Fuel for Thought
Getting a great paying load is the goal of most drivers, but that is just part of the equation. Of course, you have to get the load to meet your financial needs, but then comes the most crucial part, successful execution. Anyone can accept a load, but if you cannot fulfill the requirements to complete the task, do not be surprised when your pay is reduced because the services you performed were less than required.
Especially for loads that require special equipment, such as liftgate, pallet jack, driver loading or unloading and inside delivery, if you cannot follow through with the customer’s needs set forth prior to acceptance of the load, you should not take the load. There is a reason why many higher paying loads are just that, higher paying. They may require additional equipment or services from the driver in order to complete loading or delivery. When you take a load which you are not able to fulfill the customer’s needs, it is at the least very unprofessional, but also reflects badly on not just you, but your carrier and your fellow drivers. Your inability to meet the customer’s demands (which they are paying extra for you to do) may keep that customer from using your carrier again in the future, affecting everyone else from your carrier.
Sometimes the equipment means your attire. Proper clothing does not have to be a uniform, although that would show the customer that you take some pride in your appearance, but at the minimum, you should at least be fully dressed in proper attire. Closed toe shoes are a must when working with freight, as open toe shoes like flip flops are not acceptable. If for no other reason than the safety aspect, why would you bring your beach shoes to a business meeting? Loading or delivering freight is a business meeting. You are meeting with your customer for a business transaction, dress appropriately.
Another aspect of fulfilling your duties when accepting a load is communication. “My English no good” is not acceptable to relieve you from your duty to properly communicate with customers.
Spanish is not my native language and my Spanish is lacking, but when I need to communicate with a Spanish speaking customer who may only have a limited English vocabulary, I find a way to communicate. I do not just say “mi español no es muy bueno ”, that is not acceptable either. It solves nothing to just claim ignorance and leave it at that. It is your responsibility to find a way to communicate with your customers.
To some drivers and wanna be drivers, they assume that if they can drive that is all there is to it. This could not be farther from the truth. Whether you are a driver or owner operator makes no difference to the level of service you should perform if you accept the task. Do not accept loads that you cannot handle all of the aspects required to complete. You just end up with an unhappy customer, an unhappy carrier and possibly reduced pay for not completing your necessary duties.
In the eyes of your customers, and the general public, every truck driver represents all truck drivers. Be a part of the positive image of trucking, do not continue to enforce the stereotypical impressions many people have of our industry.
See you down the road,
What are those 6 P's?
Proper Prior Planning Promotes Peak Performance