Impure Thoughts #1: Want to recruit me? Then Get Real.

Impure Thoughts #1: Want to recruit me? Then Get Real.

Impure Thoughts #1: You want to recruit me? Then get real.

Trucking companies spend untold amounts of money each year on recruiting ads. They do this for one reason; because they have to. If the best advertising is word of mouth, well, good luck getting truck drivers to say anything good enough to want to make drivers pile into the doors of your massive terminal!

We see a lot of tactics used that I think are put in place simply to prey on people who just don’t think very much about what they are reading or seeing when they look at these ads. The following examples are things I’ve seen in trucking ads, and why they don’t convince me to drive for a company.

1) “Family owned.”

I immediately think, “So what?”

You see, I’m not going to fall for the idea that because your family runs this giant company, you give a crap about mine. I guess that is the message they are trying to relay. Or at least set it up so that that what I’m supposed to think. They must think I’m dumb.

“Duh…this family runs this company so they must care about mine too…”

I guess there are people that fall for that, but how they make that connection I don’t know. That family started that company to benefit that family, not yours. People don’t start businesses to give other people jobs. They start them to make money. That family that runs this company is not concerned about your family any more than they have to be in order to keep you in the truck and running.

2) “Family owned and oriented…”

I immediately think, “Yeah, right.”

I think this for many of the same reasons listed above. The funny thing is, quite often companies who use this tactic have oddball home time policies that don’t really translate to what I think of as “regular” home time. I’ve found that a driver is really willing to make a lot of compromises if he or she is in fact getting regular home time. In many cases it doesn’t even have to be a lot of time off, but as long as it’s regular, he can plan his life around his job, as everyone else does.

3) The “freedom of the road”

Again, I’m skeptical immediately.

Many times I’ve seen that the companies that use this tagline are ones that have satellite tracking devices, strict schedules, and policies and procedures out the ying yang! Only the greenest drivers, and those veterans without sufficient intelligence to realize otherwise live under the illusion that all this technology constantly watching them equals anything close to freedom. Oh sure, you’re not “punching a clock”, but you’re no more free than someone who does. Often companies who say they offer “freedom” are the first ones to prescribe a given route a driver should take, or where the driver should fuel.

4) “Be prepared to make serious amounts of cash.”

Oh, come on already.
Oddly enough, the companies that do this sort of thing have often deduction after deduction out of your settlements, and one I know of is in fact cutting pay on their mileage contract (this was in 2009) for lease operators and owner operators!

The fact is, trucking is and will always be a blue collar job. You will make a decent living, if you’re smart about it, but you will spend a lot of time away from home doing it. Whether or not the trade off is worth it is up to you to decide.

Well, there you have it. Four examples of why I think most advertisements for trucking companies are crap. They offer pie in the sky deals that give applicants lofty ideas, and never really deliver on what they promise. Mine would be a realistic ad that spoke to decent drivers who’ve been around a bit, and understand that not everything works perfectly every time. I wouldn’t have signs on the back of my trailers that say, “Full scholarships available!” Scholarships? To an orientation program?

What exactly does one have to do to qualify for this “scholarship”? Breathe? Get. Real.

Simply put, don’t fall for these ads, ever. Realize that these large companies have whole teams of people, and marketing firms designing these things based on what the company tells the marketing firm. Who in marketing understands anything about trucking? I’m sure it’s a very small number of people. Understand that some of what they advertise is true but the main goal of these ads is to get you in the door.

Oh, and here’s my ad:

“Sometimes the job really sucks. Other times it’s great. Chances are you know that. If not, get some more experience, then come to my company. I have decent equipment; I pay well, and treat people like people. Must have good driving record, and live close to my freight so I can get you home. I want you to have decent home time, so that you don’t get burned out and pissed off. I want people working here a long time.”