If your fleet is just now getting into recruiting owner-operators, or if you have been doing it for years there is a special challenge when it comes to getting these drivers on board and keeping them there. Some surveys estimate that there are a third fewer owner-operators on the road right now than there were in 2008, before the recession.
But of course the shortage of qualified owner-operators is just the beginning of your problems as a driver recruiter. Turnover is high, competition is fierce, and the ways you can and should be reaching potential drivers are numerous and increasingly complex. So how can you stay informed about the ways owner-operators consume content? A great place to start is Overdrive’s 2014 Connectivity Study. Research like this is vital to anyone looking to reach owner-operators.
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Do you know why owner-operators are owner-operators? Have you ever taken the time to think about it? They are qualified to be company drivers. Their lives would certainly be more simple if they were. There take-home would be more predictable, and they wouldn’t have to worry about the financial and legal liability of owning their own truck.
Most owner-operators do what they do for one simple reason: freedom. Much has been said about the “freedom of the open road.” But true independence is owning your own business, hauling loads when you want to, and having control over your own future. Owner-operators know that it would be less stressful to be a company driver, but they choose to be who they are because of the life they want to lead.
If your fleet struggles with high turnover among your owner-operators it might be that you need to pay more per mile, offer better benefits and have higher signing bonuses.
It also might be that you need to look for ways to give owner-operators more flexibility, show them more respect and make sure they know how important they are to your fleet.
Obviously, there is no magic bullet when it comes to recruiting owner-operators. But using sound marketing principals, showing your drivers as much respect as you can, and tracking every metric you can will set you on the right path.