How a U.S. veteran is putting his leadership experience to work growing his freight broker business

Veterans and Volunteers Logistics LLC, Spring Hill TN

The SuretyBonds.com Small Business Spotlight series focuses on small businesses across industries and the best practices that have helped them succeed.

Scott Campbell is a U.S. veteran-turned-entrepreneur. After serving in the military, a friend mentioned the carrier business he’d started and how much he enjoyed it. This prompted Scott to look at launching his own business.

When looking into what type of business to start, the freight broker industry seemed enticing. The industry has a low startup cost, with reasonable monthly expenditures and the opportunity to generate some serious revenue. Scott felt he had the necessary networking skills and experience to start a business, plus his background in supply chains and as a branch manager of fleet and consumer vehicles didn’t hurt.

The Challenges and Rewards of Starting a Business

The first thing Scott did was establish a name, logo, and website through Wix. While a website isn’t the most pressing tool for a freight broker business, Scott wanted to establish his brand and provide company information to interested parties. He built the logo himself through free online software and ordered business cards. He decided to avoid social media as freight drivers are more inclined to frequent forums than social platforms.

Scott found the FMCSA licencing process to be the easiest part of starting his business — the hard part was finding loads. When he reached out to a local factoring company, it mentioned that nine out of 10 freight broker businesses call it quits in the first three to six months because they don’t do the legwork it takes to succeed. While they call shipping companies and network, they don’t have the necessary paperwork or funding ready. 

The business sounded like a dream job when Scott first heard about it: You call companies, and they bring in all the cash. But he realized after going through the process that getting into business is much more involved than he initially thought. When he called carriers, they wanted perfect contracts and forms — and to know why they should work with him over other businesses.

Scott turned to lawyers to ensure he had all the needed contracts and agreements prepared and that the language on them was legally correct. His next step was vetting various transportation management software companies. He didn’t entertain companies that didn’t offer a demo or integrate with QuickBooks’ accounting software. He wanted to find the best startup-friendly software that could grow with him as he established his business. After demoing various software, he decided to go with Truckstop.

Scott came across a few scams trying to sell packets for starting a business. Most of the scams didn’t have human operators, but the few he could contact were aggressively rude, wouldn’t explain the legal language, and refused refunds if dissatisfied with the services. Customer service was the easiest way for him to determine whether these providers were legitimate or simply after his money.

While searching online for information about surety bonds and freight broker licensing, Scott was impressed with the professionalism of SuretyBonds.com. Our website provided clear licensing information regarding his required freight broker bond, and our customer service team worked with him to answer every question he had. After completing the initial bond application completely online, SuretyBonds.com had a personalized quote with competitive pricing ready for him that same day.

Advice for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business

Setting up business credit was a challenge for Scott. As he shopped around, many companies had a tough process that, even with stellar personal credit, he couldn’t get through. He ended up using Navy Federal Credit Union, whose easy process and strong customer service won him over. Scott suggests digging into paperwork and businesses before setting up an account because many businesses will add extra fees.

Due diligence and putting in the work are Scott’s biggest pieces of advice for anyone looking to start a business. Before purchasing anything, look into multiple options to make sure the company will work with you to deliver what you need. Many entrepreneurs might assume that once the first dollar hits, the rest will be easy. However, Scott suggests that if you aren’t ready to work through the complications that inevitably will arise, ownership might not be for you.

Once all his paperwork was in order, Scott started reaching out to potential clients and scored his first customer. Many of the companies Scott has contacted have mentioned that he needs more experience before they will do business with him, so Scott plans to stick to outreach and continue grinding with follow-up calls. Veterans and Volunteers LLC is excited to be up and running!

About the Author

Rhaea Lehman
Rhaea is a sophomore at the University of Missouri studying German and Communications. She is a member of the marketing department and outreach team for SuretyBonds.com, a leading provider of online bonding for clients nationwide.