So, we've taught you the best strategies for recruiting company drivers to your fleet, but what about owner-operators? Contrary to popular belief, recruiting owner-operators is much different from recruiting company drivers. Knowing how difficult it is for companies to get high-quality owner-operators, they're very selective in the company they choose to work for. In a market where gas prices are through the roof and truck inventory is getting harder to come by, getting owner-operators to come on board is a tough job.
Here at FindaTruckerJob, we have significant experience in recruiting owner-operators through ad campaigns. We understand what they're looking for in a company, how much they want to be paid, and where they're located. Our experience also makes us knowledgeable in how difficult it can be to find these candidates. Don't worry, we have all of the tips and tools necessary to get the highest quality owner-operators in your fleet.
To begin, owner-operators have a completely different mindset than company drivers. They're much more independent and have their eyes set on an entrepreneurial future. Everyone likes the idea of being their own boss, but owner-operators understand the hard work that goes into it and still put in the effort to make their business successful. From dealing with insane gas prices to the everyday stresses of owning a business, reminding them that you value their presence in your company is important to getting them in the door and keeping them.
For these exact reasons, it is important that you treat your owner-operators differently than your company drivers. Both owner-operators and company drivers must be treated with respect, but your owner-ops should be put into a different category. It is important to treat them as the business owners they are and not just drivers. Allowing them to make up their own schedule lets them know you respect them as a business owner.
Respect is key to getting these potential owner-operators applying to your jobs and wanting to join your company. A company culture that lets owner-operators continue to be their own boss and offers them a chance to grow within the company is key to reducing turnover.
Trucks Trucks Trucks
We speak to owner-operators every day who stress the struggle of finding trucks in today's competitive market. Not to mention when trucks are available, their prices have been astronomical. As a company, it's hard to see someone else's job at your company could be just as difficult but for owner-operators it is.
Most companies want their owner-operators to own trucks that are 10 years old or less in order to try to prevent the truck from having problems or breaking down. However, asking your owner-operators to have to update their trucks every 10 years can be a lot to ask in the eyes of the owner-operator.
As a company, think of ways to incentivize your owner-ops to want to stay with your company long term. For example, give them options for purchasing their truck. Give your owner-operators lease opportunities, truck financing options, or even keep used trucks available for purchase within the company. Doing so shows that you're setting them up for success, not failure.
Most owner-operators transitioned from company drivers so they may fear the cost of a broken down truck is too great to deal with. Providing discounts on maintenance, parts and tires, and/or having an on-site mechanic available to the owner-operator is a major standout to candidates. It gives them peace of mind and makes them trust your company to help them if needed.
You want someone who looks at your company as a career, not a job. When advertising for your job online, highlighting any help you provide in finding their truck to purchase as well as assistance with truck repairs is a major plus for reaching your target candidate.
No one can plan for the unforeseen costs that accidents and life can cause to raise insurance costs. Providing low-cost options for insurance is a huge factor in getting an owner-operator in your door.
Here are a few they look to have low-cost options for:
Primary Liability Insurance
Physical Damage Insurance
Trailer Insurance (if Owned by Owner Operator)
Gas & Parking
The reality of the market is that fuel prices are up which means so are costs for owner-operators. Offering fuel cards, discounts, and paid fuel surcharges will make your company stand out. The price of fuel is one of the major reasons owner-operators are either going out of business or are hesitant to take the leap. Providing an option to solve for the rising cost of fuel is a major perk to offer.
Parking is a major concern for drivers and owner-operators around the country. According to The American Trucking Association, 98% of drivers report having problems finding safe parking spots.
With the dangers of the road already playing a factor, no one should fear they have to park in an unsafe area due to poor planning. Offering free parking or having parking options available in a secure lot at the minimum is extremely important to owner-operators.
Show Me the Money
Money money money. One thing heard commonly is how expensive it is to hire owner-operators. However, when evaluating the amount of work they put into operating the business, one could argue the price is justified.
One thing is for sure, pay your owner-operators. In today's market, most want to be paid around $200,000 a year so about $4,000 per week. Being paid a set salary tends to be more enticing to owner-operators since paying by the mile doesn't factor in things like traffic.
We are also seeing an increase in owner-operators being paid by percentage. Percentage Pay is based on a percentage the shipper paid to haul their load. For example, if their percentage is 50% and the shipper paid $2,900 dollars for the load, their pay would be $1,450.
On the other hand, some owner-operators are looking to be paid by the mile. Those who are more interested in exceeding the typical weekly mileage and want to go above and beyond with overtime tend to want this payment method.
Overall, every owner-operator prefers to be paid a certain way. As long as your pay is putting more money in their pocket, your company will stand out to them. Understanding that the cost they require to put into the business needs to justify how much they take home is important.
Relationships have to be built on trust. There is nothing worse than being lied to during the recruitment process. To reduce turnover and create a better foundation overall, be honest with your candidates. Owner-operators are making a big decision to operate their own business within your company and need to feel confident they are making the right one.
Consistency is also important to gain their trust. Your job advertisement shouldn't be displaying one message while your recruiters say another. Be honest with your pay, benefits and culture within the company. If the candidate feels like they've been left in the dark it will only cause them to move on and leave a bad taste in their mouth. Essentially, don't make promises you can't keep. Drivers talk and best believe they will share with their community if your company wasn't honest. The last thing your company needs is a bad reputation within the transportation community due to miscommunication.
Invest in Owner-Operators
Overall, owner-operators are tough to recruit but are out there. When it comes to recruiting them for your company, knowing what they are and aren't looking for is the best way to reach and retain them. Invest in your owner-ops and they will in return make your business a success overall. Keep in mind these tips and you’ll be hiring owner-operators faster than you can fill your tank.