Tim Breckenridge, the Sr. VP and co-founder of Rocket Logistics, shares his expert insights on how to succeed in trucking in 2023, with valuable strategies and advice for logistics providers looking to thrive in the industry.
First, Tim shares key advice for approaching shippers and winning business in the current market.
- Understand Your Target “Don’t send out generic mass emails. Understand their network.” Before approaching shippers, research and understand their specific needs and network. Tailor your pitch to address the unique requirements of each shipper.
- Create a Unique Model “Create a model that’s different than potentially what every other broker is doing out there.” Offer a distinct value proposition by providing services that set you apart from your competitors. At Rocket Logistics, they focus on a “carrier-first match with the shipper” approach.
- Add Value to Stand Out “Get to know your shippers, add some value some way, be different than the guy down the block.” To win over shippers, go beyond just offering competitive prices; focus on creating value through innovative solutions and services.
- Know Your Own Network “Know your network before offering it to a shipper.” If you’re an asset-based provider, be transparent about your operational capabilities and network. Be specific about your service offerings, top origin and destination points, and any additional features you provide.
- Focus on Smaller Shippers “Don’t go for the targets, the Walmarts, the ones that are gonna have minimum truck requirements.” For smaller trucking companies, focus on small to medium-sized shippers instead of large corporations. Build a strong partnership with a hometown shipper to establish a solid operational base.
- Build Loops Around Local Shippers “Build loops around that [hometown shipper], and you’ll find yourself being profitable.” Create efficient operational loops by partnering with local shippers and focusing on their needs.
- Understand Your Break-Even Points “Understand your break-evens.” Analyze your origin and destination pairs to determine which routes are profitable and which are losing money. Focus on optimizing your operations to ensure profitability.
How Rocket Logistics Crafts Email Campaigns
Tim says to analyze historical data to identify top lanes and target shippers who match up with your operations.”We looked at their last two years of data and where they originated in their origin-destination pairs.”
From there came personalization and clarifying why they are contacting that specific shipper. “This is where our equipment lands. We’re emailing you because we understand your distribution matches up with either an origin or destination pair.” Craft a personalized email campaign highlighting your capabilities. So explain your truck count, trailer count, owner-operator count, and specific equipment types like van or reefer.
Next, emphasize your value-added services. For example, the ability to track, 24-hour customer service, EDI, and API. Showcase your value-added services in your email campaign to demonstrate how you can meet the shippers’ unique needs.
It also helps to include details about your insurance and cargo coverage to assure shippers of your commitment to protecting their goods.
However, you should remember that building relationships and winning business takes time and persistence. Stay dedicated to your efforts, and your business will begin to transform.
The Food Shippers Conference: A Unique Opportunity
“Food shippers is probably one of the best conferences that engages shippers, 3PLs, and asset-based carriers.” The Food Shippers Conference offers a unique opportunity for networking, as it brings together an even mix of shippers, third-party logistics providers, and asset-based carriers.
“It’s week-long networking; it’s almost like speed dating. “Everybody that’s there is open to networking.” So it’s a great way to gain insights. The conference offers an opportunity to learn directly from shippers about their current needs, supplier base diversity, and expectations for new providers.
Some of What Tim Learned at Food Shippers
“Shippers have a bloated supplier base right now because they needed extra capacity last year, but now that the market’s softened, they’re going to trim down their supplier base,” he explains. In this current market, it’s essential to demonstrate your unique value proposition to stand out and turn “no’s” into “yeses.”
Additionally, “being an incumbent right now is at an advantage.” Have you established relationships with shippers and provided support during the COVID-19 pandemic? Then you have an advantage in maintaining and growing those partnerships currently.
By attending the Food Shippers Conference and applying Tim’s insights, logistics providers can better understand shippers’ needs, differentiate themselves in a competitive market, and forge lasting partnerships.
The Rocket Logistics Strategy: Setting the Brokerage Apart
- Routing Guide-Based Approach: Rocket Logistics employs a routing guide-based system. They ensure their carriers meet their “Ten Commandments.” This provides an extra layer of protection.
- Transparent Relationships with Shippers: Transparency is key—Rocket Logistics shares carriers with shippers, fostering trust and open communication between all parties.
- Focus on Front-End Sourcing: The company prioritizes upfront work in sourcing and building routing guides, streamlining the process, and providing excellent service.
- Prioritizing Internal Carrier Base: The company prioritizes upfront work in sourcing and building routing guides, streamlining the process, and providing excellent service.
- Avoiding the Risks of DAT: Rocket Logistics steers clear of the DAT load board to minimize risks, ensuring higher service quality and customer protection.
By implementing this unique strategy, Rocket Logistics differentiates itself in the competitive logistics market, offering its clients transparency, efficiency, and reliability. Their focus on building strong relationships with shippers and carriers sets them apart and drives their success in the industry.
Choosing Contract over Spot Market: A Focus on Stability and Efficiency
Tim emphasizes the importance of choosing contract freight over the spot market for stability, efficiency, and long-term growth. This approach minimizes service failures, financial risks, and labor-intensive solutions, enabling companies to focus on reinvesting in their businesses and securing sustainable growth.
Tim advises trucking companies to prioritize contract freight, ensuring long-term stability and profitability, rather than chasing short-term gains in the spot market
Securing long-term contracts can provide the necessary stability to reinvest in the business, grow operations, and buy new equipment.
“Wouldn’t you rather secure this business for six months instead of hustling for the next deal?” Tim asks.
How Rocket Logistics Handles Rates
Tim Breckenridge emphasizes the importance of determining a rate in trucking and its impact on profitability. He suggests that trucking companies should focus on the revenue per hour instead of the rate per mile, saying, “look at the actual revenue per hour that the driver is turning those wheels.” By analyzing the revenue per hour for the entire 70-hour clock for a driver, companies can identify areas for improvement and maximize profits.
Tim also advises against “throwing labor at a problem,” highlighting the significance of being committed to change and adapting to more contract-based work. He shares the value of building strong relationships with shippers and carriers, working on winnable freight, and diving into the numbers to create solutions that benefit everyone involved. By taking these steps, trucking companies can ultimately boost their bottom line.
Want more of Tim Breckenridge’s actionable and relevant advice for trucking companies? Don’t miss the full conversation with even more expert knowledge. Listen to the complete FreightCaviar podcast episode on Spotify or watch it on Youtube for a wealth of insider tips and inspiration.