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Finding the most qualified drivers or Independent Contractors for your fleet is a critical task on the road to sustained growth, profit, and long-term success. But what are the key identifiers in finding top drivers?
Setting minimum standards tends to focus us on those minimums, obscuring the benefits of exceeding the minimums whenever possible. We may prefer to hire drivers ages twenty-five and older but decide that a realistic minimum is age 21. Once published, the "21 standard" takes over and managers easily forget the original goal of 25+. Realistic minimum hiring standards are necessary and desirable but should not overshadow more ambitious goals. Consider adopting "Preferred Standards" or "Hiring Goals" alongside your minimum requirements and set a percentage of new hires that should meet these loftier criteria.
For example, the Preferred Standard for driver MVRs could be a "clean record," and at least 50 percent of new hires should meet this standard. A clean record would not be realistic as a minimum requirement for all drivers but should remain the targeted goal.
It's true insurance cannot eliminate disruptions caused by losses, nor prevent bad press or salvage a damaged reputation. However, your risk strategy can be the great equalizer! You will benefit most by not having losses in the first place or, failing that, by minimizing the seriousness of any losses that do occur.
In this uncertain, uncontrollable world, to speak of 'controlling' losses might seem ambitious, but an overwhelming number of studies show that Loss Control strategies do work. Companies have drastically cut down losses following the implementation of safety programs.
Over the past decade, even the insurance industry has come to recognize the value of Loss Control by increasing discounts and making available resources to help you launch or improve your risk strategy. If you are unhappy with your insurance rates, chances are revisiting your Loss-Control plan will pay dividends for you and your drivers down the road!
Several safety-related criteria should guide your choices when contracting new drivers. Driver age, experience, references, and driving records provide valuable information that can help you avoid populating your driver pool with "accidents-waiting-to-happen." Having implemented a more professional process of driver hiring, it would be tempting to relax, thinking that your job is done. However, several of these standards need to be monitored over time to make sure that driver behavior does not change on the job. Create a monitoring schedule to specify how often each area is to be checked, who is responsible, and what standards will be used (minimum and preferred).
Specifically, the areas to be monitored include driver MVRs (we recommend running reports every six months for all drivers), vehicle condition (we recommend documented pre-winter inspections), and driver insurance (at expiration date).
Note that it will be useful to maintain a central file for all your drivers' most recent MVRs, instead of inserting them into each individual driver file. Insurance companies and risk managers often wish to review MVRs and it is much easier to pull a dedicated file than to extract sheets from each personnel folder
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