Thursday, March 27, 2008

Its Never to Late to Get Started

One of the greatest rewards of training is students who become friends. I heard recently from a graduate from last summer’s June class. His words should encourage any student out there who has not yet lived up to his expectation as a freight broker. I suggest making a game plan of your prospecting as he has with ExpediteLoads.com

“As is true with a lot of people that go through your training, I had the best intentions of getting started right away in this business. Unfortunately, because of a number of factors, including, but not at all limited to: starting another business, driving graveyard full time for Ryder, and several serious, and I might add, completely unexpected medical issues, I wasn't able to follow through at that time.
Well, I am happy to say I was finally able to resign my position as a driver for Ryder and am currently working on a couple of other business projects, in addition to working with ExpediteLoads.com. I am going through their database of manufacturers that have used their services in the past, or still are today. Although the list isn't as long as I hoped, around 300, it still gives me some "warm" call opportunities to find some prospects, that will hopefully also be potential customers at some point. I have a button on their website as their exclusive point of contact for anyone who needs help with expedited freight. Jan (Roach) said it was good I was on there, something about being optimized, having that internet "real estate."

The internet has opened up a lot of avenues for prospecting but remember it is still about making relationships. Find an avenue and stay with it. I’d love to hear from any other graduates out there who are tasting success.
Moving forward,
Jeff Roach
www.brooketraining.com

ot of situations
9. Eating lunch while working
A certain level of professionalism is required in any position. Peanut butter encrusted envelopes or conversations with a mouth full of chips will not bode well for you. Using common sense to follow general etiquette and businesses rules will make a good impression on customers.
Mary A. Naylor, a 20-year veteran of the concierge services industry, is founder and CEO of VIPdesk, a leading provider of premium virtual contact center solutions serving Fortune 500 clients and their collective 10 million customers.

I make exceptions to many of these thoughts. Heck as long as I get my goal accomplished for each day I go ahead and enjoy the perks of working from my home. The idea is to wholly dedicate the part of the day you have determined as “work time” to professionally presenting yourself on all fronts. You will get hired to book a load when and only when the shipper knows without a shadow of a doubt that you will deliver on your promises. I encourage you to not just deliver but go above and beyond expectations…that is how you make customers for life, and sleep well at night.
Moving forward,
Jeff Roach
www.justintimefreight.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What Not to Do Part 2

Yesterday I gave you 5 reasons of how to get fired…or not succeed as in a home based biz. Here are the other 4 reasons Mary Naylor sites. I did take the liberty of doing some editing to make this a quicker read and to taylor it toward those running their own biz (rather than working from home for a corporation). I hope you find insight into succeeding as you personally define success.

6. Not understanding the definition of multitasking
Doing laundry or other household chores while on the clock are not perks of working at home. Work time is work time and should be dedicated to professional duties. Mixing personal and professional duties will lead to unfocused work, and unsatisfactory performance.

7. "Showing up" late or consistently "leaving" early
Just as customers expect you to arrive on time in an office setting, they expect the same when working from home. Responsibility and dedication are extremely important. You must be able to motivate yourself to keep on schedule to succeed when working from home

8. Mouthing off to a customer
Professional decorum is required in all communications. Yelling at, arguing with, hanging up on or generally being rude via phone or e-mail are easy ways to lose customers. A polite demeanor will get you ahead in a lot of situations

9. Eating lunch while working
A certain level of professionalism is required in any position. Peanut butter encrusted envelopes or conversations with a mouth full of chips will not bode well for you. Using common sense to follow general etiquette and businesses rules will make a good impression on customers.

Mary A. Naylor, a 20-year veteran of the concierge services industry, is founder and CEO of VIPdesk, a leading provider of premium virtual contact center solutions serving Fortune 500 clients and their collective 10 million customers.

I make exceptions to many of these thoughts. Heck as long as I get my goal accomplished for each day I go ahead and enjoy the perks of working from my home. The idea is to wholly dedicate the part of the day you have determined as “work time” to professionally presenting yourself on all fronts. You will get hired to book a load when and only when the shipper knows without a shadow of a doubt that you will deliver on your promises. I encourage you to not just deliver but go above and beyond expectations…that is how you make customers for life, and sleep well at night.

Moving forward,
Jeff Roach
www.justintimefreight.com

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What Not to Do

Here’s the first half of an insightful articles on things not to do when you work from home as a freight broker or in any other capacity. I edited Mary’s article a bit to be a quicker read and to focus on things I’ve learned as a successful home based business owner.

10 Ways to Get Fired From a Home-Based Position
By MARY NAYLOR, CEO AND FOUNDER OF VIPDESK

There are more opportunities than ever for people to work from home. From data transcription to home-based concierge, companies are recognizing the myriad benefits of utilizing a remote work force. To be successful in a home-based position, however, telecommuters (or home based business owners) should ensure their workspace and behavior closely resemble that of a professional work environment. A failure to treat your position with the same level of professionalism that you would any traditional office structure can yield the same result of termination.
In order to carve a successful niche in a home-based position, here are a few behaviors and activities to avoid while "at work."

1. Having customers hear your kids playing in the background
Working in a noisy area or with the TV on is distracting and no way to excel. A quiet workplace is the key to success when working from home - it is essential for concentration and for receiving business calls. When customers can hear kids, dogs, TV and other noises in the background, they most likely will assume you are not devoting your full attention to your work.

2. Setting up shop on your kitchen table, coffee table or bed
Working from different areas of the house can be a distraction or create a disorganized environment possibly causing a loss of focus or important materials. Having an area that's sole purpose is work is necessary to put some space between your work life and your home life.

3. Letting your computer lead a "double life"
Having your computer hacked and a customer's personal information stolen while a family member is surfing the Internet or downloading music is a quick way to lose your job. Data security is becoming an increasing concern and you're likely to have access to personal information that needs to be kept private and away form potential viruses and hackers. Sharing your work computer or passwords with your family can open it up to a wide range of problems.

4. Using "ancient" technology
Frequently losing Internet or phone connection while working from home will prevent you from doing your job and ultimately lead to losing customers.

5. Not knowing how to "Google" something
Not knowing how to turn your computer on, what a mouse is or how to perform basic troubleshooting are surefire ways to get the ax. You don't have to be a computer genius, but basic and sometimes intermediate computer skills are needed for work-from-home customer service jobs. Your computer and phone are your links to the company and clients so it is necessary to have a basic understanding of how to run them.

6-10 tomorrow. Have a successful brokering day.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach
www.brooketraining.com

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Graduates Testify

I am so thankful for Ron Moore, Susie Moore, and Lance White, our instructors who teach well. Since the opening of Brooke Transportation Training Program we have had a goal of helping people better their future and teaching integrity along the way. We always ask our Freight Broker class graduates to tell us about their experience. Here's a few from our last group:

What a great team! Ron’s lifetime of experience in this field is an invaluable asset in this course. Suzie has great presentation skills. I feel very secure in recommending this course for anyone wanting to enter this end of the transportation industry, regardless of your level of experience. Well done! Money well spent on my part.
Steve Johnson 2/09 Ontario, California Class

Very informative. I have a much better understanding of what it means to be a Broker/Agent. Trainers were very knowledgeable. Larry 2/09 Ontario Class

Good comprehensive course. I’ll surely use the reference book given us in class. A rewarding experience. Raphael E. Ontario 2/09 Class

The class was informative and Lance was a great teacher. I have told a few of my friends about the school and the website to check out. I am looking forward to my career in Transportation thanks to Brooke. Brandi 2/09 Dallas Class

Taking the class was definitely a life changing experience for me. Lance was a great instructor who was always willing to answer all of my question and help me understand everything completely. This class provided me with all the tools and resources to get started and become successful in this business. Taking the Freight Broker Training Course has allowed me to turn my dream of having my own business into a reality. Thanks! Artelia W. 2/08 Dallas class

Good luck to these graduates sure to find success.

I'll be on a spring break next week so may not have a chance to blog. If not have a great week and Easter Celebration.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Stretch Your Brain Muscle

We should never stop learning… never stop stretching our brains. Online education is a great way to learn something new, add depth to the knowledge of your chosen field or blaze a new path. After nearly a decade of training people to be freight brokers we realized our reach was limited by offering only live courses in select locations. Because people all over the country desire training to start a whole new career we teamed up with Gatlin Education to produce our online freight broker training course. Gatlin is the largest provider of online education in the country. I have been amazed at Gatlin’s expertise in developing courses that are truly life changing, online. Students love the ability to learn anywhere, at their own pace.

Our website justintimefreight.com is a portal to the Freight Broker Training Course as well as thousands of other courses. Gatlin’s other top courses are bookkeeping, project management, AutoCAD, Medical transcription, Administrative Medical Specialist, Medical Transcription, Paralegal, Pharmacy Technician, Medical billing and coding.
Five of the ten are in the medical field. As the baby boomers continue to age medical professionals will be in high demand. Goods will always need to be transported from one part of the country to another,so freight brokers have job security as well. Every business needs a bookkeeper. Paralegals are needed in all the country’s courts.

What interests you? Take some time to dream about a life change. Then browse through the course listings at www.justintimefreight.com.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach
www.brooketraining.com

Monday, March 10, 2008

You Gotta Get Authority

I’m often asked what is needed to practice as a freight broker.
1. You need to file for motor carrier and/or property broker authority. You do not need a lawyer or other type of professional to file for motor carrier and/or property broker authority. Simply get on the Federal Motor Carrier Administration’s website to get all the forms and instructions needed to file for authority. They accept questions by phone ((1-800-832-5660).

Don’t believe any expert who says they can speed up the process of getting your authority. The process speed is the same no matter who applies. You will be given a temporary MC number instantly. That MC number will become permanent and active after a 10-day waiting period once you have met the bond and BOC-3 requirements.

2. Training is extremely important. People who have been in the transportation industry for years will come to our broker-training course. They say they came in thinking they knew a lot. After the week of training at Brooke they are thankful for all the new information, contacts and business inspiration they gained. Students who’ve never been around the industry leave our school well qualified to succeed as a freight broker agent and the contacts to get started right away.
One and two day courses are available but I can’t imagine learning what you need in that short amount of time.
Investigate all the training schools. I have worked hard to make Brooke Transportation Training the best training available but don’t believe me. Investigate all the schools. Read testimonials. Ask around. Call the numbers on websites and talk to the instructors to see from who you feel you can best learn.
Brooke offers both live and online courses so you can choose your preferred method.
Moving forward,
Jeff Roach
www.justintimefreight.com (online course)
www.brooketraining.com (live course)

Friday, March 7, 2008

High End Stability

Well my week got away from me and I didn’t get a blog posted the last few days. So finally here’s the rest of the story on the relative stability in high end business like refrigerated grocery items and medicines, discussion on the continued impact of high fuel prices as well as 2008 forecast:

“That kind of high-end business and other freight requiring reefer trailers or containers has been able, for the most part, to avoid the wrath of a slowing economy that has dragged down the trucking industry for two years.

For the trucking industry, the refrigerated transport business that serves as an example of how a sharp focus on a market with special needs can insulate carriers from the struggles of cyclical businesses. The reefer trade, carrier executives say, appears to be one area where demand hasn't diminished and where fears of a larger economic simply have not been overheated.
For the trucking industry, the refrigerated transport business that serves as an example of how a sharp focus on a market with special needs can insulate carriers from the struggles of cyclical businesses. The reefer trade, carrier executives say, appears to be one area where demand hasn't diminished and where fears of a larger economic simply have not been overheated.

Generally, the early weeks of 2008 have brought some hopeful signs for the trucking industry. After 17 year-over-year declines in the past 22 months, the American Trucking Associations' seasonally adjusted truck tonnage index increased for two consecutive months in November and December 2007, rising 1.3 percent and 3.4 percent respectively.

But most trucking analysts hesitate to place too much weight too early on such positive developments.

"Despite the pick-up in tonnage during December, our sense is that freight will likely remain lackluster through at least (the first half) of 2008 and truck tonnage readings will remain volatile in the near-term due to easy year-over-year comparisons," said Justin Yagerman of Wachovia Securities. "Our sense is that the supply-demand equation will likely improve as capacity is reduced."

Freight brokers estimate both reefer and dry van rates will hold steady at two-year lows over the next half year even while industry experts predict the economy could slow even more.

"Even though there's still high pressure on rates, there's a group of shippers out there that I think understand this business is cyclical, and there's no long-term solution to the driver shortage issue and (high) fuel prices," said Jim Ward, president and CEO of D.M Bowman, a Williamsport, Md. truck broker.

"They realize that when there's a downturn like this there's stress on carriers and there's fewer trucks available, but that it will eventually swing back the other way. So they've been reasonable with the carriers."

It's not that the reefer market is immune to changes in the trucking industry brought on by slower demand and a sluggish economy. In fact, because so much of the reefer market deals in time-sensitive perishable goods, there's more pressure to adjust when market conditions change.

That's particularly true when it comes to backhaul and fuel. If a reefer carrier gets locked into backhauling car parts back to California, for example, a revamping of operations is likely in order when auto sales dip.

"When that happens, they will have a more difficult time repositioning equipment where it needs to be and not disrupt their normal traffic flows," said Mark Petersen, general manager of transportation in the produce division of C.H. Robinson.
"It's important to get the repo loads back into the location where the perishable product is, otherwise the price (you're able to charge) will change."

Also, because the refrigeration units themselves burn fuel as well as the fuel required to move the truck, fuel costs take an even bigger chunk out of the total cost to move reefer freight.

"If you're running reefer all the way, and with fuel as high as it is, in any lane you'd probably see fuel surcharges a few ticks higher," said Ron Zaykowski, manager of warehousing and logistics for The Topps Company, the bubble gum and baseball card manufacturer.

Zaykowski, who's more interested in keeping his product at a constant humidity versus a precise temperature as it moves in both truckload and LTL shipments throughout the country, said fuel charges generally make up the difference.

"We do have fuel surcharges that our providers adhere to. And the carriers price fuel with what they expect usage to be. We haven't seen a big jump," he said.

To deal with high fuel costs, LTI Trucking has invested in technology that monitors if a truck is running out of its scheduled route, which can be a huge fuel waster.

"It costs $8,000 to $10,000 per truck, and we've done it simply due to the cost of fuel," said Civello, president of the company. He's also invested in auxiliary power units for his truck cabs that save about 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year per truck.

Despite the economic doom predicted by some, the reefer market continues to grow. John Langeveld, general manager of Manasquan, N.J.-based JNJ Global Logistics, an independent agent for Landstar Global Logistics, says he's looking to expand his reefer business by shipping nursery products from the West Coast into the Northeast.

San Francisco-based Textainer Group Holdings, an intermodal container lessor, recently sought to consolidate its market share with an order of 800 40 ft. high-cube reefer containers.

"The company feels it could place at least $30 million worth of reefer containers into leases during 2008, which could increase the company's capex by roughly 10 percent above our estimates," said Wachovia's Yagerman.

Such moves may help keep those companies' reefer business on sound financial footing even if the economy has yet to be at the end of its rope.

"We haven't seen the increase in freight that you'd think there be if there's a later uptick in the economy," Ward said. "Time will tell whether the economic stimulus package will have impact on freight tonnage and demand. It was a challenging 2007, and my guess 2008 will be equally as challenging.

"Those that survive will do well."

Thank you, Greg Williams
Director, Financial Analysis and Business Development
Exel Transportation Services, Inc. for this excellent article.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach,
www.brooketraining.com

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Trucking Specialists

Here’s a continuation of the yesterday’s blog article sent to me from Exel Transportation. One way to separate you from competitive freight brokers is to become an expert in shipments requiring refrigeration. The country always needs groceries requiring refeers…

“And they'll always need medicine. FedEx Custom Critical, the critical shipments division of FedEx, is doing a booming business hauling pharmaceuticals, a commodity where a controlled temperature in reefer trailers is not only demanded by drug companies, but is also required by the federal government.

"Products regulated by the (Food and Drug Administration) require more detailed knowledge about what's going on inside the cargo box at all times," said Carl Kiser, operations manager for FedEx Custom Critical's White Glove Service division.

In a service called TempAssure Validated, which Custom Critical introduced in 2004, shipments are hauled by thermal-mapped vehicles and customers are provided hard copy data logs documenting the temperature of the freight during shipment. Vehicles are equipped with a National Institute of Standards and Technology-traceable temperature probes that record temperatures at different points within the areas of the trailer.

"We send trucks in for pickup and then deliver them straight to destination unless additional stops are requested by the customer," Kiser said. "But we never commingle customers within a truck."

That kind of high-end business and other freight requiring reefer trailers or containers has been able, for the most part, to avoid the wrath of a slowing economy that has dragged down the trucking industry for two years.”

I’ll finish up the article tomorrow with a 2008 market forecast.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach
www.brooketraining.com

Monday, March 3, 2008

Making it in a Slow Economy

I teach in my school and write about in this blog finding a niche in this industry is critical. Here’s an article sent to me by Jeff Achcraft of Exel Transportation that tells the story of guys who have not felt the much publicized slow trucking economy:

Cool Capacity, Staying Hot

Nicholas Civello has hardly noticed the trucking economy in the Midwest is decidedly worse than it was a couple of years ago.

It's not that the president of St. Louis-based LTI Trucking Services doesn't understand the sharp downturn in the automotive and housing sectors has struck like an arrow through the heart of the region's dry van carriers.

It's because Civello, whose 300 refrigerated trailers help keep the nation's grocery store shelves stocked with hot dogs, bread and ice cream, is spending too much time tending to customers such as Unilever, Conagra and Sara Lee to worry about descriptions of retrenchment and forecasts of recession.

"You read in all the publications that total freight tonnage is down," Civello said. "We haven't seen a decrease. Part of that is new business, but if I look at our current customer base, we haven't seen a decline there either. Regardless of the economy, everyone's still going to eat and drink."

(to be continued tomorrow)

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach
www.brooketraining.com