About our Business and Freight Agent Program
Becoming an agent for a freight brokerage is a big decision. If you choose the wrong partnership, your business could suffer through poor communication, broken promises and long waits for customer or carrier approvals. Joining a freight agent program—particularly if it is a multi-year agreement—involves a lot more than just landing a favorable commission payout.
To help you find the right partner that benefits your freight agent business, here are eight key questions to ask of a brokerage and its agent program:
What is the size and scope of your business?
As a freight agent, you want to work with a company that has the scale and resources to elevate your brokerage business. You need to gather as much information as you can on a company’s financial health, years in the industry and revenue growth. How many brokers does the company have, how many contracted carriers are in its network and what trucking
modes are represented? How does the company’s growth compare with other 3PLs and brokerages you know?
Once you know how large and established a brokerage is in the freight industry, you can make a more informed decision
about whether to partner with them. Be leery of companies that are not forthcoming about their financial performance or history.
ADL has seen exceptional growth (45%+) over the past 2 years and we expect to see continued growth over the next several years. We also have an extensive list of contracted carriers that continues to grow weekly as we expand our business and our national footprint.
How do you treat your customers and carriers?
The freight brokerage industry’s reputation has suffered over the years from fly-by-night businesses that are unaccountable to their customers and carriers. To avoid entering into an agent agreement with an unethical company, some pointed questions are necessary about how a brokerage handles customer service and carrier relationships. Look for a company that pays its carriers in 10 days or less and places a premium on meeting shippers’ transportation needs. A brokerage that is accessible and provides personalized service 24/7 should greatly benefit your freight agent business.
At ADL, our number one priority is taking care of our customers and treating our carriers with exceptional professionalism. We strive to ensure that all shipments are on-time and we provide our customers with complete visibility into their shipments and the level of service being provided, using our cutting-edge technology and tools.
How will you help me get started?
Upon entering into a freight agent agreement, you need to know what the company will provide to help you become a productive agent. If the company allows you to work from your home or another remote location? Will you have access to the brokerage team’s software? What kind of training is offered to familiarize you with the company’s operations and processes?
Clear communication about a company’s onboarding process for its agents can inform your decision on which brokerage to choose. It also helps you avoid future letdowns and misunderstandings with your new partner.
ADL will provide you the necessary tools and on-boarding to get you up and running. You will be in control of your own book of business, your own schedule and can work from home if desired. We will also provide you on-boarding support as well as exceptional back-office support to invoice, pay, track and collect payments.
What kind of support can you provide my business?
The main advantage of becoming a freight agent is that a larger brokerage can provide a network and other resources that you may not have as an independent broker. Look for a company that is willing to make your agent business an extension of its operations. That includes handling all the back-office services, as well as providing credit checks, legal counsel and marketing materials like business cards or promotional flyers. This administrative support saves you hours of work and lets you focus more time on serving shipping customers and expanding your business.
ADL will provide back-office services (accounting, invoicing, collection) as well as access to technology, business cards and promotional marketing materials. Our goal is to extend our core values, our services and our brand name to you and your business. When you succeed, we succeed!
What are your restrictions for freight agents?
Some agents enter into agreements with brokerages only to learn later that they are limited in what geographic areas and clients they can serve. Be sure to ask a brokerage up-front what, if any, restrictions it imposes on freight agents.
The only restrictions that will be in place are if the agent has an existing non-compete with a prior employer or if the account they would like to prospect is already being managed by an existing ADL sales agent.
How many other freight agents do you have?
You want a transportation partner that has an established freight agent program, but you also do not want to be treated like a number. Make sure you are comfortable with the number of agents in a brokerage’s program and that you will be able to have a strong relationship with decision-makers in the company.
Our freight agent program is new, so you will be excited to know that you are coming onboard with a company that will be invested in your growth and success.
How long does it take to set up new customers?
Some freight brokerages have a long, inefficient process in approving agent customers, which can obviously hurt your business. In selecting a partner, look for a company that is accessible, efficient and has a vested interest in growing your business.
A customer can usually be set up in less than 30 minutes. We will require a W-9, a copy of their credit references and their appropriate accounting contacts. It’s as simple as that.
What is your approval process for carriers?
A brokerage partner that has a large network of contracted trucking fleets is obviously an advantage for your business. A brokerage with low standards for the kinds of carriers it works with, however, can be a liability. When selecting a company to partner with, be sure to ask about its policies and criteria for contracted carriers. A company that has consistent safety and insurance standards, and a focus on risk mitigation for shipments, will benefit your freight agent business and your customers.
We will require new carriers to fill out a carrier packet. We will also perform a carrier background check, require updated insurance information and any referrals that they can provide. We want to ensure that we are working with superior carriers.