Erroneous word of mouth often chases away driver applicants from what could be a good job. I know this first-hand.
Below are some examples of how rumors prevented drivers from landing a good job with our small fleet. Some of these may sound familiar; likely the same nonsense you’ve heard about other carriers.
“Chuck” applied as an owner-operator, eager to work at a busier company at higher rates within a 550-mile radius.
He immediately showed his unwillingness to work. He parked at his favorite truck stops every night, even if that was at 6 p.m. and never left before 8 a.m. He would leave every Sunday, delivering his second reload Friday morning.
Although every other driver was running five trips every two weeks, Chuck couldn’t understand why he was leaving every Sunday, and only getting two trips per week.
“George,” a mechanic, was told to create his own work schedule, as long as repairs and maintenance were completed to our standards.
With the work nature of a combination of US and local trucks, with the exception of unexpected issues, this would be an evening position from mid-week with Saturday being a full workday.
This was supposedly perfect for him. He showed up for work daily at 8:30 a.m., with no equipment present until mid-afternoon. The shop was never cleaned or parts inventoried.
He quit, saying the job was “too demanding.” I discovered our maintenance standards had been ignored. I’m not sure where his time was spent, honestly.
These former employees will tell you I’m a slave driver.
“Ron,” an owner-operator, came crying that another month at his current employer would bankrupt him. He was a master of wasting time and miles.
His finance company called to verify his employment, informing us he had missed two payments at previous employers. One more and they were taking the truck. We also became aware that he hadn’t paid income tax in several years, and owed CRA thousands. CRA emptied his bank account, the truck payment bounced, and the truck was taken.
“Milo” bought a new truck. Besides new truck downtime, he bought a bad batch of fuel.
The tow bill, and incomplete tank draining, as well as the loss of a tank of fuel was about $2,000. Fuel filters continued clogging. We encouraged him to buy a filter wrench and carry spare filters, offering shop space to completely and properly drain his tanks.
Instead, he drove until the truck quit, then called another tow truck, not once, but three times. After the third time, the truck was lost.
According to the rumor mill, I put both these people out of business.
“Don” was an exceptional company driver. Because of personal issues, he needed more home time. Sunday, I drove the first trip of the week. There would be another trailer loaded for him to leave with Tuesday, giving him a long weekend every week.
This was met with approval, until he complained of low revenue. We checked payroll. As of September, he’d earned only $1,000 less than the prior year, while enjoying long weekends. His spouse assured him that he had actually earned $10,000 less, so we were obviously lying – pay stubs be damned.
The rumor mill says he was treated poorly.
“Tom,” a long time flatbed owner-operator, wanted to be at home until Sunday night. Within a month, that became Monday morning, insisting on being home Friday afternoon, at the same time refusing to go to half the locations we traveled to and complaining about every trip.
Sharp edges were never covered, destroying every strap and damaging tarps after only a few months. Trailer decks were rarely swept, a distinct enforcement red flag. According to him, we weren’t busy enough to stay with.
See a trend? In all cases, history has been rewritten. Do you believe the worst, or can you ask the right questions and make your own decisions? Don’t let rumors chase you from a good job.
Bill Cameron and his wife Nancy own and operate Parks Transportation, a small flatdeck trucking company. Bill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.