When I write about business and entrepreneurship for my blogs and columns I often talk about creating a brand for yourself as your name is one of the most important parts of your identity. If you can’t be trusted it doesn’t matter how good you are at talking with people or how good the product or service is that your selling. In transportation the idea is no different. Your company wants to know that you can be trusted with their thousands of dollars worth of equipment and that you can handle the freight that may be worth millions of dollars. They also trust you will arrive at the appointed time for delivery. In other words they are putting their trust in you, in your abilities based upon previous performance. Needless to say that you have follow the rules and regulations of the road and do it in a timely manner. After all your name is at stake and integrity is everything. Don’t believe me just ask any dispatcher or terminal manager who they rely on when the going gets tough, when the load has to get there without problems, when there is high dollar freight involved? It’s not that driver that never arrives on time, drives like a maniac, and could care less about customer service.
It can be a double edge sword to be the good professional driver. It can be great for your career and your pocket book as you get higher profile loads, dedicated runs, are asked to move freight for larger clients and so on. With a good name in the industry it can take you along way even into the ranks of management and beyond. However there is a small downside, you get more work. Now most of us are looking for the miles so that isn’t always an issue, but as you become more of a brand and someone that can be counted on you will find you are asked to do more above and beyond the call of your job.
For me I was known as the clean junkie, washing my truck before each run, keeping it looking good at all times, well that would get me working the parade route for our company. It was fun at first, but as the years went by the preparation time before the parade got shorter and shorter until one day arrived home from a run and didn’t even have time to wash the truck because the company knew it would be the clean even without the wash. This happened at several companies and today I don’t even like parades. This however is a small price to pay for a good name in this industry. The recognition of being a quality driver has taken my career to heights I never imagined and has opened many doors within this industry.
If you are looking at a long career in this industry then integrity is everything. It will help you create income and help you come back from setbacks. Integrity is what you do, who you are, and who you stand for, integrity is your brand. Protect it like you would your children.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a business and leadership consultant for the transportation industry. He helps professional drivers and owner operators have successful careers. More information can be found on his website at www.outridge.ca