find nearby carriers.
Diversify Carrier Types: Don't limit yourself to one carrier type; maintain contacts with vans, flats, and reefers.
Seek Advice: Engage with carriers, ask for their advice, as they have valuable insights into shippers.
Build a Large Carrier Network: Shippers prefer brokers with an extensive carrier network.
Niche Market Expertise
Consider specializing in a niche area and find carriers who excel in it. Examples include auto-carriers, flatbeds, reefers (for cold shipments), tankers (for liquids), and handling hazardous materials. Exploring government contracts can also be a lucrative endeavor.
Legal Requirements: Staying Compliant
Ensure you meet all legal requirements to operate as a freight broker:
Motor Carrier Number: Obtain a Motor Carrier number from the FMCSA.
Bond Requirements: Have at least $75,000 broker's bond.
Careful Partner Selection: Vet your partners using tools like CarrierWatch, as mistakes made by your associates may affect your business.
Responsibility: Remember, you might be held responsible for mistakes made by those you work with, so exercise caution.
Harness the Power of Search Engines
Don't underestimate the usefulness of search engines. Use them to find local manufacturers, farmers, and producers. Reach out to them and showcase your freight brokerage services.
Broker training courses
Freight360 course is tailored to help brokers find customers. It offers essential insights and tips to kickstart your journey in connecting with shippers. Get started with the course overview.