In today’s episode our Freight Guru, Luis Lopez tells his story on how he started his business and gives advice on how to overcome similar obstacles when building a logistics business in 2021.
Listen to the Full Episode Here
Mistakes Along the Way
There is this common misconception that if you are an entrepreneur “you must know everything,” right? The reality of starting a logistic business is that it isn’t easy and there is no handbook.
Our Freight Guru, Luis Lopez wasn’t always a “guru.” He had dreams of being a golfer who happened to get involved in the freight community through the love of the sport.
Luis had no idea how to run a fleet, how to manage operations, or had any mentorship coming into the industry.
“I didn’t understand a lot of the caveats of how to hire or procure drivers. I also didn’t know how to purchase trucks properly so that was something that took me some time to do and I really learned through trial and error,” said Luis.
3 Pillars to Starting a Logistics Business
- Consistency – Stay consistent and learn from your mistakes along the way. “I made sure that even when I was struggling on getting tasks done I never gave up on it and that was the big thing…” said Luis.
- Discipline – Stay organized, build processes to ensure growth. “I always felt that I was organized enough to start a job and finish it even if in the middle of that job I was struggling with completion,” said Luis.
- Communication – Build a relationship with your customers, don’t just give them “status updates.” This is going to be key when growing your business during the “first days” period. “…in transportation today, it’s all about communication. It’s not just giving a customer a rate, it’s what happens when there’s waiting time, what happens when a driver has a pallet and in that pallet, the shrink wrap breaks, and now you need to communicate with the person and let them know that there may be some damage to it and potentially the contents inside might be compromised,” said Luis.
- You need to get a port license
- You need to be approved by the Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement (UIIA).
- You need to build a relationship with your insurance company
- Insurance requirements aren’t the same for last-mile delivery compared to container drayage.
Luis Lopez – The Back Story
“There’s a lot of flash going around about being an entrepreneur and everybody wants the freedom to be an entrepreneur…there’s no freedom in entrepreneurship,” said Luis Lopez.
Luis was born and raised in the Miami area, he went to an all-boys school and had dreams of becoming a pro golfer. Life has a funny way of directing you to the “right path” leading our freight guru into the logistics and transportation industry.
In 2004 Luis worked in hazmat compliance handling documentation for hazmat and dangerous goods for ground and air cargo shipping. During this time he was exposed to the fast-growing freight community and the seed of entrepreneurship was planted.
“When I started my business in 2004, in reality, most people that I told that I was starting a business laughed at me thinking ‘I guess he can’t work for Corporate America and this is the only option he has…’ said Luis.
During his time in hazmat, Luis realized that long-term scalability didn’t seem feasible at the time. Container drayage was fast-growing and scalable in the market at the time, but Luis didn’t know how to get started. The opportunity to begin his business with local last-mile, airport transfers, pickup, and deliveries from the Port of Miami through one of his biggest clients at the time.
“I took a leap of faith with that company and went to the owner and ask them if it’s possible to purchase a truck, source freight, and procure some of your local business,” said Luis.
Journey into SaaS
“I started a business out of necessity…” said Luis. “When I spoke with the freight forwarders at my client’s facility, I saw that there was a lot of demand, a lot of needs and, not a lot of good communication,” he added.
Luis started his logistics tech company coming from about ten to twelve years as a traditional transportation company. The searing frustration of having to manually place a customer on hold, calling the driver to know their status, and reporting back to the customer was redundant and inefficient.
After searching high and low for a solution that will “cut out the middle man” and deliver all the delivery information to customers in real-time, just wasn’t on the market. Out of such frustration, Luis had to learn a whole new skill and enter into an industry he knew nothing about. Hence, TruckHub was born, an “Uber-like” TMS system that met all of Luis’ expectations.
“You have to work lots of hours, the competition is fierce and your competitors are looking at your every move either through your digital platforms or just on your online presence in order to take your business either through better rates, or better technology,” said Luis.
Take a listen to these past episodes to set yourself up for success in the trucking industry:
Episode 17: Software As A Service (SaaS) In Logistics
Episode 16: DataQs 101 For Your Logistics Business
Episode 15: Okta – Single Sign-On For Your Logistics Business
Recommended Logistics and Trucking companies:
FTL Services – http://teamdgd.com – https://ftlhub.io – https://gologisticshub.io
LTL Services – https://goltlhub.io
Hazmat Services – https://gohazmathub.io
TMS – https://mytruckhub.com
Logistics Services – https://gofreighthub.io
Fulfillment – https://www.sunshipecommerce.com
Warehousing – https://gowhsehub.io