R4 MD has his say on the changing face of driver recruitment
For those of you reading this article, and have been involved with driver recruitment for some time, I am sure you will agree that the industry has changed dramatically.
In the past 10 years, the market has completely flipped from being a client’s market to a driver’s market. Big haulage firms have moved away from using temporary drivers and are now more inclined to hire permanent staff to secure the availability of drivers and ensure that vehicles are fully utilised to avoid losing revenue.
In days gone by, agencies would regularly receive an early morning phone call from a client explaining that they had been let down and needed a driver to fulfil the mornings run. Drivers were very much on hand back then and it was very easy for an agency to contact a new driver and have them on their way to the client within 15 minutes of the initial phone call.
However, the hard part of the job back then was to win new business. Cold calling, sending emails and trudging around muddy industrial estates was all par for the course of winning new business. The clients had the power, they would tell us what to charge and if we were too expensive, they would find another agency that was cheaper. Drivers were getting paid a relative pittance because there were so many of them and so few jobs.
Now though, the industry is completely different. Drivers are getting much more than they used to, but when driver CPC was introduced in September 2014, many of them hung up their hi-vis vest in search of permanent employment, leaving the industry short of qualified drivers.
The challenge we now face, is that many of the companies we have encounter have been burned by the poor service they have received from other agencies who have let them down at the last minute due to a shortage of drivers. As a result, companies are therefore very reluctant to take on temporary drivers.
Unlike other agencies, Route4 Solutions takes more time and effort to develop closer relationships with its drivers. As a result they are more loyal to us and therefore when we receive a call requesting a driver, we are better equipped to supply a driver and meet demand.
When considering the financial risks of failing to send out a vehicle compared with costs of paying a driver for a day not worked, most companies would say that the financial risk of failing to send out a vehicle is far greater.
This is where R4 has differentiated ourselves by taking on the responsibility to educate logistics firms on the cost benefits of employing temporary drivers in comparison to employing permanent drivers, who in most cases, become under utilised during slow months of the year.
Route4 Solutions has a responsibility to act in the best interest of the clients we act for and to the drivers which represent us. It is for this reason that we are committed to placing the right driver, with the right assignment, which serves the interest of both parties.