Another "Uber for freight"?

Discussion in 'Freight Broker Forum' started by freighton, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. freighton

    freighton Bobtail Member

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    Hello!

    I am in the process of launching what the industry now calls "another Uber for freight".

    With 2 years of research, hard work and spending hard earned cash (lots of it), We are very close to completing the technical work and having a ready to launch product by the end of the year. But, ... so what we have an app. Now comes the hard work of actually getting people to use it.

    The concept is very close to "Convoy" with some minor differences.

    I have found myself spending numerous hours every night researching why similar companies have failed. A good example is a company called Keychain logistics. That managed to raise $2,520,000 in seed funding and completely collapsed.

    I ask you, the "potential users". What do you expect a system to deliver? All these new companies are trying to become the next CH Robinson, or Landstar. Just another broker with 70% focus on sales (to shippers) and 30% on keeping the technology working.

    There are over 15,000 registered brokers in the US. They vary in size, but the majority is small businesses with personal relations to the shippers that use them.
    I have been trying to find a formula where we assist those brokers, not steal their jobs.

    What are they doing wrong? What would you need in order to use this system?
     
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  3. PPDCT

    PPDCT Road Train Member

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    Good luck.
     
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  4. DUNE-T

    DUNE-T Road Train Member

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    Carriers like to talk to people, not interact via an app. Tons of companies tried some kind of app (Uber, Christmas, e.tc) all comes back to phone conversations.
     
  5. freighton

    freighton Bobtail Member

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    Thank you! , I think we will need it!
     
  6. freighton

    freighton Bobtail Member

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    Absolutely this seems to be the preferred way.
    I have though found many discussions online, many on this forum, suggesting that bidding, winning a bid, driving and getting paid without a single phone call is what they prefer and want.

    there are people still calling a taxi company, they dont want to use an app. its just what they are used to do.
     
  7. PPDCT

    PPDCT Road Train Member

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    So - now that I've kind of slowed down for the day - I think your biggest problem is going to be to determine exactly *what* you're trying to accomplish. You're talking about being an 'uber for freight', while also simultaneously saying that you want to "assist those brokers."

    Let's break that down for a second. What the typical 'uber for freight' model tries to accomplish is to be an impersonal broker for one party to set up with another by clicking a few buttons. This actually competes directly against the other brokers out there, and runs counter to the second statement that you made - "assist those brokers".

    If you're looking to assist brokers, you're effectively looking to replicate a load board, of which there are a number, and two primary options.

    So, what exactly is it that you want to *do* and what exactly is it that you're trying to accomplish? Most of these 'uber for freight' type options tend to fold because, as @DUNE-T said, this is very much a relational business. I am successful as a broker because I can build and maintain positive relationships with customers and carriers alike, and I'm available to troubleshoot any issues from either side. Apps don't do that, and can't replicate that.
     
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  8. freighton

    freighton Bobtail Member

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    First of all, I would like to thank you for taking the time to write this reply.

    As you indicated, my thoughts are lost between the two concepts. And it is the main reason for asking for feedback here.

    Profit is the main motivator behind any business, but at the same time a person gets prouder of his work when it makes a difference, no matter how small.

    I do not believe Convoy to be an impersonal "broker". They do have account managers who deal with shippers directly, and maintain contact. The approach on the transporter side is more of an impersonal one. But it might not be wrong in this case?

    Yourself as a broker, know that most orders come from the customers Computer system (SAP EDI) or similar and are processed without communication. it is when a challenge takes place, let it be a delay or something that needs a human to solve it, that a broker (or an account manager) picks up the phone and gets to business.

    Again, I am here in an attempt to listen to others input and thoughts and to learn more about people from within the business.

    Thank you!
     
  9. TallJoe

    TallJoe Road Train Member

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    I like Uber's app better than Convoy's.as they show who the shipper and receiver is and it is technically much a better platform. The very info of shipper/receiver - pick up/delivery times saves a lot of time and if the rate is right, there is no need to talk to a person.
    It can't replace the tactic of scalping, that is waiting for desperate brokers to call and taking advantage of them, unless you want to monitor the apps 24 hours a day. Many do, so the outstanding rates don't last for too long. Besides, Convoy often calls anyway and try to make you go down with your bid. If Uber added bidding feature, like Convoy's app, it would be the most complete loadboard app. They really got the right people to have it developed. It works like a Swiss clock. Considering the repetitiveness and simplicity of dry van freight, it is a perfect solution for poor negotiators and speaking poor English Immigrants...who might have hard time understanding what is said to them over the phone.
    It is not suitable for all situations, especially when you see a posted lane for the first time.You can always call them anyway, if you need a chat. So far, they have been ok with picking up the phones...not much different from other brokers.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
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  10. PPDCT

    PPDCT Road Train Member

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    Actually, none of my business originates from my customers' SAP products. My customers shoot me an email, or give me a phone call, or some combination of the two.

    Just to be clear - not trying to get into a pissing match with you here. I'm just trying to explain that before you start diving into a thing, it probably helps to figure out your ultimate goal past making money.
     
  11. freighton

    freighton Bobtail Member

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    Sep 12, 2018
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    Thank you for your input.

    Bidding is actually the very foundation of our concept. We are trying to transform what can be described as an "offline" business flow to a "Live online" flow.

    Like everything else, it does comes with advantages and disadvantages. It works great when things go smooth, you get all the info in one page, the shipper is always aware of the current status, ETA and location of the freight.
    When things don't go as planned, human intervention takes place.
    As this is a 24h business, I agree with you that the system needs to be monitored by humans and later on by AIs to minimize scalping.
     
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