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Looking Both Ways

Finding & Keeping Quality Drivers

By Susan Medlin
Posted Jan 15th 2013 7:26AM

As a Fleet Owner you must first ask yourself, are you looking for a driver(s) or a business partnership? 

The answer to this question will greatly det ermine the quality of the person (s) who will be operating your equipment ! Think about it, what investment does a driver have, other then to sit beh ind the wheel and go from po int A to point B , in order to get to the next payday ?  On the other hand, a business partner is someone whom has a vested inter est in your business, since he or she knows it is his or hers business also.  That the decisions they make enable you to grow your fleet, upgrade the equipment they are in and also provide bonus intensives for performance!

Finding Quality Contractors:  This is by far one of the most difficult issue  we as owners face.  However, it can be done!  Reme mber your best asset for finding quality contractors is your current contractors!  They are the face and voice of your business! Your contractors are approached on a regular b asics by drivers asking questions about Expediting and how to get into the business !  Weather these people are looking to own or d rive, getting your business card into their hand will give them a contract point. All of my trucks carry a stack of my company business cards with them!  For every quality contractor they recruit, I pay a referral fee!  When and if you get a call , add that persons information to your list! While 80% are calling just for basic information about Expediting, talk to them, answer their questions, don't toss the information.  Wait a couple of weeks and give them a call back, just to check in and see if they have any additional questions . Do this weather you have open equipment or not!  Work the lead! K eep working the lead!

Advertising: Use the free classified on EO, Post a ds in major cit ies on Craig 's L ist, put flyers up in Local Truck Stops and Repair Shops, use Social Media ! 

Network:  Build relationships with other Fleet Owners and Recruiters!  Just like myself, other owners build a data base of potential contractors!  If you find a quality contractor and don't ha ve a home for them, share! Check with the other owners in your network , someone might need them! Many of us are willing to pay the referral fee to the person who made the contact if it is a quality contractor!

 Also, remember to share information on contractors who you have had issues with!  To keep the problems from being pasted around !  One of the biggest problems I have had in the past, ha s been a contractor coming from another owner with another carrier, or for that matter the same carrier and not knowing or being unable to finding out why they are making a change! If the contractor was bad, and you get a call from another owner, be honest with that owner !  Oh, The contractor will tell you a long drawn out story as to why they are making the change.  But what has happened to me in the pas t was to discover 2 weeks in, that the contractor  refu s es to even check tire pressure or doesn't even own a tire gauge , much less are even unwilling to turn the truck off and power -up the APU when parked! But, at the time of the interview, stated he or she took wonderful care of equipment and never idle!  So share the information , so we are not passing around our problems to others!

Keeping Quality Contractors:  To keep Quality Contractors, you must be a Quality Owner!  Is this hard ?  You bet it can be!  What you see as a Quality Owner, might mean the level of equipment you have, the fact the you maintain your equ ipment or that you pay on time , every-time.  Well yes, in some ways you are right , these things do make you a Quality Owner! But there is more to being a Quality Owner then just those things in this industry! The day to day interaction with your contractors is what will help you to keep your quality contractors.  Realizing that their option and suggestions matter and letting them know they matter !  Listening, and caring even when your plate i s running over !  Remembering that we all make poor decisions from time to t ime.  Use what you see as a poor decision to teacher and help your contractors , not to criticize. So, you lost a couple of bucks beca use the re was a poor decision made on a load!  Talk about it with them, ask why they look the load.  Did they realize the load put you and them at a loss? They might surprise you and have a valid reason or not!  But then you both know and have both learned something about how to improve!

In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges we face in the Expedited Industry toda y is the lack of Good Quality Contractors.  What I am seeing more and more of, is the fact that we are not bring in New Contractors but shuffling around the current pool we have.  We as an industry must work together to find new ways to attract New Quality Talent ! How we do this is a question I can not answer! But will continue to try new avenues in which to recruit!

8 Comments

  • - January 24, 2013
    gene cummins-=|=-i just read your column. my name is gene cummins. i have been driving for 33 years o.t.r tractor trailer. but as not to sound like the bad contractors you have described but i have never had a breakdown that was driver error..never had a blowout without help from a screw or nail. and i do own a tire guage or 4. the company i currently drive for continusly steals from me..after driving the month of december and first of year, at over 2900 miles a week..my last 3 checks have been $300..300..and 400 takehome. and no one explains to me where my money goes. im trying hard to make it to end of march to be here a year with these clowns..which brings me to this question. i would love to do the expedited in a straight truck but when people look at my resume, they take a step back. as with this company, i have changed jobs. not because im a job hopper but because people stealing from me..lieing to me or im just a peice of meat behind the steering wheel. i dont want another job, i want to find a home. im 53 years old..perfect driving record but folks think i should stay at a place for years or longer when i dont get my money and cant even pay my bills or take care of my family. i bust my butt for the person i work for only to be treated as trash. question is--if someone wanted to change to straight truck expedited..how would they do it?? with the above explaination?? ive only had 2 jobs in last 3 years but i just want to work--get paid--take care of the equipment like it was mine and have my work partner treat me as a human an steal from me.. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. or if your a fleet owner lookin for hard working old school driver..anything would be great. my number is 816-853-1045. thank you
  • - January 24, 2013
    gene cummins-=|=-i just read your column. my name is gene cummins. i have been driving for 33 years o.t.r tractor trailer. but as not to sound like the bad contractors you have described but i have never had a breakdown that was driver error..never had a blowout without help from a screw or nail. and i do own a tire guage or 4. the company i currently drive for continusly steals from me..after driving the month of december and first of year, at over 2900 miles a week..my last 3 checks have been $300..300..and 400 takehome. and no one explains to me where my money goes. im trying hard to make it to end of march to be here a year with these clowns..which brings me to this question. i would love to do the expedited in a straight truck but when people look at my resume, they take a step back. as with this company, i have changed jobs. not because im a job hopper but because people stealing from me..lieing to me or im just a peice of meat behind the steering wheel. i dont want another job, i want to find a home. im 53 years old..perfect driving record but folks think i should stay at a place for years or longer when i dont get my money and cant even pay my bills or take care of my family. i bust my butt for the person i work for only to be treated as trash. question is--if someone wanted to change to straight truck expedited..how would they do it?? with the above explaination?? ive only had 2 jobs in last 3 years but i just want to work--get paid--take care of the equipment like it was mine and have my work partner treat me as a human an steal from me.. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. or if your a fleet owner lookin for hard working old school driver..anything would be great. my number is 816-853-1045. thank you
  • - January 29, 2013
    gene cummins-=|=-wow..i figured i would get SOMEONE to answer my question/statement imade a few days ago...but i guess not. dont tell me the expediter community is a close lipped one. i really had a serious question/statement.. wish i could of gotten answered. thanks anyway..GENE CUMMINS 816-853-1045
  • - January 29, 2013
    gene cummins-=|=-wow..i figured i would get SOMEONE to answer my question/statement imade a few days ago...but i guess not. dont tell me the expediter community is a close lipped one. i really had a serious question/statement.. wish i could of gotten answered. thanks anyway..GENE CUMMINS 816-853-1045
  • - February 1, 2013
    Sally Ann-=|=-Susan great job on write up so glad to see something like this to help out alot of people. Just cause we are in a different part of the trucking business I must say nice to see alot of good points brought up. It is so important to find the right fit. I feel we have it is nice to be paid something for everything we do even going into New York area. So much we have learned with your help thank you and keep up the great work. Proud of you
  • - February 1, 2013
    Sally Ann-=|=-Susan great job on write up so glad to see something like this to help out alot of people. Just cause we are in a different part of the trucking business I must say nice to see alot of good points brought up. It is so important to find the right fit. I feel we have it is nice to be paid something for everything we do even going into New York area. So much we have learned with your help thank you and keep up the great work. Proud of you
  • - February 2, 2013
    Miss Kat-=|=-I posted a comment and sent an email to Gen Cummins and then one of EO's respected members contacted me to offer this man job driving team for one of the largest carriers in Elite Services. I never heard one word back from Mr. Cummins and wish him well. Just wanted to let all our fine readers know EO works!!!!

    Kat
  • - February 2, 2013
    Miss Kat-=|=-I posted a comment and sent an email to Gen Cummins and then one of EO's respected members contacted me to offer this man job driving team for one of the largest carriers in Elite Services. I never heard one word back from Mr. Cummins and wish him well. Just wanted to let all our fine readers know EO works!!!!

    Kat

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