A freight forwarding company is a company that functions as an agent or intermediary between the company that makes the shipment and the final destination of the goods. The primary duty of freight forwarding companies is to plan and move the items to the destinations provided by the client company.

Please note that freight forwarding is a widespread method of international transportation leveraged for both corporate and personal purposes. Connecting with shipping companies, and understanding documentation and custom laws of various countries remain the primary duties of freight forwarders.

Available report shows that in 2022, the total market size of the freight forwarding market in the United States reached over 145 billion U.S. dollars. Until 2020, this market experienced a downward trend that was worsened by the coronavirus pandemic. The global Freight forwarding market size is projected to reach USD 207 Billion by 2026, from USD 170 Billion in 2019, at a CAGR of 2.8%.

Steps on How to Write a Freight Forwarding Business Plan

  1. Executive Summary

Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. is an American-based and licensed freight forwarding company. Our head office will be located in the heart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We will leverage established relationships with carriers, from air freighters and trucking companies to rail freighters and ocean liners, to effectively transport shippers’ goods.

We would analyze various bids and choose the one that best balances speed, cost, and reliability. Curling Beckley is the founder and CEO of Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc.

  1. Company Profile

a. Our Products and Services

Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. will be involved in;

  • Offering expertise and advice to the shipper
  • Booking freight space on the modes of transportation
  • Packaging, warehousing, and distribution
  • Offering insurance services
  • Perform documentation and custom clearance
  • Consolidation and deconsolidation
  • Cargo insurance and customs compliance
  • Inland transportation from source and/or to destination
  • Ocean or air freight transportation.

Our services are designed to help people and businesses safely and professionally move their goods or properties. We will work as agents between the shipper and different modes of transport like air, ocean, rail, and land.

b. Nature of the Business

Our freight forwarding company will operate the business-to-consumer and business-to-business model.

c. The Industry

Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. will operate in the freight forwarding services industry.

d. Mission Statement

Our mission is to be at the forefront of our industry and to make sure we build a successful freight forwarding company that will operate in the United States of America and Canada; a company that will have some of the best freight forwarders and key professionals in the United States of America.

e. Vision Statement

Our vision of to be listed among the top ten freight forwarding companies in the whole of North America.

f. Our Tagline (Slogan)

Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. – Your Trusted Freight Forwarders!

g. Legal Structure of the Business (LLC, C Corp, S Corp, LLP)

Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. will be formed as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). The reason why we are forming an LLC is to protect our assets by limiting the liability to the resources of the business itself. The LLC will protect our CEOs’ assets from claims against the business, including lawsuits.

h. Our Organizational Structure
  • Chief Operating Officer (Owner)
  • Admin and HR Manager
  • Operations and Logistics Manager
  • Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer)
  • Accountant
  • Freight Forwarders
  • Truck and Van Drivers
  • Material Handlers/Yard Spotters/Forklifts Operators
  • Customer Services Executive/Front Desk Officer
i. Ownership/Shareholder Structure and Board Members
  • Curling Beckley (Owner and Chairman/Chief Executive Officer) 52 Percent Shares
  • Denzel California (Board Member) 18 Percent Shares
  • Kris Greene (Board Member) 10 Percent Shares
  • Andy Zeus (Board Member) 10 Percent Shares
  • Rosa Park (Board Member and Sectary) 10 Percent Shares.
  1. SWOT Analysis

a. Strength
  • Ideal location for a freight forwarding company (thriving shipping sector)
  • Highly experienced and qualified employees and management
  • Access to finance from business partners
  • Extensive knowledge of documentation requirements, regulations, transportation costs, and banking practices.
  • Large warehouse and storage facility
  • Excellent customer testimonials.
  • Partner with numerous logistics companies both nationally and internationally
  • Access to reliable transport and logistics software.
b. Weakness
  • Financial Constraints
  • A new business that will be competing with well-established freight forwarding companies and also transport and logistics companies
  • Inability to retain our highly experienced and qualified employees longer than we want
c. Opportunities
  • A rise in shipping activities from within and outside the country will increase the demand for freight forwarding services
  • Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets
  • Increase in the movement of goods from one location to another with urban centers
  • Increase in production activities and warehousing.
i. How Big is the Industry?

The freight forwarding industry is indeed a big industry and this can be supported by the fact that in 2022, the total market size of the freight forwarding market in the United States reached over 145 billion U.S. dollars.

ii. Is the Industry Growing or Declining?

The freight forwarding industry is growing. According to reports, the freight forwarding market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 4% within 2020-2025. Have it in mind that the increase in international trade volumes is a primary driver for the freight forwarding market.

iii. What are the Future Trends in the Industry?

The freight forwarding industry is changing, and players in the industry are improvising. No doubt, technology and climate change (people moving either from cooler to hotter regions or hotter to moderate regions) will change the landscape of the freight forwarding industry going forward.

iv. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

No, there is no existing niche idea when it comes to the freight forwarding business.

v. Can You Sell a Franchise of your Business in the Future?

Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. has plans to sell its franchise in the nearest future and we will target major cities with thriving freight forwarding markets in the United States of America.

d. Threats
  • The arrival of new freight forwarding companies within our market space
  • Unfavorable government policy and regulations.
  • Steady wage expenses and increasing prices of fuel amid low demand
  • Economic uncertainty
  • Liability problems
  • The shipping industry could change their regulatory status and decide to enforce strict regulations that can strangulate new businesses.
i. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • International Equipment Relocations
  • Supply Chain Warehouses
  • River Plate, Inc.
  • UPS Supply Chain Solutions
  • Shoreline Express Inc.
  • DHL Supply Chain and Global Freight Forwarders
  • Crown International Forwarder
  • Kuehne + Nagel International AG
  • Cargo International Logistics Inc
  • Expeditors International
  • BGI Worldwide Logistics
  • Berkley Cargo Services
  • American Export Lines
  • B. Hunt Transport Services
  • 4 Seas International Shipping, Inc.
  • Old Dominion Freight Line
  • National Freight Logistics
  • Entourage Freight Solutions
  • Express International Freight
  • PHX Transportation Freight Corporation
  • Approved Freight Forwarders.
ii. Is There a Franchise for Freight Forwarding Business?

Yes, there are franchise opportunities for freight forwarding business, they include;

  • Pak Mail Centers of America, Inc. (Initial Investment – $152,000 – $180,000)
  • Packaging Store (Total Initial Investment: $164,000 – $244,000)
  • PACK & SEND (Initial Investment – $210,000)
  • Navis Pack and Ship Centers (Total Cash Requirement: $100,000)
  • Zippy Shell Freight forwarding (Initial Investment – $657,450 – $1,219,830)
  • AIT Freight Systems (Initial Investment – $46,000)
  • Craters & Freighters (Initial Investment: $88,600 – $140,000)
  • Unishippers Global Logistics (Total Initial Investment: $50,00 – $75,000)
  • 1-800-Packouts (Initial Investment – $69,450 – $234,000)
  • Our Town America (Total Cash Investment: $50,000)
iii. Are There Policies, Regulations, or Zoning Laws Affecting the Freight Forwarding Business?

No, there are no county or state regulations or zoning laws affecting freight forwarding business, but players in this industry are expected to work with the existing regulations governing similar businesses in the county where their business is domiciled.

Please note that trucks and vans used for moving services are required to stop at motor carrier safety and weight inspection stations when signs direct them to do so. So also, in the United States, a moving van or truck can be rented by someone without a commercial driver’s license (CDL) license if it has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000 pounds or less. Any truck or van with a rating of 26,001 pounds or more requires at least a Class B CDL.

  1. Marketing Plan

a. Who is Your Target Audience?

i. Age Range

Our target market comprises adults above 18 years who have the finance to do business with us.

ii. Level of Educational

We don’t have any restrictions on the level of education of those who we are ready to do business with.

iii. Income Level

There is no cap on the income level of those we will help facilitate the shipping of their goods or properties.

iv. Ethnicity

There is no restriction when it comes to the ethnicity of the people we will help to help facilitate the shipping of their goods or properties.

v. Language

There is no restriction when it comes to the language spoken by the people we will help to facilitate the shipping of their goods or properties.

vi. Geographical Location

Anybody from any geographical location will be welcome to do business with our company.

vii. Lifestyle

Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. will not restrict any client from doing business with us based on their lifestyle, culture, or race.

b. Advertising and Promotion Strategies
  • Deliberately Brand All Our Vans and Trucks.
  • Tap Into Text Marketing.
  • Make Use of Bill Boards.
  • Share Your Events in Local Groups and Pages.
  • Turn Your Social Media Channels into a Resource
  • Develop Your Business Directory Profiles
  • Build Relationships with players in the manufacturing and import and export industry.
i. Traditional Marketing Strategies
  • Marketing through Direct Mail.
  • Print Media Marketing – Newspapers & Magazines.
  • Broadcast Marketing -Television & Radio Channels.
  • OOH, Marketing – Public Transits like Buses and Trains, Billboards, Street shows, and Cabs.
  • Leverage direct sales, direct mail (postcards, brochures, letters, fliers), and referral (also known as word-of-mouth marketing).
ii. Digital Marketing Strategies
  • Social Media Marketing Platforms.
  • Influencer Marketing.
  • Email Marketing.
  • Content Marketing.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Marketing.
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing.
iii. Social Media Marketing Plan
  • Start using chatbots.
  • Create a personalized experience for our customers.
  • Create an efficient content marketing strategy.
  • Create a community for our target market and potential target market.
  • Gear up our profiles with a diverse content strategy.
  • Use brand advocates.
  • Create profiles on the relevant social media channels.
  • Run cross-channel campaigns.
c. Pricing Strategy

When working out our pricing strategy, Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. will make sure it covers profits, insurance, premium, license, and economy or value and full package. All our pricing strategies will reflect;

  • Cost-Based Pricing
  • Value-Based Pricing
  • Competition-Based Pricing.
  1. Sales and Distribution Plan

a. Sales Channels

Our channel sales strategy will involve using partners and third parties—such as referral partners, affiliate partners, strategic alliances in the production sector and the import and export industry, and freelancers to help refer clients to us.

Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. will also leverage the 4 Ps of marketing which are place, price, product, and promotion. By carefully integrating all these marketing strategies into a marketing mix, we can have a visible, in-demand service that is competitively priced and promoted to our customers.

b. Inventory Strategy

The fact that we will need loading crates, lubricants (brake fluids, engine oil, and transmission oils et al), and spare parts means that Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. will operate an inventory strategy that is based on a day-to-day methodology for ordering, maintaining and processing items in our warehouse.

We will develop our strategy with the same thoroughness and attention to detail as we would if we were creating an overall strategy for the business.

c. Payment Options for Customers

Here are the payment options that Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. will make available to her clients;

  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment via credit cards
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via check
  • Payment via mobile money transfer
d. Return Policy, Incentives, and Guarantees

At Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc., we facilitate the shipping of goods from one location to another or to store goods for a short period hence the nature of our service offerings does not accommodate a return policy, but we guarantee our customers of safe delivery of their goods or properties under our care.

e. Customer Support Strategy

Our customer support strategy will involve seeking customer feedback. This will help us provide excellent customer service to all our clients and investors. We will work with an effective CRM software to be able to achieve this.

Regularly, we will work towards strengthening our Customer Service Team and also Leverage Multi-Channel Servicing as part of our customer support strategy.

  1. Operational Plan

We plan to expand our revenue by 35 percent in the second year and the plan will include a marketing, sales, and operations component. The operations component of the plan would include attracting partnership and retainer deals that will enable the firm to boost our freight forwarding service offerings and support revenue growth.

a. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Freight forwarding Business?
  • The business is open for the day’s work
  • Customer’s requests are taken and they are scheduled or attended to
  • Tracking of freight, and inventory management
  • Warehousing activities
  • Marketing/website upkeep
  • Administrative duties (documentation, paperwork, and follow-up calls)
  • The business is closed for the day.
b. Production Process

There is no production process when it comes to the freight forwarding business. The service procedure of a freight forwarding business starts with a customer requesting the moving of his or her goods or properties from one location to another or from one storage facility, warehouse or business premises to another.

Once the request is gotten, it will be processed and suitable third-party service providers will be assigned to carry out the job. Please note freight forwarding companies are known to leverage established relationships with carriers, from air freighters and trucking companies to rail freighters and ocean liners, to effectively negotiate the ideal and choose the one that best balances speed, cost, and reliability.

d. The Supply Chain

Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. will rely on key players in the shipping, and import and export industry to refer business deals to us. So also, we have been able to establish business relationships with wholesale supplies of crates, lubricants (brake fluids, engine oil, transmission oils et al), spare parts et al.

e. Sources of Income

Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. will make money from;

  • Offering expertise and advice to the shipper
  • Booking freight space on the modes of transportation
  • Packaging, warehousing, and distribution
  • Offering insurance services
  • Perform documentation and custom clearance
  • Consolidation and deconsolidation
  • Cargo insurance and customs compliance
  • Inland transportation from source and/or to destination
  • Ocean or air freight transportation.
  1. Financial Plan

a. Amount Needed to Start your Freight forwarding company?

Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. would need an estimate of $1.2 million to successfully set up our freight forwarding company in the United States of America. Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all our staff for the first month of operation.

b. What are the Costs Involved?
  • Business Registration Fees – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – $7,300.
  • Marketing, Branding and Promotions – $5,000.
  • Business Consultant Fee – $2,500.
  • Insurance – $5,400.
  • Rent/Lease – $200,000.
  • Other start-up expenses like; commercial satellite TV subscriptions, stationery ($500), and phone and utility deposits ($2,800).
  • Operational Cost (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $100,000
  • Start-up Inventory – $15,000
  • Store Equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $4,750
  • Furnishing and Equipping – $80,000
  • Purchase of Trucks and Vans: $500,000
  • Website: $600
  • Opening party: $3,000
  • Miscellaneous: $2,000
c. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much will it cost?

Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. will not build a new facility for our freight forwarding company; we intend to start with a long-term lease and after 5 years, we will start the process of acquiring our own facility.

d. What are the Ongoing Expenses for Running a Freight forwarding company?
  • Gas and lubricants
  • Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage, and software renewal fees et al)
  • Salaries of employees
  • Trucks and vans maintenance
  • Insurance
  • Marketing costs
e. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Chief Operating Officer (Owner) – $68,000 Per Year
  • Admin and HR Manager – $48,000 Per Year
  • Transport and Logistics Manager $48,000 Per Year
  • Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer) – $42,000 Per Year
  • Accountant $38,000 Per Year
  • Feight Forwarders – $36,800 Per Year
  • Material Handlers/Forklift Operators – $28,000 Per Year
  • Customer Service Officer (Receptionist) – $26,100 Per Year
  • Security Guard -$24,000 Per Year
f. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Freight forwarding company?
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from the government, donor organizations, and angel investors
  • Source soft loans from your family members and friends.

8. Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for your Product/Service?

This will surely depend on what you are importing, how you are importing it, and the space available. Carriers are known to charge by actual weight or dimensional weight (the volume in cubic meters multiplied by 167) – whichever is more.

Note that average air freight costs from China to the US are around $1.50 – $5.00 per kilogram for between 8 – 10 days of transit. But have it in mind that air freight prices fluctuate massively, depending on demand.

Meanwhile, average ocean freight costs from China to the US sit around $0.50 per kilogram for between 30 – 40 days of transit. Note that this price tends to be more stable than air. However, your freight forwarder should know the best channel for your products and the best price for your budget, but it’s advisable to do your own research too.

b. Sales Forecast?
  • First Fiscal Year (FY1): $450,000
  • Second Fiscal Year (FY2): $750,000
  • Third Fiscal Year (FY3): $1.3 million
c. Estimated Profit You Will Make a Year?
  • First Fiscal Year (FY1) (Profit After Tax): $150,000
  • Second Fiscal Year (FY2) (Profit After Tax): $350,000
  • Third Fiscal Year (FY3) (Profit After Tax): $600,000
d. Profit Margin of a Freight forwarding company 

The ideal profit margin we hope to make at Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. will be between 16 and 20 percent on each job carried out irrespective of the distance covered.

  1. Growth Plan

a. How do you intend to grow and expand? 

Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. will grow our freight forwarding company by first opening other offices in key cities in the United States of America within the first five years of establishing the business and then will start selling franchises from the sixth year.

b. Where do you intend to expand to and why? (Geographical locations)

Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. plans to expand to;

  • Los Angeles, California
  • Long Beach, Washington
  • Newport, Rhode Island
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Clearwater, Florida
  • Portland, Maine
  • Orange Beach, Alabama
  • Ocracoke, North Carolina
  • Block Island, Rhode Island
  • Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

The reason we intend to expand to these locations is that available statistics show that the cities listed above have the highest and most thriving freight forwarding market in the United States.

  1. Exit Plan

The founder of Curling Beckley© Freight Forwarding Company, Inc. plans to exit the business via merger and acquisition. We intend to merge with an international freight forwarding and shipping company that has a world spread so that the management of the company can be placed under a trusted hand when the founder retires.

The goal of combining two or more international freight forwarding companies is to try and achieve synergy – where the whole (the new company) is greater than the sum of its parts (the former two separate entities).