For the majority of the year, you probably don’t need additional drivers to meet demand, but that changes during busy times like Mother’s Day. Odds are, you’ll see many new customers, so making a good impression is key. But if your delivery process isn’t a good experience, it may be the last time you’ll see them.
You want a delivery driver who performs well on the road, takes care of the inventory, and interacts well with customers. Here are some ways to help make sure that happens.
Selecting a qualified driver
According to OSHA, an accident occurs every five seconds on U.S. roads. The National Safety Council found up to 90 percent of all motor vehicle accidents are due to unsafe acts by drivers. Statistics like these reinforce the importance of selecting quality drivers for your business. Not only will this help save your business time and money now and in the future, but you’ll also see improved customer relations and fewer delivery delays.
Here are a few things to consider when selecting drivers:
- Offer a written application: Make sure this paperwork includes a section to note prior incidents on the road.
- Prove eligibility: Determine an applicant has a current and valid driver’s license.
- Conduct a MVR check: Check Motor Vehicle Records (MVR) to confirm a past driving record.
- Institute a drug testing program: Establish a rule that drug tests may be done after an accident occurs.
- Check references: Contact references to verify information from the application and interview—including employment dates, type of work, and vehicles driven.
- Hold annual reviews: Use this information to determine which temporary drivers you want back.
- Take a road test: Ride along to see a driver’s skills in action and observe how they handle different situations.
Drivers with their own vehicles
If you’re hiring temporary delivery drivers who might use their own vehicles, make certain you have them provide a copy of their driving report (the past three years is recommended). A report can also be obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles for a small fee.
Here’s a concern many business owners have: if a temporary driver gets hurt on the job, could they file for benefits under workers’ compensation insurance? Even though your intent is to hire him or her as an independent contractor, making them ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits, the law may see it differently. Laws vary by state, but here are some tips to establish and maintain an independent contractor relationship with a temporary delivery driver:
- Have a written contract: Clearly specify the period of work, amount of compensation, and his or her status as an independent contractor. Make it clear that the driver cannot perform any work if they have had any major driving violations. Ensure the driver understands that they’re not an employee, and that entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits vary by state.
- Don’t offer company affiliation: Instruct the driver not to mention your business while making deliveries, and don’t allow them to wear your company’s uniform or apparel. Also, don’t allow the driver to put your logo on his or her vehicle.
- Take a hands-off approach: Don’t control how the driver’s work is to be performed. Control over a person’s work and how it should be carried out is the hallmark of an employer/employee relationship.
- Stress the non-employee status: Don’t list the driver as an employee on your records or withhold taxes from his or her pay. Pay them the agreed amount and issue a 1099 form.
- Ensure their vehicle is insured: Make sure the driver has his or her own automobile insurance with adequate limits. Be sure the driver’s personal auto policy doesn’t exclude delivery or business driving from their coverage. Many personal policies include this exclusion. You should also request they add your company to their policy as a named additional insured.
Delivery drivers—full-time and temporary—are necessary in this line of work. Having quality drivers can improve your bottom line and shouldn’t be taken lightly during the hiring process. Contact a Hortica agent if you have any further questions, or would like additional resources when it comes to selecting and keeping your drivers safe.
For more information on safety preparation for your business, check out the Hortica Resources section.
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