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Freight Tec News

5 Things Freight Agents Should Do to Make 2016 the Best Year Yet [Infographic]

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If 2015 wasn’t what you expected, then it’s time to look at your business and see where to do better. Even if you had a good year, you should still examine all of your policies and vendors to make sure you’re getting the most out of your investments. Make 2016 a banner year when you consider these five things that Freight-Tec offers to ensure your success, and see why we are considered the best freight broker.

  1. Choose a broker that won’t compete with you. We don’t have internal agents who could undercut you. Even better, it’s guaranteed in writing.
  2. Don’t worry about losing the business you’ve already earned. We won’t steal your customers, because the only new business we get is from you. We don’t bite the hand that feeds.
  3. Cover your risks as an agent and reduce your stress. Let a broker back up your business with insurance and bonds that protect you and your clients.
  4. Don’t sign a non-compete contract and have your hands tied. Agents who work with us don’t have binding contracts to prevent them from acting in their own best interest.
  5. Get comprehensive back office support. We have more than 30 years of experience in the industry and we provide our expertise and support to every agent who works with us. Instead of worrying about overhead, you can grow your business because you have the time to focus on it.

If you’ve ever said to yourself that there has to be a better way of doing business, check out Freight-Tec and see how we do it. We work hard to make sure that our agents are successful, because your success is the only way to our success. Our goal is to ensure that each agent has the support he or she requires to get the job done well. We make sure the agents who bring us business get commission splits well above average, up to 70 percent going to the agent in some instances.

Make a Better Choice

From back office support to insurance and bonding, we have better solutions for independent freight agents. If you’re tired of working with brokers who use your expertise for cheap labor, ask us about our agent program. With our payment options, reliable service, and non-compete contract, you are sure to recognize the benefits we offer to experienced agents who are hard working. NASTC recognizes us as a “Best Broker.” Inc. Magazine named our company as one of its Top 100 Brokers. We’re also approved by the U.S. Military. With credentials like that, you can be confident that we’ll treat you right. There’s a reason we are known as the best freight broker in the industry. Call us to learn more today (800) 296-0670.

Things Carriers Should Know: Load Coverage and Getting Paid

 

 

Over the years, the government has placed restrictions on drivers to keep the roads safe. It’s easy to think that the only thing our legislators care about is the other person, but they also consider protecting drivers against unethical brokers. In the Motor Carrier Protection Act of 2010, Congress passed laws which related to the trucking industry.

What Is the Motor Carrier Act?

The new rules that have been going into effect since the bill was passed are designed to protect truckers. The industry was rife with brokers who didn’t pay on time, or even filed bankruptcy before making payments to carriers. One major change of the Act was to increase the surety bond from $10,000 to $75,000. It also:

  • Increased penalties for brokers who operate without a license
  • Created licensing requirements for brokers that must be renewed annually
  • Created guidelines for the companies that provide bonds to brokers
  • Established clarity in the industry, concerning who must have the broker’s license and bonds when arranging freight

What Does This Mean for Carriers?

Carriers have more protection when taking a load. Freight Tec takes this law seriously and maintains a $100,000 bond and ensures that its carriers get paid for each load in a timely fashion. We carried this bond amount before it was required to demonstrate the creditworthiness of our company. You can depend on quick payment from us.

Working With a Legitimate Broker

Even with the Motor Carrier Act, there are still brokers who try to take advantage of carriers. Inbound Logistics, providing industry information since 1981, still advises that carriers know the broker who they are using. Ask these questions before signing with a broker:

  1. Is the broker registered with the proper authorities? Freight Tec maintains all applicable licenses.
  2. Does the broker carry insurance? Freight Tec maintains a policy, which can be checked through the insurance company to make sure it’s in effect.
  3. Does the broker have a surety bond? As mentioned, Freight Tec maintains a surety bond of $100,000. This, too, can be verified.
  4. Check to see how long the Broker has been in business. MC numbers are a good indication of how long a company has been in business.
  5. Check with industry loadboards’ credit ratings and reports about the broker before you work with them.

Whether you’re an owner-operator working with one of our agents or have a full fleet of trucks that provide shipping for our clients, you are going to get paid. We want to take care of you. Trust us, not because we say that you can, but because we back up our words with the licenses and bonds to ensure you won’t lose money, and because we’ve been doing treating carriers right for 25+ years.

How to Keep a Freight Agent Happy

The logistics industry is booming. Even with all the regulations and rules implemented for carriers, brokers, and agents, there are still unethical brokers who take advantage of their agents or carriers. Some brokers don’t provide agents with the tools they need. Even worse, their internal agents may even be competing with outside independent agents hired by the broker.

At Freight Tec, we’re revolutionizing the industry. Instead of using outside agents for lead generation or extra business for an internal brokerage operation, we depend solely on outside agents for our business. This removes the conflict of interest so prevalent in the logistics business. Outside agents should never have to compete against — or be at risk of competing against — an internally owned brokerage department. We know that when we treat our agents well, we don’t have to worry about losing them. The success of our agents increases our success.

How We’re Different When It Comes to Our Agents

  • We pay weekly and have a high split with commissions.
  • Agents do not sign a non-compete.
  • We don’t have an internal brokerage, sales, or agent dept. We only have outside agents.
  • Freight Tec gives our agents the tools they need to succeed through training and software in order to work with our clients and carriers.
  • We provide all operational insurances, authorities, software, systems, all back office support, and more to our agents. All of this allows them to focus on running and growing their business, while lowering their risk and making more money.

At Freight Tec, our stability and credibility helps our agents grow their own business. We lend our brand and reputation to help agents succeed. We are different from other freight brokers because the success of our agents is built into our company mission. There are many ways to manage our costs, and we won’t cut into the profits of our agents to increase our bottom line. We know that ensuring high commission splits with our agents, while providing top support 24/7/365 and protecting their customer relationships and business is the best win/win scenario for all.

Keeping agents happy and secure is one way we know we have a quality team. We believe that freight agents are the foundation of the 3PL and Logistics industry. Although we expect a lot from our agents, we have built a culture of support where agents can expect a lot from us. Our brand is built on agent success. We avoid activities that conflict with the interests of our agents.

See How We’re Different

Freight brokers need agents. In order to get the best agents to work with our team, we do our best to fully support them. Choose to come to our team and work with us to see the difference we’ve made in the industry. We make promises we can keep and back them up in writing. Request more information from our team so that you can see for yourself, and make the choice to work with us. Partner with us for your success. You will always be priority #1 to us.

Aggressive Agent Recruiting

Agents in this industry are continually solicited by independent recruiters, company recruiters, brokers, carriers, carrier/brokers, and other related companies.

When agents get these calls, they can expect to be flattered, offered gifts, cash, and promised the moon.

With companies aggressively coming after agents, some offers may be so incredible sounding, that many will ask:

  • “This deal is so sweet for me, what’s in it for them…?”
  • “How can they possibly make this a win/win for both of us? They are making ludicrous offers and promises.”
  • “Is this one of those deals, that sounds too good to be true, and is?”
  • “Can I trust this company/person?”
  • “What should I think of this, what should I do with this?”

It is very common to feel flattered, surprised, and blown away with how good the offers may sound.

Wise agents will recognize and understand the tactics being used on them, and take time to step away. They can then scrutinize and analyze the offer and compare what has been said, with common sense and logic. If the offer passes the common sense evaluation, agents should, in order to protect themselves, get a copy of the contract and do the following:

  • Spend the time and money to review it with an experienced attorney.
  • Research the person and company making the offer.
  • check with the BBB and look for news and reports filed online about the offering company.

In general, agents should do intensive research and verification of the offering company because their future and business depends on it.

Signing on with the wrong company is a death sentence for an agent’s business.

There are thousands of agents in our industry who have worked for companies that ultimately stole their business, or large parts of it.

A common offer from an aggressive recruiter is to give an agent a “sign on bonus” for a five figure sum of money. The catch is that it’s not a bonus you get for free. It is almost always a loan which could be forgiven as long as you meet its terms. These “sign on bonuses” come with heavy strings attached. Remember common sense, NO company will ever give you free money. There are always strings attached.

Those strings usually include:

  • Minimum performance requirements (which typically pay the lender back many times over what they loaned to you).
  • Exclusive contract commitment for a set number of years – commonly 2-5 years.
  • A non-compete agreement – this one is especially dangerous as you have received “consideration” or money.
  • Conditions which allow them to go after your business should you try to leave before your 2-5 years is up, or if you fail to meet any other requirement in the “sign on bonus” contract.

Summary:

As you are solicited by many people trying to convince you to make a move, be very careful. It’s OK to be flattered, but don’t let yourself be blinded. Don’t make hasty decisions about your business. Get an attorney’s opinion.

Remember, you have something of great value. Don’t give your hard work away, and don’t let anyone take it away from you.

Best Podcasts for Truckers

Listening to the same music over and over gets old when you’re out on the road all the time. It isn’t always possible to be driving when your favorite radio program comes on, but it’s important to keep your mind active and stay up with industry information. Podcasts are a form of broadcasting that you can download to your smartphone or computer to listen to on your schedule. Both Android and iTunes offer podcasts through their store. Instead of waiting for the radio to provide the show you want to hear, download some of these podcasts while you’re behind the wheel.

Trucker Dump

Todd McCann has been on the road with his co-driver since 1997. He’s going to talk to you straight about trucking. If you’ve ever felt all alone when you’re on the road, check out his podcasts that cover everything from giving directions to why truckers don’t have butts.

This American Life

Ira Glass is the host of this podcast which gives stories about individuals around the world. Although it’s not directly related to trucking, you’ll laugh and cry while learning more about different cultures and traditions.

Trucking Podcast

This podcast bills itself as “probably the best guys’ podcast in the world.” Buck Ballard and his son host the show. They’re both truckers, and they’ll cover whatever they find interesting. It’s a family-friendly site that deals with everything motors and wheels. If you’re into cars, trucks, and racing, you’ll love these two guys.

Ask the Trucker

Allen Smith is an opinionated veteran driver who is trying to change the industry, one podcast at a time. The last couple of months, he’s been focused on health issues, but he talks about everything related to driving and business. He’s probably the leading blogger in the trucking industry. You can’t go wrong downloading his show to listen to when you’re on a long stretch of highway. Smith is going to tell it like it is. Learn more about the best freight broker and know how to do business.

Good Job, Brain!

Pick up some knowledge with this podcast that gives you offbeat news, trivia, and general information. Learning is one way to prevent boredom, and as you age, it’s important to your cognitive health. Keep your brain engaged and have plenty to talk about when you get back home with this informative and fun podcast.

Notes in Spanish

In today’s society, knowing another language makes you even more valuable in your field. Listen to a podcast that teaches you Spanish, French, or German. You don’t need to be fluent, just learn some basics in case you ever need it.

3 Ways Freight Tec Won’t Take Advantage of You

The transportation industry has not always been good to agents of freight brokers. At Freight Tec, we take a different approach to the agent-broker relationship. Not only do we protect agents’ interests, but we also provide the support they need to do their job successfully. Learn more about how we treat our agents to understand why we won’t take advantage of you when you agent for us.

We See Agents as Our Partners

Instead of putting our independent agents low on our priority list, we see the relationship we have with them as a true partnership. We guarantee that we will never steal from our agents, and we put it in writing. This is a rarity in our industry. You will not have to compete with any internal brokers or sales departments at Freight Tec, because we don’t have them. By providing back-office support and our expertise to our agents, it becomes a win-win situation for both of us, just like a partnership should do. Commissions are shared generously with our Agents, which lets you grow your customers base and profits while never having to worry about any relationships, profits or business being taken away from you.

We Depend on Our Agents

Because we do not operate our own sales force, we are required to rely on the agents who work for us. We are not going to steal your business to line our own pockets. There’s no conflict of interest, and we focus on the success of our agents. It is the connection of our team that encourages growth and innovation. We communicate with our agents on a regular basis in ways that are effective for doing business quickly and smoothly. When our agents do well, we do well.

We Empower Our Agents

Operational support for our agents provides the vehicle for power. We want positive interaction with those with whom we do business, and we will not belittle or diminish your success. It is our treatment of our agents that sets us apart from other freight brokers. We want your business to grow and succeed. To that end, we dedicate our resources to your success.

We have the technology and willingness to stay ahead of the rest of the industry. Our company passes these technologies and tools on to our agents, so that they can grow. Partners work together to build a business and be successful. Competitors work against each other’s best interests. We work as a partner with our agents, and we are in it for the long haul when you join our team. Our company is much different than the others in the industry. Let us show you how we can work together and both enjoy success.

Freight Agents: How Internal Brokerages Kill Agent Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurial individuals have been shown to possess certain character traits—passion, risk tolerance, leadership, and others—at a higher percentage than the rest of the professional population. All of these characteristics are important, but the trait that sets many entrepreneurs apart is a strong desire to enjoy the fruits of their own success.

Freight agents are truly the entrepreneurs of the transportation industry. Most of them founded and continue to run their own businesses. Nearly all of them possess a desire to work hard and to enjoy the results of that hard work. Unfortunately, many freight agents end up working with transportation companies that also have internal brokerages. By preventing them from capitalizing on their own hard work, those internal brokerages can kill the spirit of entrepreneurship (and the motivation) of freight agents.

As entrepreneurs with an independent streak, most freight agents run very small operations. Oftentimes, these are one-man or one-woman operations. They work hard to find, convert, and close prospective customers that they hope will grow their businesses. Sometimes, however, when those accounts do grow, the small operations of independent agents can no longer manage the associated workload. Unfortunately, it is at this point that many independent freight agents lose control of their own accounts.

While independent freight agents sometimes have trouble scaling their resources, large trucking and transportation companies have plentiful resources and can scale up or down easily. For this reason, they often “step in” to fill the deficiencies of their freight agent partners with their own internal resources. Most transportation companies pull in business from two competing sources—independent freight agents and internal brokers. Unfortunately, that line can become blurred when an account grows beyond an agent’s ability to manage it and their resources become mashed with those of an internal brokerage. Of course, this also complicates the attribution of revenue and, therefore, the distribution of gross profit.

Certainly, agents have the option to hire additional help. Indeed, many agents try to bring on a second person (first employee) when an account begins to grow. But hiring and managing an employee is an entirely new undertaking for most agents. Many find that they lack the experience to bring on an employee and get them up to speed quickly. And, in a fast-moving industry, those delays can be extremely costly. Transportation companies understand those costs and, therefore, quickly apply pressure to supplement using company resources. It is through this seemingly logical process that some agents have their accounts stolen by the internal brokerages that claim to support them.

Freight-Tec is entirely different than other trucking and transportation companies. Freight-Tec has never managed  (and will never manage) an internal brokerage. From the beginning, the company’s success has depended upon its healthy relationships with independent freight agents. As the sole source of the company’s business, freight agents are highly valued and actively supported through an industry-best freight agent program. Among other things, the purpose of that program is to respect and nurture the entrepreneurial ambitions of independent freight agents.

Freight Agents: Building your business on a Level Playing Field

In business, the notion of a level playing field is essential to long-term success. A level playing field is defined as an “economic and legal environment in which all competitors, irrespective of their size or financial strength, follow the same rules and get equal opportunity to compete.” Great business people can be clever, cunning, and shrewd, but they always respect the need for a level playing field. Unfortunately, level playing fields are hard to find for freight agents.

The vast majority of trucking and transportation companies run their own internal brokerages, while also soliciting freight from independent agents. In doing so, they have failed to create a level playing field for their agents. For obvious reasons, this system creates numerous conflicts of interest within the company. Sharing a single set of resources, internal and external agents cannot be expected to play by the same rules and cannot receive equal opportunities to compete. In nearly every instance, the needs of internal agents will win out over the needs of external, independent agents.

In these environments, transportation companies do not view freight agents as true partners. Rather, they are seen as lead generation vendors—a channel for supplementing the leads brought in by their internal brokerages. Naturally, independent agents find themselves low down a long list of priorities for the brokerage. In extreme cases, independent agents have even seen their freight customers stolen by an internal brokerage.

At Freight-Tec, we built our business differently. We don’t have an internal brokerage company. In fact, as our only source of business, our agent program entirely determines our success. That reliance on freight agents is a primary differentiator for our company. Because our agents are so important to our business, we view them as true partners and we take customer service very seriously. Local, personable, and responsive, our offices provide agents with everything they need to succeed. Most importantly, Freight-Tec is the only company that will guarantee, in writing, that it will never steal from its agents.

Freight agents looking for a level playing field must seek out a transportation partner that does not manage its own internal brokerage. Unfortunately, such companies are a rarity in the industry. Many agents select a transportation partner, only to find that they are competing with an internal brokerage and that the fight isn’t fair. Freight-Tec built its business model on the success of its agent program and, in doing so, created an ideal working environment for hardworking agents.

Freight Agents: Red Flags When Selecting a Broker

When selecting a brokerage partner, freight agents generally know what to look for. They look for a partner that offers a generous gross profit revenue split, capable support, and sufficient insurance. But, sometimes freight agents should pay less attention to what is there and more attention to what is not there. In particular, these red flags can help agents to know which brokerages to stay away from.

Red Flag 1: A Disconnected Team

In the transportation industry, teams rely on each other for information and support. Effective teamwork is an essential part of a freight agent’s success. In the transportation industry, nearly all companies are made up of virtual teams, with separate team members working hundreds or thousands of miles apart. With some team members on the road, and others working remotely, it’s essential to look at how cooperatively the team works together.

Red Flag 2: Outdated Technology

A company’s technology is often a reflection of its broader culture. Company’s that invest in the latest technologies frequently emphasize growth, innovation, and employee satisfaction. Outdated technology can signal a lack of efficiency and an unwillingness to change. Unfortunately, failure to invest in new technologies can cause some transportation companies to lose their financial edge and sink into obscurity. When investigating freight broker, agents should inquire about the software platforms and other technologies utilized by the company. Agents should avoid companies that appear to have actively avoided upgrades in technology.

Red Flag 3: Excess Focus on Gross Profit Revenue Split

The gross profit revenue split is a major factor for agents when choosing a freight broker. Unfortunately, many agents place too much emphasis on this singular factor. A favorable split can distract agents from other shortcomings that will cause problems down the road.

Red Flag 4: Poor Communication

As a freight agent, your success depends on your ability to communicate with the other members of your team. In the virtual teams common to the transportation industry, that communication can be a challenge. In fact, you’re likely to end up communicating less in person and more through technology. You should be sure that your team communicates regularly and effectively. Long distance teams, which aren’t well connected quickly, become dysfunctional in other ways. Poor communication is a major red flag and agents should be very wary of these circumstances.

When looking for a broker-partner, freight agents should perform their due diligence before making a final decision. But, rather than simply looking at the positive attributes of each company, agents should also look at the potential weaknesses. Instead of getting distracted by flashy “good deals,” agents should use a critical eye.

Freight Agents: Tips for Selecting a Broker

We all recognize a good friend when we see one. Good friends share, they look out for others, and they support us when we need it. No matter what our stage in life, we all need good friends to do these things for us. Business partnerships, including agent-broker arrangements, are a lot like friendships. Before you pick a freight broker, be sure to ask yourself if they do the sorts of things you’re used to seeing good friends do. In particular, watching for the following friendship-inspired behaviors can help agents make better decisions when establishing broker relationships.

Good Friends Always Share

Over the years, much has been made of the gross profit commission split between agents and brokers. Agents should only partner with brokers that provide a fair and generous percentage of the business they bring in. Agents should also inquire about what the brokerage provides for the percentage of the money it keeps. While this split isn’t the only consideration when forming a new partnership, it is a foundational matter that should be given careful consideration.

Good Friends are Supportive

Chances are, your best friends have always been there for you through thick and thin. Agents should ensure that their brokerage partners are going to offer them a similar level of support. Comprehensive back-office support and expertise can be a valuable resource to agents as they source and secure new business.

Good Friends are in it for the Long Haul

You know those friends that moved on as soon as they found something better? Some freight brokers are no better than those fair-weather friends. A good broker partner should express a long-term interest in agents by providing career and retirement planning services.

Good Friends Aren’t Selfish

A true friend doesn’t need to be the exclusive recipient of your friendship. So why do some brokerages make agents sign non-compete agreements? A good brokerage will allow agents to earn a healthy living by engaging with multiple partnerships and harnessing multiple revenue streams.

So, if you’re a freight agent looking to establish a partnership with a broker, be sure to give them the friend test first. Do they meet the criteria that you’ve always used to measure successful partnerships? Specifically, do they share commissions fairly, provide excellent office support, and give you the freedom that you need to advance your career? If not, break it off as soon as you can and look for a broker willing to treat you as a true partner.