Contributing author Joey Slaughter is the owner of Blue Ridge Transport, LLC. A Ringgold, VA based carrier. Joey started his company in 2010 after serving time as an unhappy employee with a local trucking company. The time spent there was not fun but, in hindsight, was a turning point that propelled Joey into the wonderful world of being an entrepreneur. Please visit JoeySlaughter.net for more insightful blogging.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Our industry has a lot of work to do when it comes to professionalism. And because of that, a lot of drivers are treated very poorly. Many shippers/receivers won’t even look at us, let us use their restrooms, much less say hello. I suspect that in most cases of this treatment, it’s because a previous driver represented our industry very poorly and from then on, we are all judged by that bad apple.
In my dealings with shipper/receivers, I’m usually treated very nicely and more like a customer than a trucker. I’ve also been able to obtain more money and better contracts by doing these 10 things. These are things that successful people do and shippers want to do business with successful people!
- Arrive on time – being late is unacceptable. Also arriving too early without approval can also be unacceptable. Companies have schedules for a reason.
- Shower daily – If you do this, you’ll separate yourself from the majority of the industry
- Wear clean clothes – Someone can tell if you just got grease on your shirt or if it’s a stain from 4 days ago.
- Wear collared shirts – I’ve been mistaken for a salesman on a few occasions when I’ve entered a customer’s office.
- Wear appropriate footwear – running shoes, sandals, flip flops are not appropriate when entering a place of business. In many cases, safety shoes are REQUIRED.
- Smile – before you speak a word, let them see a smile on your face. Learn to always approach people in this way.
- Speak with proper grammar – we know people judge us on first impressions, but we usually think of appearance. It also includes our speech. Speak correctly and practice good eye contact.
- Introduce yourself – I tell them my name and my company. “Good morning, my name is Joey Slaughter and I’m with Blue Ridge Transport. I have a delivery for you.” When we meet someone properly, we treat one another better.
- Don’t wear your Bluetooth headset outside of your truck – It really looks unprofessional.
- Do what you say you’re going to do – believe it or not, this is so simple, but so rare these days. I have so much respect for someone who arrives when they say they will, or completes a task like they said they would.
Doing these simple things will separate yourself from the majority of the industry. That’s sad – our industry needs a lot of improvement in this area. But it’s also good – We can stand out very easily from the rest.