DRIVER SHORTAGE – ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?
Ever notice how some topics seem to invite controversy? Politics, religion and whether or not there is a driver shortage. These are the go to subjects for anyone who enjoys not making friends and alienating people. Small wonder most folks would rather talk about the weather. I’m not about to debate the existence of a national driver shortage. What I would like to talk about is a shortage of people who actually want to be truck drivers. It seems incredible, but the last thing many recruiters ask prospects is ‘do you like to drive?’ If someone is about to consider a career as a professional truck driver they should be aware that the large majority of their time will be spent in a truck. Granted, some drivers spend way too much time waiting to get loaded and unloaded. But if they don’t like to drive, they’re going to hate their job.
If you are a fleet owner sooner or later you will have to hire drivers. Depending on where you are the pool of experienced drivers may be small. You may have to compete with big national carriers who can afford to pay more. Even when you hire someone, he or she may be lured away by a few pennies more per mile. Maybe that new hire had the right amount of experience, but chances are they were never told the truth about life as a truck driver. If so, how can you recruit drivers who really do like driving, but might be looking for a change? Just as importantly, how can you spot the drivers who aren’t just looking for a better pay day or another weekend off each month?
According to research we found, it costs up to $10,000 to hire a driver. It isn’t just a matter of hiring; it’s also about retaining. Finding drivers who like driving may sound idealistic, but it is critical to your success. So how do you find these people? Honest answers to the following questions may help you build a driver profile that will tell you if your prospects are actually happy in their work. It may help to develop a stable driver force so you can better serve your customers.*
- Do you like driving?
- Do you prefer working alone?
- Are you able to stay calm under stress?
- Is it easy to spend time by yourself?
- Are you a self-starter?
- Can you follow rules easily?
- Can you fix minor mechanical problems found in a pre-trip inspection?
- Do you hate wasting money?
- Do you use your hands-free smart phone in hands-free mode?
- Do you accept that dispatchers have a job to do too?
*There are lots of driver profiles available free and for a fee. Eastern Atlantic offers these 10 questions only as suggested indicators of a prospective driver’s compatibility for driving a truck.