virtual training
Virtual training has become more popular over the past two years, especially throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. While it’s a great tool for the flexibility it provides both CDL drivers and trainers, it also presents challenges as well. The biggest challenge typically being how to keep drivers engaged. Whether your company is holding monthly safety training, company policy training, or remote onboarding, these tips will help both you and your drivers get the most out of it. 

1. Schedule a dry run

This is an especially important tip for longer trainings and for new trainers. You may have a great training plan on paper, but you won’t know if something’s not quite working or doesn’t translate well until you start the training, and then it’s too late. To avoid this, consider doing a dry run by yourself or with a co-worker before the actual training. While this won’t be the perfect way to simulate a live training with drivers, it will help you catch possible problems and ways that you can make the presentation better. 

2. Ask for cameras to be on

As everyone over the past year has probably noticed, it’s very easy to nod off or lose focus if the camera is off during meetings and trainings. This is just as true for drivers, who may not be used to doing Zoom meetings and virtual trainings regularly. The connection is simple here.

Like in all virtual settings, if a person’s camera is on, they’re much more likely to stay engaged with the material. While your company may have a policy that cameras don’t have to be on during company meetings, you can offer incentives like being entered into a contest to win a gift card for those who do. 

3. Make expectations known

Another tip is to set your expectations before the training even starts. Ask drivers to please remove any other distractions from the area before the start of the training and to make sure they’re giving you their full attention. While the virtual setting gives you no real way to confirm if they’re doing this, it conveys the message that your training will be more engaging and intensive than a slide-by-slide PowerPoint lecture. You might find it helpful to outline all virtual training expectations in a pre-training email shortly before the event starts. 

4. Make it a discussion, not a lecture

There’s most likely a lot of information you need to go over in your virtual training. While you’ll want to get through all this information in a timely manner, avoid the urge to just recite information to drivers. Studies have shown over and over again that this is not the way people retain information.  

Instead, engage drivers by making your training a two-way street. Make an active effort to ask questions often and wait for feedback from drivers. This encourages engagement and will give you a better understanding of drivers as people as opposed to boxes on a screen. Almost all meeting software have built-in interactions and chat functionality that make it easy to engage with drivers throughout the training. Take some time to go through these during your dry run so that you can implement them during your training.  

5. Break it up

NFI

Use short quizzes and polls to break up the information in your training. This can be done through almost any meeting software like Zoom or Teams. Aside from helping avoid fatigue on both your end and the drivers, this is a great way to see how the class is doing with certain material and if there’s anything you could explain better. 

When it comes to virtual training, there are many different things you can do to make it a more productive experience for you and your drivers. The biggest takeaway here is to make everything you do center around engagement. This is the key to holding a successful virtual training for you and your drivers. 

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

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While orientation is a necessary part of the hiring process, it’s probably not something new drivers look forward to. While this is true, there are ways that trucking companies can make their orientations more enjoyable for drivers, that can lead to increased driver retention and morale. Here are 5 different ways to improve your truck driver orientation program. 

1. Allow Drivers to Meet the Team

Instead of drivers coming in, meeting a trainer or two, and then being put on the road, schedule times for higher management and current company drivers to visit your next orientation class. They can share their thoughts and tips with new hires and do a Q&A session as well. This sends the message to your new drivers that they’re an important part of your company, which is extremely important for driver retention efforts.  

Your orientation could also be a great time to kick-off a mentoring program between more experienced drivers and new hires. Drivers appreciate having someone in the company that they can rely on once the driver is on the road.  

2. Personalize the Program

Orientations don’t have to be rigid, point-by-point slideshows that share company policies and safety information. Take the time to personalize your orientation by talking to new drivers about areas of proficiencies at and what they could need help with. This helps you tailor your orientation so that you’re not boring some drivers while overwhelming others.  

Another way to personalize your orientation is by using interactive learning. Administering quizzes and trivia games will keep orientation engaging and add incentive. It’s also a great way to see which drivers are understanding the material and who might need a little extra help. 

3. Make it Unique

Avoid generic training videos to convey information. These can send the message that your company is the same as others, especially if a driver has seen the same video while working for a different carrier. Instead, opt for personalized training videos that feature your company logo and branding

You can also do this by going the extra mile and giving small gifts or even a new hire kit of items drivers can use on the road. This has been shown to be a great way to increase employee retention as it further reiterates to your drivers that you’re excited they’re coming on board.   

4. Offer Multiple Orientation Dates

The hiring landscape for truck drivers is extremely competitive right now. If you don’t act fast during the recruiting process, another carrier will. That’s why aside from making your orientation enjoyable, having it take place in a timely manner is also very important. Drivers don’t want to be told they’ve been hired, but that they need to wait two and a half weeks for orientation. That’s two and a half weeks without pay and the perfect way to have them sign with another carrier in the meantime. 

To combat this, try to offer orientation classes a few times a month at least. Also, paying drivers to attend orientation is all but a must at this point. If your company hasn’t initiated this policy, make it a point of emphasis to start as quickly as possible.  

5. Ask for Driver Feedback

Talk to current drivers who have already been through your orientation, as they’re the best resource you have. Ask them what could make it better, what they wish was covered, and what they think wasn’t necessary or could be done without. Thanks to their unique perspective, you’ll get insights you or your team would have never thought of. Do this often, as it will be your best way to constantly improve your orientation.  

Your company’s driver orientation is a very important part of the hiring process. It’s the first real impression a driver will get of the company they’re driving for. It will also tell them whether they want to leave after a few short months or stay and build a long-term career with your company. Make sure it’s the latter by providing the best orientation experience possible.  

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

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truck driver ghosting
Have you ever been talking with a driver, where everything seems to be going well? You’re emailing back and forth, going over the details of the position, and then seemingly out of nowhere, they stop responding. You send a follow up email, thinking your previous one slipped through the cracks, but once again, you get nothing back. It looks like this is a classic case of Truck Driver Ghosting.  

What is Truck Driver Ghosting

Ghosting is when a person stops responding and disappears altogether, like a ghost. The term is most often used in the dating world, but the same thing happens in recruiting daily.  

Truck Driver Ghosting has been on the rise over the past few years across the U.S. But, in the trucking industry where demand for drivers is at an all-time high, it’s even worse. We spoke with Jason Crowell, Director of Recruiting for Drive My Way’s client Custom Commodities Transport, and he shared his perspective on driver ghosting. 

Jason Kent Crowell

Jason Kent Crowell Custom Commodities Transport

“A Truck Driver is likely talking to 4 or 5 driver recruiters at once in their job search, saying yes to one of them, and leaving the other recruiters hanging.  We call it “ghosting” and it’s on the rise, contributing to the recruiter’s stress,” shared Jason. 

Why Do Drivers Ghost Recruiters?

There are two big reasons that drivers are ghosting recruiters more than ever. The first is that it’s much easier to do so than it was in the past. Social media and digital communication in general have laxed our sense of professional courtesy when it comes to replying. It’s much easier to simply not respond to someone than it is for a driver to spend a few minutes writing out an email explaining that he or she is no longer interested in the position.  

The second reason is that drivers can be much more selective about their jobs than they could in the past. A qualified and experienced driver looking for a job is likely talking to multiple recruiters at the same time. When the driver finally select the job that’s right for them, they’ll simply stop responding to the other recruiters.  

How to Stop Being Ghosted?

So, as a recruiter how do you avoid being ghosted? 

Focus on the Right Drivers

truck driver ghosting

The first step here is to be able to discern active and passive drivers. The simple explanation is that active drivers are ready and looking for employment right now. Passive drivers may be looking at opportunities but aren’t ready to make the jump into a new role.  

Asking a few simple questions during your first contact with a driver will usually help you discern whether they’re active or passive. While it’s important to nurture passive leads, knowing the difference and pursuing active drivers will often be the difference between getting ghosted or not.  

Move Quickly

In the current state of driver recruiting, speed is everything. You can bet that any driver looking for a job right now is talking to more than one recruiter. The best way to keep yourself from getting ghosted is to be quick when you reach out initially and be quick when you respond. Aside from not missing out on top drivers, moving quickly through the recruitment process has also been shown to decrease costs for businesses.  

Being timely is not only beneficial during the recruitment process. It’s the perfect way to set the tone of professionalism from your organization right off the bat. Just like drivers can impress by showing up to interviews early and sending a proactive “thank you” email, you can do the same with prompt responses. 

Avoid the Back and Forth

Avoiding needless back and forth emails is another way to avoid ghosting. If you and a driver have been sending emails for a week and a half about small details of the position, that can lead to frustration on their end and eventually ghosting. Try and set up one or two calls where you and the driver go over all the info either of you need regarding the position.  

Talk to Your Current Drivers

Your current drivers are definitely your biggest resource in avoiding ghosting. As people who have gone through your recruiting process and joined your company, they have a unique perspective. They can tell you what they enjoyed about the experience, what would have made it better, and what they disliked about other recruiting processes where they didn’t take the job.  

Truck Driver Ghosting is a symptom of the much larger problem of driver shortages across the country. While there’s nothing you can individually do about that, following these tips gives your company the best chance to bring on qualified and experienced drivers and avoid being ghosted.   

ultimate guide to retaining truck drivers

Ultimate Guide to Retaining Truck Drivers

You work so hard to recruit the best truck drivers for your fleet. The trick is retaining them. This guide is packed with tips for retaining your fleet.

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company pitch

The company pitch is extremely important when recruiting drivers. You only have a few minutes to talk to a driver and tell them why working for your carrier is the right choice for their career. So, how do you make sure you’re making the most of your time? 

What is a Trucking Company Pitch?

A trucking company pitch is where you introduce your company to a driver and explain why they would want to drive for you. Trucking pitches are used during the first point of contact with a driver.  

The most important thing to remember is that these pitches aren’t one size fits all. They should change based on the role you’re hiring for and any information you have on the driver and what they find important. Here’s an example of an effective Trucking Pitch. 

“Hello. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. I work with ABC Trucking and we’re looking for Regional Dry Van Drivers in the Midwest. We’re offering qualified drivers $1,400 guaranteed weekly, full health, vision, and dental benefits, weekly home time, and a $2,000 sign-on bonus. Does that line up with what you’re looking for right now?” 

How to Perfect Your Pitch

We spoke to Michelle Habart, Business Development Coordinator for Drive My Way’s client, CLE Transportation, about how she structures her trucking pitch to drivers. 

Michelle Habart

Michelle Habart CLE Transportation

“First, I introduce myself and the company. I start with who we are, where we’re located and then ask questions to find out what their needs are. For example, if it’s home time, I am only going to offer them what I have that fits the needs they are trying to fill. I want to make it clear that we have options. If it’s equipment, then we will go over that in detail. If it’s pay then we go over the packages and benefits we offer, like bonuses, 401K, and profit sharing. I make sure they understand that health insurance is paid by the company because that will save them money. 

Next, I jump into the basic questions like experience, history and driving record. I will then send them the link to fill out the application and make it known that I am available to answer any questions that they have.” shared Michelle.  

Keep it Short, Specific and Avoid the Jargon

As you probably know, any driver you’re speaking with is probably speaking with at least one other recruiter as well. Keeping your trucking pitch quick and to the point is the best way to keep their attention and further the conversation. Avoid vague statements like “we offer competitive pay and new equipment.” Drivers looking for work read that dozens of times a day. This won’t do anything to help differentiate you in their mind. 

In general, drivers don’t like to beat around the bush. Avoid using buzzwords and jargon where it’s not necessary. The best practice here is to write down your pitch then read it out loud to yourself. Does it sound forced or unnatural? Chances are if it does to you, it will to the driver as well.  

Make it a Conversation

The next part to perfecting your pitch is to make it a conversation. Many recruiters make a habit of rattling off ten different things and then asking, “how does that sound?” The driver probably forgot the first three things you said by this point and will reply with a half-hearted, “Sounds good.” That’s not a conversation, it’s an information dump. 

Instead, ask questions throughout the pitch and try to make it a two-way street. After you give the important info, ask questions like, “Does that line up with what you’re looking for?” The most important part here is to make sure the job is a mutual fit on both sides. There’s no point in trying to force a square peg into a round hole.  

Don’t Oversell/Misinform

Overselling is a common issue in driver recruiting. It’s understandable that recruiters want to do everything they can to bring drivers in the door, but the last thing you want to do is promise something that you can’t deliver on. This leads to unhappy drivers that will probably be looking to exit as quickly as they came.  

“Here at CLE Transportation, we don’t sugar coat anything. Getting a driver isn’t about filling a seat. It’s about doing the best we can to make sure that the driver and our company will be a good fit for each other. We are not trying to waste our time or theirs. We don’t treat them as just another driver looking for a job, we treat them as professionals, because that’s what they are. It’s not just an interview process, it’s about hearing them.   

They need to know that we’re here for them during the entire process, from the initial “hello” all the way to them leaving to deliver that first load. Even then they can call me for questions they have. After I set up an orientation date, I will send them a picture of the truck that they will be in.” shared Michelle. 

Be Prepared for Common Objections

Drivers will almost certainly have things that they consider non-negotiable. This can be anything from home time, specific compensation, type of equipment, etc. Instead of thinking it’s a dead end if a driver pushes back on one of these, try and talk through it.  

The best way to do this is by asking questions like, “what is it about x that you dislike?”, or “What would make you consider x?” More often than not, this can lead to a compromise where both sides are happy.  

The trucking company pitch is something that takes time to perfect. The most important thing isn’t to sell the position at all costs. It’s to present the most important information related to the job while making sure it’s a good fit for both sides.  

The Quick Guide to Employee Value Proposition

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Employee Value Proposition

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5 Tips for Recruiting Non-CDL Drivers
With the huge changes in the U.S. economy over the past two years, almost every major and local retailer is offering some sort of delivery service. This has made the market for non CDL drivers grow at a considerable rate.

Need It Now DeliversWe spoke to Christian Rivera, a National Recruiter for Drive My Way’s client, Need It Now Delivers. He shared his perspective about the recruiting process and the qualities he looks for in non CDL drivers.

“Our hiring approach for non CDL Drivers does not change too much. We’re in communication throughout the process and disclose all parts of the job, just like we would for CDL Drivers. In the ideal non CDL driver, I would say we look for four things; a clean driving record, stable previous employment (preferably staying one year or more), good safety habits, and a customer first attitude,” shared Christian.

1. Nature of the Job

Like it is when recruiting CDL drivers, the number one thing that will help you is to be honest and knowledgeable about the position. Some drivers may be fine with just knowing the pay, schedule, and benefits. Others may want to know details on route, breaks, and day-to-day operations. Being ready to answer these questions is the best way to make sure it’s a fit both the driver and your company.

Make sure to disclose any customer service-related aspects of the job as well. Drivers want to know if they’re expected to just drop off deliveries or drop and have someone sign. In addition, they will need to know if the job requires full White Glove service, where they’ll be entering homes and businesses to install equipment or appliances.

It’s also important to understand that many non CDL drivers may not be in the trucking industry for advancement opportunities or to eventually earn their CDL. While some are, other non CDL drivers are simply looking for a job instead of a long-term career in trucking.

2. Home Time and Flexibility

Just like with CDL A or B local drivers, non CDL drivers will value home time more than almost anything else. While this shouldn’t be a problem with local routes, make sure to communicate what their home time will look like. Many times, drivers are expected to stay late to help with extra deliveries. While this is part of the business, drivers should be told upfront to avoid any surprises.

3. Schedule, Hours and Routes

One thing that non CDL drivers are most likely looking for is part-time possibilities. Opposed to CDL work, non CDL drivers may only have night, weekend or certain weekday availabilities.

That’s why it’s important to work with drivers to make sure their availability is respected. Scheduling employees outside of their agreed upon availability can not only lead to bad company culture, but it could also leave you and your customers high and dry if the employee decides not to show up on a particularly busy day.

4. Pay

Just like the costs for a CDL B license are lower than a CDL A, a non CDL driver incurs low costs before hitting the road. Because of this, pay across the board for non CDL drivers is understandably lower. At the same time, there is a ton of competition on the employer end for these drivers. Keeping an above average pay scale while providing performance-based bonuses is the best way to get the attention of experienced and talented non CDL drivers.

5. Company Culture

Since non CDL Drivers will likely be interacting with other co-workers and management on a daily basis, building a culture of communication and camaraderie is essential to keep morale high and drivers motivated. This can be done through daily team meetings before drivers head out on their routes, where important information is conveyed, and any questions or grievances drivers have can be talked about.

 

Just like with CDL drivers, non CDL drivers have their own unique characteristics and reasons they chose their line of work. Understanding this and what they find important is the key to bringing qualified, experienced drivers on board.

truck driver incentive program checklist

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Truck Driver Incentive Program Checklist

The best incentive program is the one that’s effective, sustainable, and engaging for drivers. Use this checklist to align your target behavior with rewards that motivate your drivers and create a program with lasting impact.

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sprinter van owner operators
With the recent e-commerce explosion, companies have an increased need for “last mile” sprinter van drivers. While most companies prefer to hire their own drivers, a growing number are starting to hire independent Owner Operators to help with the influx of orders. Additionally, more and more drivers who owned their own truck are downsizing to sprinter vans to increase home time, cut costs, and avoid CDL regulations. 

When it comes to recruiting these drivers, it can be difficult to know what you need to do to stand out from other companies. Here are 4 of the most helpful tips successful recruiters follow when recruiting sprinter van Owner Operators. 

1. Know Your Drivers

The first tip is to know the type of drivers you are recruiting. If a driver owns their own sprinter van, he or she will likely be more experienced and entrepreneurial-minded than an average company driver. Like all Owner Operators, sprinter van owners value job flexibility. That’s most likely why they became an Owner Operator in the first place.  

Since there’s a huge demand for their services, they can be much more selective in the type of work they pick up. They’ll want to see the long-term benefit before they consider partnering with your business. 

2. Disclose Everything Related to the Job

One of the biggest issues that drivers point out with recruiters is an apparent lack of honesty. Often, this isn’t because the recruiter is doing anything dishonest or deceptive, it’s because he or she isn’t informed on everything the driver finds important. When it comes to Owner Operators, this becomes especially apparent.  

As stated earlier, these drivers view working with your company as a partnership, not simply a job. It may not be enough to simply provide Owner Operators with the pay, equipment requirements, and the hours. They may want to know the overall business goals, culture, and operations of your company before they partner with you. It’s important for recruiters to be well-versed in all these things before reaching out to Owner Operators. 

3. Go Where Owner Operators Are

Just like company drivers, Owner Operators use a variety of job boards to find employment. But, if you’re looking to hire a large number of sprinter van Owner Operators, your best bet may be to advertise with print magazines. According to the Overdrive 2016 Connectivity Study, Owner Operators read industry magazines at a much higher rate than other drivers.  

Utilizing your network of past and present drivers can be another huge resource in tracking down quality sprinter van Owner Operators who may not be on job boards. According to that same study, 43.8% of drivers find new jobs by word of mouth referrals. 

4. Respond Quickly and Professionally

Drivers are in high demand right now. The ones who are actively looking for work can afford to be picky with who they partner with. If you’re not staying in contact throughout the hiring process, they’ll quickly move on to the next opportunity. According to data captured through Drive My Way drivers, the top reason candidates declined job offers is because they just accepted an offer from someone else. 

This may mean being available outside of normal business hours. If you’re recruiting for a national company, be ready to take calls a few hours before or after the traditional 8AM-5PM workday to account for different time zones and driver shifts.  

Another tip is to make sure you’re getting back to all the drivers who have applied, even if the news isn’t good. It can be a difficult conversation, but avoiding it can lead to a negative impact on your company’s reputation. A LinkedIn survey found that 94% of respondents said they want to receive feedback on their interviews, good or bad. Not every Owner Operator will be a good match for your company, but having a quick and transparent hiring process will make them much more likely to tell other Owner Operators good things about your company.  

 

While there is a lot of competition right now for sprinter van Owner Operators, following these key tips will make the recruiting process for you and the driver easier and more productive.  

owner operator job description template

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Owner Operator Job Description

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straight truck drivers
Hiring high-quality straight truck drivers is no easy feat right now. The demand for drivers is high, and the supply of drivers doesn’t match the current demand. That means that it’s a driver’s market, and companies must offer quality jobs that stand out to drivers to attract top talent. If you’re hiring straight truck drivers, these four tips will help you get the most out of every online or personal recruiting message.

1. Create Driver Personas

The first step to effectively hiring straight truck drivers is to know exactly who you are looking for. Driver personas are an opportunity to paint a picture of your ideal employees. What skills and endorsements do they have? Are there specific personality traits that are important to your jobs? Go beyond surface characteristics. Once you have a general idea of your ideal employees, consider what motivates these types of drivers.

As you develop your driver personas, study what makes straight truck drivers unique. Typically, straight truck drivers are looking for local work and regular home time. Many may have a family that they want to spend more time with. These drivers may not have a CDL A license. Their license type may give you insight into what kind of driving career that driver is looking for. A well-developed driver persona should clarify and direct recruiting efforts for hiring straight truck drivers.

2. Speak to Driver Priorities

Straight truck drivers are highly sought after right now. It’s a driver’s market, so companies need to make jobs appealing in order to stand out from the competition. Driver personas give insight into your ideal candidates, and this information is valuable. Use the insights on driver motivation and priorities to inform recruiting and marketing decisions. Driver priorities should be front and center in online marketing and advertising. In addition, these details can be part of recruiting conversations. Not all driver candidates will fit your profile, so take the time in recruiting conversations to ask a few questions about driver goals and priorities. Then, highlight how your available jobs are a good fit for that candidate.

It’s a driver’s market, so companies need to make jobs appealing in order to stand out from the competition.

When speaking with drivers, get them the information they care about quickly and succinctly. The driver personas can help guide the tone and content of your conversation, but the basics are still essential. Drivers want to know about compensation, home time, schedule, route, equipment, and customer interaction. Be specific when you share this information and give precise details on the job requirements. In job descriptions and recruiting conversations, include all required qualifications, skills, years of experience, and other prerequisites. This will help drivers self-select whether they fit your requirements and will save time for everyone involved.

3. Embrace Digital Recruiting

straight truck

Hiring straight truck drivers is a competitive challenge, and digital recruiting is a must. Many companies start with a basic website and social media channels because they are easy to set up and are typically free to start. That said, there are other online recruiting tools such as search engine optimized content marketing and job boards if you want to branch out. For any channels you choose, establish trackable metrics so you can determine which channels perform well.

Regardless of the channels that you utilize, a clear brand must help communicate your story. Be consistent in imagery and content tone across all platforms. Give drivers something they can recognize as distinct to your company. Photo and video content are powerful recruiting tools because they help drivers see themselves in the job. Many drivers are not job searching on a computer, so make sure all content is optimized for mobile. 

4. Support Driver Referral Programs

Driver referrals and word of mouth recruiting still reign as powerful recruiting methods. At the end of the day, nothing replaces a trusted source, and truck drivers trust other drivers. Referrals can be even more powerful in a local setting such as when hiring straight truck drivers because these truckers travel in the same circles. They are talking regularly and will be job searching in the same geographies. Word travels fast when companies have a distinctly positive or negative reputation, so make sure your drivers have good things to talk about!

Nothing replaces a trusted source, and truck drivers trust other drivers. Driver referrals are a powerful recruiting resource.

As a company, driver referrals, especially from top team members, help get other quality drivers in the door. A referral from a trusted source is a little extra confidence that interviewing the candidate will be worth your time.

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

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trucking regulations and driver misclassification

Driver misclassification is not a new problem as part of trucking regulations. If a driver fills the role of a company driver, but the employer pays them with a 1099 as an independent contractor, there’s a problem. That driver is likely misclassified, an error that employers can face serious consequences for. Recent Legislation, such as the PRO Act, was developed to help combat driver misclassification. Unfortunately, it also effectively eliminates the owner operator business model. Here’s what you need to know about the state of the PRO Act in Congress and driver misclassification.

What Is the PRO Act?

If you follow political or legal developments in trucking regulations, you’ve likely been following the PRO Act. This bill, formally known as the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, intends to protect workers from unethical employment practices, but it has alarming consequences for the owner operator business model. The PRO Act is similar to California’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), and it sets very specific criteria for gig workers. Unfortunately, in trucking, this also applies to owner operators. 

Under the PRO Act, for a company to employ an independent contractor (like an owner operator), the partnership must pass an ABC test. According to the PRO ACT, an independent contractor must meet the following criteria:

“(A) the individual is free from control and direction in connection with the performance of the service, both under the contract for the performance of service and in fact;

(B) the service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer; and

(C) the individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.”

As part of trucking regulations, the B prong is usually the hardest to satisfy. Section B requires that independent contractors must be doing work outside of the scope of normal business. Unfortunately, in an owner operator model, those drivers are at the heart of a successful operation. Trucking experts are raising concerns that the PRO Act may effectively eliminate the current owner operator model. To date, the PRO Act has passed in the House of Representatives but has not made it to the Senate floor for discussion yet.

What Is the PRO Act Trying to Solve?

truck driverMany trucking regulations experts are strongly opposed to the PRO Act, but there is an underlying problem that this Act brings to the surface. The PRO Act tries to prevent companies from “employing” workers without offering benefits AKA misclassifying drivers. In many cases, this pushes the cost burden to the individual driver. However, owner operators are business owners, and many enjoy the freedom, income potential, and flexibility that comes with their role.

While the owner operator model works well for many truck drivers and carriers, driver misclassification is still prevalent in the industry. Misclassified drivers include those who earn pay as independent contractors and do not have guaranteed work but work like company drivers. There is a difference between owner operators who run under their own authority and misclassified truck drivers, however, the PRO Act includes both. 

What Is Driver Misclassification?

Driver misclassification occurs when fleets try to pay company drivers as independent contractors. By classifying company drivers as 1099 employees, carriers illegally avoid paying full benefits to their drivers. Owner operators are a different business model. They are independent contractors. True owner operators run their own business. They partner with carriers based on a mutually agreeable contract and may run for multiple carriers simultaneously. 

If you are uncertain about the appropriate driver classification for your fleet, there are ways to check.

Does the driver:

  1. Do their job under their own direction? For example, can drivers refuse loads if it doesn’t meet their criteria?
  2. Pay lease, maintenance, and insurance costs? Have proof of vehicle registration in their name?
  3. Have the ability to work for another company?

If you said “no” to any of these questions, you are employing a company driver. In that case, the driver should earn pay as a W2 employee and be eligible for benefits.

Brian Dershaw

Brian Dershaw, Partner at Taft Law

We spoke with Brian Dershaw, Partner at Taft Law, and he shared Taft’s response to companies with concerns about misclassification:

“In many instances, contractor classification may be an essential component of the company; the consequences of misclassification could be detrimental. With that in mind, we continuously navigate the federal and state tests in this area. This includes guiding clients in ways to maintain their independent contractor classification and, if appropriate, advising on the transition to an employer-employee model.”     

Paying a company driver as a 1099 employee is illegal and can lead to serious consequences, but there are legal resources, such as Taft Law or other firms, that can help.

What Are the Penalties for Driver Misclassification?

The legal ramifications for driver misclassification can vary based on the situation. In some cases, the company is required to pay back the money owed to the driver based on the loss of income and benefits. In severe cases, companies may face additional fines or time if the misclassification is found to be deliberate.

When asked about driver misclassification penalties, Taft Law’s Brian Dershaw, shared:

“If an employee is misclassified as an independent contractor, that can raise serious issues across the employment spectrum. These include wage and hour issues such as overtime under the FLSA and state laws, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, health insurance benefits, and employee-specific anti-discrimination and leave laws (e.g., ADA, Title VII, ADEA, and FMLA). Misclassification can result in steep financial penalties and other damages.”

Misclassifying drivers as independent contractors when their role is as a company driver is a serious offense. The PRO Act may not be an effective solution to driver misclassification in the trucking industry because of its reaching consequences for owner operators. However, driver misclassification is a serious problem, and carriers should take immediate action to rectify any misclassification in their fleet to avoid legal consequences.

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box truck owner operators
Josh Massay is a CDL B licensed box truck owner operator with three years of driving experience. He drove as a non-CDL delivery driver for two years and then decided he needed a better-paying job to support his wife and his 3-year-old daughter, Emma. Josh didn’t plan on a trucking career, but he decided to get his CDL B, and he’s proud of his trucking work. So, he put his independent streak and business sense to good use on his newest venture: becoming a box truck owner operator. Now, 1 year into being one of FedEx’s box truck owner operators, Josh is looking for his next job.

Would you partner with Josh? Would Josh partner with your organization?

Josh isn’t real, but your open job is. There are many box truck owner operators just like Josh ready to be hired. Make sure you connect with the right drivers to make the hires you need.

1. Know Your Drivers

The cardinal rule of partnering with box truck owner operators is to know your drivers. It’s number one for a reason. Having a clear image of the drivers you want to reach sets the tone for your job offerings, the position description, and all recruiting efforts. Drivers with some experience and a CDL A, like Josh Massay, may expect higher pay. Drivers who have a CDL C may need additional training if they will be hauling an atypical load.

box truck owner operatorWhile every box truck owner operator will be different, there are a few common traits that you can expect. Like most CDL owner operators, box truck owner operators are likely to be independent. Many became owner operators to be their own boss. Similarly, you can expect box truck owner operators to be business savvy. Even the newest owner operators must quickly learn the ropes if they want to stay afloat. Once you have a distinct driver persona, use your employee value proposition to connect.

On the technical side, box truck owner operators are probably not new to the driver’s seat. Many will have several years of driving experience, though that may not be as a box truck driver. On the other hand, some great box truck drivers may have only a CDL C or CDL B. They’re not your typical CDL A truck driver, but they can be a great fit for other box truck driving jobs.

2. Write Job Descriptions and Ads That Work

Posting a new job description can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Far too many job applicants are unqualified or a poor position fit. Hiring managers lose precious hours wading through applicants for a few good candidates. In addition, the dramatic rise in e-commerce demands means competition from shipping giants like Amazon and FedEx is extremely high. Better job descriptions can help you get the right drivers into your hiring pipeline faster with fewer unqualified applicants. 

Driver applicants should be crystal clear on the job based on the description. No surprises. If you have specific criteria for the job, it must be in the position description. Have specific vehicle criteria? Are 3+ years of experience required? Looking in a specific hiring radius? Tell drivers in the job description. Similarly, be upfront about what you can offer drivers.

Drivers will self-select whether the job is right for them. If drivers are interested, they’ll apply. If not, they’ll stay away and save you time. 

A good job description does nothing for drivers who don’t see it. Box truck owner operator positions should be posted through a variety of distribution channels. Start with online resources such as e-newsletters, social media, and online forums. Since many box truck owner operators are doing local or regional work, consider advertising in local newspapers or other print sources near you as well. Tracking efficacy through print channels can be difficult and costly, so make sure you have a set budget before you start advertising. If you have a physical store in a visible location, post signs to let drivers know that you’re hiring. As you start reviewing candidates, track their application source. Continue using a multi-pronged advertising strategy, but prioritize the channels that are generating the best candidates.

3. Consider it a Partnership

Owner operators have a big decision to make in joining your company. Make sure it’s a mutually good fit. Consider the driver from the start, Josh Massay. He is running a business and takes pride in his job as an owner operator, and he expects respect and reliability from the companies he works with. As an employer, find the balance between setting clear guidelines without over-managing. Owner operators can choose to find other work if things aren’t going well, so maintaining a positive business relationship is critical to reducing turnover.

Treat owner operators as respected partners, and they’ll be happy to step in when you need them year after year.

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As the freight market continues its strong outlook, hiring is again top of my mind for many carriers. Recruiting for retention should always be at the core of an effective recruiting strategy. It’s faster and more cost-effective to retain current drivers than to recruit new drivers. If you are a large trucking company that needs to quickly hire drivers, use these five tips to efficiently fill your fleet with quality drivers.

1. Capitalize on Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is one of the most powerful recruiting techniques because it optimizes for efficiency. Ultimately, the goal of inbound marketing is to have driver candidates proactively reaching out as a result of your marketing efforts. This subverts the traditional model of contacting each driver lead directly and is frequently a more efficient way to speak one to many. 

There are many inbound marketing strategies that are valuable when recruiting for a large trucking company. Referrals and Word of Mouth advertising have strong persuasive power because they are built on trust. Drivers want to know what working for your company is really like from other drivers. These two recruiting strategies are powerful because they hear about your company from a trusted sourceyour current drivers. 

Social media and online advertising are inbound marketing strategies with a high reach potential. The goal of these campaigns is to generate driver interest and provide a signpost for ways in which serious candidates can engage more deeply with your company. If managing a digital marketing strategy exceeds your current staffing capacity, or you want to amplify your impact even further, consider partnering with a company like Drive My Way to extend your company reach.

2. Know When To Use Outbound Marketing

While inbound marketing strategies should dominate your recruitment efforts, outbound marketing can be tactically applied to selectively increase your reach. For example, outbound marketing may be necessary for high-impact geographies that are not naturally driver hotspots. Many top drivers are still re-entering the workforce after recent layoffs and focused, outbound marketing can help attract these top drivers.

Phone communication tends to be a particularly effective outbound recruiting strategy for truck drivers. That includes both calling and texting. 

According to our Drive My Way Driver Happiness and Retention survey, 64% of drivers report talking by phone as their preferred means of contact with a recruiter. 

Text communications follow closely behind in third place. Allocating additional resources to underperforming positions through outbound marketing is an effective way to boost driver engagement where it is most needed.

With any communication medium, the most effective strategies keep driver preferences at their core. Reach out to drivers on their own terms. This may mean adjusting recruitment hours to include evenings and weekends. Similarly, choose the right communication medium. For a first point of contact, a call is often more personal. After, switching to text messages allows for quick communication that won’t get cumbersome for recruiters or drivers. Each touchpoint in an outbound marketing campaign should continue building a positive relationship with the driver.

3. Prioritize Based On Company Resources

If you are a large trucking company, you likely have resources that are unavailable to smaller companies, but keen prioritization is still essential. It’s important to know your strengths as a company and as a department. Then, rank your top priorities and note any gaps between your strengths and the resources needed as you finalize your recruiting strategy

For some companies, outsourcing resources can be a valuable strategic decision. Consider how in-house talent versus outsourced resources fit into your short and long term roadmap. If you outsource some of your recruiting efforts to a company like Drive My Way, this will extend the capabilities and capacity of your internal team.

Outsourcing specific aspects of your recruiting should amplify your existing efforts while giving you more time to focus on the things you do best. For example, Drive My Way pre-screens interested drivers using your screening questions and forwards or schedules screened drivers for interviews with your designated hiring manager. An outsourced company should seamlessly fit with your workflow.

4. Make the Digital Transition

Trucking is typically not the first industry to explore cutting-edge workplace technology, but a digital transformation is undeniably underway. Recent years have relentlessly shifted nearly every industry to rely more heavily on online communication, and trucking is no exception.

Digital advertising and communication should be a foundational part of your hiring strategy.

Digital advertising and communication isn’t the only area to add technological integrations. As you return to in-person driver orientations, consider successes from remote onboarding. Where did you save time? What aspects of remote onboarding increased efficiency or improved the accountability of training records? Blend these digital efficiencies into your larger hiring process. In addition, make sure your ATS seamlessly integrates with your recruiting process for a streamlined experience for drivers and employers.

5. Strive for Low Turnover

At the end of the day, retention must play a key role in a strong recruitment strategy. The best way to hire quickly as a large trucking company is to keep satisfied drivers behind the wheel and reduce turnover. According to Avatarfleet, hiring a new driver can add recruitment costs of $5,000$10,000 per driver. Retaining quality drivers is typically far less expensive.

High turnover leads to increased recruitment time and costs. When you hire new drivers, use behavioral interviewing to ensure that they will be a good fit for your fleet. Then, clearly communicate your employee value proposition to potential drivers in the interview to make sure they are excited by what you have to offer. To boost retention among your current employees, consider ways to increase driver satisfaction. Financial incentives are always valued, but there are many other ways to show appreciation as well. Public or private recognition for a job well done, flexible home time, and making visible changes based on driver engagement surveys are all ways to boost retention with what you already have.

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