Being a company driver can be a rewarding and successful career without the additional headaches and stressors of becoming an Owner Operator. Over the years we have worked with many drivers who have chosen life on the road as a company driver. Successful, professional company drivers all have some key traits in common.
#1 They Make Safety a Priority
The best and most successful company drivers make safety their top priority. They have driven hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of miles accident-free. Safety conscious drivers are most desired in the trucking industry, especially with companies who place a strong focus on safety. Why is this so important, well, first and foremost safe driving is key to preventing accidents and deaths on the roadways. Secondly, safe drivers don’t rack up violations that go against a company’s CSA Score. Companies with poor CSA Scores are subject to increased insurance costs, loss of business, and costly fines.
#2 They Maintain a Clean Abstract
This goes hand in hand with the first point. Successful company drivers maintain a clean driver’s abstract which means that they have no violations against them be it in the truck or in their personal vehicles. Successful company drivers don’t drink and drive, they wear their seatbelts, respect speed limits, use their turn signals, and you know . . . obey the rules of the road whenever and whatever they drive.
#3 They Get Along with Dispatch
The relationship between truck drivers and dispatch is often frustrating and more like oil and water but remember the adage – don’t bite the hand that feeds you. While dispatch isn’t writing your cheque, they are in control of the miles you run. Successful company drivers know that. We’re not saying you need to be best buddies or buy your way into their good graces, but you cannot go into their office yelling and screaming until you are blue in the face. That is not going to get you very far. If you work hard, do the job with little complaint and be where you should be when you should be, you’ll do just fine in this industry.
#4 They Make Delivers On-Time, All the Time
The trucking industry is all about moving freight to control and maintain the supply chain of companies around the world. Late deliveries can halt production, destroy timelines and affect the supply chain on a very large scale. As a truck driver, it is your responsibility to deliver on-time all the time. Successful company drivers don’t have to understand how the supply chain works, but they know that late deliveries can create problems for clients and they do everything in their power to deliver.
#5 They Have Excellent Customer Service Skills
Ultimately, truck drivers are the face of the company. They are the ones showing up at the loading docks and interacting with shippers and receivers. Successful company drivers are professional, friendly, and offer excellent customer service to a trucking company’s clients all the time; yes, even when things go wrong.
#6 They Possess “Jack of all Trades” Skills
Being a successful company driver involves many more skills than holding the steering wheel and staying between the lines. Successful company drivers have mapping skills, and planning skills, are able to multitask and problems solve, they are able to handle minor repairs on the road, aren’t afraid to ask for help, are good at math, and time management. They are able to work alone and are responsible for their actions. They don’t need to be micromanaged and have their hand held every step of the way.
#7 They Make the Most of Their Downtime
Working in the trucking industry is stressful. It’s a high demand, time-sensitive industry that puts a lot of responsibility on the driver’s shoulders. Successful company drivers know the importance of utilizing their downtime to reset and relax. It doesn’t matter if it’s during the 30-minute break, the evening after a full day, or the days spent at home between runs; if you are going to succeed in the trucking industry, you need to develop ways to reduce the stress. Many drivers exercise on breaks, develop hobbies that are easily maintained in the truck and spend as much time with their loved ones when they are at home. Taking time away from the daily grind, even if it’s just 30-minutes, really can make a difference between success and failure in this industry.