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Zach Wilcox

Zach Wilcox is the Founder and CEO of Fide Freight, a representative logistics solution providing a full range of services in long and short-distance freight, specialty haulage, and management of dry freights. Zach and his team pride themselves on complete transparency and communication, from bringing on a client to getting the shipments completed on time.

Before founding Fide Freight, Zach held project management, operations, and manufacturing roles across various companies. He has a business degree from Grand Valley State University.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Zach Wilcox talks about expanding and growing in the logistics industry during the pandemic
  • The importance of implementing your brand’s core values into your company’s overall system
  • Why a smart company starts with hiring great people
  • Zach discusses the steps it takes to build a great culture within your brand
  • Zach shares book recommendations for sharpening business skills and mental growth

In this episode…

How can you build an enduring enterprise during a pandemic? What action steps can you take to cultivate an environment that creates a sense of great purpose within your employees?

Zach Wilcox started his logistic service at the onset of the pandemic — but through his core values of people, systems, clients, and profit, he managed to accelerate his business. When your core values are aligned, you can create a company working towards a bigger purpose. As a leader in the industry, Zach is here to share how going above and beyond will scale your brand.

In this episode of the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast, Jeremy Weisz of Rise25 sits down with Zach Wilcox, Founder and CEO of Fide Freight, to talk about creating togetherness by overcoming the challenges in the logistic industry. Zach discusses building core values as your brand’s foundation, the flywheel concept of hiring the right people that fit, and creating a culture of continuous business improvement and growth by going above and beyond with your service.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:02  

Welcome to the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast where we feature top founders and entrepreneurs and their journey. Now let’s get started with the show.

Jeremy Weisz  0:13  

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here I am founder of inspiredinsider.com where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders. I’m really excited for today’s episode with Zach Wilcox of Fide Freight. And before we get started, Zach always like to mention other episodes. Let’s check out the podcast on Inspired Insider. So I’ve had some cool guests. Check out the episode with the co founder of Pixar he talks about some Steve Jobs stories of George Lucas stories I also had the founder of p90x Tony Horton on. It was interesting that Zach I love hearing the stories about not just the success, but the hard times. And he talked about when he first started, he made his food and rent money as a street mime you put his head on the street and do street miming that’s how he made his money. And then he went on to you know, be you know, the founder of p90x and they sold, you know, hundreds of millions of DVDs and trainings and things like that, that and many more, you can check out on insert, insert calm, and this episode is brought to you by Rise25. And at Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships. And we do that by helping you run your podcast. You know, for me, Zach, you know me a little bit by this point. The number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. I’ve found no better way to do that over the past decade than to profile the people and the companies I admire on my podcast and shout from the rooftops so other people can learn about them too. So if out there you’ve thought about doing a podcast you should. If you have questions, email us, we’re happy to help you can go to Rise25.com or email us at [email protected] For any questions you have. I’m excited. We have Zach Wilcox, the CEO of Fide Freight as I mentioned, he’s a leader in the logistics industry. He has offices in Michigan, Illinois, they serve lots of industries. They also serve specifically pharmaceutical companies healthier supply companies is example. And when I was talking to Zach, really, you know in sometimes I know a lot of companies in the logistics industries. And it’s not there’s not always full transparency. There’s not always a complete communication with all steps along the journey. And one of the things that Zach and his team pride themselves on is full transparency communication, with all steps from bringing on a client all the way to getting the shipments completed on time. You can check them out at FideFreight.com it’s FideFreight.com. Zach, thanks for joining me.

Zach Wilcox  2:48  

Thank you so much for having me. Jeremy. I’m really excited to be on your podcast here. And I didn’t know that about p90x. So that’s, that’s new to me. I’ve already learned something. This is a it’s a great start.

Jeremy Weisz  3:02  

We find all sorts of things we’re gonna dig deep into, you know, with you. I want to start off just tell people a little bit about Fide Freight and what you guys do first?

Zach Wilcox  3:14  

Yeah, so we’re a we’re a third party logistics company. So we’re just started out here in Michigan actually, late 2019. And we started a couple of niche industries, we actually moved a lot of hemp products so CBD CBD oil, you guys probably heard that. So we built out that niche industry. And then we were able to hire and expand into larger companies, larger corporations, larger industries overall. And we’ve had, we’ve had a great journey, we’ve expanded to Chicago and our servicing clients all across the country. So we’re really excited. We’ve grown tremendously, not too fast, but definitely not too slow. So, you know, we’re two years in but

Jeremy Weisz  3:57  

Logistics had to be crazy. Zach with whenever you’re listening to this, you probably heard of the pandemic, okay, maybe whatever it is, how did things change? Did things get crazy around the pandemic? It was just supply chain was probably much different than it’s ever been before.

Zach Wilcox  4:15  

Yeah, it was really strange. It’s, it’s changed so much since we started, you know, right at pandemic, it was three months in and you know, we were thankful that the industries we weren’t in were’t harmed by by the pandemic, but there were a lot of companies, it was really a blessing to us. Our industries that we were in weren’t weren’t harmed, they actually were pretty

Jeremy Weisz  4:39  

opposite. Right? I mean, you have health care, pharmaceutical, these are booming during this time.

Zach Wilcox  4:44  

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we, you know, that’s why we’re really thankful as that happened. And there were a lot of companies that let people go, Let good talent go, that we were able to scoop up from other logistics companies. So We’re really thankful for for the pandemic in a strange way, you know, been really nice, nice to us as an organization.

Jeremy Weisz  5:08  

How did you get into this industry?

Zach Wilcox  5:13  

Man, I mean, it’s been I actually had, I didn’t have any logistics experience I was I was more the side of, I really wanted to start a business. Whereas my cousin, who co founded the company, he wanted to he was in logistics. So we came together, he left his company, I had just been fired, or not fired. But I was working for a company started at a new, a new manufacturing division there. And we have one big client. And I knew as a matter of time, if this client goes, I don’t know what I’m going to do it. So this client went, you know, and I actually went out into my car and started crying in my lap. I was like, man, what do I do? What do I do? And then, you know, I came together with my cousin. And we ended up starting this website and turned it into a company. And that was, you know, I was running to the bank, if times a day to send out wires had no credit when we started, it was a real mess. But then a journey, and I didn’t think I’d ever be in logistics. But here I am.

Jeremy Weisz  6:19  

Yeah, I guess the most dangerous number in a company is one, if you have one big client, and that client goes it’s, you know, hard to go to sleep at night when when that’s happening. Yeah, but it sounds like it’s a perfect, you know, combination with your family member. And you know, they’re the expert in in logistics, and you are in business. And, you know, before we hit record here, we are talking a little bit about some topics I love for you to talk about, which is growing a company with core values.

Zach Wilcox  6:52  

So yeah, talk about that. Oh, yeah, I think that’s really important. Especially just seeing it from, we put our core values, I really put our core values in place. The second we hired somebody, I thought it was really important to have that. And just to give you one example, one of our core values is systems. So from the beginning, we’ve always looked at, there’s a few books that influenced me. But from the beginning, what are some of them? So I have them right here, actually. So Start With Why, Start With Why is one. And then The E-Myth talks a lot about systems and sodas Good to Great, I actually have them all right here. I have them in both offices. But I think it was Good to Great or The E-Myth. Or a little bit of both, they talked about how your company is more like your company is a system overall, you plug people in so you aren’t people dependent. So how do you set that up? You set up systems to do everything you put SOPs in place early on, you make sure that things are repeatable. And it’s helped us along the way to prevent repeat mistakes and just allow people to onboard onto the company really fast, much faster than most companies. So we still focus on systems. I mean, we reboot we it’s called ties in I come from a manufacturing backgrounds, continuously improving. And it’s been really important. You hear people in the office talking about what we do this system that we do you hear system thrown out there so much. And that’s because it’s a core value. Like I talked about it so much. I think just in general, whatever your core values are, as long as you’re, you’re talking about them and you’re living them, but then a company creates like a you know, creates a togetherness you guys are all working towards. You have a bigger why bigger purpose, really important?

Jeremy Weisz  8:56  

I’d love for you to Zach to talk about another core value systems. And I want to tell you just there was we I actually do have an interview with Michael Gerber The E-Myth, check it out, it’s really good. And also Owen McGab, who runs the company Sweet Process would actually is a software that helps you document SOPs. So I encourage anyone listening, check that episode out. Because you know that you’re spot on. I mean, all the people I talked to come on, you know, the way they’re able to grow and be accurate, efficient is because they have systems in place. So I love that you said that what’s another core value?

Zach Wilcox  9:38  

Another core value for us is just our clients. So people, systems by profit, they’re all our big four core values, but terms of clients, we’re always trying to provide this above and beyond service, every shipment every client every time Doesn’t matter if you’re, you know, if you have a tractor and you will never do business with this again, but you need to move it from a to b. Or if you’re a large corporate public company that 1000 shipments a day, we treat you with respect. And we try to provide this above and beyond service, every shipment every client every time and we have big letters on our wall and our sales floor above and beyond. You know, I love it is when we’re talking about it. We’re talking about ah, I do this, should I tell the client this? Should I tell them this? Well, what gives them that above and beyond? What What would go above and beyond? What do they expect? Great. They expect that let’s do this one step high. So I we talked about that our conversations to just be above and beyond approach. Everything we do.

Jeremy Weisz  10:50  

Speak, Zach to the moving tractors situation, there was a specific instance.

Zach Wilcox  10:57  

Yeah, I mean, just moving tractors in general. And in going back to the above and beyond service or experience, I think it’s pretty unique for us, because a lot of times we get those quotes, they come in through the website, they go to an email distribution email to our whole sales team. And our goal there. We’re trying to get that quote, trying to call them or email quote to them in under a minute. 30. We don’t have an automated, but under a minute. 30 is our target time on new quotes. And we get it a lot of the times I will say that people picked up they’ll say, just put that it I just clicked Submit. Are you is it? Yeah, that’s us. You know what you watch it we do for you. So we’d like to hold that standard.

Jeremy Weisz  11:45  

I love it. Yeah, if you go to the website, and it goes to Fide Freight, FideFreight.com, you can see right front and center is you can request a quote, quote, and you put it in, and you guys are super fast.

Zach Wilcox  11:57  

Be careful, Jeremy, you’re gonna get a call during this podcast.

Jeremy Weisz  12:04  

How do you because, again, we’ve all dealt with companies, it could take them an hour a day a week to get back? What’s the one of the secrets to doing this? And it kind of goes into hiring, I imagine. And I’d love to talk about how do you? What’s the process for hiring? And specifically, it’s talking about customer service, first with hiring and we’ll talk about other aspects of the company too.

Zach Wilcox  12:33  

Mm hmm. I mean, hiring is there’s when I created a flywheel, they want to say that book is. Want to say that is Good to Great is the flywheel concept. So when we look at our flywheel as a company, what is it start always starts with hire that people? Do you really have to step back and say, What is someone who’s fit for this position? What am I looking for? What questions can I ask, during the interview CUET during the interview process? To really dig out? What does it fit person mean for my company, you can’t always get it, you can’t always get it. I’ve had some good hires. I’ve had some bad hires, learn quickly which ones which, but the idea is that whenever we’re trying to do anything, starts with fit people, then you have a great drone trading program. And then from there, you give a great service, you bring on more clients, you bring on more clients who hire more fit people. It’s the flywheel concept that we have here. But it all starts with how you interview and those questions you ask to really filter out. somebody’s telling the truth it anybody can give a great interview, they can prepare, they can have you know, they can have words ready, they can have all these phrases. I’ve heard it cookie cutter answers it and sometimes you don’t touch that and you’re like, great, sometimes you like you ask something out of the box, like I don’t know how to answer that. So hiring hiring is very important. Just as important as training people once you bring.

Jeremy Weisz  14:24  

What’s the process for training, right because someone may come in maybe they’re a good fit, and they’re not used to responding within a minute and a half to something and and then when they get on saying the right things and making that person feel welcome and comforted and professional. What’s the process for training.

Zach Wilcox  14:43  

Well, we the hit on the welcome fire, we have a great, great office admin here who helps us she puts up a big welcome sign with their names so they walk in the door. And that’s welcome. Welcome, Kai, welcome. You know, it just sets that setting a tone. But then I spent a whole day, the whole day with this person, we don’t hire too many people at a time two max. Like I said, we’re not growing too fast. But so I spent a whole day with them. And I talked a lot about the systems, our core values, what we’re trying to build here, how they can be successful. And I talked a lot about their past, what was great at their past, what wasn’t great. How was your culture? What did you like, What didn’t you like, and hit on those things. But with training, the key is to have have enough people that can train, I think that’s what we’re running into is like, we’re all so busy, this company’s just, it’s growing, in terms of our clients and stuff. So we’re having a hard time giving people enough attention to train. So we’ve put in some systems to the we’ve put in an LMS learning management software that we’re actually implementing the next couple of weeks, that is going to help us be time and help the people that we bring on. I mean, if you have an all star and you don’t teach them how to, you know, hit the ball, they’re probably not going to hit the ball, they could be an all star deep down, but if they don’t know how to hit the ball, or swing, that you got a problem. So that is really important.

Jeremy Weisz  16:22  

One of the keys to success for you, it seems in a short period of time is hiring really experienced people also. And, you know, you said, um, you know, your family members really experienced you brought in other experienced people to help run those aspects of the business. Um, you know, was it you know, as far as your your memory had connections in the industry, that seems like, You, you fill in these gaps where you don’t have that expertise. And the same thing goes for your family member too.

Zach Wilcox  16:57  

Yeah, yeah. I mean, we’ve done that all along. He’s actually no longer with the company. But he helped, he did help found it, but he’s no longer with the company. But we have early on, we he knew a few people in the industry, which helped us. And then like I said, during COVID, a lot of people were letting, letting talent go, that we were scooping it up, we may not have been able to afford the talent, or we may not have been able to manage the talent, but we scooped him up and we figured it out during COVID. And even now, a lot of times it’s I’ll see talent, our HR will see talent, and we’ll scoop it right up. You know, anytime, any opportunity we get out there.

Jeremy Weisz  17:46  

The SEC, I’m gonna play devil’s advocate for a second, okay, I’m a big public company. Alright, and I’m, I’m like, listen, Zach, there’s these huge brokers like huge brokers out there. You know, Zach, why would I go with you when I can go with some of the biggest brokers out there who could maybe service a public company like me?

Zach Wilcox  18:13  

I mean, that’s a great, that’s something we run into very often is working are being challenged, you can get the biggest brokerages in the industry. I mean, I can think of a few clients that we brought on who large public companies that now exclusively work with us one in specific who that, oh, well, we need a provider, they brought on the biggest name that they could find. And it all was great during the honeymoon stage, and then it kind of dwindles out and they couldn’t even get a hold of anybody there. So it was a very easy transition when we told them, hey, you get somebody dedicated, you’ll get personal service. Here’s my cell phone. Here’s the Director of Sales cell phone, you call any of us anytime. And so we just we really beat the competition on service and just being personable being there. It was it was interesting to hear that a large company was struggling to get a hold of somebody at this firm, it was surprising but it put a smile on my face. I will say that so

Jeremy Weisz  19:29  

What are the biggest issues you see that your customers come to you with?

Zach Wilcox  19:37  

Um you know, a lot of times I would say a lot of times the issue is that when we’re competing against other brokerages they will you except you say hey, I’ll move something from A to B. Yeah, I can do that at this cost. Then they figure out they can’t do it at that cost after they are already committed to it. So they go back to the customer and they say, Hey, you know, I can’t move it at this cost I, I got to give it back, someone else has to move. That’s that’s one of our philosophies that we abide by not giving stuff back. And we, if we commit to it, if we take it that’s across the board, internally, when we’re talking to my other employees, if I commit to something, and same with the customers, if we commit to something we’re going to stand by that’s just what we will do. Whether it’s, it doesn’t matter, the cost, it doesn’t matter. Anything except the fact that we committed at this time, we’ll make it happen though. That’s, that’s an area where we really excel.

Jeremy Weisz  20:43  

Like, what are some of the milestones? That when you think of the company, these are milestones you’re especially proud of?

Zach Wilcox  20:52  

Um, I mean, last year, we went 50%. I mean, I guess, as a company, sales is always a great milestone, right? Being able to sell more or grow more. But I think that a more of a subjective milestone is people happy to come to work. Everybody, you can ask them. And you can have multiple people ask, are you actually happy to come here? Do you come here? And do you have a smile on your face, maybe not every day, but more often than not? I think if we continue to do that, we continue to hit our quarterly milestones around systems and building platforms, then the sky, the sky’s the limit for us. But in terms of sales numbers, I mean, we’re, we’re blown out those numbers that we set last year, and this year as well, already. So pretty excited about that, that kind of comes with a great culture, great people.

Jeremy Weisz  21:52  

You mentioned the people and the culture, what are things that you do that helps you maintain a good culture, the other company should think about as well.

Zach Wilcox  22:02  

I mean, we talk about it all the time. We challenge ourselves all the time. What a great culture is we’re, we talk about building a foundation here, as we’re smaller, we have 25 people, just all of us keeping this very secured as tight knit, you know, let’s, let’s hold on to this. This is our foundation. And what builds that is not not necessarily just breakfast on Wednesday mornings, it’s great. But continuing to bring on people that have the same philosophy of culture is very important, and bringing on people that fit. There’s companies I won’t get too far into it. But there’s companies that do hire, you know, 30 people at a time, how do you maintain a culture hiring 30 people at a time, I think that’d be very difficult. That’s why we hire slow. And we’re not growing as fast as we could. But we are protecting our culture growing slow to protect that culture. So it’s very important.

Jeremy Weisz  23:08  

I want to go back the accident inception of the company for a second, if anyone’s watching the video. I’m amazed by what you’ve done. You’re a young guy. Um, it’s amazing. Right? When you were talking to first start this company, I would think it’d be a bit scary, like, just the path that you took, I know that you kind of a background engineering, um, what made you decide to make that leap? Because you could have after that job call, listen, I’m a smart guy. I’m gonna go and work for another manufacturing company, I’ll be successful. It is a big undertaking to start the company. So what was your thought on at that time when you were talking to your, your family member?

Zach Wilcox  23:59  

Yeah. It was a big undertaking, because it was all built with the leftover college student loans that I had. So that was kind of that was that was a bit risky. I was supposed to give those back. But ultimately, that’s what ended up starting and funding. The first few months of this business. I mean, since since the age of 15. I’ve been reading business books, I’ve been in the market. I bought and sold a CBD business while in college. Decent, decent, exit on that. I’ve always been I’ve never been happy at a job. And I think a lot of people feel that I think a lot of people feel that maybe they aren’t so happy at a job. And we all have the opportunity to go out and build something and it’s, it takes time and you have to get it. I think that you have to think about it for a very long time and you have to almost obsess about starting a business and building it out. And that’s that’s what I did. Seven eight years before starting this come a long way been really fun though. Some days.

Jeremy Weisz  25:13  

First of all Zach, I have one last question for you before I do, I just want to point people towards your website. I just appreciate your approach and sharing some of the lessons learned and people should go to FideFreight.com at FideFreight.com My last question is it’s apparently you’re an avid reader. So I’d love to hear any other books that you would recommend people read or listen to outside of any mentioned E-Myth, Good to Great,Start With Why any others that stick out or any other people mentors or books that you recommend people check out?

Zach Wilcox  25:55  

Yeah, I think in terms of men mentors, Patrick Bet-David I talked to you actually about him a little bit Patrick Bet-David has a really good channel called Valuetainment that I grew up on if you will, when I started this business. And these are all business these are all business based The E-Myth, Good to Great, Patrick Bet-David but some some maybe just mental growth books are the The Untethered Soul,The Power of Now just read both of those recently and then Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins. It’s it’s a bit dated, I will say that, but it’s interesting to hear his perspective and I’ve read all these books in a matter of a month and it’s been very good for your soul for your for your mental, more than just thinking about business all the time, how to grow, how to hire people how to do all this stuff, like think about yourself a little bit too, and it pays dividends, it pays dividends to work on personal growth as much as the business growth. So been really powerful.

Jeremy Weisz  27:00  

I love that Zach read those books. Thank you. A number of people actually mentioned Untethered Soul. So maybe it’s a sign I should probably pick it up. It’s not one I have. But I love Tony Robbins stuff. I think over here I have the whole personal power series and other things. So I love that suggestion, as well AwakenThe Giant Within so Zach, I want to be the first one to thank you ever on checkout FideFreight.com and more episodes of the podcast Inspired Insider and Rise25 And thanks, everyone. Thanks.

Zach Wilcox  27:33  

Thank you so much.

Outro  27:34  

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