Fuel for Thought
Elections Have Consequences
Elections have consequences. We all make decisions. We want to make the best decisions. We base our decisions on the information available to us at that time. We research to find the information relevant to the decision at hand. Once we have the necessary information, we move forward and choose our best option or options. Then, based on our choice, we move forward and execute our plan. Even if we have done our due diligence, sometimes we still make the wrong choice and must deal with consequences of our choices. Some decisions we make will take more time than others to determine if we made the correct choice.
When we elect to change carriers, there will be consequences. This decision should be carefully weighed and measured to determine whether the carrier you are considering partnering with is the best choice for you and your business. And make no mistake, if you are an owner operator, you will most likely be partnering with a carrier, not employed. As an independent owner operator leased to a carrier, it is a partnership, of sorts. You are required to fulfill specific obligations and your carrier is to do the same. These obligations will be spelled out in your contract with the carrier. Do not expect anything from the carrier that is not in your contract. This is why the contract exists, to specifically address the role of each party involved in the contract.
If you elect to terminate your contract with your current carrier and move to another, it is not as simple as quitting a job and getting hired elsewhere.
While it can be an easy transition, moving from carrier to carrier as an owner operator, it is also not without costs. Consider also that all of these costs will double if you elected to lease to a new carrier and find it was the wrong fit for you. Just some of the costs from the new carrier to consider are escrow accounts, permits, base plates, inspections, drug screen, log and communication devices, etc.
But leaving your old carrier costs nothing. Wrong. Log and communication devices have to be uninstalled and returned, decals must be removed, etc.
Also consider when you elect to change carriers, many times there will also be time off during the transition which you should prepare for as well. It will also take a little time to get adjusted to your new carrier, they will most likely do things a little different, but isn’t that why you chose them? You wouldn’t want them to be the same as your last carrier would you? So prepare for that adjustment period. You may not hit the revenue mark you hope for fresh out of orientation, but you have to get settled in with your new carrier and their new procedures. Your new carrier also needs to adjust to you. You do not have a history with them. They want you to the best owner operator possible, but they need to see how you run your business. Will this new owner operator be a so-so driver, or a real go getter? Can we count on this person or team to handle our best customers? Remember, you are not the only one in the contract wanting to find out more about who they have just signed on with.
How much time is enough? How long do you stay with a new carrier before deciding it was a bad choice for you? That will be different for each person. There are many factors that can affect the amount of time you give a new carrier. Some might be based on how well you prepared for the transition. Other factors may be based on contractual fulfillment (from either party) and there are many others.
When you elect to change carriers, it may not be as simple as it seems on the surface. There is more to consider than - terminate old contract, sign new contract, the grass just got greener. Sometimes you may find the greener grass to be artificial turf and then you are back to looking for a better pasture.
No one wants to make a bad decision. You owe it to yourself, your business and your family, to do the research necessary to make an informed decision. Once you have made the decision, don’t forget to prepare for it before you execute your plan.
See you down the road,
Quick decisions are unsafe decisions.