As an Owner Operator, you are a businessman or businesswoman, so you should always carry yourself accordingly. We all know that the first impression is the lasting impression; in other words, you only get one chance to make a first impression! It is especially vital in this day and time with slow freight!
Whether you are leased to a company and work with a fleet manager, are running under your own authority and deal with brokers, or are an owner-operator leased on with a company and working with an agent to get your loads, it is important to get off to a great start with that person.
First, introduce yourself and tell him/her a little about yourself without being overwhelming. Let him/her know your running preference and how long you like to stay out. Also, ask that person about him/herself.
Second, without bragging, sell yourself and your services. What I mean by this is let him/her know that you believe in safe and “on time” delivery! Once you are dispatched on a load, he/she does not have to worry about that load being delivered on time! This is a good time to tell him/her that, in the event you are running behind schedule due to unforeseen circumstances, you will communicate the issue as soon as possible, thereby keeping the dispatcher and the customer informed.
Third, after receiving your first dispatch from the fleet manager, broker, or agent, it is “show time!” You have “talked the talk” and now it’s time to “walk the walk” by showing him/her what you can do! Be on time for the pick-up and delivery and, as a general rule-of-thumb, on time is synonymous with early. Communicate by making all necessary check-calls and by notifying the proper people in case of a problem.
Along with being a driver, don’t forget that you are also a customer service representative. Being polite and professional with the customer is vital as well! Sometimes that customer will give feedback to your company, broker, or agent and this can be crucial to your success.
Once you have proven yourself to be trustworthy, dependable, and professional, even when freight is slow, you are often looked after by the person who gets you your loads, and this can be the difference between sitting and moving.