NAPA VALLEY, Calif. — Freightliner has created a new online community aimed at educating owner/operators on how to improve their bottom lines.
The Team Run Smart program, currently in a soft launch phase and set to be fully deployed at the Great American Trucking Show in late August, provides a full suite of resources that owner/operators and independent contractors can use to improve their profitability.
The site serves up educational articles, blogs, operational tips and insight from professional drivers and “coaches” on how to be more successful.
“The Team Run Smart community is the definitive guide to help business-minded drivers succeed,” said TJ Reed, director of product marketing for Freightliner Trucks. “The open format creates a social network where drivers of all brands of trucks can interact with and learn from each other, as well as have immediate access to a wealth of industry resources.”
The Web site is broken down into four categories, including: Truck Smart; Fuel Smart; Business Smart; and Health Smart. It incorporates social media in the way of a Facebook page and YouTube channel and features a mobile-friendly version of the site accessible by smart phone.
The goal, according to David Hames, general manager of marketing and strategy with Daimler Trucks North America, is to create a community where professional drivers and owner/operators can share their best practices in all aspects of the business.
Freightliner worked with ATBS, a provider of business services for owner/operators, to develop the program. ATBS provides bookkeeping services to some 55,000 owner/operators and as such, has insight into their earnings. The company is projecting the average American owner/operator to earn a net income of $51,000 this year, which caught Freightliner’s attention.
“That’s not a lot of money,” Hames said. “This is roughly double what a minimum wage-type job is. Pre-deregulation, truck driving earned an income that was roughly four times what minimum wage paid. There’s been a lot of pressure on drivers that has really reduced their income over the past three decades.”
Freightliner felt it could help owner/operators make better business decisions through the creation of Team Run Smart, which will replace its popular Slice of Trucker Life program. Henry Albert, a renowned owner/operator known for his business savvy has been named the first Team Run Smart coach. Freightliner will be accepting applications for three more coaching positions beginning at the Great American Trucking Show. Canadian O/Os are welcome to apply for the position. They need to demonstrate a strong business aptitude to be considered.
“We knew that to do this correctly, we needed to put together a panel of industry experts that had knowledge they could provide to this population to help them be successful,” said Mike McHorse, marketing segment manager with Freightliner Trucks.
The Web site won’t just be a soapbox for the coaches, though. Anyone can register at the site and comment on blogs or submit their own tips and articles for consideration.
“The content has to be consistent, fresh and relevant,” McHorse said.
Visitors to the site, once registered, can earn miles – essentially bragging rights – based on their activity.
“As you read articles, you get miles, as you post comments you get miles and as you share those articles, you get miles,” McHorse explained.
Officials say the program was designed to help owner/operators better their bottom line and not to sell Freightliner trucks. In fact, the company even allows photos and mentions of competitive trucks as long as the information provided is useful to visitors.
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