JW Surety Bonds will be closing at noon on Friday, May 22, 2015 and will remain closed through Monday, May 25, 2015 to observe Memorial Day. We will reopen May 26, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. EST. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!
Date Enacted: February 25, 2015
Date Effective: July 1, 2015
Wyoming has recently made changes to depository bond laws. WY HB 30 is a revision to the existing law.
The revisions clarify surety bond requirements for depositories of state money and define how interest on government deposits is calculated and paid.
As laws change, many more banks will wish to apply to be state depositories. Some bankers may have questions about the surety bonds associated with this process — the best thing is to consult an agency working many surety bond companies which will explain the process and help you get bonded easily.
Wyoming has made clarifications to its law regarding when interest on state deposits will be paid, in effect amending the provisions related to securing the deposit of state funds. In the past, deposit interest was paid on the first day of the quarter. Now the payment of interest must happen on the first business day of the quarter.
The change ensures that banks are not required to pay (or surety bonds required to cover) interest on a day they would normally consider a holiday or that the state would consider a holiday. All transactions will happen during regular business days.
As before, the interest will be paid to the state treasurer at the rate set by the board of deposits.
Prior to the amendment, financial institutions could only apply before the first Monday in June. Now, banks can apply at any time. The applications will still go to the secretary of the board of deposits with a sworn statement regarding the financial health of the bank. There will be a required addition to the application of a certified resolution that provides proper authority of the depository.
Once an application is approved, the bank collateral officer will be assigned by the secretary of the board of deposits and the chairman. The bank will receive a written order that declares it a state depository and this status will stand until the board takes away the designation. Every year, the bank will be required to submit a certified copy of its resolution to show that its authority as a state depository hasn’t been removed. It will also provide a current statement of condition. If a financial institution designated as a state depository becomes the subject of state or federal enforcement action, its status as a depository can be revoked before the date of maturity without the usually required 45 days’ written notice. These changes are the largest and most impactful of the revisions to the law, though the amendments to the Wyoming Depository Act should be read in full for a complete understanding of the modifications. What are your thoughts about the revision? Share them with us below.]]>
Date Enacted: 2/17/2015
Montana foreign fiduciary bonding laws have changed. Prior to the HB 66 changes, foreign banks weren’t required to hold surety bonds when they were appointed as a guardian, trustee or conservator; however, the revised act requires surety bonds in these instances.
Trustees and conservators will now need to learn how to get their bond and insurance to operate legally.
In the past, foreign financial institutions (in this case referring to any institution based outside of Montana) were able to show a cash backing when becoming a trustee, guardian or conservator. The revision to this Montana bill now allows only one type of financial backing. Foreign trusts must now purchase a surety bond to meet the trustee requirements. Other forms of security will no longer be accepted.
The enactment of these changes may present the question of what a surety bond is and how to purchase one. To define a surety bond simply, it is a three party contractual agreement that ensures all parties (but most specifically the bond purchaser) will see the contract through to its end. These bonds can be purchased through a surety bond agency, like JW Surety Bonds.
Reports will still be made three times a year, but institutions will no longer receive a call for them. Instead, reports will be submitted 30 days after the “past day” as dictated by the relevant department.
Electronic submission will be deemed successful merely by the fact that the submission is transmitted without fail to the appropriate federal banking authority. The bank making the report must keep the signature page of said report on file permanently and be able to produce it for review by the department at any time.
Non-depository trust companies which aren’t insured by the federal deposit insurance corporation are required to send the call reports directly to the department. These reports can be made either in hard copy or “imaged” form.
Many reports and statements are confidential. These confidential documents and any communication about them will remain confidential; however, the federal banking authority may make some information public.
The only time that confidential information can be divulged to those not associated with the department is in exchanges with federal financial regulatory agencies and state financial regulatory agencies. Prosecuting officials need warrants to obtain information.
Check out the full revised Montana Fiduciary Trust Bonding Act for more details.
What are your thoughts about the revision? Share them with us below.]]>
Date Enacted: February 25, 2015
Date Effective: July 1, 2015
Revisions have been made to WY HB 60. The changes to this bill require trust companies to hold a commercial bond. Without a surety bond, these businesses will be forced to use their capital in the case of disbanding due to poor financial health.
These changes may present questions for some trust companies. Individuals who are unfamiliar with license bonds may now need to research how to get licensed.
There are several changes to Wyoming’s HB 60. For trust companies, the revisions mean that they must now submit a license bond to the commissioner. The purpose of the commercial bond is to cover costs in case of a liquidation or receivership, should the trust company fall into a bad financial status.
The permit bond must have a market value of at least $100,000. Instead of furnishing a bond, the institution can submit capital which will be held in a state or national bank. The main branch location of the bank must be located in the state of Wyoming and the trust company will be responsible for any fees associated with the management of the capital.
The law allows trust companies to be organized as corporations and limited liability companies, and they are given the same rights afforded to these organizations including taking oaths and affidavits by managing members or corporate officers depending upon the type of organization the trust is.
A trust company can’t be organized or incorporated unless it pays a capital stock of at least $500,000. In the case of a corporation, the capital stock will come from its members.
There are several possible conditions for insolvency including:
Check out the full revised Wyoming Trust Company License Bond Law for more details.
What are your thoughts about the revisions? Share them with us below.]]>
Date Enacted: February 25, 2015
Date Effective: July 1, 2015
WY HB 9 changes requirements for alternative fuel terminal operators, importers and exporters, refiners, suppliers and distributors. The new law mandates an annual license, as well as license bonds, for certain entities to conduct business under the category of alternative fuel. As a result of this revision, many alternative fuel professionals will have to learn about getting licensed and bonded.
Wyoming’s new law requires that licensees with a tax liability file a bond of $50,000 with the department or a bond equivalent to six months of tax liability, whichever sum is greater. The department will defer the bond if the licensee’s filing record from the year before is in good standing, on time and accurate.
License bonds will also be required in the case of a licensee (any supplier, dealer or distributor) who doesn’t file a required report or is late in making a payment twice in 12 months. Then, a license bond or permit bond will be enforced until the entity in question has had a good filing record for 12 months.
Once a 12-month-long record of good filing is established, the bond requirement will be waived again.
The department will also demand commercial bonds or license bonds for businesses that have their license revoked or commit a violation. This bond requirement is seen as a guarantee of payment of taxes, penalties and interest, if any of these are late or unpaid.
The change also protects against fraud and ensures the return of a license if any violations are committed. Under some circumstances, a certificate of deposit will be accepted in place of a surety bond.
All owners of alternatively fueled cars will pay a tax on the fuel equal to 24 cents a gallon, which is the same rate as the gas tax. The owners of electric cars will be required to buy a decal at the rate of $50 per year to satisfy the new law.
All importers and exporters of alternative fuel are also subject to the license bonding requirements, and all other requirements outlined in WY HB 9.
Check out the full Wyoming taxation and license bonding bill for alternative fuel professionals for more details.
What are your thoughts about this new bill? Share them with us below.]]>
Good marketing is critical for freight brokers, particularly when you’re just getting started.
You’re going to need a solid base of contacts to begin brokering freight, and marketing is a great way of finding that base. Once you create a pool of leads, marketing continues to work for you by helping you turn these leads into actual clients.
Just follow this step-by-step guide, part of our Freight Broker Starter Kit e-book, and you’ll be well on your way to a solid list of clients. This is the lifeblood of your freight brokerage, so make sure you invest enough time into making it work.
At the beginning, freight broker marketing looks just like any type of niche-specific marketing. There are basics you simply can’t do without, such as having a great website, understanding your customers, and figuring out how to stand out online. Only once you check these off should you focus on starting a freight brokerage marketing strategy to attract your customers.
All of your marketing efforts need to start with a well-designed website. Your website will usually be the first thing a potential client encounters and needs to make a good impression. Lucky for you, this is easier than ever with affordable hosting and website building tools like squarespace. Providing information about your services and a place where potential clients can contact you is absolutely essential.
But beyond simply making a great website, you also need to take into account Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This means avoiding things which Google’s algorithm punishes, like having duplicate content, lists of keywords (instead of keywords which are incorporated naturally into content), purchased links (paying people to link to your site), or usability problems like slow load speeds.
“Buyer persona” is a marketing industry term for a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. To create one, you need to think about your ideal customers’ demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The most basic step towards providing a great service and having a successful marketing strategy is creating one or more detailed buyer personas. Once you know who your customers are, you can start to consider strategies to target them specifically.
This is a list of the main keywords that anyone looking for a freight broker would use in their online searches. Companies like Hubspot provide great video tutorials on all aspects of online marketing, and their article on keyword research should provide some great tips for finding what you’ll need for your business. In general, tools such as the Keyword Planner from Google Adwords are helpful in seeing what keywords have higher volume and lower competition. Those are the ones you want to target.
You need to make it as easy as possible for potential clients to find you. One essential step is making sure you’re listed in business directories. The most common online directories you should place yourself in are:
Add to these any local online or offline directories which are popular in your area and you’ll be set. Just make sure you create your listings using the same Name, Phone, Address (NAP) and have this information visible on your website, or Google won’t be able to connect the dots.
Expert Strategies for New Freight Brokers
There are a variety of ways to target your buyer personas online. The two most basic types of strategies are those which allow you to reach out to potential customers, and those which bring those customers to you. You can choose to use one or both of these in your marketing campaign.
When you’re starting your own business, one of the most important choices you make is the location. You want to set up your brokerage in an area which will support your business goals and growth. Well, after you’ve made your decision, it’s time to take advantage of your location!
When somebody’s searching for freight brokers in your particular area, you want to show up in Local Results, since that’s the easiest way of making it to the top of the results page. To start, you should find some great local long-tail keywords that help people find your business in your specific area. You’re probably not going to rank in Google for “freight broker,” but you may very well be able to rank for “freight broker kansas city.”
Once you’ve got a list of targetable keywords, it’s time to get to work and help Google rank you higher for them. There are a few ways to do this:
This is a solid strategy for any customer-driven business. It involves making a list of potential customers. In particular, one which allows you to clearly organize all the information you have about them. This will not only help you stay organized, but it will help enormously in targeting your customers individually. Top Ten Reviews has a fantastic survey with tons of information to help you choose the best lead finding and organizing software.
Besides software, you can make a lead list in several ways. The most basic is to use your own knowledge and personal contacts to draw one up. If you’re not in a position to try that strategy, there are companies specializing in finding sales leads. You should also be attending industry events and conferences when possible to continue building a solid network and to bring in new leads.
Once you have your list, you need to decide on the best method to contact your leads. One way is by simply cold calling (a business term for calling a lead with whom you haven’t interacted before). If you have a large list and feel you don’t have the time to make the calls yourself, you can try outsourcing them to a call center. But most brokers can and prefer to reach out to potential customers on their own. You could also try sending personalized emails.
Another great way to target potential customers is through targeted ads. There’s a huge variety of platforms for doing this. One of the most basic is Google Adwords. Here you can target people searching for very specific keywords on Google, as well as in particular geographic locations. This can be immensely useful for a freight broker, since you can target people searching for brokers in your specific region.
Beyond Adwords, social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ also offer similarly targeted advertising opportunities. The kinds of users on the social media site and the cost per click of advertising vary between them and are worth considering. LinkedIn, for example, has excellent professional networks, but is much more expensive than Facebook. For more details, check out Hubspot’s guide to social media marketing.
The key to driving organic traffic to your site is content marketing. Sure, you can spread your business’ brand by word-of-mouth, cold-calling, and old-fashioned networking, but content marketing is how you make sure people who are looking for you online can actually find you.
Great content marketing involves creating high quality content like blog posts, which incorporate those keywords you listed before. The key is to always think about your potential clients and readers; your content should always provide value to them. Give them something they want to read.
Doing this can increase your ranking in Google and bring relevant traffic to your site. You can even develop a nice reputation in the industry on the way. All in all, it’s one of the most consistent and effective forms of online marketing.
One common mistake many companies make when they begin their first marketing campaign is ignoring the essential step of calculating ROI. So, once you’ve started a strategy you need to think about how you can quantify your results.
This means using things like Google Webmaster Tools to look at your website’s traffic and where it’s coming from. Beyond that, every social media platform you may be advertising with will offer you plenty of data. So take a look at what works, what doesn’t, and how much it all costs to determine the best marketing strategy for your brokerage.
For a more detailed guide, check out this article from Marketo.
In the end, it’s all about picking and choosing from our recommendations to find the best strategy for you. Don’t be afraid to try something new and see how it goes. Just don’t forget that many of these marketing techniques take a few months to show their results. Good luck out there!
For a complete guide to every aspect of becoming a freight broker, download our free e-book, The Freight Broker Starter Kit: