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Targeting and Recruiting Today’s Owner-Operators

While not the biggest segment of the truck driver population, owner-operators can be an attractive option for fleets to pursue. With an estimated 40,000 commercial driver licenses issued per month, their numbers will only increase in the future.
Fleets who want to benefit from and employ owner-operators first have to know how to reach them. But what makes owner-operators so attractive to today’s fleets?
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The Perks of Hiring Owner-Operators

First and foremost the obvious perk to hiring an owner-operator is that the fleet does not have to take on the responsibility of purchasing and/or maintaining the rig. That falls on the drivers, who in the case of owner-operators happen to typically be experienced and veteran drivers. In fact, 44.3% of those surveyed for the 2016 Overdrive Connectivity Study have been driving commercial vehicles for 30 years or more.

Years Driving a Commercial VehicleSource: 2016 Overdrive Connectivity Study

In addition to the vast experience, most owner-operators have a much better safety record than the average heavy-duty truck driver. Presumably because of their years of driving experience coupled with the added caution most use when driving a vehicle they own and are responsible for. These owner-operators have fewer accidents and when they are involved in accidents they tend to be less severe.
While it is true that the owner-operators typically demand higher pay and average around $141,000 per year compared to the $56,000 per year for company drivers, much of that extra cost can be offset by the expenses fleets are responsible for.

Expenses Incurred by Owner-Operators Fleets Are Not Responsible For:

  • Regular truck maintenance
  • Initial truck purchase
  • Taxes
  • Vehicle insurance

Taking all of this into account, it’s easy to see why some fleets choose to pursue the more expensive owner-operators.

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Where to Reach Owner-Operators:

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Targeting Owner-Operators With Printed Magazines

Seeing as nearly half of the overall polled owner-operator population has been at it for 30 years or more, it’s not hard to see why reaching them is a little bit different from reaching other drivers.
Printed magazines are still extremely popular with this older, more established driver segment. It still ranks as the most frequent checked source for industry information among the polled owner-operators.

Preferred Information SourceSource: 2016 Overdrive Connectivity Study

When asked if they could only receive industry information from one source, 56.5% of them responded with printed magazines with email newsletters ranking second in their preferences. Email newsletters ranking so high would seemingly indicate that while it may not be their preferred method, owner-operators today do maintain an online presence.
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Targeting Owner-Operators On Facebook

As we have covered before, Facebook can be a great tool to help you in your recruiting efforts. The same can prove true with the owner-operator segment. Of those surveyed, 46.6% self-reported having and using a Facebook account. With 32.2% of those checking the social website daily, and 22.8% checking several times throughout the week.
Facebook Use Frequency

Source: 2014 Overdrive Connectivity Study

That is a lot of prospective drivers using and navigating the social media giant. Using custom audiences to target this specific driver group can assure that your messaging is presented to the right drivers and make the most out Facebook.
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Using Data and RigDig to Target Owner-Operators

Whether approaching owner-operator recruiting with print, email, Facebook, or a combination of all of them, data will be crucial to succeeding.
Using a database such as RigDig, it is possible to narrow your search down to only the owner-operators you are pursuing. It’s possible to take that information and create custom audiences to then apply to Facebook ads (Facebook), email lists (newsletters), or physical addresses (printed magazines). Through targeted recruiting efforts, you can find, engage, and hire the owner-operators you desire.