Luis Lopez is an entrepreneur and business leader working in the third-party logistics industry. He is the chairman of the Go Hub Holding Group and the CEO and Founder of Freight Hub Group, a leading logistics company operating in the South Florida area. The company was recently ranked by Inc 5000 Magazine as one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S.
The entrepreneur’s expertise in logistics and business draws heavily on his formative years growing up playing golf and connecting with professionals through that sport. As a result of the networks he formed at his golf club, the future CEO was able to get a job at a local logistics company where he was exposed firsthand to the many intricacies of the industry. He took a particular interest in the ways in which hazardous materials were shipped and stored, feeling there were improvements to be made in the field.
The logistics professional eventually set out on his first business venture, DGD Transport, as a result of that interest. That company made a name for itself, in part, by serving the needs of clients around the Miami area who had a need for an updated approach to handling hazardous materials. One of the calling cards of the business was its same-day hazmat services, which helped it build an extensive roster of clients.
After his work building DGD Transport, Luis Lopez went on to create Freight Hub Group. The company offers a variety of third-party logistics services including drayage, full truckload shipping, last-mile shipping, and a range of storage options. The entrepreneur created the company with an eye towards flexibility and agility, with the goal of creating an “Uber-like” experience for his customers.
The company is powered by TruckHub, its in-house digital platform designed to help customers manage and track their shipping and storage operations on-demand. With the platform, customers can access realtime data analytics that show delivery status, shipment location, pickup times, and more. The platform also allows drivers and other on-the-ground professionals to update shipment data to keep clients appraised of changes to the status of their shipments as they evolve over time.
Where did the idea for Freight Hub Group come from?
I started my business after 6 months of college in 2004, I worked for a local Hazmat Company in Miami, for almost a year, went on my own shortly after. I knocked on over 2500 doors the first 6 months of business in the Doral Area which is the cargo hub of Miami. I passed out business cards and met with as many people as I could. I tried to build strong relationships that first year. Over a period of 3-4 years I realized that while I loved Hazmat Compliance there was no way for me to really grow revenue doing Hazmat Compliance only. I also saw the need from the same customers I was servicing on Hazmat Compliance, local transportation, customs brokerage, local container drayage and warehousing specifically bonded and temperature controlled. Over the next 5-7 years I added 1 or 2 verticals to the business all very niche and catering to my core customer base. By 2015 we had a complete domestic logistics 3PL company.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day starts at 5 am I try to go see my trainer for 1 hour and then get to the office by 7 am. I enjoy being on my computer 12-14 hours. I like to build process’ and work on my inefficiencies with my staff. I always take notes when I find flaws and I try to work on customer escalation issues. I do not like to micromanage my team. I believe its vital to support them and when they make a mistake talk to them about it but not detour them from being independent and making their own decisions. Its crucial to work as a team one person isn’t a company. I try to work with each department daily on our core principals.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The ideas I bring to life are mostly manual outdated process’ that I feel are setting us back as a company or as a department. I always look at ways to gain efficiency in the tasks we are doing. Transportation and Logistics is super cutthroat, very hard to make a margin and requires little room for error. So, it’s vital that you have a good team, you have a good system and you’re working in unison to complete tasks.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Transportation Technology I feel is a big topic of conversation and where I am 100% committed to improving daily. Logistics is a manual and outdated industry. Most would say cottage based 20 years behind most if not all other industries. There is no better feeling than automating tasks that are redundant and easy for programming to make efficient.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am a bit OCD and very organized. I like to be able to find things quickly and I do not like a mess. I try to digitize all my documents. I also always like to finish a task. I do not like procrastinating on tasks I always finish tasks. I also like to have a outline done on Trello of all my tasks to make sure that I finish them and I don’t miss tasks.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Have more empathy.
What is empathy? The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. I think this is the most important trait of a leader. One that has taken me many years to understand and I probably would tell you is my greatest weakness. Its hard when you have many people who you employ to have empathy for all your staff, but the reality is its important to have this. It will make you a great leader and allow you to lead. It’s important to have control with your staff but for you as a leader to also be able to walk in your employee’s shoes. Know what challenges they are facing and how you can make them feel like you truly care about them.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I think self-driving trucks are not happening anytime soon. I can talk about this for hours. Self-driving trucks to me are not happening within the next 15 years. I will tell you that in transportation the driver is the most important. How can you expect for millions of dollars in cargo to be unattended? I do not think the insurance carriers will allow this. I also think that 5G infrastructure with no latency is far from reality. For a truck carrying 44000 lbs. of cargo to stop quickly due to a road issue at 75 MPH you must have no latency with the internet. Also, what about when you get to a warehouse that has 80 dock doors and you need to park in door 21? The warehouses would need to be smart warehouses with software on the doors, this cost allot of money and to mandate would be impossible.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I am very organized; I constantly stay organized and I never really allow for myself to get unorganized and lose control. This starts with emails. I do not like for emails to get compiled. I think when dealing in a service based business its crucial to answer emails very quickly and be very responsive. I don’t think its important to be the cheapest or the best, but I think its important to be super responsive.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Not to put my eggs in one basket, its important to be diversified. Our company currently offers Hazmat Compliance, Local Deliveries, Container Drayage, Full Truck Load Nationwide, Warehousing and Distribution, Customs Brokerage and Crating.
If I would be a one service company, I think it’s doesn’t let you have verticals when there is a downturn. I think its super critical to have verticals but keep them very niche.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Closed down my office in Inglewood California. I learned that I need the right people I can’t do it alone. I was really depressed. I look at everyday as failure is not an option, I tell myself I know I am not smartest person in the room, but I know I can be the hardest working. I think effort and hard work are the key to a successful entrepreneur. I don’t know anyone running a solid business that isn’t a hard worker.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Innovate and do not stop innovating if your making money invest it back in your business or your business will die. I also think its super important to find a niche in any business sector and stick to that. Example I do domestic trucking, but the barrier of entry is very easy, so as I grew my domestic trucking business I focused on things that not everyone wants to handle, temperature controlled products, hazmat and special equipment.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
New Wireless Keyboard by Logitech for my home office. I enjoy working from home from time to time and getting caught up with tasks that require my focus and attention to detail. My home office is super important to my success as it allows me to work on things quietly and with no interruptions. I like buying the best equipment for my business, I think that its important to have the best of the best to succeed.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
www.mytruckhub.com. Truck Hub is a online Transportation Management System that handles 3 modes of domestic transport. LTL, FTL and FCL. The system allows a carrier to manage their entire back office start to finish. Its crucial for small and large carriers to know where their trucks are always. Its also super important to provide customers real time tracking. Truck Hub does all the above with a really friendly user experience.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
I think building solid fundamentals and habits is the core foundation of a successful business owner. This book will be your foundation to a successful run. I like to read it once a year at least I always find additional concepts and quotes that help me.
What is your favorite quote?
Unknown: “Remember why you started.”
- Hard work pays off.
- Have empathy for your employees.
- There is no such thing as easy money.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.