While operating a trucking company, it’s important to establish “A” customers. This is the business that keeps your trucks moving and gives you the most profit. Most likely over time, you will have developed great relationships with these customers and this is your main source of business. These customers are usually easy to work with and offer a consistent schedule of needed freight services.
During the busy schedule of providing service to “A” customers, it’s important to cultivate a second customer base which we refer to as “B” customers. These shippers can at times be more difficult to work with and may not be as profitable to your business. Their freight needs may be sporadic and therefore cannot be utilized as often as “A” customers. It’s important to take freight shipments when available from “B” customers even though you may have to decline on an “A” customer shipment because each of these customer types offers its own value to your business. You never know when the time will come that your “B” customer can quickly become an “A” customer. As a trucking carrier, we all know how quickly things can change and when they do we most likely will have no control over the situation or the outcome. I’m talking about management turnover, freight capacity, economic conditions and even natural disasters. This is why it’s important to secure an “A” and “B” customer base.
Let’s take a look at an example in a sports type situation. A coach will use his best players (“A” players) most of the time. However, the benched (“B” players) are still called upon regularly and used as needed. All players are important and add value to the total team effort. If an “A” player gets injured, the “B” player can easily step in and take his/her place on the team.
This scenario happened to my business more than once. In one particular case, an “A” customer closed one of their main manufacturing facilities due to the building structure being old and outdated. All outbound shipments then became redirected to another state. The new location was far away from my regular territory and customers. At the time, I had a “B” customer who stepped in and eventually became our main “A” customer. This shipper kept our trucks busy while we developed a customer base close to the new location of the previous “A” customer. The results of creating a solid customer base which expanded over a larger area proved to be very beneficial. This enabled us to expand with a bigger pool of shippers and locations in which to operate our business.
Once you have a solid base of “A” and “B” customers, its then time to begin focusing your search for “C” customers.