In a recent blog post, one of our shipping providers Cerasis forecasts a real capacity crunch for customers of yours who are looking to ship with a dwindling amount of space. They attribute the shortage to a variety of causes including anticipated regulatory compliance tightening, increased driver retirement and the implementation of new log books. The role of the driver may begin to change as well, especially in the “last mile” of transport thanks to companies such as Amazon and Walmart and “in-home delivery” and even setup in some cases. Though this is all a big concern for larger carriers, it could have a major impact on smaller ones too. So whether you are a company of one truck or a fleet of many, you’ll have to decide how to respond to projections like this.
Read the full post here: 2018 Outlook of the Capacity Crunch: Buckle Up!
So how can your company or group respond to this and make money. Obviously, we’ll asssume you don’t have dedicated runs and driver retirement isn’t a real factor. You have the manpower and possibly the equipment (if not, visit us at Green Trailer), you just don’t have the business. Here are some suggestions which may help.
Spread The Word About You – It seems really obvious I know, but the easiest way to buck this trend is to, well, buck the trend. If your trailers aren’t staying full or you don’t have enough business to take on more equipment then you’re not getting the word out. Job Boards, business groups that fit your niche, friends and enemies can all have some impact and you never know which one it will be who turns up with an option. One things is for sure that if they don’t know you’re out there and hungry (hopefully in just the sales sense anyway) then no one will find you and you wont’ get business.
Find a Niche – This may or may not work given whatever situation you have, but if possible consider finding something that makes you unique in a positive way which can get you more business. A lot of talk in shipping now is about the “last mile services” and while you likely won’t go into someone’s house to install their new TV you just delivered, perhaps there is some other way you can give the customer more than just transport from point A to point B. Maybe it’s price, maybe it’s speed, but more likely it’s things such as a very professional coordination service with the customer you deliver to so you act like a company representative of who you haul for but without the sales commission. If they know they can give you the shipment and you coordinate delivery, entry, proper offloading, and some customer satisfaction, then this might build some trust and therefore repeat business. Or, maybe you only haul certain items and make it painless for your customers such as paint or batteries or whatever need is not being met. If there is a niche you can fill that helps you to stand out then it can really get your business going.
Stress Driver Continuing Education – Finally, if driver retirment or driver retention is an issue, perhaps there are ways in which drivers could sharpen their skills in required areas especially. Obviously, there is a risk of training drivers only to have them leave, but if you have newer drivers especially this can get them up to speed quickly on compliance issues or extra certifications so they can stay on the road making money for you. Certainly nothing replaces cold hard cash but if you can get drivers to embrace the “teach someone to fish” philosophy it might pay back dividends you didn’t expect.
Naturally these are only suggestions. As a trailer provider we don’t have a skin in this game accept to say that if you need trailers then we can help. But as a fellow small business trying to make it in a world of opportunities we hope this helps you to succeed.