Student Driver Placement

May 2016

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4 May '16 However, as shown in results from polling below, much of Overdrive's audience has never been in the position of hiring a driver, and very few respondents (3 percent) reported typically putting their focus on striking an agreement with a dependable driver prior to purchasing a truck. At once, the largest share of respon- dents (43 percent) reported belief that the driver was the most impor- tant part of the expansion equation, whether access to the truck precedes his/her hiring or not. An important related consideration also was noted by a signifi cant share (16 percent) of respondents — hav- ing the truck fi rst can be a good recruiting tool in some sense, the "best way to seal the deal" with any prospective hire. However, a driver who exhibits the independent characteristics de- scribed above and who could com- mit to the business before the truck is even available may represent the kind of commitment an owner-oper- ator looking to move to a two-truck operation badly needs to succeed. As small fl eet operations grow, considerations may change. Mark White of Tennessee-based Old Time Express, interviewed last Fall, had freight in excess of his company's capacity to deliver on actually moving it in its 15 company-owned trucks. At once, he's turned to a new model of expansion (for Old Time) that in some ways underscores a chicken- egg approach to the driver/truck. "You've got to do something to make yourself stand out from ev- erybody else," he says. "It will take somebody reinventing the wheel here to alleviate the recruiting and reten- tion problem," whether with guaran- teed detention and other pay models to attract drivers or other things. In a move rather uncommon for such a small fl eet, White and his fam- ily-owned company moved to nego- tiations with its insurance company to "start hiring student drivers," he says. "We went well beyond" what industry- standard guidelines exist for such, as required by the insurance company. Working with a local technical col- lege (within two-three months drivers graduate with a CDL), Old Time then takes the student driver out for a cou- ple weeks to shadow his local driver, and gradually move into solo driving. "It might be up to a two-year program before they're free and clear" with a dedicated truck, he says. "We even went as far as putting dashcams, for- ward facing, on the trainees with the trainer – and also once they go solo, for up to two years." ◆ |Feature |

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