Only part of your business involves walk-in traffic. You also rely heavily on delivery orders as part of your income. You want your products to get to their destination on time, look good, and be in one piece. A big component of accomplishing those goals lies with your delivery driver.
For the majority of the year, you probably don’t need to hire additional drivers to meet demand. You need the help during busier times, such as the upcoming Administrative Professional’s Day and Mother’s Day. These are also the times when it’s even more important to make a good impression, as you’ll serve many new customers during these peak times. If the delivery process is not a good experience, it will be the last time you see some of these customers.
You want a driver who performs well on the road, takes care of the inventory, and interacts well with customers. Here are some ways to make sure your drivers fit that criteria.
Selecting a qualified driver
According to OSHA, an accident occurs every five seconds on U.S. roads. The National Safety Council reveals that up to 90 percent of all motor vehicle accidents are due to unsafe acts by drivers. Statistics such as these will open your eyes and reinforce the importance of selecting quality drivers for your business.
Having quality drivers can help save your business time and money now and in the future. But you’ll also see improved customer relations, fewer delivery delays, and improved morale throughout your business.
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: Potential drivers should have a current and valid driver’s license.
- Conduct a MVR check: A Motor Vehicle Records (MVR) check is a must for potential hires to view their past driving record.
- Institute a drug testing program: This is likely done with all employees as part of the hiring process, but should also be conducted after an accident occurs with drivers.
- Check references: Use references to verify information from the application and interview, including employment dates, type of work, and vehicles driven.
- Hold annual reviews: Doing this with temporary drivers helps highlight the drivers you want back.
- Take a road test: Nothing tests a driver better than seeing them in action and how they handle different situations.
And remember, part-time and seasonal drivers should be selected in the same way as full-time drivers. All drivers are vital components of your business.
Drivers with their own vehicles
Are you hiring temporary delivery drivers who might use their own vehicles? Make certain you ask any temporary drivers who will make deliveries for you to provide a copy of their driving report (the past three years is recommended). This can also be obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles for a minimal fee.
What if a temporary driver gets hurt on the job? Could the driver file for benefits under your workers’ compensation insurance? Even though you meant to hire him or her as an independent contractor (who wouldn’t be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits), the law may not see it that way. 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 with the driver: Clearly specify the period of work, amount of compensation, and his or her status as an independent contractor. Specify in the contract that the driver cannot perform any work if he/she has had any major driving violations. Ensure the driver understands that he/she is 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 company’s name 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 company’s insignia on his or her vehicle, and the driver should use his/her own equipment.
- 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’s to be performed 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 covered: 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 an 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.
We hope the information above is helpful. And if you have any questions regarding temporary drivers, your Hortica agent is here to help.