Straight from Sureway: 7 of the Most Common Questions We Get Asked by Agents
As a freight brokerage company that offers an agent model, we get asked a lot of questions by agents looking for the right place to work. Do we mind questions? No! They simply mean someone is genuinely interested in the model we offer, and we're happy to help explain the ins and outs, and the advantages. Paul Killmer, Vice President of Sureway Transportation recently sat down to compile a list of some of the most common inquiries we get. He boiled it down to the following seven:
“What technology do you provide?”
Technology plays a huge part in your role as a freight agent and it’s important to ensure the technology provided is helping you to be the best agent possible. Things like load boards and pricing tools can help agents tremendously when it comes to finding and booking loads efficiently.
At Sureway, we have a web based platform called Agent Access that allows our agents to log into our system from a laptop, tablet, or smartphone—really, wherever you can get internet access. By logging into this platform, our agents can access load boards and pricing tools no matter where they are.
“How many carriers are in your network and how fast do you pay them?”
A main benefit of being an agent versus a sole proprietor is the systems and infrastructure that the agent model offers. Access to a vast network of carriers and working under an established transportation company with good credit is a huge pro for agents, both of which you don’t get as a sole proprietor.
Our Sureway agents get access to a network of 170,000 carriers, a very strong credit rating, and get the benefit of carriers being paid in 2.84 days (on average).
“How long does it take to qualify a customer or carrier?”
In an industry built around deadlines, it’s imperative that both customers and carriers can be qualified quickly to ensure a smooth and timely transaction for agents, customers, and carriers. Thanks to modern technology, most transportation companies have a system to process this paperwork easily and quickly.
At Sureway, we utilize a third-party to send an electronic copy of the contract to the carrier and then pull their insurance information from the platform to upload it to our system with just a click of a button, keeping the carrier compliance process moving quickly.
When qualifying a customer that we have zero or little history with, we often extend a lower line of credit and slowly increase it over time as we build good payment history with them. This qualification process can take about an hour depending on the credit limit needed and complexity of the customer.
“What kind of support is provided to agents?”
Some companies are very in touch with their agents, and some are a little more hands off. Regardless of how much support you’d like as an agent, it’s important that the company provides dedicated support so it’s there when you need it. Support should be well versed in all aspects like load management, billing the customer, and paying carriers.
Here at Sureway we have a team of support specialist who are familiar with the entire process. From onboarding a customer and entering a load in the system, to changing load status and dealing with the carrier compliance process, they are always here to help our agents with any difficulties they may run into.
“How much experience is required?”
This might not be the answer you were looking for but… it really depends, and what it depends on is the agent and the type of experience they have. We’ve learned that its best when agents have at least a couple of customers that they can start calling on right away. Those who struggle to find success as an agent early in their career tend to also struggle down the road.
At Sureway, we take pride in the experience and expertise our agents offer. That’s why we often look for those with a good amount of experience and preferably a book of business that they can start calling on once they become an agent with Sureway.
“Will I have to sign a contract?”
Yes, a large majority of transportation companies will have you sign a contract upon joining the company as an agent. The real question is, what should you look for in these contracts? Be sure to look for clawback clauses in contacts, where there might be a situation where the company can take commissions back from the agent by charging for load boards, technology, etc. Ensure you read over the non-solicit and non-disclosure closely. As an agent you will not want to sign a non-compete (this is different from a non-solicit and non-disclosure) so be sure you understand what it is you are agreeing to before signing a contract.
Sureway does have a non-solicit and non-disclosure but no non-compete clauses in our contract. Again, whether you are signing a contract with Sureway or another transportation company, always read it carefully.
“What are the different commission structures, and will I have out-of-pocket expenses?”
Be sure to evaluate what you’ll receive from the portion of the margin that the company is keeping. This value can range all the way from 50% to 100%. The higher the split is to the agent, the more likely the agent will have out-of-pocket expenses. If a company is offering 100% commission to the agent, they are likely pulling out a percentage of revenue prior to calculating commission.
Here at Sureway, you get the support you need, fast carrier and customer qualifications, carrier pay of 2.84 days (on average), and 60% of gross margin!
Experienced agent? We’d love to talk. Visit Sureway.com, click on the “Become an Agent” button on our homepage, fill out the form, and someone from our team will get back to you shortly—and will gladly answer any further questions you may have.