King of Freight, a Wichita, Kansas, trucking brokerage, is doubling in size and employees — again.
The company that started on owner Mike Ricklefs’ laptop seven years ago now has about 55 employees and 9,000 square feet in the High Touch building at William and Main in downtown Wichita.
Ricklefs said his business is growing rapidly. But so are other businesses in the building — technology companies SNT and High Touch — meaning somebody had to move.
So King of Freight will move into the former Sterling Building next door at William and Market around March 1. It's taking about 18,500 square feet on two floors.
Ricklefs said he plans to put in 100 workstations in the new space and have those filled by early 2018.
“We’ve doubled every year for four years,” Ricklefs said.
Freight brokerage is an old and highly competitive field, but Ricklefs said he has an edge that is driving his growth.
King of Freight’s brokers are salesmen who develop personal relationships with shippers and haulers to solicit loads and match them with available truck space all over the country. It can take anywhere from a few minutes in a busy city like Houston to a few hours in rural Idaho.
But the secret is the speed at making that connection, and with speed comes volume and lower prices.
Ricklefs’ partner, Greg Bolain, developed the software that integrates the databases the brokers use to quickly match and vet the truckers. That allows King of Freight to be less expensive and more flexible while still observing all regulations, he said.
Ricklefs met Bolain when they were teenagers working at the MCI call center in Wichita. Both achieved top salesman status.
Later, Ricklefs become a logistics broker, and Bolain became an IT technician. Ricklefs, who started his own truck brokerage, reconnected with Bolain and asked him to work on the system to automate the process.
“The robots do all the work,” Ricklefs said with a laugh.
The plan for the future is to continue growing, he said.
“We want to be the biggest freight broker in the country,” he said.