The business scope in the freight industry is enormous. Almost everything we use in our daily life must have passed through some part of the freight network. Unless you are thinking of owning a big fleet of vehicles to start the business, you have to be associated with a third party for the shipment of the goods. Very few entrepreneurs who are planning to join this trade have that amount of funds to invest initially. So, either they start a freight brokerage business or a freight forwarding business. Let’s have a look at both of them in detail.
Freight brokerage business
Freight brokers do not handle any shipment consignments by themselves. They act as a mediator between the customer and the shipper. Say, for example, a small company wants an order to be delivered to a customer who stays in another country. The broker will look for the right exporter who can take your goods out of the country and deliver them to the buyer. The brokers commission the carriers to do the job.
- Initial fund requirements
The start-up cost of a freight brokerage business is very low. It’s so because all you need for the business is a phone and a computer to function. But if you are thinking of buying a logistic software tool, that can cost you a bomb.
- Positive and negative aspects
Some countries are very lenient with regards to the laws of starting a freight brokerage business. So, the would-be entrepreneurs can easily try their hands on this trade. But there are many countries like the USA that follow strict norms. The best option for you would be to become a part of a well-established freight association. The membership will give your brokerage company accreditation and help you to draw customers.
Freight forwarding business
As a freight forwarder, you have to deal with the shipment directly. Depending on the size of the consignment, a forwarder collects the materials from the customers, keep them in a warehouse, group together similar assignments and finally transport them to their destination. A freight forwarder also commissions other firms to manage the transportation procedures, especially when the goods need to be shipped across the borders.
- Initial fund requirement
The amount of money you would require to start this business will largely rely on the types of services you are thinking of providing your customers and the kind of goods you would be dealing with.
To start with, you would require investing in renting or buying vehicles for transporting items. A secured warehouse, good working staff, packaging, and labeling facility – are the minimum requisites you need to have to start a business as a freight forwarder. Once you gain experience in this trade, you can attach yourself to a logistic alliance where you will get the benefit of expanding your business by using the shared resources of your fellow partners of the organization. So, you would need a good amount of money to invest in if you want to join this industry.
- Positive and negative aspects
The main difficulty the freight forwarders face is the disruptions that occur while handling the supply chain. Delays in shipments, missing items are a few of the various serious issues that can happen. These things can hamper the reputation of your company. To avoid all these mishaps, most freight forwarders manage the transporting duties by engaging in-house resources. If you plan to join this line of trade, you have to have a thorough knowledge of the laws of the various countries you would be offering your services to.
No matter what you decide, remember one thing. For running a business successfully, you need to keep yourself updated. Research and gather knowledge on international custom legislation, insurance laws, shipment rules, etc. If possible, take a specialized course that would help you start a freight business of your own.