King of Freight is expanding yet again.
If you're thinking, wait, didn't we just read that the other week? Yes, you did, but that's how fast the company is growing.
"We're hiring about 50 people . . . every three weeks," says Mike Ricklefs, who owns the freight brokerage with partner Greg Bolain.
In January, Have You Heard?reported that in addition to its combined 32,000 square feet in the High Touch and Sterling buildings downtown, the company 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.
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"We're out of space," Ricklefs says.
He says he's signed a lease for two thirds of the third floor of the Ruffin Building, which is 23,000 square feet.
"We're going to be renting out another floor probably within three months," Ricklefs says.
He attributes growth to something he's calling a freight draft.
"Instead of speed dating, it's called speed freighting," he says.
He hires 40 sales people at a time along with five to 10 support staff members. Then, during the freight draft, the new sales hires have one-minute meetings with each of the company's 30 managers. According to how well those managers have done in sales, they get to rotate picking which new employees they want on their teams.
"We even have draft music," Ricklefs says. "We (make) it really fun."
Managers get 10 percent of the profit of everyone on their teams. Bolain says it incentivizes managers to have an interest in new hires and get them performing quickly.
Ricklefs says strong new hires can be making about $10,000 a month within a few months.
"We can get them there really quick," he says. "People are making a lot of money working at King of Freight. . . . We have turned it into a very enjoyable game for everybody."
Ricklefs used to say he wanted to get to 500 employees.
"Now it's 5,000."
Bolain says most of the nation's top brokerages have about that many people.
"We're trying to play on that level."
Ricklefs says it won't be only King of Freight that benefits.
"It's going to be very good for Wichita."