Carrie Rengers

King of Freight has ‘biggest accomplishment’ yet with major new downtown lease

UPDATED – In August, King of Freight owner Mike Ricklefs told Have You Heard? he wants to hire 15 to 20 people every 15 days at his freight brokerage.

It may be difficult to understand how the business, which Ricklefs started with a laptop in his apartment in 2008, is growing so quickly.

However, if there’s any doubt, perhaps this is proof: In addition to its combined 32,000 square feet in the High Touch and Sterling buildings downtown, the company has signed a lease for 32,865 square feet of new space in the Ruffin Building at Douglas and Broadway. That’s the entire sixth floor that Viega used to occupy.

“We’re looking to have that filled up within (eight to 12) months and then add another floor,” Ricklefs says.

“This is our biggest accomplishment that we’ve had.”

Currently, King of Freight has almost 200 employees on the third floor of the High Touch building at 110 S. Main St. and the entire Sterling Building next to it at 123 S. Market.

“We’re out of space,” Ricklefs says.

“We’re keeping those buildings, and we’re doubling in square footage, and we’re doubling in employees again,” he says. “We’re on a huge hiring spree.”

Ricklefs credits his King of Freight partner Greg Bolain, who writes code for the company, and general manager Brandon Howarah with helping the business grow.

Mostly, though, he says commission packages are what is fueling the biggest growth.

He says he’s offering a supervisor status for anyone who reaches $20,000 in regular monthly sales. Supervisors get 50 percent commission on those sales, plus they can start forming teams and get 10 percent of each of the sales from the people on their teams.

King of Freight has 20 managers now compared to nine in August.

In 2016, Ricklefs says the company had $44 million in sales. For 2017, he says it was $60 million.

Ideally, Ricklefs says he wants only one building for his employees.

“We would like them all together.”

His High Touch and Sterling leases aren’t up until the end of February 2020. The Ruffin lease is through March 2021.

“We thought it was beautiful,” he says of the new building.

He says there are more than 50 private offices on the floor.

Ricklefs says he’s hiring in all areas – accounting, dispatch, customer service, support and sales.

At one time, he said he’d like to have 500 employees.

“Our goal is no longer 500 employees,” he says. “We want to have thousands of employees.”

He says he’d like to help the Wichita economy, too.

Mostly, though, Ricklefs focuses on one lofty goal.

“We’re trying to basically take over the freight industry,” he says. “We feel like we can grow our business to be one of the top freight companies in the United States.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers