Time to walk the talk

| December 12, 2008

For as long as I can recall, I’ve heard many of the same frustrations at any annual meeting of the Truckload Carriers Association’s Independent Contractors Division: Why do owner-operators keep shooting themselves in the foot by making bad business decisions? What can fleet executives do to help them manage their operations? How can we best improve recruitment and retention?

Last month’s meeting offered much of the same talk, but I noticed things have changed. A lot more data and expertise now give traction to these perennial issues.

I heard presentations from the two leading owner-operator financial services firms: American Truck Business Services (Overdrive’s affiliate in our Partners in Business program) and The Alliance. Overdrive Editor Linda Longton, joined by Gordon Klemp, head of the National Survey of Driver Wages, examined recruitment and retention. Executives from two carriers shared how their new owner-operator business training initiatives are working.

Believe it or not, smart fleets care about your success, if for no other reason than the fact that their success depends on yours. Fleets would also prefer to spend far less on recruitment and training than the $5,000 to $10,000 per driver that owner-operator failures and departures now cost them.

Some of you practice the principles an increasing number of fleets are starting to preach. Others of you don’t. With diesel prices more volatile than ever, you can’t afford to ignore wise business habits.

Savvy carriers are taking heed. Are you?
–Brad Holthaus

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