If you feel like commercial transport is doing it tough, you’re not alone.
The recent NAB Monthly Business Survey in Australia, suggests transport has one of the weakest levels of confidence anywhere in the Australian economy. This is in sharp contrast to the optimism of 2018 which saw a record number of new commercial vehicle sales. The hangover of this optimism – more trucks chasing every deal. So while we are definitely seeing green shoots of recovery in some sectors, you’re not alone if you’re feeling the pinch.
You can’t control the market, but you can take steps to better position your business. Below are some common sense tips that could help, as you respond to these current challenges:
- Don’t commit capital until you know the customer will stick: You know that feeling. You’ve delivered a couple of loads for a promising customer and you’d love to do more. You want to demonstrate capability and reliability, but you don’t have a contract or any other formal commitment. You can demonstrate this without capital outlay, by increasing your capacity flexibly – not permanently – to meet this new demand. Commit capital only when the client commits long term.
- Understand what makes your ideal client and then target them: Don’t chase clients that end up costing you time and money. Instead figure out your sweet spot and go after that. Start by considering:
- Do you want to target brokers or shippers?
- Do they pay well and pay quickly?
- How frequently do they need your services?
- Do you want to target specific high volume routes or specialist low volume routes?
- Is the shipper reasonable to do business with?
- Is the contract more trouble than it’s worth?
- Do you want to pursue high value/fragile cargo?
- Can you add value to your customers’ clients?
- Utilise, but don’t rely on load boards: Load boards can be a helpful way to secure occasional work, but they are no substitute for relationship development. Competition on these boards can also be fierce, reducing both your chances of securing a load and your margin. If you do secure a load via a board, always look for ways to secure a second load, outside of the board i.e. develop a relationship with the vendor. Stickers, promotional pens or other leave behinds are a way of keeping your firm top of mind for those clients with only occasional needs.
- Groups can you join to increase your profile: Chambers of commerce, industry groups, charity and volunteer groups. Get that spare capacity out there building your profile and brand.
- Keep your current clients happy: Getting new clients is hard, keeping existing clients happy is paramount. There are a lot of trucks chasing every load – you don’t want to be caught in a bidding war. Do the small things that make the customer happy, and less likely to be tempted by a lower rate from your competitor.
- When a formal Tender response is required remember:
- Be selective – don’t waste time on bids you’ll never win
- Be prepared – understand what is happening with the customer, and where transport fits into their objectives – then position yourself as the answer
- Assess the client’s needs – how do you add value beyond the basic transport component
- Answer the questions – a simple step, making sure you’re not eliminated at the first stage of evaluation
It’s not all up to you!
ORIX Commercial is ready to support your business and your ongoing success. ORIX is Australia’s largest fully integrated commercial truck rental and leasing solution. You can be confident that we have the flexibility, resources and expertise to help you win that next deal. Talk to us today about:
- Tailored RFT pricing
- Scale up flexibility capacity to help you win that larger contract
- Over 1,800 vehicles nationally that can be matched to client requirements large or small
- Utilise rental to avoid large capital outlays on new equipment
- Utilise our national footprint and resources to pursue opportunities in new geographies
- Fast turnaround time. Win the work and ORIX will be there to support you
- Full support in relation to compliance with HVNL across all vehicles
Contact us today to discuss how we can help your business move forward. Your success is our success.