Fuel for Thought
While there are many truck drivers who are company drivers, most expediters, and truckers in general, are owner operators, or are at least self employed contractors. Even driving for a fleet owner, drivers will usually be contractors. If you are leased to a carrier, you have created a partnership of sorts. Both parties working together with a common goal, generate revenue. Part of generating revenue also includes things like customer satisfaction and safety.
Many carriers will recognize their contractors for milestones achieved. Most common are going above and beyond to serve a customer, or a certain number of safe miles driven. While these awards from carriers are strictly voluntary on their part, there are still complaints from drivers about the value of these symbolic gestures from their carriers. Whether it is a pair of gloves, a plaque, a cruise, a set of tires for your truck, or just a letter thanking you for a job well done, it is not about the monetary value of the gift…. It is a gift.
Your carrier is not required to mark your achievements in any way, if they choose to do so, it is a show of appreciation from the carrier. Much the same as a thank you, it is not required, but should be appreciated.
For those who are concerned about the value of these gifts, what trinket have you given your carrier to mark milestones achieved? Do you give a gift to mark the 100th correct pay settlement? How about a little thank you gift for your safety department for keeping you up to date on new regulations or requirements that keep your business rolling smoothly? If you get your permits from your carrier, do you recognize them somehow for getting these very necessary documents to you in a timely fashion? How about the log department? They make sure your logs and IFTA taxes stay current, do you recognize them each year for the job well done? How about dispatch and the sales department? Without them there would not any loads for you to haul.
Your carrier earns a percentage of the revenue from each load you haul for them. If you consider that they also voluntarily spend the time to track and recognize your milestones with them, the monetary value of the award should mean far less than the value your carrier has placed on your services by the recognition. Both you and your carrier, by entering into a lease agreement, agreed that you have a business relationship that should mutually benefit both parties. That agreement does not entitle you or them to offer tokens of appreciation, but if one is offered, it should be accepted with a little tact and grace. Drivers who tend to focus on the value of the award item rather than the meaning behind it should try to focus more on the symbolism behind it, and you should always be providing the best service you can offer regardless of future awards.
Rather than complain that the plaque is cheap, appreciate the fact that they marked your accomplishments or those of a fellow driver.
See you down the road,