e13 Sean Brandenburg

13: How did CEO Sean Brandenburg grow Central Cargo North America to $1 million in its first 4 months?

Sean Brandenburg is the CEO of Central Cargo North America, a freight forwarding company that made $1 million in its first 4 months and continues to grow. Sean has spent 30 years in the freight forwarding and logistics industry. He’s a sales pro with tons of experience in generating millions in sales at every company he’s been involved with. Customer service is a high priority for Sean and it shows up in the way he treats people and how long his clients stay with him. As always I learned a lot on this episode. This was another key on the quest to understand more deeply how the best businesses in the world landed their first customers. Listen and learn folks!

First Customers podcast episode #13 with Sean Brandenburg

Show Notes:

Topics Covered

  • Freight Forwarding
  • Logistics
  • Supply Chain Issues
  • Shipping Costs
  • Inflation
  • Strategic Partnerships
  • Starting a freight forwarding company
  • Customer Service & User Experience
  • Traditional Marketing Tactics
  • Digital Marketing Tactics

Follow Sean:

Books mentioned: 

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Raw Show Transcript:

paris_vega:
welcome to the first customers podcast today we have shewn brandenburg the co of central cargo north america his company has only been in existence for a year and a half within the first four months they’d already hit a million dollars in revenue they’re killing it on the sales side shawn

sean_brandenburg:
oh

paris_vega:
welcome to the show thank you for being here

sean_brandenburg:
oh thank you paris pleasure to be here actually i’m enjoying the show quite

paris_vega:
oh awesome

sean_brandenburg:
a bit

paris_vega:
that’s

sean_brandenburg:
so

paris_vega:
great

sean_brandenburg:
glad to be here

paris_vega:
um

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
let’s start off by learning a little more about your background where you grow up ah

sean_brandenburg:
well thad was in the thad was in the army so spent a lot of time moving around quite a bit born in just outside of cincinnati and ohio within the first few years we had already moved to arizona new jersey

paris_vega:
i

sean_brandenburg:
germany when he got out of the military then we moved to little town called demopolis alabama where we spent you know most of the elementary school years and ultimately and in middle school era and high school moved back to cincinnati little town called fairfield ohio just north of cincinnati

paris_vega:
a

sean_brandenburg:
there bangles yeah

paris_vega:
when you’re a kid did you have any like fund raiser type experiences or selling lemonade or any of that kind of sales experience growing up

sean_brandenburg:
well for me and i think you know listening to a lot of other people that you’ve had on your show it’s sort of very similar experience i started a paper route when i was thirteen you know and and actually ended up staying with that until you know i was able to drive and then get out and go get a job at a grocery store and you know then did the same thing as ever by else worked a kentucky fried chicken or a grocery

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
stores or did all those little jobs while you’re trying to make some money as as

paris_vega:
hm

sean_brandenburg:
a teen ager growing up right

paris_vega:
right all right so that’s kind of your teen age your childhood to teen age years what did you do college age during that period of your life

sean_brandenburg:
well i went into i went into the air force shortly shortly after high school just simply because of the fact i really didn’t know where i wanted to be i knew i wanted to to fly i knew i wanted to be an ash or not so i had some scholarships i decided not to take the scholarships

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
and go straight into the air force and the kind of work my way through school while i figured out what it was that i wanted to be i thought that might be a faster path to get me to where i wanted you know and speaking to first customers and selling i had a recruiter that did a wonderful

paris_vega:
yes

sean_brandenburg:
sales job on me becaus he told me that you know i could get a high tech career and logistics you know by working on computers well what i didn’t know what e meant was that i would

paris_vega:
oh

sean_brandenburg:
be sitting here doing this all day long and typing

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
typing on a computer and not actually you know doing logistics or now ang on computers are doing something else a little

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
high that right but so he did a pretty good sales job on me and then so anyway went into the went into majestic first got stationed in holland started working my way through school while i was there you know they have these these university of maryland global campus is that they have on

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
the military basis you know transferred back permanent change of station from off holland to oklahoma where i spent some time ended up getting a scholarship from the air force to go back to school full time which was a pilot scholarship so i went back to school the university of maryland university of miami of ohio um while while doing that you know had to work part time just to kind of help make some money and so ended up running a clothing store men’s clothing tore back in the day it was a fore called oak tree so you know actually ended up having quite a bit of sales experience doing that because you know commission on all the customers that come

paris_vega:
oh

sean_brandenburg:
through and you know you’re kind of helping them you know match a tie and and you know a suit that they’re buying or something like that so you know i think i think one of the big part it says that i gained from doing that was was you know was really always the sort of big size of the the you know the sale right because if somebody was buying pants i’d show them a shirt if they were buying a suit i’d show em tie or i’d shown some shoes or you know so i was always increasing my commissions you know by selling these people more and more and more and so you know as they were there then i ended up building a good customer base also because they kept coming back and they would ask specifically for me because they knew if they wanted to buy something i’d help them kind of fill out that wardrobe or fill out that outfit

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
right so um you know really that kind of goes back even to to know paper route days because you know when you’re going out and one of the things i learned really early on and having a paper route was you know i would go to collect money for the papers that would be delivered and i realize well you know those guys that i put their paper on their porch were giving me some tips um you know whereas i missed it and i put it in the bush then you know i didn’t get

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
any tips so you know i learned really quick that you know just put the paper on the porch and then you know nobody has to go very far to get it i’d make some extra money so you know that was one of those things i think that i learned from you know that first experience you know doing a paper out and and then even moving on into doing it was sort of a sales and a management role at a clothing store was the same thing it’s it’s you know find something that your customer really wants and then make sure that you’re providing it you know

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
and one of your one of your previous guests use this term called user experience right which i absolutely loved um and i think that that’s that really applies into those situations right because it’s that user ex arians that that i figured out really quick is you know okay what is what’s going to make them happy with what i’m doing i give them a good user experience they don’t have to walk out the door very far they don’t have to get

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
in the now they can you know get their paper you know they can come in and they have a good experience with me because i help them pick out some clothes or i help them you know get something that they really want even though they don’t know that they really

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
want it right

paris_vega:
all right so you had the clothing experience and then

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
at what point did you start getting into kind of starting your own business or being a part of a business

sean_brandenburg:
well i mean that that went on down the

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
down the road i mean you know before all of that time i mean i was you know i did wait

paris_vega:
m

sean_brandenburg:
at tables right and i was a d j

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
at some point time you know i always had for the longest period of time no matter what i was doing i worked two or three

paris_vega:
wow

sean_brandenburg:
jobs at a time just because i was hungry and i liked money and you know i just trying to make ends meet and do what you’ve got to do and so i think that that you know going through those experience s again it was sort of the same thing learning um you know what does somebody want that of me and how do i go back in and provide that to them and when i got it of the military and i came into the logistics business the forwarding business full time um m know i was always sort of doing sales because it was again for me it was that user experience if somebody was working with me and somebody was and i was facilitating a shipment for them you going from cincinnati to amsterdam i wanted to make sure that they you know that they got everything that they needed before they even asked for it so i was you know trying to make sure that i was providing the service to them so that i could build on that business and ultimately when i moved into sales role in this industry it wasn’t really because i was out enjoying or wanting to be a sales purse and it was just because i figured out you know what i’m already doing sales every day right because i’m talking to these customers and i’m giving them this great experience and i’m gaining more business so sales call is just a conversation you know and so i learned that very quickly that i wasn’t it wasn’t that i needed to be a hard salesman and by the way i sold cars for a while to back and the back in the mid nineties when it was a very high pressure sales and and so that was one of the things i realized that i never really wanted to do again because i didn’t want to do that high pressure

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
sales um so you know i always had this cut sort of customer following when i went from one location to the next when we when i got back into this or got into this industry and it was with a company in cincinnati a couple of years later they wanted somebody to take over a branch in nashville so i re located in nashville and then you know it was my responsibility to grow it and again it was you know it was a matter of having conversations we would get opportunities that would come up back then you know internet was there but it was very hard to get information you know not like it is today you didn’t do a lot of sourcing by doing a lot of research over the internet you picked up a phone book you went through the yellow pages and you looked for people that looked like they were manufacturers and then you called them

paris_vega:
oh

sean_brandenburg:
you have conversation with them or you might have mailed them something and then you call him back in a few

paris_vega:
you’re

sean_brandenburg:
weeks

paris_vega:
just cold

sean_brandenburg:
later

paris_vega:
calling

sean_brandenburg:
right so

paris_vega:
to get lead you aren’t really way to buy needs

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
back then as

sean_brandenburg:
you

paris_vega:
much

sean_brandenburg:
know well you know you know you couldn’t really buy leads back then i mean you know we had these things called phone ticklers you know you could buy you could buy directories of manufacturer you know throughout the country so you could do those or but i always found that you know even just the yellow pages were effective because you could run down and you could see whether somebody was an insurance company or somebody wasn’t

paris_vega:
because the

sean_brandenburg:
manufacturing

paris_vega:
yellow pages are all

sean_brandenburg:
something

paris_vega:
categorized

sean_brandenburg:
right so

paris_vega:
business

sean_brandenburg:
a

paris_vega:
type okay

sean_brandenburg:
right yeah yeah you know and so i think it was it was a matter of just being hungry right and wanted to go out and build more business and build you know and make the company money make myself money um m ultimately i ended up re locating to dallas again and then on my way back to cincinnati a few years after that and then now ended up being in a sort of a sales and a general manager role and four years later you know i had the opportunity to start my first company some dad and i my dad and i went in to business together and we started we started a freight forwarding operation and the great thing about it what was really easy about all of that was because all of these customers that i had star with in cincinnati when i moved to nashville they continued to use me there and then when i went to dallas they were using me there and then when we went back so we had already a good base of business that i had a good following the business

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
right so when we first opened the company you know i mean we were able to i think our first year back then first full year we did about

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
three million dollars right so and that was two thousand two um so you know we had we had a good start and then it was just a matter of going out and trying to develop more business

paris_vega:
so when you

sean_brandenburg:
beyond

paris_vega:
say that

sean_brandenburg:
that

paris_vega:
the customers followed you you know from different places you were in does that mean like you were working for a different business doing sales and things and just the relationships you built doing sales for other companies just tapped into those same relationships when you started your own company

sean_brandenburg:
m well it was really it was those those same customers again because we had built such good relationships with them and also because again i think it really goes down to gain that user experience because they knew that you know if they had something they had to go to trilanca they could call shan and take care of it if they needed something to go to columbia they could call shan and

paris_vega:
so

sean_brandenburg:
can

paris_vega:
it didn’t

sean_brandenburg:
take

paris_vega:
matter

sean_brandenburg:
care

paris_vega:
what

sean_brandenburg:
of it

paris_vega:
company you worked

sean_brandenburg:
and

paris_vega:
for

sean_brandenburg:
so

paris_vega:
at the time they just trusted you as a person at that point

sean_brandenburg:
exactly exactly yeah and so it was really about trust and of course you know when you’re going through and you’re you’re trying to to build your base right you want to make sure that you can try it rely on some of those relationships that you have built over time and you go back and you make the phone calls and you say hey here’s what i’m wanting to do and you know are you are you would you be interested you know and working with then and without a doubt the majority of those people that i had the conversation with it was always a resounding yes you know we trust you and and so you know you start with good base and then you sort of build on that right and you continue to grow your business and at least that gives you a starting point and then you just have to go back and capitalize on those opportunities and our business at least one of the things that we would do is look at the lanes that we were moving business for a regular basis and then we’d say okay well who can we who else can we find that moves business from cincinnati to to k right because i have a lot

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
of that business already and if i can go back and bring some more customers on then that that will fall right into what we’re already doing and it allowed us to tap into some trade lings into some route developments and really target specific business for those lines more than then just you know trying to target a specific customer just because they had a big name line

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
um you know so that was how we started growing we had a lot of business that was importing from china back and again that was two thousand two and we were doing just a lot of lot of business out of china and one of the companies that we got associated with early on was very eurocentric and so you know we started helping that company to do a lot more business out of china

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
as well

paris_vega:
let’s pause here for just a second i’m getting a little bit of feedback on your mike if you could just pull your

sean_brandenburg:
okay

paris_vega:
cord out away from you just

sean_brandenburg:
yes

paris_vega:
a little bit i think it was scrubbing your your suit

sean_brandenburg:
might

paris_vega:
i think

sean_brandenburg:
have

paris_vega:
the

sean_brandenburg:
been

paris_vega:
mice

sean_brandenburg:
my shirt

paris_vega:
part of it was scrubbing a little

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
all right m okay if you would just take a second to explain a little bit about how your business works for anybody might not know what freight forwarding means or how business works give us just a little overview of that

sean_brandenburg:
yeah sure basically we are we are a facilitator what we do is we facilitate the movement of goods from international or domestically from point a point b so for example if if you want to buy that hat that hat is coming from somewhere right so that hat is more than likely going to be manufactured and somewhere like china vena could be india it’s going to be imported into the u s it’s ultimately going to be distributed to store where then you you then went and purchased that well the manufacturer of that hat would reach out to somebody like us why because what we do is we take care of the customers regulations and getting it out of the country where it originates from we we contract with the ocean law and um you know and everybody right now is probably thinking about all those ocean ships that were stuck

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
outside the port not that long ago and and so you know being in our business we would be somebody that would call track and have thousands of containers on that vessel so you know we’re working as hard as anybody else also they’re trying to make sure that those containers are getting released that they’re getting clear through customs that they’re getting unloaded and delivered to the final to the final distribution point and then ultimately to the final injueser you

paris_vega:
you own

sean_brandenburg:
so

paris_vega:
the

sean_brandenburg:
you

paris_vega:
contain

sean_brandenburg:
know we have to we have to know both the regulations for customs in other countries as well as know the regulations here you know in the u s u s customs you’ve got to know sometimes f d a rules you’ve got to know u s d a rules you know we deal with ts we deal with f a a we deal with f m c so you know if there is if there is a regulatory agency out there that wants to get their hands in somebody’s pocket you know where perfect hand because you know companies like ours we have to deal with each and every one of them constantly

paris_vega:
yeah but you don’t own the actual containers right you’re you’re just representing

sean_brandenburg:
no

paris_vega:
and making sure that they get where

sean_brandenburg:
yes

paris_vega:
they need to get okay

sean_brandenburg:
right right yeah i mean you know if you if you’re to think about it in terms of you now you see all the trucks on the road right so many of the truck load companies that you might see rolling down the road their asset based carriers they own that equipment um what we do even if we’re doing it domestically as we say okay well you know i have a contract with that carrier and i’ve got a contract with fifteen other carriers hat you do is you come to me and then we’ll go back out and we’ll look and see if we can get you the best price on one of those fifteen

paris_vega:
yah

sean_brandenburg:
and that way you’re not necessarily stuck into a contract agreement with one of those now sometimes that may be it you depending upon your volume and sometimes it may not um so you know it’s easy to think of us as sort of a travel

paris_vega:
m

sean_brandenburg:
agent for cargo right that’s sort of how we go back and and we make things happen

paris_vega:
okay so the first business that you opened with your father that one did well how did that story and how did that business end up doing

sean_brandenburg:
yeah we we had opened a company and then there was another company that had a lot of franchises let’s say it was independent contracted offices but the best way to think of them was franchises so we ended up joining forces with them and we became at that time one of twenty two in the u s and so you know while we had our own local company we flew the banner of another company that was headquartered

paris_vega:
oh

sean_brandenburg:
in seattle um so when we worked with them the benefit that we had with doing that was we were able to ride on the additional volumes that that company had so instead of just us having five million dollars was the business we could go along with a company that a hundred million dollars with the business and we could get better buying power

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
because there were there were there was bigger volumes right so when that went through a few years one of the opportunities because we were sort of leading the charge into areas that a lot of the other the other branches weren’t really the other locations were such as the imports out of china were imports out of brazil um we were leading the charge into some of those lines so the corporation had decided in buying that out

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
the business um and then became my partner in cincinnati and then a few years after that they ended up recruiting me to move to the headquarters and in seattle and then come and help the company grow further and i think specifically because a lot of what we were doing we were always again i think ahead of everybody else and in looking at new lanes in it new opportunities trying to get into markets where there wasn’t a big a big push at that moment because we saw that there was you know a good availability of of opportunities there and and ways for us to make more business make more

paris_vega:
so

sean_brandenburg:
money

paris_vega:
what was your role when they recruited you to the headquarters

sean_brandenburg:
i then became the executive director of international development so that meant that you know not only did i have to deal with the trade line management you know a lot of my responsibility was dealing with you or international partners and you know convincing them to work with us if they didn’t already work with us so let’s say a company in germany if they had a good volume of business into were out of the u s and we wanted them to be our partner in germany and then we would go over and we’d have conversations with them when we convinced them why we were a good partner for them as well and then ultimately adding their volumes to our volumes you know we all benefited from that beyond that then there was a lot of training and going out and doing sales training in the offices there was a lot of doing training and bringing on new branches so if there was an opportunity for us to open a new location in phoenix than a lot of time i was very engaged in that by meeting with the people in phoenix and convincing them why it was a good decision and a lot of that was based on my experience of having been one of the branch owners or one of the franchise so i could talk to them from the experience of having been there yeah

paris_vega:
could you give some a little more context and perspective on kind of size of the clients that you guys would work with which like brands that people would recognize possibly or like shipping things around and

sean_brandenburg:
yeah but i mean you know i don’t know

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
that i want to share my

paris_vega:
it

sean_brandenburg:
my customers out with with any

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
of my competitors that might be listening but but you know i mean we do we do anything from from furniture we do

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
a lot of furniture right now we do i mean we could do ten issues again clothing we do a lot of clothing when we started this particular business in two thousand nine and i had left the previous company during covid so that there was a change in some of the management and then and so i was i had the opportunity to leave um and when i did there was good friends that i had known and worked with for a very long period of time in italy and so you know when i said he who else are you guys working left because i’m looking for a new opportunity and now i’d like to reach out to them and one of the things they said was you know look we want to open in the us so why don’t we partner together and then we can expand our operations into north amer so they central cargo italy has levin offices throughout italy been opened now for twelve years so when we opened here in the u s they became my part so my business partners so when we first started and first opened a lot of that business that we we had as a core was imports into our exports that were primary italian

paris_vega:
m

sean_brandenburg:
based or italian focus and that might again have been furniture it might have been clothing

paris_vega:
c

sean_brandenburg:
um you know we went through and then expanded on that through partnerships that we’ve had the relationships that we’ve had with let’s say people in the k or people in china also and then bringing a lot of customers on and again furniture has just been become a big business

paris_vega:
ah

sean_brandenburg:
for us you know i think sometimes you get into a certain lay vertical and and it just seems to grow right because you’re doing so well right now we do a lot of we do a lot of aircraft parts so we were shipping engines all over the world were shipping other parts worshiping automotive parts um you know farmasuiticals um you name it if it could you know if it needs to be moved then then we have our hands in it funny enough you know we just recently had in our warehouse last week we exported about twenty palate of pasta

paris_vega:
yes

sean_brandenburg:
to italy which was which

paris_vega:
yes

sean_brandenburg:
was odd enough right so i went out and i saw as i’m like well what in the world

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
we got going on here with you know turned out post going to

paris_vega:
it’s

sean_brandenburg:
italy

paris_vega:
funny

sean_brandenburg:
right yeah

paris_vega:
our agriculture is still pretty strong here

sean_brandenburg:
yeah i mean we actually we do we do seeds water melon seeds lettis seeds you know you have a lot of that type of business that’s that’s being sold because of farming you know um and that brings its own challenges because now you’ve got us da that’s involved and you’ve got other cirtifications that have to be done because it’s a produce seed grant you know any time that you’re moving food stuffs

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
their certifications that’s got to be done

paris_vega:
so the last guy that i talked to m they’re manufacturing and they were they had a perspective on the supply chain from kind of a manufacturer in a shippers perspective so i’d be interested to hear your per

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
acting on what’s happened you know the past few years kind of give us an idea of what you’ve seen or where you think think things are at now compared to where they were maybe at the worst of it in went twenty when everything was locked down but what’s that been like from your perspective

sean_brandenburg:
yeah i mean it’s interesting because when you know when we opened and in twenty twenty one it was still the height of you know the mass of

paris_vega:
i

sean_brandenburg:
the logistics and the supply chain crisis had um you know we had shipments that we started moving that were stuck just like everybody else you know the prices for containers were you know we’re twenty thousand doll s plus and it’s interesting the fact that that we grew and we grew as fast as we did despite the crisis but i think you know one of the approaches we took to the problem was you was just being honest with people and telling them what was going on and trying to be you know again as up front about the problems and say here’s what’s going to happen here’s how we can try to get around it how you want to do it and we would bring people into the conversation um what we’ve seen now in in just the last year and a half since that time even is you know reduction in rates on the trans specific that of you know reduced by you know by more than half you know again where you might have you might have paid twenty thousand dollars for a

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
container at that time you know those rates are now below ten

paris_vega:
what was the normal

sean_brandenburg:
um

paris_vega:
before then

sean_brandenburg:
you know and no before then i mean depending upon the lane where you’re going but let’s just talk port to port and let’s t’s say from shanghai

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
to los angeles you know rates would go anywhere from a couple of thousand dollars you know different periods of time during the year you know peak season you might have a little bit lower you might have a little bit lower but that was about what you’d

paris_vega:
wow

sean_brandenburg:
see and getting you know from let’s say shanghai into a place like alas you know you might add on another nine hundred dollars or maybe a little more maybe less depending on the year

paris_vega:
it

sean_brandenburg:
um fuel searchcharges have a lot to do with that you know the prices you know had increased you know five times and in some cases even worse because you ended up with you now place like chicago you might have you might have a rate that’s going twenty four five thousand

paris_vega:
does that

sean_brandenburg:
dollars

paris_vega:
become land locked so it just takes more shipment and hand out between different modes of transportation

sean_brandenburg:
well i mean if you think about it and you know being you know i know you’ve got some experience

paris_vega:
m

sean_brandenburg:
on the trucking side but you know you think about what was going on during covid right a lot of people were laying people off to where people not coming into the office they weren’t working so if you think about a manufacturer or let’s say a distribution center the easiest thing to think about a distribution center that is getting you know the trucks a day in and they don’t have enough

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
labor to unload them but instead of saying fifty trucks let’s talk about fifty

paris_vega:
wow

sean_brandenburg:
containers well fifty containers when they don’t have enough labor to unload them and all those containers are now sitting on a chase the chase supply and the container supply are not unlimited right there’s a limited number

paris_vega:
there

sean_brandenburg:
of

paris_vega:
was

sean_brandenburg:
equipment

paris_vega:
a store

sean_brandenburg:
available so

paris_vega:
in los angeles

sean_brandenburg:
now

paris_vega:
specifically i remember hearing about that that they were just getting stacked higher and higher because there was nobody to come and get the containers

sean_brandenburg:
yeah yeah well so and you think about again chicago or replaces like dallas or other landlocked um you now rail yards to where you know you have that distribution center that’s that’s supposed to be receiving and unloading those containers and then turning the back around and so they can go back into the storage yard and the chase can be re used well now of a sudden got more containers that are coming into dallas but there’s no chase to deliver them because they’re sitting with full containers you know out of the didistributors yard so now the rail yards are getting backed up and then ultimately the rail yard direct capacity because they can’t they can’t take any more so then what happens is that the rail won’t take any more let’s say out of out of lost angels coming to dalis because lis doesn’t have a capacity for them so now they’re they’re being they’re being built up and an increasing storage and and being held in los angeles so we’re ultimately what ended up happening the vessels have to stay and just not unload because there’s no capacity at the ports to even take the containers off right so you know it all kind of went down to this issue to where you know they just not enough labor to unload those containers and then turn those chaste and turn those containers back around um you know we didn’t see at that time price increases let’s say on the atlantic side like we did on the transpecific side just because of the volume that was coming in the atlantic stayed down fairly low for quite quite a while ultimate what did into that happening was as many of the suppliers and them ship lines started looking to other ports to go back in and being able to unload those containers so instead of just unloading in law angeles or some west coast point they may do they may do a canal sailing and they may come up to houghton and mobile or or now the sudden savanna well what ended up happening same thing into that happening now those ports started becoming more and more congested and then you started to see the rates starting to rise on the trans atlantic and interesting enough the trans specific rates have decreased quite a bit and faster now that the trans atlantic rates are decreasing it’s better but it’s still not back to let’s say precovid

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
era but you know whereas again you know a year and a half ago somebody might be paying twenty thousand dollars for a container to get into dallas that that’s you know it’s a third

paris_vega:
wow

sean_brandenburg:
of that

paris_vega:
so it’s

sean_brandenburg:
yes

paris_vega:
as far as just the american economy goes that’s

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
okay news i guess at least it’s going the right direction right

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
because it’s i mean would you say it’s better

sean_brandenburg:
right

paris_vega:
for the economy if those rates are lower right so that that kind of

sean_brandenburg:
oh

paris_vega:
things are flowing in more easily or how does that affect

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
things

sean_brandenburg:
no well it does right because i mean you think about the fact that all of that cost has to be passed down

paris_vega:
oh

sean_brandenburg:
to somebody right and there’s nobody there’s there’s no steamship line that’s going

paris_vega:
oh

sean_brandenburg:
to go back in that’s going to eat that cost guys like us who are we’re still small you know we’re paying the theamshipline a certain amount of money were contracting you know these services out and we have to do let’s say a cost plus basis i can’t

paris_vega:
oh

sean_brandenburg:
go back in and say well your cost was three thousand dollars it’s now five thousand dollars but it’s okay i’ll eat the extra two thousand dollars because we don’t have

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
that kind of money in it so ultimately you know those prices get ass down to to the importer and then the importer of course is passing those prices back along to to the end use

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
you right so

paris_vega:
is that

sean_brandenburg:
um you know and if you think about it there’s only a certain cut and i mean there’s only so much that you can stick inside of a container and that price per unit you know gets gets past the law i mean why is the price you know if tola paper still high because at some point somebody figured out that they could increase that price and somebody would pay it and still hasn’t gone down yet you know so some of that is shame on those manufacturers because they haven’t they haven’t passed the savings back to the consumer

paris_vega:
but some of it’s just the hard cost they have on just getting the stuff here has gone up and so for some of them but you’re saying they haven’t brought it down in proportion in some cases probably

sean_brandenburg:
yah

paris_vega:
with

sean_brandenburg:
right

paris_vega:
how the rates have fallen

sean_brandenburg:
right right yeah yeah i think that it’s it’s a supply and demand i think once some you know once they figured out that people were willing to pay so much for a roll of

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
roll of paper you know they’ve just left the prices there you know now i think there’s some that have maybe you decreased the prices a little bit right but i don’t think that they’ve gone through and they’ve caught up with you know the rates of let’s call it the landed cost right because the cost of the material plus the cost of the transportation that’s the landed cost of the material you know civil and it cost is a lot cheaper today than it was a year and a half ago you know both on you know both on imports and exports sides and so you know and plus you know the issues again were storage i mean storage charges we’re just absolutely killing you know a lot of those manufacturers and i think you know what they may be doing is they’re trying to recoup some of the losses that they had to

paris_vega:
at

sean_brandenburg:
they had to suffer

paris_vega:
makes

sean_brandenburg:
through

paris_vega:
sense

sean_brandenburg:
those periods yes

paris_vega:
all right so you talked about how you started the current company central cargo north america um let’s get into a little more about those first customers so in this case it’s like the strategic partnership you had with the you know the headquarters in italy they had customers kind of just

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
waiting and it sounds like to use their north north america operation so that’s like the strategic design of that whole relationship just set you up to have customers that sounded like is that right

sean_brandenburg:
yeah we started i mean again we started with the it was funny the first month you know and doing the operations it was it was very very slow and we i think we did six hundred and fifty four do

paris_vega:
oh

sean_brandenburg:
in business the first month but that was because i mean we were we were trying to get the computer system set up we were still getting our licenses final lied and we’re still getting these things and so you know we weren’t actively going out and chasing our own customers that we

paris_vega:
hm

sean_brandenburg:
knew at that point we were handling some business and we were specifically and purposely you know making it go slow because we wanted to make sure that if we that if we brought in buddy on and we did anything that we were going to be handling it well you know again i think going back to that same conversation about the user experience what we focused on since they won is the use experience and you know we’ve called it just where service

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
orient company or service first but it is that user experience because we want to know that if we are bringing a customer and they’re going to engage with us that they are going to have the best experience that they’ve ever had and they’re going to want to continue to do more business with us we don’t want to set ourselves up for failure trying to take more business on than we can then we

paris_vega:
yes

sean_brandenburg:
can support you know and it is a commitment that we make to generally everybody that we’re doing business with and everybody that we’ve brought on whether that’s you know whether that’s our employe or whether that’s our customer partners or whether it’s our agent partners you know in the back of our card we have this little tag line that says you’ll love what

paris_vega:
m

sean_brandenburg:
we do and to that point that’s exactly the if we try to impress our approach every interaction if we hire an employee nd we bring them on as a partner and a team member with us then we want them to love the way that we’re treating them if it’s a customer than we want to love how we’re taking care of them and looking out for them if it’s a partner it’s the same thing i mean we look at those those international partnerships where we have in the u k or china the same as we a customer down the street you know we’re making a promise and a commitment

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
to them so as we know as we gained some of that original business when we first came in again it was very purposeful in the way that we went out after business so we said okay you know we’ve got these customers let’s start handling those and then we would look at it and say okay we’re getting to the point where we might be a little overwhelmed so we need to hire ahead of the curve

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
we need to be hiring people before we need that person because we gain we’ve got a commitment that we’ve made

paris_vega:
okay that’s what

sean_brandenburg:
made

paris_vega:
i was

sean_brandenburg:
a

paris_vega:
going

sean_brandenburg:
promise

paris_vega:
to ask you about that that little note that you said not to take on too much to where it deteriorates your quality of service and if you could talk

sean_brandenburg:
right

paris_vega:
a little more about that specific angle because now what i see in the business is i’m involved with like that’s kind of a balance you want to aggressively go after sales and drive revenue and all that but at the same

sean_brandenburg:
oh

paris_vega:
time there’s that other side of the pendulum there where okay we got to be able to serve

sean_brandenburg:
ah

paris_vega:
all these new sales and actually now

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
follow through with all the things that the sales people just sold and yeah

sean_brandenburg:
oh

paris_vega:
that’s an interesting problem i think that all business owners face if you could talk a little bit about that balance

sean_brandenburg:
oh it is and i mean if you look at any business i mean your your pay role is going to be you know the majority of your expenses every month you know at least than ours but we really are looking at it because it’s like we can’t afford to lose the opportunity and again we look at it with you know with one thing in mind is that every first opper tunity with a customer could be our last opportunity with that customer and every opportunity with a customer should be treated as a first opportunity with a customer so when we get on the phone with them or we have an engagement with by email and again i hate to keep using

paris_vega:
ye

sean_brandenburg:
and stealing somebody

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
else’s coming but you know we want that best user experience for that customer because we know that one chance might lead to the ten chances and ten chances might lead to a hundred chances and i’m also a big believer you know in referrals and i think that as long

paris_vega:
ah

sean_brandenburg:
as you go back in and you treat the people that you’re doing business with right then you know also get referrals to other opportunities and other customers and so we always look at it like you know hey we don’t just want that business we want that referral business to we want to find out who else that they work with we want to for any other opportunity that we can try to capture you know and as long as we’re treating them the way that we want to be treated then we’ll make sure that we’re gathering those you know and we do a fairly good job of of going after you know any opportunity that comes our way with for example if we have a shipment coming in from italy that’s coming into chicago even we may not be physically in check ago right at the moment we have offices in allison in seattle even if we’re not physically in chicago we can make sure that we’re treating that particular customer in chicago you know as great as we possibly can so just so that we can see what else maybe they have maybe they’ve got business that goes from chicago to brazil and that’s an opportunity for us so you know we want to try to pick up those opportunities any anywhere

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
we can

paris_vega:
so customer service again being closely tied to sales because it builds your reputation builds the relationship

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
so you can go deeper into that clients

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
know potential sales but when it

sean_brandenburg:
oh

paris_vega:
comes to referrals to other businesses do you outright ask the current clients like hey is there anybody else who can do business for is there like a intentional way that you have a process you have for asking for referrals

sean_brandenburg:
yeah you know within within a manufacture for our side of the business there’s always internal clients as well as external clients because we may be we may be working with the lid istics manager um and there may be a sales manager that’s in charge of a lot of trade shows and because of that so he might be the guy that’s responsible to move all their trade show boos he might be the guy responsible to get all of the material to that trade show and so he might be somebody that’s contracting with you know another frat forward so you know we would ask for referrals internally first you know do you you know anybody else that’s in charge of freight or logistics within the organization a sales manager may be a purchasing manager sometimes a manufacture the maintenance guy might be in charge of something if you know if a line breaks and all of a sudden they’ve got to get an urgent park in you know is the person that’s in charge of the maintenance does he make the decisions on getting those

paris_vega:
m

sean_brandenburg:
parts through him you know so there’s plenty of opportunities internally within an organization that we would branch out to and you know and we always look again at those referals because if we know that we’re working with that manufacturer and they’re sending business to another company or maybe what they have is they’ve got business that is controlled by another party but comes out of their facility then we would ask for a referal for that business as well so you know again for an example if that person was bringing business in from it ah but they have a customer in brazil but the person in brazil is in charge of the logistics for that for that that lane the guy in chicago may not have any say over who is used

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
but the person in brazil does so we would ask for an opportunity to have the conversation with the person in brazil or an introduction um you know and i do the same thing on the outside i mean i constantly you know refer people that i work with the other people that i work with because you know again this book called referral of a lifetime by

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
bob burg i think is just absolutely brilliant and it’s something that i’ve you know i’ve really tried to do over the course of my career because i think as long as you’re connecting people it comes back to

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
you

paris_vega:
even when talking to you about being on the podcast you immediately were like hey here’s two other people i think you should get on there you know like it was like just a

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
natural part of your conversation

sean_brandenburg:
ah

paris_vega:
just

sean_brandenburg:
yep

paris_vega:
started the book called superconnectors or super connect seems

sean_brandenburg:
hm

paris_vega:
like it’s touching on that same kind of a thing like being the person that helps connect people and refer people together

sean_brandenburg:
right

paris_vega:
interesting

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
okay so the target audience or the target customer i guess for a freight fording company that sounds like it logistic manager is that kind of the role at organizations that your target customer is

sean_brandenburg:
yeah you would call i mean that those titles might be logistics managers and might be the traffic manager it might be the shifting manager the receiving manager again you know we would look at and we would say okay you know salesman ger if he controls you the movement of trade shows m then those people that we talk to sometimes it’s the purchasing managers

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
that make those decisions because they might purchase logistic services same is as some as they might purchase

paris_vega:
yes

sean_brandenburg:
product um you know so there’s there’s many different people that somehow can be you know engaged in that conversation you know even getting down to let’s say the chief financial officer because if a company is going back they’re trying to take a really hard look at how much they spent on transportation then that might be the person that we talk to because we can go in and say look we can save you this amount of money and and maybe we’re not talking about saving money maybe we’re talking about saving them time and

paris_vega:
the

sean_brandenburg:
energy um

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
you know and that

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
is money right

paris_vega:
okay and so the way that you guys helped them save time or money is you’ve got all the relationships you’ve obviously you’ve got all

sean_brandenburg:
yes

paris_vega:
these certifications that you had to go through the trouble of getting

sean_brandenburg:
ah

paris_vega:
and then all the relationships with the freight companies or like the the hauling companies of trucking companies and i guess it does that include all modes of transportation you guys are

sean_brandenburg:
yes

paris_vega:
in

sean_brandenburg:
yes

paris_vega:
touch or have relationships with every form of

sean_brandenburg:
m

paris_vega:
transportation across the whole life cycle of a product

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
getting from one place to another

sean_brandenburg:
yeah yeah i mean it’s whether it’s whether it’s ocean whether it’s air mean we know we contract to the airlines we contract the trucks you know whether it’s you know sometimes it may be something as small as as a cube van because we’re running a hot shot and somebody’s got one palate that they’ve got to send from one place to another right so we might do you know something that small we might do something as large as a full truck load um you know so it just depends

paris_vega:
okay well it’s been really interesting you have time for a few rapid fire questions about some tactics that you may or may not have used all right

sean_brandenburg:
go for it

paris_vega:
so this is kind of an audit about your sales funnel or your marketing final um and we start off with traditional marketing and i’ll just go down the list and you can say yes or no or give more details as we talk about different tactics righ we’ll start off with traditional marketing and different direct marketing tactics face to face meetings cold calls or cold physical mal

sean_brandenburg:
face to face meetings

paris_vega:
okay and you don’t do any cold calling any more because i know you said earlier in your career you did but is that yes

sean_brandenburg:
now i would say we do

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
warm calling yeah no cold calling really we do a lot

paris_vega:
and

sean_brandenburg:
of

paris_vega:
is

sean_brandenburg:
warm

paris_vega:
that

sean_brandenburg:
calling

paris_vega:
through like a referal some kind of introduction

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
yeah yeah like i said i mean you’re on to

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
the rapid fires but again if we have if we’ve got something that’s coming in we have a constant source of leads that are coming to us because their shipments coming in into the country going out of the through with people we may or may not have ever worked with in the past so those are all the warm lads that

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
we have a constant source to late

paris_vega:
okay um different forms of print media newspaper adds magazine adds bulletin boards doesn’t seem like

sean_brandenburg:
now you know and i think in our business

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
now both in boards you know now now like newspaper adds you know media magazines you know there are still a lot of organizations a lot verticals that still

paris_vega:
hm

sean_brandenburg:
use a lot of magazines whether that’s electronic versions or whether it’s still printed some of those are of interest right parmasutcol let’s say pharmasutical journals or something like that or or you may have craft manufacturers

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
ere you know parts manufacturers for aircraft you know advertising for logistic services is certainly a good way to go after and have people see

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
your name

paris_vega:
we’re about different broadcast media like t v radio

sean_brandenburg:
never i’ve never

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
done that any time in

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
my career now

paris_vega:
um sales promotions like loyalty cards or loyalty programs or any kind of it doesn’t make sense for your company on any kind of physical discount cards

sean_brandenburg:
now you know we’ve tried that in the past and it just never seemed to really get anything out of it you know one of the previous companies you know we might we might go and give a customer you know fifty dollar gift

paris_vega:
to

sean_brandenburg:
card for you know for a future shipment and then you know they’re like okay well i just went over like a lead balloon

paris_vega:
because what’s like the average cost of shipping something

sean_brandenburg:
i mean man it just depends

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
on where you’re talking about i mean you know domestically it can you know if i’m shipping a box or if i’m shipping a truck right there’s going to be a vast difference in the price and excuse me internationally

paris_vega:
got

sean_brandenburg:
it’s

paris_vega:
you

sean_brandenburg:
the same way so it’s you know you can’t really

paris_vega:
i

sean_brandenburg:
say

paris_vega:
see

sean_brandenburg:
what that is right

paris_vega:
all right

sean_brandenburg:
yes

paris_vega:
moving on to digital marketing tactics um i saw that you guys have a website o you guys actively put content out there going after your target audience whatever like in a blog or something like that

sean_brandenburg:
now we want to i really want to get more involved with that get more information out especially when you start talking about things like white papers

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
or you know case study um you know we’re just we’re just too

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
small right at the moment to be doing it but you know i would love to be more engaged in doing that when we do use linked in quite a bit we post there

paris_vega:
hm

sean_brandenburg:
quite a bit um you know we try to engage but you know for the most part i don’t think that we’re gaining any new any new business opportunities there i think the only thing that that allows us to do is too to be able to validate some of what we

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
say you know to people that do want to work with us you know it’s not necessarily gaining

paris_vega:
oh

sean_brandenburg:
us any new opportunities

paris_vega:
i think that you guys could be sitting on that an opportunity there with your perspective on the supply chain there’s i know that’s been a hotter topic these past few years so it seems

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
like you’ve got a well of information or some way of pulling together stats or your expertise

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
to kind of feel your

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
content

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
there so you said you use linked in any other social channels facebook youtube instagram tik tok

sean_brandenburg:
uh no you know and probably only because of the fact that you know i’m rarely on facebook i rarely post on facebook um you know i don’t i don’t tweet i will get can’t say i don’t i did and it’s just it was two times consuming as

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
i’m and i’m just too busy so i really cut back on that you know you tube again if we could go back in and get the right content done you know really find something that i think s of value of course youtube having a youtube channel for the company you know would be a great opportunity for us and of course that’s something that you know would then be able to tie you back

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
into our own web page and do that too so i do think that there is value in social media the problem with it is is that when you know i’m the c o the c

paris_vega:
oh

sean_brandenburg:
f o the c o o the janitor and everything else because we’ve got you we’ve got basically ten people in our organization

paris_vega:
wow

sean_brandenburg:
so where engaged in a lot of different things

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
right to

paris_vega:
so on the paid advertising side of things do you do any paid advertising and if you do

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
do you do any advertising like in google search or any of the social channels oh

sean_brandenburg:
now we

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
haven’t

paris_vega:
do you do any paid advertising at all any none

sean_brandenburg:
now

paris_vega:
so it’s just pure

sean_brandenburg:
no

paris_vega:
relationships and following up with referrals yes

sean_brandenburg:
you know and to be honest with you maybe maybe there is there is a

paris_vega:
m

sean_brandenburg:
way for us to do it and you know and i’ll admit

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
i don’t know it right so if it’s if it’s a way for you know a freight forwarder to go out and get it up you know do some paid advertising that’s going to increase our

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
our business and

paris_vega:
gotch

sean_brandenburg:
i’m not aware of it right so it may just be that

paris_vega:
got

sean_brandenburg:
i just

paris_vega:
you

sean_brandenburg:
don’t know

paris_vega:
yeah i guess if there’s like logistics managers or purchase managers if they are actively searching for fraihtforwarders or something like that you probably do a little google research and see how much volume there is for those types of searches just to see if it

sean_brandenburg:
oh

paris_vega:
would be worth throwing some add dollars towards showing up and search for

sean_brandenburg:
right

paris_vega:
those kind of things all

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
right m so okay not doing any advertising right now or posting much content yet on your site so

sean_brandenburg:
so

paris_vega:
that takes some of those other questions off um if you would talk a little bit about the maybe some sales tools if any that you guys use like do you use a cr m or any like other prospecting tools or anything like that

sean_brandenburg:
when yeah when we first when we first started we had just set up

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
hubspot i think it’s you know it’s actually a great tool but one of the new the new e r p system that we’re going we using and we’re switching over to has an internal card

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
built into it and we do like we do like using the built in system because then it’s easy to go back in it there’s an opportunity that is captured it’s just to transition

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
the data um so that’s already there um you know hub spot i do think has a lot of lot of really really great tools that are

paris_vega:
hm

sean_brandenburg:
built into it especially because of the marketing tools that are already

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
built into it as well so i mean free plug

paris_vega:
oh

sean_brandenburg:
for them if anybody he’s looking to you hup spots

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
fantastic but you know again a lot of marketing stuff a lot of doing that i mean that’s something else that we’ve also got to spend

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
some time and energy into into growing and doing um you know we right now we you know we get swag right and we give

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
that out to people so you know that’s one of the things i think that it’s about as far as we’re going with a marketing you know we want to put things

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
in front of people that they actually want you know instead of buying tens

paris_vega:
m

sean_brandenburg:
or we know we’ll end

paris_vega:
m

sean_brandenburg:
up in a inner drawer or in a in a cup you know we try to buy things that people use and they’ll hang on to for a while you know such as a get

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
cooler or sometin like

paris_vega:
i

sean_brandenburg:
that

paris_vega:
just added

sean_brandenburg:
you know

paris_vega:
that to my list i forgot to ask people about that using like swag

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
or business what they call it like i guess business promotional materials like that

sean_brandenburg:
advertising and marketing that’s you know it’s part of what we’re doing in there about promotional materials

paris_vega:
okay uh

sean_brandenburg:
the other thing we do a lot of it like with with doing that as calendars

paris_vega:
m

sean_brandenburg:
and i think because you know

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
there’s there’s these nice three months at a glance sort of wall calendars that we that we like to use and so we we do those and those are things that you know you get your you get your name and your brand in front of somebody for a whole year and people like the fact that they can see a month behind a month ahead in the current month

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
so those calendars always seem to a great success

paris_vega:
wow oh not expect that calendars all right i’m on had that my list to ask people in the future

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
um if it’s not too sensitive

sean_brandenburg:
no

paris_vega:
what er p is it that has the like c r m stuff built into it

sean_brandenburg:
this particular one is is one called

paris_vega:
uh

sean_brandenburg:
cargo wise and it’s one that’s used by i mean is this particular operations platform is one that’s used by a lot of the orders throughout the world so it’s very very it’s been around for a long time and it’s got a lot of son and and honestly one of the things is that’s what’s great about that system is because so many people use it it’s if you have a customer that comes to you from another organization

paris_vega:
oh

sean_brandenburg:
or a competitor and you ended up hiring them then the chances are pretty great they’ve probably used cargo wise at some point of time so it makes the transition

paris_vega:
m

sean_brandenburg:
fairly easy

paris_vega:
okay cool see um you use any like reputation management type sites or like reviews like any ways of collecting testimonies from customers

sean_brandenburg:
no no it’s again it’s something that we want to and should be doing better of but you know we try to do and think about that even through my career we’ve always thought about being very cautious

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
about some of that because you want the testimony but you also want to be sure that you know not going to end up putting you know a thousand other freight for warders on the heels of your one of your better customers right

paris_vega:
is

sean_brandenburg:
so

paris_vega:
it pretty competitive like

sean_brandenburg:
um

paris_vega:
how competitive is the freight forwarding industry

sean_brandenburg:
and there’s thousands thousands of

paris_vega:
to

sean_brandenburg:
us

paris_vega:
me

sean_brandenburg:
so

paris_vega:
you as

sean_brandenburg:
it’s not like that you’re you know a manufacture of something very unique and there’s

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
only you know let’s your r v guy with

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
the boot things right i mean how man people there are out there that make those i don’t know but you know for us you know even in a city like dallas there’s probably i don’t know there’s probably several hundred freight foes

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
you know in some cities like miami and in l a new york there’s a there’s over

paris_vega:
port

sean_brandenburg:
a thousand

paris_vega:
type cities i guess wow

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
so yeah you’re not wanting to give out your client list necessarily in any form have to be kind

sean_brandenburg:
yeah i mean a lot of people do do you know they’ll do the white paper or they’ll do the case studies and they do talk about their customers i think you know for one you’ve got to know you you know know that you know what you’re doing and what you’re providing is something that’s going to be so unique that you can then use that material to gain additional opportunities because there is some risk factor any time that you do that now i may have such a good relationship with my contact that that customer that you know that i’m not really worried about that but at some point in time let’s say my contact leaves and he somewhere else well now that particular customer could be opened up to you know

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
intrusion let’s say by

paris_vega:
yes

sean_brandenburg:
other orders you know it’s going to happen we know that you know we know there’s a limited number of suppliers and there’s a lot of freight flowers around and you know every day of the week there’s somebody in the door trying to get the same business

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
that we’re trying to get

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
that’s why service is so critical to what we do

paris_vega:
oh

sean_brandenburg:
and and i’d say it’s even more so than rates because while everybody wants the best rate they want the best service you know if you if you give them a rate that’s pretty close to what they’re getting and you give them a service that’s that’s ten times better than sometimes you know they might be you know i’ll eat the extra fifty box that’s

paris_vega:
i

sean_brandenburg:
worth because your services you saving

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
me time

paris_vega:
is there anything you would do differently about how you launched this your current business

sean_brandenburg:
uh i don’t know that i would do it differently you know because i think things are going

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
really well you know i think every day there’s probably know one thing here or there that we may know we may do a little differently but you know overall i mean we opened in seattle because i was already there

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
we you know we purposely wanted to set the headquarters up in in in dallas because we wanted to be centrally located in the us you know so the intention was always to do that you know when we did it in the time frame that i think was was right we some of the right people um well not some of the right people we found all of the right people and and you know we look at every person again that we bring on as a team as a partner in the business and all of these people know that they’re that they’re here you know sort

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
of like a start up right they’re going to be here from the beginning and they’re going to move forward with a company as it grows so i think that we’ve i think we’ve done everything the way we should have so far

paris_vega:
and do you think that’s because of your years of experience like going through multiple businesses to where you kind of had the formula just from all the past experiences you’ve had that you kind of knew what you were doing you’ve been in this business before like the specific almost exact business before right

sean_brandenburg:
yeah i mean if you think about the time i’ve been doing this on the commercial side of what i’ve been doing i’ve been doing it for over

paris_vega:
ah

sean_brandenburg:
thirty years now and and you know counting even time i did logistics in the air force which was really being you know contracting some some of those movements out to people like me but you know sort of in the logistics business now for thirty seven years so you know and knowing some of the markets and having been around i mean and knowing a lot of the customers and i can’t say that i that you know i had some insight and weak you had some genius stroke of luck i think that we just happened to be very thoughtful and i spent a lot of time planning and pre planning before we ever opened the door and took

paris_vega:
m

sean_brandenburg:
the first shipment so we were getting the licenses set up ahead of time before we ever actually started moving business i had a lot of time to to pre plan and get everything sort of laid out on a time framing of schedule and win what needed to happen an um and that came from the years of knowledge

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
in the business and knowing how those things had to but it just so happened you know that i had i had time between we signed a contract to start the company in time that we actually started moving freight so there was several months that i you know i could spend all of my days planning for the future

paris_vega:
so how

sean_brandenburg:
of the

paris_vega:
long

sean_brandenburg:
company

paris_vega:
was it it was a couple of months you said or how long was it when you started the company before you got your first customer

sean_brandenburg:
we made the agreement in march of two thousand nineteen that we were going to start central cargo in north america the filings of everything for the business that finally happened on april nineteenth of two some twenty one and we handled the first shipment in august two thousand twenty one so between march and between august was really the pre planning period because it was you know we knew we had to get the business you

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
licenses started and we knew we had to get you know all of the local licenses for washington done we had to get our f mc licenses in place or do t registrations and licenses so all of that stuff was being done before we could ever start moving business in the first place so you know we knew that there was a time frame for all

paris_vega:
so

sean_brandenburg:
those

paris_vega:
anybody

sean_brandenburg:
things to

paris_vega:
listening

sean_brandenburg:
happen

paris_vega:
who’s like oh man they’re killing it they’re not even like pushing hard on the digital marketing side or whatever i’m gonna start my own freight

sean_brandenburg:
oh

paris_vega:
fording business real quick and make middle months ah

sean_brandenburg:
yeah no no no i’m

paris_vega:
oh

sean_brandenburg:
only twenty two years old let me look how bad i look

paris_vega:
yeah yeah so it takes some time to get one of these

sean_brandenburg:
yo

paris_vega:
kinds

sean_brandenburg:
oh

paris_vega:
of businesses started to to be able to do freight forwarding for international multi model shipments

sean_brandenburg:
yeah i mean you know there’s there’s people that start freatforwarding businesses every day that

paris_vega:
yeah

sean_brandenburg:
don’t make it you know and like any business i mean you know it is risky you know it’s it it is a very you know personal heavy type of a business also i mean there’s you know there’s ways as you grow to continue to try to go back in and reduce the amount of labor that you’re pushing into it very early and it is very labor intensive you know as well as costly i mean you have to go back out and to get your federal maritime commission license you’ve got to go back in post bonds

paris_vega:
m

sean_brandenburg:
right i mean in your bonds you have to put post the seventy five

paris_vega:
well

sean_brandenburg:
thousand dollar bond um you know you’re dot you’ve got to have a fifty thousand dollar you know these things all cost money

paris_vega:
that’s just as you have to

sean_brandenburg:
you

paris_vega:
put

sean_brandenburg:
know

paris_vega:
up

sean_brandenburg:
and those are no you go

paris_vega:
okay

sean_brandenburg:
through a bond company right but you still got to pay the bond company

paris_vega:
change

sean_brandenburg:
a certain amount of money and even still those are those are things that you’re that you’re paying out before you’re ever moving

paris_vega:
right

sean_brandenburg:
anything you know and then you got to have cargo insurance you got all of

paris_vega:
wow

sean_brandenburg:
these things so there is a lot of licenses and a lot of fees that you have to have in place and costly maintain

paris_vega:
awesome

sean_brandenburg:
yes

paris_vega:
well let’s say that one of your target

sean_brandenburg:
yes

paris_vega:
customers is listening right now logistic manager purchasing manage or whatever once you give him a quick

sean_brandenburg:
oh

paris_vega:
little pitch on your business and we’ll close out the show with that and you can tell them how to contact you guys or kind of that quick sales pitch to your target customer

sean_brandenburg:
yeah the thing you know when we go back in and we look at what we’re talking about always is you know you want somebody that that will treat you with fairness to treat you with respect and the look out for your best end is you know one of the things we always say again is you’ll love what we do so we try to mitigate that risk we want that best user experience from the first moment forward we don’t want to have to put anyone in a position to where they feel like they are re taking a risk by using someone like us we want to be able to insure that they know that we’re going to be the one that’s going to be looking up for them i make them look um you know and we always say i don’t want i don’t want to make you look good i want you you know i want to make your customer look to m you know so we want to make sure and we want to sure that everybody loves what we do throughout the entire process and in order to get hold of us we do we do business again all fifty states we do we do business world wide we do we do and border air ocean full truck load partial truck loads l t l hot shots we do it all you know you can contract contact us at info at ral cargo dash north america dot com and website w w w dot central cargo dash north america

paris_vega:
awesome

sean_brandenburg:
dot com

paris_vega:
and we also have those links in the show notes thanks everybody listening shawl

sean_brandenburg:
oh

paris_vega:
and thanks you for being on the show

sean_brandenburg:
yeah

paris_vega:
oh

sean_brandenburg:
thank you buddy


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