The great news is that the secret is out: Routes can be obtained for free.
There’s some caveats of course, but let’s get you up to speed. There’s been some recent stirring about routes that are available for free by going to the site BuildaGroundBiz.com. All you need to do is provide an RFI (Request for Information), which is the term FedEx uses for describing a business plan. Inside the RFI should contain a lot of information on how you’ll manage the business, adhere to FedEx protocols, and describe your management policies.
As an example, many people that haven’t been FedEx contractors don’t know the specifics on how to precisely manage a route bundle consisting of 5 Home Delivery routes with 8 Ground routes that have partially overlapping territory. Detailing plans on how to handle efficient flexing, overflow management, disaster contingencies, and proper scanner usage, is just not something anyone knows how to do unless they’re already FedEx contractors.
So what the solution? Buying a previously accepted and FedEx approved RFI, right?
Well, I’ve been getting multiple offers to be paid for helping generate an RFI in the hopes that people are going to get free routes. Maybe I’m leaving money on the table, but I refuse to sell this service. Why? Because you’re spending a lot of money for a very expensive lotto ticket. Is there a chance that you’ll get a free route with no prior experience with FedEx? Sure. Also, it’s important to note I said, prior experience with FedEx specifically. Meaning, prior experience buying and selling 50 companies doesn’t count to a terminal manager looking to have operations work smoothly ON DAY ONE of you being there. The terminal manager doesn’t have time, nor should he, to sit down and train you on how this monstrous billion dollar machine called FedEx operates. Customers are going to get their packages today, not tomorrow, or some day in the future when an inexperienced contractor figures things out.
Now, the article title here talked about how to get free FedEx routes, and that they were free. So isn’t it possible to get a route directly from FedEx? Sure. FedEx puts those free routes out there on Build a Ground Biz for anyone to be able to bid on them so they’re publicly accessible. This process is furthering the appearance of the contractor, and not an employee, classification with FedEx. After they post them publicly, FedEx then proceeds to award them to an established / known contractor.
The clients of mine that have become contractors have often been awarded free routes.
I’ve got lots of stories about people gaining free routes. Also, it’s important to note that 100% of people that were getting free Home Delivery and Ground routes were already contractors.
It’s not like everyone that just dropped a million bucks for a route business just forgot about the secret backdoor into FedEx because they forgot to google “get fedex routes for free” or something like that. Also, if routes could be gotten for free, I’d jump all over that because my training fees are paid regardless of the source you have for routes. I could very easily advertise, “Get free routes. We will provide the RFI! Buy the service now!” Why don’t I do that? Because I started this service to actually help people, not solely to make a dollar.
I probably made more money owning routes than providing this service. But there’s some massive intrinsic rewards for me (and you) here. Meaning that, if I can help you find a profitable business and it changes your life for the better – fantastic. If I can help you avoid a terrible route (or even this entire industry), and it helps keep your life from spiraling into disarray – fantastic. Either way, the goal is that things should end up fantastic when we work together.
So the good news is routes are free, and when you’re in the FedEx world, you have these massively lucky events that can produce you getting additional routes for free.
Remember though that most contractors in the terminal will also be bidding on the routes that have been listed as available directly from FedEx.
So getting routes isn’t easy, even when you’re a contractor.
It’s going to go to a contractor that already has a well-run organization. That’s news to a lot of people since many people believe that all FedEx routes are already run perfectly because there’s a manager in place – what else is there to do? Lots. But dealing with your requirements as a contractor that’s going to be successful, is another story and post altogether. However, it does lead into the question on why do routes become available directly from FedEx to begin with?
Because people fail in this business…Plain and simple.
When failure occurs, there’s a lot of different flavors of failure at FedEx, but mostly it’s from the people that are insanely cash strapped in the business and/or simply negligent. But weren’t FedEx routes supposed to be absentee? They can be…and they can also fail. The sugar coated term for this event is called an OTC, also known as an “Opportunity to Cure.” For simplicity, we’re going to talk about only one type of failure, which is where the business doesn’t get its contract renewed.
As an aside, you DO know how to determine if that profitable FedEx business you’re about to buy is going to get its contract renewed or not by looking at certain critical attributes in the settlements, right? It’s easy if you know FedEx, impossible if you don’t. This is why the banks blacklisted routes years ago – they sometimes could successfully tell if the profitability was there, which they verified with their generic business advisors, but they didn’t know what was coming up in the new contracts from FedEx and their seemingly “low risk loans” turned into catastrophic losses.
Not to sound all doom and gloom here, because there’s a ton of fantastic routes out there, and when you know precisely how FedEx works, you can much more easily tell a tremendous amount of info on the routes you’re looking at acquiring to lower (not eliminate) your risk dramatically.
Let’s get back to the concept of failing. Often times, I blame the contractor, as it was their operation and it failed. However, sometimes the routes themselves are to blame. This is insanely important, because if the routes are inherently crippled for a variety of reasons and simply don’t make the money due to the way an ISP contract was negotiated or whatever, there’s NO amount of good management techniques, or even due diligence training that will get you out of the hole.
The reason why is because we must remember that we don’t own our own business fully, instead we own a contractual relationship with FedEx. That means that even if you figured a way to charge more to clients, or use a Tesla to save on fuel costs to deliver long distance routes, it doesn’t matter, because none of that stuff is allowed.
The methodologies, protocols, and procedures at FedEx is a double edged sword. On one side, you don’t need logistics experience to be successful.
Many people come from totally unrelated backgrounds in real estate, finance, and high tech and are very successful contractors.
If you can learn, have some risk tolerance, already have experience with general business endeavors, and not afraid of expending effort, then you’re off to a great start to be successful. And realistically, anyone that says you can be successful without those things, may not have your best interest at heart.
Simply follow the FedEx process, and you’re most of the way there.
The down side is that when that established process doesn’t work with your routes specifically then you’re screwed. FedEx doesn’t intentionally ever do this – contractors are the backbone of their whole business and they want everyone to be profitable so they can continue to grow their dominance in this industry. But sometimes, rare situations can affect the business, as maybe you have a huge labor storage, or the negotiated ISP contract didn’t account properly for the cost of living in your area, or the territories have unique potentially negative attributes (eg. they go to malls, which are closing down in America), and so on.
What this means is that if a route isn’t making any money and it’s literally unprofitable (as opposed to simply low profitability) people will walk away from their routes. Why would anyway keep working for FedEx if it wasn’t profitable? They wouldn’t. So they walk away. And guess what…
Another post for free routes hits the Build a Ground Biz site!
But do you really want that unprofitable or ultra-low profit route? No.
Can someone without FedEx experience tell the difference between the good routes that were simply run into the ground by an absentee owner vs a bad route altogether that was aptly abandoned? No.
But really though, it’s worth the risk to take a “terrible” route, as realistically, terrible routes are very rare. So best case is that it’s a poorly run, but good route overall. But consider then, is FedEx going to give a poorly managed route to someone with no FedEx experience? Probably not. It’s going to an established contractor that they already love working with.
Now, I’m sure you know there’s risk in every business endeavor, and maybe you want to spend some time applying for free routes. That’s great and maybe you’ll be the first story that I can begin to tell others that it finally happened. But even if you do get it, keep in mind to consider what the contractors know about those routes that made them all want to pass on applying for it in the first place…
That said, there’s tons of realistic good news here:
- The brokers and sellers aren’t out to screw you over selling you a business that you could have gotten for free.
- When you’re in the terminal and establish yourself as smart and dedicated, you CAN get free routes (which are usually the failed contractor’s routes that don’t get proper due diligence training).
- Also, there’s a ton of great routes out there, and it’s fairly easy to spot them when you know precisely how to tell the difference between the route bundles.
- Finally, it’s true that most of the sellers wanting to sell are not conveying to you the risk and work you’re going to encounter. But comparatively speaking to many other businesses, FedEx is still one of the most rewarding companies to work with.
Anyway, I hope this sheds some extra light on some of the stuff that’s getting passed around out there. As always, if you’d like to go through some training on how to deeply evaluate FedEx routes efficiently, I’d love to help train you.