Proven ways to become a shipper of choice

Drivers, Resource, Technology and Innovation

With a few adjustments, your operation will quickly become a professional driver’s favorite destination, and that’s just good business.

It’s hard to imagine everything professional truck drivers deal with if you haven’t driven yourself. It’s not as straightforward as simply driving; they face navigation and scheduling challenges, traffic and inclement weather, to say nothing of the detailed regulations for record keeping, load weight, hours of service, and more.

After long hours on the road, professional drivers are looking to stretch their legs, rest, and recoup — an unprepared shipper only causes more stress.

With a bit of forethought and planning, you can streamline your shipping operations, saving you time, money, and effort, while providing a friendly environment that fosters goodwill and a positive reputation among drivers and carriers. Relationships are two-way streets, and shippers can strengthen their professional driver relationships with these tips.

If you can, provide parking
There’s a desperate need for truck parking. Industry surveys, year after year, continue to show that safe, reliable parking is a top concern of professional drivers. According to the American Trucking Associations, drivers spend around an hour each day looking for parking, which equates to approximately $5,500 of lost earnings every year. That’s the same as a 12% pay cut if a driver makes the median income. One driver we spoke with said he once drove 50 miles to find a parking spot while a trailer was being loaded. If your yard can be reconfigured to accommodate additional parking spaces, doing so will launch your shipping operation to the top of professional drivers’ favorite shippers list.

Put together a daily loading and unloading plan
How prepared are you for incoming trailers? Many professional drivers pull in to find shippers unprepared to receive their load, leaving them stranded and losing money. For drop and hook loads, is the empty trailer ready? Or will drivers need to spend hours chasing a trailer? Conversely, if you don’t have empty trailers available, have you communicated this to the carrier? Professional drivers who expect a drop and hook may not appreciate being surprised with a live load. Having a sound grasp on your schedule and resources is important to being a good business partner.

Provide basic accommodations
Imagine this: you’ve been behind the wheel most of the day and could really use a snack, some fresh air, and a place to stretch your legs, and you assume you’ll be able to rest at the shipper’s facilities. As you arrive, you learn the shipper doesn’t allow professional drivers to use their restroom or even offer you a place to wait while your trailer is being unloaded. Now, you’ve got to hop back in your cab and find a rest stop close by, only to drive back when your next load is ready.

This common occurrence for drivers leads to unnecessary headaches and frustrations. Providing a place to wait, restrooms, or basic refreshments like bottled water make professional drivers’ lives much easier, growing your relationship with your carrier.

Conclusion
Strong, positive working relationships between carriers and shippers are good business. Some shippers think managing their business relationships should take a backseat to productivity, when in reality, healthy working relationships are a critical component of productivity. When both parties work together to help each other out, that’s the makings of a promising, profitable partnership.

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