With the imminent threat of trade wars, uncertainty around trade tariffs and increase of disruptive technology, freight forwarding is a gradually becoming a cause for big concern for business owners. Freight and logistics are intimately related in the transportation industry.

Freight services involve moving freight by plane, ship, train, or truck, while logistics involves the coordination of freight’s movements, from warehousing to distribution across locations. Logistics companies provide freight services, but a freight company may not offer logistics.

Starting a freight forwarding business involves enormous overhead costs which you will have to consider when putting together your business plan and you might even have to consider applying for a business loan. Coupled with licensing fees and insurance costs, anyone looking to start a freight forwarding business will need to either purchase or rent a shipping warehouse for receiving, storing and shipping freight.

Also note that you might need to hire personnel to help with loading and unloading, as well as purchasing workers compensation insurance and, depending on where your business is located, disability insurance in case one of your employees is injured on the job. You will also be expected to invest in freight loading equipment such as forklifts, in addition to the more standard equipment needed to run an office.

North America logistics industry is renowned as one of the major markets with extensive supply chain network across all the states of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The logistics and transportation industry in the US is highly competitive and is positioned to remain so.

Domestic and international companies in this industry benefit from a highly skilled workforce and relatively low costs. The industry has been known to support a wide range of sectors with excellent transportation and storage solutions.

When looking to start this business, note that some jurisdictions impose strict regulations that you need to adhere to in order to broker freight forwarding services. In the US, a surety bond needs to be purchased, as well as adhering to regulatory and legal framework.

Also when trading across multiple countries, it’s very pertinent to ensure you are compliant in all of those markets, and it might be advisable to join or seek advice from a membership body or organization to increase your credibility.

Also note that reputation is very critical for freight forwarders, and losing this can be very deadly to business income and profitability. Ensuring a freight forwarding business adheres to regulation around licenses, insurance and laws is very crucial and still remains a good way to maintain reputation and stand out in a competitive market.

As an alternative to starting a freight forwarding business from the ground up, you might consider acquiring a freight forwarding business that’s already established in order to save time and a significant amount of work.

Note that there are some large freight forwarding companies, such as Central Courier and Pak mail, who offer franchising opportunities that include training, equipment and resources to help you avoid the implications that come with starting from the scratch.

If you’re considering a franchise as a route into this industry, one that offers reputation and a successful business model, below are top freight forwarding franchises in the United States to note and consider;

18 Freight Forwarding Franchise Opportunities and Their Cost

  1. Uzel

Uzel is renowned as an easy IT-platform and a mobile application for searching for a cargo carrier. The company helps to implement office or home moving, and also to carry construction, cargo, agricultural goods, and even cars. Note that this service is entirely free for customers; as they only need to pay for the cargo carrier service. Just place an order – and immediately get a response, save time and money and get an excellent service.

Financial Requirements

  • Franchise fee: $6,260
  • Total initial investment: $5,320
  1. Central Courier

Central Courier remains one of the biggest freight and logistics services companies in the United States of America. Established in 1999, Central Courier have been franchising since 2009, and boasts of having relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover franchise fee, start-up costs, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, and payroll.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial Investment: $29,500 – $149,750
  • Franchise Fee: $15,000 – $15,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 6%
  1. Sunshine Logistics/Sunshine Moving

Sunshine Logistics and Sunshine Moving for many years have offered small and large freight moving services. From a single item on a pallet to an entire house, Sunshine offers a variety of transportation services.

Financial Requirements

  • Total initial Investment: $152,000 – $224,000
  1. Pak Mail Centers of America, Inc.

For 30 years, this freight company has nurtured and remained the world’s premier packing, shipping, crating, and freight franchise for commercial and residential customers. Boosting of over 350 stores worldwide, Pak Mail maintains its space as the one-stop source for domestic, international and freight shipping, including services for furniture, art and antiques, heavy machinery and more.

Financial Requirements

  • Franchise fee: $30,000
  • Total initial Investment: $152,000 – $180,000
  1. Packaging Store

There are more than 300 PostalAnnex+ locations across the U.S. providing interested customers with the vast choice of shipping via FedEx, UPS, DHL, and USPS. Additional services are private mailbox rental, shipping and mailing supplies, large freight shipping, notary public services, copying and printing, faxing, key duplicating, passport photos, digital fingerprinting, and other business services. PostalAnnex+ is one of seven brands in the Franchise Family of San Diego-based Annex Brands, Inc.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial investment: $139,000
  • Total Initial Investment: $164,000 – $244,000
  1. PACK & SEND

This company offers a wide range of freight, courier, packing and removals services operating through a national retail network. They are renowned for managing courier, packaging and freight services for businesses of all sizes, as well as householders and tourists. This company was established in 2008 and is based in Christchurch, New Zealand, and has grown ever since to offer franchise opportunities with a sound and successful business model.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial investment: $210,000
  1. Nexterus

This company provides analytics and optimization, forecasting, sourcing, vendor and order management, warehouse operations, site and software selection, packaging optimization, reverse logistics, and other services to small and mid-sized companies. Established in Baltimore in 1946, Nexterus has grown to also offer franchise opportunities. Nexterus franchisees make use of their proprietary technologies to take the headache out of supply chain business ownership.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial Investment: $77,800 – $154,300
  • Liquid Cash Requirement: $200,000
  • Franchise Fee: $35,000 – $90,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee: 105%
  • Ad Royalty Fee: to 5%
  1. Navis Pack and Ship Centers

Navis Pack and Ship Centers is a too logistics company that handles F.L.A.V. – Fragile, large, awkward, or valuable items. Note that moving specialty items involves more than just a glorified postal centre and represents a growing and lucrative niche in the multi-billion dollar shipping and logistics industry. Irrespective of the present economic condition, the demand for shipping F.L.A.V. continues to increase as typical postal centres are unable to fulfill specialty shipping needs. Navis Pack & Ship meets specialty shipping and logistics needs in ways no other company can, offering very crucial services that are not available from mail and parcel centres, traditional shipping companies or local movers.

Financial Requirements

  • Total Cash Requirement: $100,000
  • Franchise Fees: $50,00
  1. InXpress

InXpress franchisees are best known as resellers of shipping and freight services to small and medium-sized businesses at greatly subsidized rates normally reserved for Fortune 1000 companies. Owing to the collective buying power of the InXpress model, it creates a unique and measurable savings for the customer and recurring revenue opportunities for the franchisee without ever handling a package or making a delivery.

Financial Requirements

  • Liquid Cash Requirement: $25,000
  • Net Worth Required: $150,000
  • Franchise Fee: $50,000
  • Training Fee: $5,000
  • Marketing Fee: $10,000
  • Total Initial Investment: $85,600 – $169,990
  1. Unishippers Global Logistics

Established in 1987, this company has maintained its pace as one of the largest reseller of complete shipping services in the country – boasting of over 50,000 customers, close to 300 franchise locations, and a reverberating history of helping entrepreneurs build their dreams in an industry that never goes out of style. Unishippers Global Logistics offers small to medium-sized businesses with a complete line of express, ground, freight, and international shipping options at very good rates, and with a level of customer service that firms of their size would not be able to receive on their own.

Financial Requirements

  • Liquid Cash Requirement: $50,000
  • Total Initial Investment: $50,00 – $75,000
  • Franchise Fees: $50,000
  1. United Charis Transport LLC

United Charis Transport LLC is a well known logistics, shipping and storage company in the United States that provides refrigerated, dry delivery and warehousing of goods. This huge industry player also offer warehousing services for furniture and provide pallet wrapping, sorting, packing, reloading and more. With a proven turnkey system with an already full – service staff support and fees charged for shipping and transport based on weight, distance shipped and dimensions of shipped items, United Charis offers a reputable franchise to consider when looking to venture in the logistics and freight industry.

Financial Requirements

  • Liquid Cash Requirement: $65,000
  • Net worth required: $990,000
  • Initial Investment: $15,000 – $17,000
  • Franchise fee: $15,000
  1. World Options

This renowned company offers first class, excellent logistics and parcel delivery service for businesses in the United States. As a proud authorized reseller for UPS, they are able to provide customers special UPS rates through their online shipping portal. As a franchisee with World Options, the more parcels your business customer ships through the online portal, the more you earn. It’s that simple.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial Investment: $50,000
  • Franchise Fees: $42,000
  1. Craters & Freighters

This company is known all over the United States as a specialty packing and freight-handling company. Established in 1990, Craters has continued to offer specialty freight-handling services for heavy, oversized, awkward and valuable items. Currently, Craters and Freighters are seeking new franchise units from interested investors from all across the United States of America and in the following regions/states: Australia/New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, and Western Europe.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial Investment: $88,600 – $140,000
  • Net worth required: $150,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement: $100,000
  • Franchise Fee: $15,000 – $35,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee: 5%
  • Ad Royalty Fee: 1%
  1. Our Town America

This company is better known as one of the topmost freight and logistics companies in the United States of America. In more than 30 years, this company has been offering new movers with traditional hospitality by mailing warm gifts from neighbourhood businesses in a premium gift package. Note that a good number of satisfied business owners throughout the United States attest to the success and effectiveness of their program, while dozens of locally owned Our Town offices shows the success of their business model.

Financial Requirements

  • Total Cash Investment: $50,000
  • Investment Range: $50,000 – $50,000
  • Franchise Fees: $50,000
  1. AIT Freight Systems

AIT Worldwide Logistics, Inc. offers a Freight Systems that delivers tailored transportation solutions for unique delivery service requirements of individual customers. The company also offers its customers a wide range of value-added services including; custom-built IT solutions, flexible worldwide service offerings by ground, air, ocean and rail, and an extensive global network. They also offer air services, which include same day/next flight out, next day, second day, and air charter; and value-added services such as inside delivery and pickup, door-to-door delivery, SOP preparation and implementation, and white glove, as well as vertical market expertise, including government, home delivery, perishables, life sciences, and retail logistics.

Financial Requirements

  • Liquid Cash Requirement: $25,000
  • Net worth required: $46,000
  • Initial Investment: $46,000
  • Franchise fee: $13,000
  1. BlueGrace Logistics

This company is well known as a third-party logistics provider of freight shipping services. Bobby Harris established this company in 2007 and created BlueShip, a web-based TMS (Transportation Management System,) to help companies streamline their supply-chain management process. Franchising began in 2011 and this company has remained one of the fastest-growing third-party transportation and logistics providers in a booming industry.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial Investment: $39,500 – $181,250
  • Net worth required: $100,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement: $100,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee: $22,000 – $82,500
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee: 15-19%
  • Ad Royalty Fee: 2%
  1. Intercargo

Intercargo is best known as a company that handles imports and exports of cargo on a global basis. They boast of having access to reliable and punctual agent network to carry out and assist with all types of shipments by air, road, sea or rail. Be it shipping documents, boxed parcels, pallets, vehicles, heavy machinery, large packages, containers, part loads or have regular requirements for full or part charters, Intercargo boost of having the capacity to cater to those needs.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial Investment: $50,000 to $150,000
  • Franchise fee: $30,000
  1. Safe Ship

A logistics company that offers packing, shipping, freight, office supplies and notary services, Safe Ship has remained in the forefront of the freight industry. The first Safe Ship store was established in Ormond Beach, Florida, in 1988. Coupled with packing, domestic and international shipping services, the stores offer mailing supplies, office supplies, mailbox rentals, notary services, fax services, copying, business services and specialty crating. Safe Ship is also a certified U.S. Post Service Approved Shipper, FedEx Authorized Ship Center, DHL Authorized Shipping Center, and Truck Freight Hub, all in one convenient location.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial Investment: $54,900 to $153,900
  • Net-worth Requirement: $75,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement: $55,000
  • Franchise Fee: $19,900

Note that a good freight forwarder will possess a strong network of clients, carriers, shippers and transport companies, as well as the ability to negotiate and know the way partners in the network work together. Only a well researched franchise can offer all these impeccable attributes in one, but it’s advisable you perform your due diligence before investing in any of the above mentioned franchise opportunities.