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Why Joining a Company With an Internal Brokerage Could Cost You Your Business

In the right circumstances, becoming a freight agent can be a fantastic career choice, filled with opportunities to focus on bringing in first-time clients, building relationships, and exceeding the expectations of shippers and carriers. The freedom, pay, and level of control can be enticing. However, in the wrong situation, joining a freight brokerage can be a debilitating decision.

One of the riskiest moves for a freight agent is stepping into an organization that runs its own internal brokerage. As an agent, you shouldn’t have to compete within your company to keep the business you’ve already secured.

The professional relationships you’ve developed are a huge part of your success — both now and for many years to come. You may lose some of those relationships through natural attrition, but that healthy fear of competition should stem from external agents, not from people within your company. Freight agents who are forced to compete with an internal brokerage spend too much time looking over their shoulders.

Burning Out From Unnecessary Competition

The constant struggle to drum up new business is as American as apple pie, but it’s not always necessary. While a certain level of competition is good for keeping you sharp, undue competition — the type that’s common with internal brokerages — burns salespeople out far too quickly.

Within a brokerage, each independent freight agent should be able to plan his or her business development strategy based on the tools at hand, without fear of being blindsided by salespeople who supposedly are on their own team. Natural growth unfolds as a result of healthy competition — not because of stressful, excessive pressure from an internal brokerage.

At Freight Tec, we sign a non-compete, non-disclosure agreement every time we partner with a freight agent. Read over the document here.

Lack of Freedom and Support

Many experienced freight agents are recognizing there’s a balance between too little freedom and too little support. The sweet spot is where independent freight agents thrive.

With a company like Freight Tec,  these talented independent agents have the autonomy to use their time-tested processes to close deals, enjoy the fair gross profit commission split they deserve and have the back-office support that’s so difficult to obtain outside an established company. Benefits such as paid-for technology platforms and exhaustive back-office administrative help are game-changers for many agents.

Leave Internal Brokerages Behind

The presence of internal brokerages is a thorn in the side of many excellent freight agents. If you’re interested in leaving internal brokerages behind, explore the benefits of becoming an independent freight agent by emailing your questions to info@freight-tec.com. Or, learn more about the perks of the independent freight agent lifestyle in our infographic.

Learn More About Our Freight Agent Program

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.

As an Agency Owner, Why Would I Want to Transition to Freight Tec?

For many, owning a business is the end goal. It’s means you’ve “made it.” It’s a sign of independence and a bright future. However, for those who own a freight broker agency, challenges often are just as plentiful as benefits.

Life as a freight agency owner usually entails incredibly long days, rampant uncertainty and a huge list of tasks to complete — each and every day.

The challenges are vast, but with Freight Tec, so are the opportunities. Here are some of the reasons why Freight Tec is an excellent transition brokerage for freight agency owners:

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 Tec’s Agent Support System

We believe in trying to find a different load for a Carrier, who wants to be home for the weekend to spend time with his family…  Taking care of some of the extra headaches for a Shipping Manager so he can spend more time with his family… or making sure our Agents and Employees get the time they need to spend with their own families. We consider each of these part of the our Freight Tec Family as well.

The following are letters of appreciation from our Freight Tec Agents:

Thank you both so very much for the yummy Christmas treats, and the unexpected Christmas bonus. How very generous of you both!! It was a much-needed surprise.

I really appreciate what you both do to make this such an enjoyable place to work. I have never worked for a company where I look forward to coming to work every day.

Merry Christmas to you and your families!!

Thank you again,

-Lisa


Brent, I just wanted to reach out and thank you for your help and advice a few months back. I especially want to thank you for the referral to Freight-Tec. They have been absolutely amazing to work with! The transition has been seamless with the help of a great support staff in Freight-Tec. they were everything that I was looking for when I made the switch. This has been a blessing in every way for my family, especially financially. I will make 5X my previous salary as a Western U.S sales manager with another brokerage. I couldn’t be happier with your advice and I am so happy that I listened to you & followed your advice because I did have my mind made up at the time to try this a different way. There are a lot of bad brokerages out there and the good ones are not easy to find. Especially difficult to find a company that treats you the way Freight-Tec does. Thanks again!!!

Hope you are doing well


Believe me, all the gratitude is directed towards you and Carrie and your entire team that I have worked with. I am amazed how easy this process is and how wonderful the support has been from your office. This has been such an amazing transition and all the words can’t describe how easy and wonderful you and your office has been in helping me to be successful.  I have never 1 time not received help immediately and far beyond my expectations every time I have reached out. Also, you guys have signed up some very large accounts in minutes. Compared to my last company that took days (literally). I love the positive vibe that I get from your office and it makes the world of difference.

Thank you for EVERYTHING!


 

Hi team,

I wanted to say thank you for the help and support in the past week and a half. I have been out with my eye surgery and I appreciate everyone helping from support, collections, carrier set up and everything else. I have been working mostly remote from my phone and laptop as I have to have limited exposure to light so it’s been difficult but your help has been very appreciated: It is great to be a part of such a dynamic organization and the little things you all help with go a very long way. A very special thanks to Barbara for dealing with my not so easy clients the past few weeks as well.
I look forward to continued growth with you guys. Please by all means let me know if there is anything you can critique me on so I can be sure to make your jobs easier. I hope you all have a blessed weekend with your families and enjoy the summer weather. I hope to eventually get out to the office to meet you all in person. I am extremely thankful and blessed for this opportunity. It was a very scary and tough decision to become an agent on my own but you have all made me feel like I am truly part of the Freight-Tec family and it has definitely made it so much easier.

Sincerely appreciative

This is a perfect example of Freight Tec’s values. If you wish to recieve this kind of support in your career, take a look at our Freight Agent Program.

5 Tips For Making the Leap to Independent Freight Agent

Whether you’re a longtime veteran of the freight industry or coming from a totally different industry, becoming an independent freight agent is a big step. If you know what you’re doing, the transition can be very smooth, with success from the outset. Even if you don’t, there are some key things to remember to make the transition more smooth.

Make Sure to Find the Right Brokerage

The most important component of your success will be your own talent and hard work, but joining a great brokerage is vital, too. Look for one that is interested in supporting you in a variety of ways, including:

  • Providing a fair commission split
  • Not requiring agents to sign a non-compete
  • Guaranteeing it won’t steal agents’ clients from within
  • Providing back-office support and operating capital

Finish a Business Plan

Business plans come in all shapes and sizes, but the most important thing is the process. Developing goals, a timeline, and action items is vital for getting in the right frame of mind for the job at hand. Regardless of the extent to which you actually reference your business plan as you move forward, the benefits of the critical thinking process will prove invaluable.

Make Sure You Have the Right Technology

In today’s market, independent freight agents need a robust portfolio of software solutions and platforms at their disposal such as cloud-based TMS (Transportation Management Systems), web based MS systems and access to industry leading load boards and online market places.

If a brokerage pays for the technology tools that its agents use, that’s a good sign that the organization is well-invested in each person’s success.

Ongoing Learning & Training

Even the best salespeople are in a state of constant learning. In hopes of staying competitive for many years, highly motivated independent freight agents often are committed to ongoing education opportunities.

There are many online freight-related courses and events all over the U.S. that can be very helpful, but even outside-the-box training can prove valuable. Anything that keeps you growing as a person and a freight forwarder can help contribute to long-term success.

Learn More About Becoming an Independent Freight Agent

To learn more about what it takes to become an independent freight agent, check out Freight Tec’s Become an Agent infographic.

3 Surprising Ways to Improve Your Bottom Line As a Freight Agent

For freight agents, there is strong, vast potential to grow a client base and make a lot of money. Of course, like in any industry, there are challenges that must be overcome.

Many of today’s freight brokers and agents feel pressured to stay up to date with the latest software — the type of industry-specific platforms that quickly are becoming “table stakes.” They also struggle to keep up with the escalating number of back-office administrative tasks necessary to run a successful freight business. What’s more, freight agents feel the burden of ages-old issues such as exorbitant overhead expenses.

Luckily, there are ways to improve your bottom line as a freight agent, including:

How to Attract the Right Clients to Grow Your Business

On many levels, freight agent clients are no different than customers in any other industry. They want their needs met, they need to be treated fairly, and they crave predictability.

Sounds simple enough, right? However, it definitely takes a certain type of person to attract the right clients to increase freight business. It takes an exceptional freight agent, not just someone who is extroverted and great on the phone.

Independent freight agents with a special set of skills display these qualities that help them find and retain the right clients, or shippers: