Imroj Singh dropped out of UCLA, a move that would hinder the progress of many people, but for him opened up new doors of opportunity to work with his father. Together they’ve grown Golden Mile Enterprises into a hugely successful trucking and transportation services company located in Fontana, California. The elder Singh worked for years in a liquor store in Rosemead, CA before finally setting out for himself as a truck driver. In 2015, he started Golden Mile while his son was still in high school. When Imroj went to UCLA, he needed a job to help pay his bills. He worked at a couple of fast food restaurants, but he wanted a bit more of a challenge.
He began working at a trucking company as a dispatcher, and his experience there led him to try out working with his father. Things went so well that he committed himself full time to the Golden Mile and became the Director of Operations. It started with just a couple trucks owned by his dad, but in a few short years they’ve grown the business to a fleet of over 100 modern vehicles that provide pick-ups, deliveries, and transport of freight across the lower 48 states. They are busy building a new terminal in Indianapolis, Indiana, with further terminals planned for locations in New Jersey and Texas. With his father’s help and collaboration, Imroj has come a long, long way to success in a very short time.
How did you get started in your industry?
When I was in college, I needed a part-time job. I used to work at McDonald’s and Carls Jr. when I was going to UCLA, but I wanted to try something new and more challenging. I started working at this Fontana-based trucking company called Cargo Solutions Express. My original goal was just to work part-time to pay my expenses, but my experiences there led me to leave school and give my full time to this industry. I saw so much potential for growth. Since my dad was in the industry already, we would always share ideas about what he was doing while out on the road, and I’d tell him the things I was going through in the office. Those conversations led to us start a company together.
How do you make money in your field?
Any person that needs any sort of product or equipment or vehicles, we are available to do that. We try to focus on customers that have freight for the whole year, like Costco, Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, so we can build up a high-volume capacity.
How long did it take for you to become profitable? When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I definitely doubted myself. When my dad and I started the company, he only had two trucks. We made a few decisions early on with how we were invoicing that didn’t work out, and doubt really set in. But over time we figured our way around that and started invoicing so the money would come in on a regular and timely basis. Everything has been going well ever since, and we’ve kept rolling.
Do you remember how you got your first customer?
It was through a broker we were working with that retired and he gave us that account. We still have that account to this day.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
When we were new, there were prerequisites for certain customers that you need 50 trucks or 100 trucks or some other quantity of scale to do their business. We’re at the point now with the size of our company where we can approach customers ourselves. We put the best image of the company we can and take the recruitment of new business straight to the customer.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in your professional life?
Letting someone go is the toughest thing to do in this job. That responsibility is on my shoulders and it is the one part of my job that I do not like. We bring people onboard and sometimes they’re too young and inexperienced, just like I was a few years ago. We try to make them understand and give them many chances to correct mistakes. The people who are not willing to learn or are not meant for this industry we have to let go. It’s a hard thing for me to do though.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
It’s my work ethic. We have some friends here that do own businesses, but they do not like to spend the time at their workplace like we do. Some people have that idea that they can show up late to work and come home early and the business will operate well. But that’s where they are making a mistake. You have to get involved with the people who are working for you. If you’re not there, they’ll start making mistakes and not running the business how you would want them to.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The day we added the 100th vehicle to our fleet was very satisfying for us. That was the moment we realized that all of the hard work and discipline we’d been putting into the business had created success, and in just a few years. We definitely celebrated that day.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I want the company to keep growing and try to bring people who have the same mindset that we do. So far most of the people we have on board are on the same page and they are here for the long term. We need more of that and I’m excited to help build the company around them.
What business books have inspired you?
I’ve not read that many business books to inspire me with my business, but the thing that inspires me is seeing how fellow professionals in the industry get past their mistakes. There’s a website called Freight Waves that we follow that really provides a lot of interesting reading about the industry. I read it every day.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I’ve made some bad decisions in life, decisions I can’t blame anyone else for but myself. If you want to stay successful, stay out of trouble and don’t cast blame. It’s you. And you have to put in the work on your mindset to stay focused on success. Pay attention to the right people. Ignore those who don’t have your best interests at heart.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
I’m still learning myself, so I am not sure I’d be the best mentor just yet. I want more experience in my industry before I feel like I have what it takes to influence young people.