In celebration of Black History Month, Trucker Tools is highlighting Black voices from across the transportation industry, including truckers, executives, business owners and entrepreneurs. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Tamara Brock, who spent six years as an OTR trucker before earning her freight broker’s license and launching her new 3PL, Brock Logistics, last year. In our conversation with Tamara, she discussed what it’s been like to transition from being a trucker to a 3PL owner. She also shared information on some of the resources she’s used to build her business and that are available to Black business owners, including programs through the U.S. Small Business Association and federal government. 

Making the Jump From OTR to 3PL

After spending six years on the road as a trucker, Tamara wanted to transition to freight brokerage so that she would be able to spend more time with her 78 year old mother and nieces and nephews back home in Mississippi. Tamara told us that her previous experience as an OTR trucker has been invaluable as she’s built her 3PL business. The knowledge that she gained about supply chains as a trucker gives her a unique perspective on freight brokerage and logistics. As a new 3PL, she is focusing on building relationships with shippers and collaborating with women-trucking companies and 3PLs. 

“It’s very hard to launch a new business, but I look at it like how I started out in trucking,” said Tamara. “You’re starting all over from the beginning. Just because you have a brokerage license, shippers aren’t going to come running over to you to ask you to ship their freight. You have to prove yourself just like you do with driving a truck. I feel like my career as a trucker gave me a great foundation for my 3PL business. If I can get behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler and back it up and drive it across 48 states, I can build relationships with customers in my logistics business.”

“It’s very hard to launch a new business, but I look at it like how I started out in trucking,” said Tamara. “You’re starting all over from the beginning. Just because you have a brokerage license, shippers aren’t going to come running over to you to ask you to ship their freight. You have to prove yourself just like you do with driving a truck. I feel like my career as a trucker gave me a great foundation for my 3PL business. If I can get behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler and back it up and drive it across 48 states, I can build relationships with customers in my logistics business.”

Finding the Right Resources

Tamara took several different courses on freight brokerage while she was still trucking. She also reached out to executives at leading logistics companies to learn more about how they initially structured their businesses when they first started out and to tap into their industry knowledge. One of the companies that inspired her is J.B. Hunt, which has won some of the largest government contracts available in recent years. After completing her research, Tamara registered her logistics business as a minority-owned and woman-owned business with the federal government. Doing so has opened up new opportunities for her logistics business.

“As a minority business owner, there are a lot of great opportunities in transportation and logistics when you work with the government,” advised Tamara. “There are funds set aside for minority business owners that have provided my business with some good opportunities. Through the federal government’s Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) and Systems Award Management (SAM), I get alerts about bids for no charge. I’m also registered with FEMA. Last week, I got an load alert to move N95 masks and I received the alert because I’m registered as a minority-owned business with the federal government. These programs are free, you just have to do your research and register.”

Relationship Building with LinkedIn

Tamara told us that she is doing a lot of cold calling to build out her customer base. She also is building a strong network of colleagues and customers with LinkedIn. Tamara told us that LinkedIn has allowed her to network with CEOs and presidents of companies. Networking with logistics managers and executives on LinkedIn has helped her connect with potential new customers and learn more about freight brokerage and logistics.

“LinkedIn is a great place to talk about the services that you offer,” said Tamara. “In logistics, you can never stop learning. The main thing I do right now is dry van, reefer and flatbed, but I don’t want to limit myself. I want to always continue building my knowledge base. When you get on the logistics side of the business, you have to deal with air freight and maritime freight, and there’s a lot to learn. I’m just open to fitting in and finding my niche.”

“LinkedIn is a great place to talk about the services that you offer,” said Tamara. “In logistics, you can never stop learning. The main thing I do right now is dry van, reefer and flatbed, but I don’t want to limit myself. I want to always continue building my knowledge base. When you get on the logistics side of the business, you have to deal with air freight and maritime freight, and there’s a lot to learn. I’m just open to fitting in and finding my niche.”

To learn more about Tamara, visit https://msdivatrucker.com or her LinkedIn page.

For more about Tamara’s career in trucking, read How Trucker Tools’ Driver App is Simplifying Life on the Road for One Trucker, Tamara Brock. Schedule a free demo of Trucker Tools’ freight tracking platform, digital freight matching and Book It Now®.

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