Want to know the key to trucking success?
Become the “go-to carrier” within a selected niche.
Doing so requires you to learn about every shipper and broker who ships loads within your selected hauling specialty. The plan—your plan—is to become the expert that shippers and brokers seek out to handle their shipments.
Why You Should Become a Niche Carrier
Being the ”haul anything that pays to anywhere it goes” type of hauler is very difficult for a small or micro-carrier—the dynamics are just too huge. To haul the “anything to anywhere” freight, a carrier must rely on a large number of available trucks and trailers and work on providing shippers with volume-based, discounted rates for the hundreds of loads the customer can provide. The problem with this scenario is that a large-volume carrier can take a lower profit margin and make up the required revenue though the sheer numbers of loads they can handle, something a small or micro-carrier can’t afford.
2. Greater Control
When you are a niche carrier, you can better determine what, where and when a shipment is booked and hauled. Additional control is provided by the call for special scheduling to meet a customer’s need, something a volume carrier can’t afford.
3. Better Customer Service
Small carriers can easily manage niche markets. In a narrower market area, you’re able to focus your carrier’s entire energy on the job at hand, rather than competing for the general freight everyone seems to be trying to haul. This niche market doesn’t exclude you from hauling for a Fortune 500 company; in fact, there’s a greater likelihood you’ll land that Fortune 500 contract. Why? Because in the niche market arena, shippers of any size are looking for attention to detail and first class service, which large volume carriers aren’t always able to provide.
By concentrating on a smaller segment of the total trucking freight market, you’re able to make adjustments to situations as they arise much more quickly. Again, size matters—but in this instance, your smaller size becomes the advantage.
Becoming the “go-to” expert is much easier in a niche market, especially one for which you have a passion. By focusing your skills and learning as much as possible, you can increase your presence and dominance in your chosen niche.
Ask Yourself These Questions to Begin Selecting Your Niche
1. What companies and/or products do I find most interesting or connect with closely in the regions and lanes where I’m focusing?
2. What do I already know about these products and logistics operation? What are their most pressing needs? How will I fulfill these better than any other carrier will?
3. Where are the best sources to obtain this information, so I can become the expert? If I have to devote a lot of time and effort to learning about a particular industry or demographic, which one would I enjoy?
4. Who will benefit most from my hauling service?
5. Who would be my ideal customer/shipper? Can I detail their strengths, weaknesses and needs? How will I benefit their operation by being their niche carrier?
6. When I talk to different shippers, who gives me the most positive feedback?
Using your answers to these questions, create your plan to reach the customers you’ve selected. Who are the decision makers for the company and the best means to contact each of them?
Prepare an introduction for your small carrier that focuses on what you can do for their company and how having you as their logistics partner in this niche area of their business will be advantageous to their company’s overall strategy.
If you can show them how you’ll support their success, you’ll be well on your way to fostering your own lasting success.
Good loads and good roads, everyone.