There are a slew of myths circulating the freight stratosphere. Maybe you’ve heard that being your own boss is synonymous with being thrown to the sharks and left to fend for yourself. Or maybe you heard rumors about office politics, unsupportive leadership teams and ever-changing compensation plans. Yikes!
We’re here to debunk all that junk you’ve heard. Straight from our experts, here are six common misconceptions about being a freight entrepreneur — and the reality behind each myth.
Myth: Getting New Customers is a Piece of Cake
Reality: Hard Work Is the Name of the Game
Let’s get real: there’s no magic recipe for success as a freight entrepreneur. Customers don’t simply fall into your lap, after all! It’s all about investing the time and energy required to solidify lasting relationships among your customers. Eventually, those clients can serve as a valuable referral source.
Whether you’re in your second year or second decade as a freight agent, acquiring new customers is truly a numbers game. Your success is a product of hard work, commitment and the tenacity you bring to the table each and every single day.
Moral of the story? You’ve got to pick up the phone, hustle and talk to people. When you have the right mindset — and a large cup of caffeine! — the opportunity is endless.
Our VP of Growth & Development Chloe Marshall has this to share: “The first six months, if you can grind, the next six are going to be a lot easier. You need to have the right mentality to do the calls and the not-so-sexy side of the business as you ramp up to position yourself for success down the road.”
“The other piece of the equation is how crucial it is to diversify your book of business,” Chloe advises. “No one customer should represent a huge chunk of your business – regardless of how strong that relationship is. What happens when that person is let go or gets a new job? So my advice is to be like a spider and get as many contacts as you can within the company. That way, you have more than one champion on your side. And also remember not to put all your eggs in one basket. You need to continually go out there and try to grow your book of business.”
Myth: The Freight Business Is Transactional
Reality: Freight Is All About Relationships
The freight industry is inundated with agents simply looking to make a quick buck. But that won’t translate into long-term business. As true freight entrepreneurs will attest, putting in the effort to nurture relationships and truly understand a customer’s needs and concerns will separate you from the pack and establish lucrative relationships.
This is a relationship business. People want to partner with freight brokers who value communication; brokers who are authentic and transparent. Two big pieces of solidifying those relationships are staying organized and having a strong follow-up game.
“There’s a lot that goes into a day,” advises Jordan Brady, Director of Agent Development. “You’re responsible for all aspects of the business – from cradle to grave. From your carriers to your customers to your back office support team, it’s all about relationships and organizing your day to deliver on those relationships.”
Myth: You Have To Fend For Yourself
Reality: Enjoy Professional Development and Support
In many freight networks, you’re on your own. Collaboration? Support? Eh, figure it out for yourself. Fortunately, that’s NOT the culture and mindset we have here at Tallgrass! Our agents are entrepreneurs and are in charge of their own businesses. But we’ve created a space where camaraderie, mentorship, and professional development are woven into our culture.
We actually want you to succeed. (Gasp!) To help you build the career you’ve always envisioned for yourself, we invest in continuous professional development for our freight entrepreneurs. This includes our annual Roundtable event, quarterly forums, weekly check-ins, ongoing mentorship and a pledge from our leadership to support agents through any challenges or hurdles you may need help resolving.
And it’s not just management who’s supportive. It’s our entire team of freight agents. As Chloe says, “There are so many bright minds here to collaborate with. If you don’t have the answer, someone will. We’re going to figure it out together.”
“So many new agents think we give you the reins and then we’re just out of sight, out of mind. That’s not the case,” Chloe continues. “We’re always touching base from week to week – even if it’s just to say, Hey, how’s it going? What can we do to help? Or maybe it’s to brainstorm ideas for helping their agency grow.”
The support is truly holistic, Jordan explains. “We’re always looking to protect our agents,” she explains. “Handling the agreements, for example, doesn’t minimize your hold on things. It’s still your business and your LLC. Our goal is to keep our agents from falling into situations where they’re suddenly financially accountable for everything that the carrier should be responsible for. We provide that support because a lot can go wrong with one simple word or phrase in that agreement that isn’t in their favor.”
Myth: Commission Is Your ONLY Take-Home Pay
Reality: Compensation includes sales incentives AND benefits!
We have a rewards and compensation program like no other. Yeah, we said it. From high splits to generous sales incentives, there’s no “ceiling” here. Forget salary caps, we want to help you maximize your earning potential AND have some fun while doing it – whether that be via a monthly competition or our rewards programs. These rewards programs are a way for us to celebrate our agent’s accomplishments. From trips to Sin City and travel vouchers to ultimate once-in-a-lifetime experiences for two (think: attending the FIFA World Cup or embarking on an African Safari).
If you’re going to work hard, shouldn’t your company work hard for you? At Tallgrass, we certainly do. We genuinely care about the well-being of our employees and their families. That’s why we offer more than just a paycheck, giving agents access to top-tier benefits, including health, dental and vision insurance. It’s just one more way we go above and beyond.
Another thing we won’t shy away from bragging about: we’re transparent. Complex, constantly changing compensation programs just isn’t our cup of tea. “A common reason a lot of brokers jump ship and look for new opportunities is their compensation plans and incentives are consistently changing,” Jordan explains. “Unlike other agencies, we don’t decrease your percentages every year. It’s been consistent across the board for not only compensation, but the incentives that are offered monthly, quarterly, yearly, and even just the random contests as well.”
Myth: You’ll Have a Non-Solicit or Non-Compete
Reality: Your Book of Business Belongs to You
That’s right. Here at Tallgrass, your book of business is YOUR book of business. We’ve opted to forgo non-competes here at Tallgrass. When we say this is a partnership, we mean it. While we don’t want you to leave us, if Tallgrass isn’t where you feel at home, then you can leave worry-free and take your customers with you.
What’s more, your clients and CRM are private and protected. “Agents at other brokerages may experience poaching, or passing off of clients at a certain threshold to an in-house team,” Chloe says. “Your book isn’t exposed here. Your customers are yours.”
“But it brings it back to the relationship piece,” Jordan adds. “There are countless agents out there calling your customers. So, what it really boils down to is whether the relationship you’ve built is strong enough to withstand those outside forces.”
Myths About Being a Freight Broker — Debunked
Here at Tallgrass, we value transparency. We’ll tell you like it is instead of shrouding everything in mystery. After all, this is your career. At Tallgrass, we provide the resources, tools, and support you need to build a successful business and create the lifestyle you deserve. And it’s not just us, it’s the freight agents you’re surrounded by – we all lift each other up. To learn more about joining our award-winning freight agent program, contact us today.