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 thankful that the trucker job magazines are usually on the driver’s entrance at truck stops. I would be embarrassed for the general public to see these magazines and how desperate trucking companies are to hire drivers. I don’t follow other job sectors closely, but I doubt that there are other industries making such pathetic attempts to advertise for employment opportunities. When I walk into a truck stop, I see a rack as tall as I am filled with different “magazines” which are no more than recruiting ads for carriers with an occasional article thrown in to seem legitimate.
The recruiting ads are all very similar; some are even using the same picture of a “trucker” to advertise their company. These same stock photos can be seen in advertisements in other industry magazines, unrelated to trucking. And now, the product suppliers are following the lead of the carriers when it comes to advertising. They are using bikini clad women and other unintelligent ways to reach us.
I think truckers are offended by this advertising. Count me as one of them. How stupid do the advertisers think we are? Quite a bit, based on the advertising they use to reach us. Sure, they will reach the bottom of the barrel types, but not the optimal clientele that you want for your company.
Here are examples of carrier recruitment lingo that I see way too much:
- Competitive pay – this translates to average pay
- Leading Carrier – leading in what? Size of fleet or revenue? How does this help me?
- Drive for the Best – Everyone can’t be the best. The best don’t beg for employees.
- Late model equipment – That’s like a hotel advertising AC and cable; it is standard now.
- Quality home time – Companies can’t give you quality home time, but they can give youquantity.
- Sign on Bonus – Save the bonus money and use it to pay your drivers more
- Hiring Area – I see carriers targeting the lower 48 states. How about being realistic and hire around your terminal network and most traveled lanes.
There are approximately 3.5 million professional truckers in the U.S. That’s quite a niche market of consumers to target. We are bombarded with regulations, we work between 60-80 hours a week, and we are away from home and family, working a variety of hours, in different areas of the country, in all weather conditions, safely transporting billions of dollars in freight……all for a minimal wage. The last thing we need is to be insulted.
Marketing 101 – A quick story
Once upon a time there were 4 military recruiters who participated in a presentation at a high school. The Army went first, going on and on about all the interesting opportunities for work and travel. The Navy went next, taking a little longer to express all the exciting opportunities to travel and sail the seven seas. Next, the Air Force recruiter got up to the stage and bragged on his service and how “aiming high” is the best choice for the graduates. He took so long that when it was time for the Marine recruiter to speak, there was no more time. He stood up and quickly said, “All I can promise are tough assignments, extremely hard and dangerous work, but I doubt any of you could handle it anyway.” His table was swamped with potential recruits. There’s a marketing lesson in there……Figure it out!