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Sample contract between owner and driver

LDB

Veteran Expediter
Retired Expediter
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There are very frequent requests for a sample of a contract between an owner and a driver. Requests come from all over and because states are individual and unique there isn't a single national contract that applies.

Some have suggested posting boilerplate samples to be cut and pasted into a rough draft that is then taken to an attorney near home to be edited and adapted properly for the particular state. While there is some merit in that suggestion I have to disagree, after much thought about the idea. The problem I see is someone taking the sample and deciding not to invest the money for the local attorney. I emphasize invest because the security and protection of a proper contract is one of the best investments the owner can have.

I bring this up in a new thread to suggest and try to maintain a thread of important points to include if you are the owner and to look for if you are the driver. I know other threads have been started similar to this but they quickly get sidetracked and lose focus of the original topic. I hope everyone will choose to contribute and will keep their posts concise and topical.

I'll ante with:
1. What amount of maintenance/repair to the truck can the driver make without prior approval and upon submission of proper receipts be reimbursed? This would be for things like headlights, coolant, belts or other items found in need of replacement during PTI or PM.

2. What is the procedure if the truck will need to be in the shop for maintenance/repair overnight while out on the road?

Leo Bricker, owner trucks 3034, 4958
OOIDA 677319
73's K5LDB
Highway Watch Participant, Truckerbuddy
EO Forum Moderator 1+ Years of Service
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Support the entire Constitution, not just the parts you like.
 

greg334

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Leo,

I have to tell you it seems to be a losing battle with some issues.

But I suggestion placing in a contract the following;

Termination of a contractor, with details of responsibilities; i.e. will the contractor drop the truck off at a specific location and if this is not fulfilled, who pays for the recovery expenses, will the contractors payout be adjusted or held until the truck is recovered.

Passing on specific bonuses or payouts for specific tasks; safety bonuses, FSC, loading/unloading, I know this is a given.

Limits on uses of the truck while off duty, i.e. moving kids stuff to the dorm, picking up the soccer team, etc..

Some procedures to limit liabilities for accidents, breakdowns (as mentioned) and even stupid stuff

Something that everyone thinks is not important, mandating time off during the year to reduce fatigue. People who spend forever on the road need to get off the road and out of the truck. This is not my idea but one from a major carrier who I don’t remember.
 

LDB

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Greg,

Thanks for getting things started. I hope this isn't going to be a losing battle as you say however I realize it often is and this thread may wind up a casualty as well. Until that happens I appreciate your points as they are important. If we all stay focused we can put together a good thread with at least most of the points an owner needs to be sure are included in any contract he uses and conversely a driver needs to be sure are in any contract he signs.

I'll raise my ante by:

1. How much total escrow will the owner hold and how will it be amassed?

2. What criteria are used to determine if any/all of the escrow is required to cover damage and/or wear and tear beyond the expected amount for the timeframe the contractor had the truck?

Leo Bricker, owner trucks 3034, 4958
OOIDA 677319
73's K5LDB
Highway Watch Participant, Truckerbuddy
EO Forum Moderator 1+ Years of Service
-----
Support the entire Constitution, not just the parts you like.
 

greg334

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You’re welcomed.

Here are a couple of other things;

Performance accountability, just because the driver is in the truck, the truck is there to make money, not sit. So if the driver turns down almost every load to get something he/she likes, shouldn’t performance accountability be defined?

Personal property, placing a limit on the responsibilities as a fleet owner on what can be carried, who is to care for those items and when the contract is terminated how long those items will be retained (not as collateral) before they are disposed of. Here is the reason why; experience I had. Our trucks that were usually driven by one or two people and they usually had person effects inside of the truck. Once I had to have a truck picked up from a driver who moved on to bigger and better things so I had a crew in that area and go pick it up. I thought that this former driver would remove everything out of the truck that was his, but you know how it its, he didn’t. So the guy who drove the truck back here cleaned out all the items that were not company property (or that was what he told me, he may have kept everything) as I told him, I wanted a clean truck when it was returned. So three weeks later I get this call from this former employee demanding his stuff back, I told him to well… you can guess. Apparently he was not too smart, the items in the truck included a good expensive watch, tools and assorted items that weren’t cheap to begin with. He wanted to sue us and recoup around $2000, but again read your contract guy, the property in the truck at the time you terminate the employment is all the companies, no claims can be made.

Oh ye reimbursement of related items for the job and for that matter excusion of non-related items. I mean if I as a driver see this neat strap (rainbow colors with my initials on it) and buy it; can I get reimbursed for the cost of the strap even though the truck has 20 straps already? Defining an approval system for this event is critical.

When I think of more I will post them.
 

davekc

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Fleet Owner
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Leo,
on your #2 question, I would recommend a third party to determine costs. Simular to a insurance claim. I would follow that recommendation with regards to any type of vehicle recovery where the driver has breached the contract.



Davekc
owner
21 years
PantherII
EO moderator
 

LDB

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Another point to cover and look for, and a means to bring this back to the top in hopes of better participation, would be expectations as far as ratios in service, load acceptance, on time etc. that are expected of the driver. The in service ratio would impact on home time primarily but could also impact time for a break to visit other family or friends away from home.

Leo Bricker, owner trucks 3034, 4958
OOIDA 677319
73's K5LDB
Highway Watch Participant, Truckerbuddy
EO Forum Moderator 1+ Years of Service
-----
Support the entire Constitution, not just the parts you like.
 

ATeam

Senior Member
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Regarding performance incentives, fleet owers should be careful to not over-incent. A bonus based on say 95% in service and 90% acceptance rate could be construed to also be an incentive to commit unsafe acts in pursuit of the bonus. Performance incentives of 80/80 would be more reasonable.

Some fleet owners agree to pay for hotels while the truck is in the shop if the truck breaks down on the road. Others gave up that practice long ago having been burned by drivers that would sabatoge the truck to gain a free hotel room for a few days.
 

RichM

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I have to agree with A Team re the incentive bonus area.It is difficult just to keep a 80/80 level without a large amount of
fatigue. Trying to go beyond that could create incidents of damage to cargo and the vehicle.
Also if I was a driver I would like the owner to meet up with me somewhere on a monthly basis and sign off on the conditiuon of his vehicle. If I was an owner I would also want a pre set interval for me to inspect the equipment..
 

davekc

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Staff member
Fleet Owner
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One of the best tools is the cell phone. Drivers take pictures of the truck and email them. Even a throw away camera is $10.00.
It doesn't show every singe thing, but it shows quite a bit.
I also use it for repairs or tire replacements. They take great closeups.

They are handy since on the phone because you can pull that out on a moments notice and take a picture of a vehicle backing into you for example. Even more valuable if someone flees the scene.

Taking picture of high value cargo and how it was loaded. Eliminates alot of questions.

Something for some to consider.

As for hotels, I under most circumstances, pay them unless it seems like a act of negligence is involved.



Davekc
owner
21 years
PantherII
EO moderator
 

Dreamer

Administrator Emeritus
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Great responses folks! Now THIS is the kind of exchange of ideas I like to see.

As was pointed out, I think if a "template" contract is posted, some lazy people will just copy it, and it may not fit their siuation. It would be more beneficial to come up with a list of what needs to be included on a good contract.

You guys have come up with some great points. Keep 'em coming. I see a good article, and/or resource material here.

Thanks,


Dreamer
Forums Administrator
 
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