TIPS FOR CONSIDERATION WHEN CHANGING CARRIERS
This post of Look Both Ways will help you think about the many things to consider when contemplating a change in Carriers. There are steps you can take to reduce costs and to have a positive, profitable business experience when switching carriers.
Read posts on forums
Look at ads
Talk to drivers from prospective carriers
Review prospective carriers CSA Basic scores and SaferSys SMS
Call potential carrier and speak with personnel
Visit the potential company’s website
Google the company
Do you qualify with hiring requirements for company?
Learn as much as you possibly can about the carrier or carriers you might be interested in.
Eliminate or reduce down time
Can I pre-qualify?
How long is orientation?
Get requirements checklist from prospective carrier and put together all requirements prior to scheduling orientation.
Can you get physical and drug screen done prior to orientation and have results forwarded to new carrier?
Will you need to secure a new IRP license plate because your past carrier owns your plate?
Eliminating down time will eliminate costs normally associated with switching carriers.
Tell Recruiters about yourself, your experience, your vehicle and any limitations you have.
“I have a CDL A, driving 10 years dry van as a company driver, in 48 states for a major tractor company. For the past three 3 years I’ve owned and operated expedite straight truck experience driving for one of the major Expedite companies. I have one moving violation that is 1 year old – a speed 1-5 mile over in the state of KY. I have no accidents in the past 10 years and have no felonies.
My truck is a 2007 International 4900 Series with a 24’ box and DOT approved sleeper. The truck is licensed for all lower 48 states at 33,000 GVW.
I won’t go to Canada or do other border crossings and do not have a Hazmat endorsement. I expect to be home every weekend”.
Now ask the recruiter if you fit in at the prospective Carrier and what you can expect to make each week.
Listen to recruiters - and I mean be an effective listener. Ask the recruiters you are speaking with to be effective listeners to you in return. Most recruiters do not tell lies. You might not have been an effective listener, and vice-versa.
Find out how company pays – percentage or mileage
Weekly settlements or time period for settlements
Direct deposit or check
Fuel Card provided?
What is the charge for use of the fuel card?
What are the charges for obtaining cash advances?
How is paperwork submitted?
Areas of operation?
Miles per week is a question for dedicated lanes – so ask about average weekly revenue.
Can you view settlement statements of O/O’s of similar vehicles?
IRP license plate?
Does company pay all permits and fuel/mileage taxes?
Does company charge back for fuel/mileage taxes or permits?
Does the company allow riders or passengers?
What about a pet policy?
Write down all questions that have great relevance to you and ask them prior to signing on with the Carrier.
Review the lease agreement so you are aware of all requirements of both parties. Remember that business has to be mutually rewarding to both parties. Both parties are required to hold up their part of the agreement. Understand what is expected of you and do your part – you will surely expect the carrier to uphold their end of the deal.
Question any part of the lease agreement that you do not understand. Remember, many of your responsibilities are described in the Carrier lease agreement.
Company change could require capital.
New Requirements that cost money:
Annual Vehicle Inspection
New signage fees
New Carrier Upfront fees
Satellite installation fees
Old requirements that cost money:
Removal of present signage
Money in Limbo:
Escrow from old carrier
Escrow to new carrier
Insurance company deposits (if changing insurance company)
Holdback period at new carrier will also put your money in limbo.
Additional escrow required for carrier owned equipment (satellites)
Remember not to expect the new Carrier to be your financial savior. You need to have sufficient capital to continue your business. Advances will only dig a hole.
Should the carrier change seem to yield positive results, schedule orientation. Position yourself to easily close business with the old carrier on one day and be in the new carrier’s orientation the next day. Ensure compliance with new carrier’s requirements so upon completion of orientation you can go into service for the new carrier. Eliminate as much “down-time” as possible during the switch.
Once at new carrier:
Adjust your attitude. Chances are you switched carriers because of issues with your past carrier – leave those negative feelings with the previous carrier.
Takes time to learn new company’s policies and procedures
Takes time for new dispatchers to build relationship with
May have to accept less desirable loads at first that you would not have taken at old company.
You are the new guy on the block – talk to other drivers to get in’s and outs. Make a friend or two on the inside. Learn who handles contractor relations.
You now have a “higher” truck number
Readjust your business plan by knowing your new cost per mile to operate profitability so you can profitably accept load offers from the new company. Expenses may be different with this new carrier.
Do a great job for the operations people – make them remember you in a positive manner.
Get involved in the company – attend safety meetings, visit the company’s website and participate in their Carrier forum on ExpeditersOnLine.com
Remember that loads come in 3 lengths – short, medium and long. Not every run will be that perfect 575 mile load every day.
You will do better at this carrier!
Always remember that changing carriers can be much like a divorce – it may not be wise to burn your bridge even though your carrier thinks they are the King of Anything (Sara Bareilles - King Of Anything). Who knows, soon you may need to pick up a partner load for your old carrier. The grass may not be greener and you may want to return to your old carrier.
Disclaimer: This blog is NOT intended to give legal advice, nor be a substitute for any training required by the Regulations.
Till the next blog, Thank you drivers for all you do!. Please be safe!
John Mueller, CDS, COSS