In today’s extremely competitive economic environment, trucking is a very dynamic and also important business, as the supply chain costs are reflected in almost every product we spend our money on. Substandard transportation services could, indirectly, cause transportation companies to spend more money just to stay in business. If the trucking company has owner operators, that could mean higher costs for the Owner Operator through more expensive services provided to the latter by the company.
Professional drivers are needed everywhere. We strongly believe that there’s a difference, however, between a COMMERCIAL driver and a PROFESSIONAL one. “C” in CDL stands for Commercial, but there’s no place on the CDL where it says if the driver is professional or not. Although it is not on the CDL, it might be linked to it.
One: A driver that constantly maintains his truck, takes care of it, keeps it clean, in proper working condition, regardless of the truck’s age could be considered usually a responsible driver. He doesn’t fix problems, he prevents them through preventive maintenance.
Two: There’s the MVR which is also part of the driver’s business card, which mainly reflects the moving violations in the last few years. Speeding, improper lane changes and seat belt tickets do not look good there. The least, the better, obviously. This Motor Vehicle Record is provided by the CDL holder’s home state DMV, BMV, Secretary of State, etc.
Three: The PSP report is provided by the US Department of Transportation and contains information about all DOT roadside inspections for the previous 24 months. This report shows all violations ranging from an inoperable semi-trailer license plate bulb, to texting while operating a semi-truck, to speeding in construction zones, not writing the BoL number on the logbook, driving over the hours and so on. The FMCSA lists all the possible violations on some tens of pages in their CSA methodology, which we also revisit periodically. The PSP report will also show the authority and USDOT number of the company the driver was operating under, at the time of the inspection. Having listed 5 different companies in 14 months, for example, on this report do not help either.
Four: The DAC Report is a report pulled from a nationwide database where information is added by almost all major motor carriers. Here is the place where a company would report if a driver tested positive for a drug or alcohol test, or has abandoned their truck, etc.
Five: Proper communication and timely paperwork submission are the things that are deemed priceless. Once hired, these aspects consolidate the relationship with the company and create a smooth workflow. Owner Operators that possess these skills are extremely appreciated universally.
These five aspects are the driver’s business card. The first four, in good standing, will show that the driver is a safe operator and will guarantee the Owner Operator a job in any company of his choice. He would just pick. The fifth one will guarantee that his voice will be heard in any company he will work for, given the company is wisely managed by smart enough people to appreciate someone who has educated himself and understands the rules of the game.
Us personally being former owner operators, we strongly believe that when an owner operator is professional enough and understands the above aspects and performs accordingly, he positions himself in a situation where no company can afford to lose him. That is when he actually reaps the true benefits of becoming an owner operator and educating himself in order to put value in the services he is providing. Cutting corners by skipping these aspects will not help establish a good business relationship which, in fact, is what the owner operator is doing, he is building a relationship with a business partner. He is outsourcing certain services to the motor carrier, so he doesn’t have to worry about them. About these in one of the future postings.
It’s not only about taking it from point A to point B, it really matters how you do it and you really need to relax and have some fun!.