Truck drivers provide a tremendous service by working hard to get loads transported all over the country. This job is a unique one in that working hard doesn’t necessarily mean back-breaking labor, but rather staying awake for the drive, road safety and making sure things run on time, just to name a few things. It’s a big responsibility when you think of it. Here are a few things that brokers, shippers, and carriers can do to show drivers appreciation and respect.
Time is money and a driver needs to know everything possible about a load in advance to make sure the run will go smoothly. Questions they need answered include:
- Are the pallets shrink-wrapped?
- Will the load be ready in the morning?
- If the driver arrives early is there a place to park?
- Will there be lumpers, and who pays the fee?
Access to Facilities
Obviously, drivers spend a lot of time behind the wheel. When they arrive at the delivery dock simple things go a long way in showing appreciation for delivering your valuable freight. Offer a cup of coffee, a couch to relax for a bit or even just access to a clean bathroom as a small way to show gratitude for what they do for you.
Respect the Driver’s Time
The driver’s time is as valuable as yours and just like you, a driver wants to make it home to friends and family to rest before another day of work or another load. Drivers work hard to manage their hours-of-service (HOS) and breaks that are mandatory so that they can avoid the sleeper cabin. Even a small hold up of 15 minutes combined with traffic, could be the difference between the being stuck in the sleeper cabin that night or being home in bed.
While you cannot control traffic, you can control the loading, unloading and product count process in place at your dock. Unforeseen circumstances may come up that are out of everyone’s control, life happens, but remember to compensate the driver for their time when they are detained longer than the two-hour grace period. Their time is as valuable as yours.
Driver retention is a major concern for carriers. Truck drivers have a unique skill set that is becoming hard to find in the workforce. They deserve to be well-compensated for this specialized service. There is a shortage of new drivers entering the industry and drivers tend to stay with companies that show appreciation for their work whether that means being paid by the hour or the mile.
While many drivers began this career because they love the open road, they don’t want to live there. Drivers want to be home and spend time with family but some are happy being gone for longer stretches of time than others. Every driver has their own preferences whether it be short runs or long stretches. Show your appreciation for their work by matching each driver to the schedule that fits his or her needs as much as you are able.
The bottom line is that truck drivers love being shown the respect that they deserve. They are sometimes a bit cranky from lack of sleep and stressed from being behind on a load, but it only takes a few minutes, a cup of coffee, a smile and a little sensitivity to show your appreciation and build a good relationship.