MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – When a driver hits the road on the way to a new customer, he or she has no idea what to expect.
There are stories circulating in the industry that drivers are often mistreated by customers and are expected to wait upwards of eight hours to pick up or drop off a delivery.
On the other hand, Truck News has heard its share of encouraging stories, in which customers help drivers out when they need it and have even gone so far as to make sure the driver’s employer hears about what a good job he or she is doing.
In the end, it’s a gamble as to what a driver may face when arriving at a customer’s location.
Truck News visited the Husky Truck Stop in Mississauga to talk to drivers about the treatment they get from customers.
Greg Hirtle, an owner/operator from Orangeville, Ont. says the treatment he receives is pretty good for the most part.
“The biggest complaint I would have really is that sometimes the load isn’t ready to be picked up, but that’s all part of the job and not really a big deal,” said Hirtle, who drives for Integrity in Motion.
“All of my customers think I’m the best!” laughed George Holjak, a driver for WRM Services of St. Catharines, Ont. “I try to go the extra mile because a happy customer is a good and loyal customer.”
Holjak, who has been driving since 1974, said his customers will often ask his dispatcher to send him out on their runs.
Some places are worse than others, said Wally Parlee, an owner/operator driving for Kingsco Transport of Sussex, N.B.
“I’m optimistic, and I think things are getting a little easier to deal with out there. We all have our good days and our bad days and it’s hit and miss really whether you’ll get them on their good days. I’ve heard the horror stories out there and I’ve even lived through some of them myself. But I still think things are getting better.”
It depends on what type of product you’re carrying or what type of industry you’re carrying it for, said Wayne O’Leary, a driver for Clarke Road Transport of Nova Scotia
“The oil field customers are always happy to see you, yet the lumber customers tend to be a little more distant. Ninety-five per cent of customers treat drivers well, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and try to never go back to that customer again,” said O’Leary.
Gaetan Chamberland of Quebec City said customers are generally pretty good to him.
“It depends on where you go,” he said, “some of them in New Jersey or New York City are pretty rushed and don’t seem to have as much time for the driver as some of the Canadian customers do.”
Chamberland said he’s never really had any negative experiences himself but has heard of them happening.