It’s an old expression – maybe I shouldn’t use it because it show my age, but those of you in the same age bracket know what I’m talking about. You “youngsters”, maybe not. It simply is an old-fashioned way of saying that people sometimes throw out the “good” when trying to get rid of the “bad”. It’s an old-fashioned idea that things (and people) are more often salvageable than we think. It’s an old-fashioned idea that should become fashionable again. I can remember when my dad first starting training entry level drivers to operate a truck. There were many new drivers that were rough and needed a little extra coaching to help them become great drivers. If not for great trainers like my dad and Merv Orr, many of these guys would have been “tossed out with the bathwater”. Merv Orr was the best of the very few driver trainers in the Province and really set the example back then for what a great driver training school should be like. As a young man I spent some time with Merv and I learned a great deal from him. Combine that with what I learned from the master, my dad, and you will still see remnants taught daily of what was learned some thirty-plus years ago. Yes, some things do not need changing.

Kim Richardson
Kim Richardson

Fast forward to today and there are upwards of ninety places in Ontario, both legal and illegal, that teach entry level drivers how to operate a commercial vehicle. The competition is stiff and I can count on my right hand (without my thumb) the number of quality schools for professional driving in Ontario. It really is unfortunate. I have said it many times – if KRTS’s business was only training entry level drivers we probably would not be in business today. Our diversification has helped us to stay in business.

We do not try to compete with the licensing mills because we can’t. We continue to tell our customers who research that “How much, how long and when is my test?” are the wrong questions to be asking. Unfortunately, so many people’s decisions are tied to price and they are lured to the cheap programs that cut corners to cut costs. In the end, they are licensed, but poorly trained, so no reputable carrier will hire them because they can’t pass their pre-hire road test. When they do get work it is with “Dead Duck Trucking” and the majority of these new operators end up getting treated poorly, becoming discouraged and leaving the industry.

So, does your company throw the baby out with the bathwater? Recently we met with a large carrier who does 20 road tests a week, 80 a month, 960 a year. Do the math on how much time is spent to conduct all those two hour road tests. Now calculate the other time invested in these failures – administration, scheduling and interviewing to get to the road test point. The cost is astronomical. This particular company has a low pass rate of road tests and we’re looking to help with that as well.

Turn your road tests failures into potential hires! Yes, there is a model for this and we do this for you at KRTS. I would suggest that some, not all, of those potential drivers you road test just need work in some areas and they could pass your road test and then you would have another “mobile profit centre” to move your freight.

Unfortunately, this is the typical carrier road test procedure:

Your candidate has passed all the preliminary testing and interviews and there has been a significant investment by your company to date, or there should have been.

The potential driver attends your company, nervous, maybe has not driven in a while and possibly gets behind the wheel of a tractor he has never driven and possibly a transmission he has never shifted. Talk about lowering your chances for success.

At the end of road test, the potential driver fails. Too many grinds, too many attempts at backing and maybe a close call with a car at intersection or telephone pole. The individual fails the road test and the most common thing said is “Go get some experience with another carrier and come back and see us.” All that effort up to this point is thrown out the window and the candidate goes down the road and eventually lands a job with Dead Duck Trucking (who may be your competitor).

Here is what you should be doing:

Some of those candidates who road tested and failed can, with some remedial training, become great entry level drivers for your company. Give them a chance to do that. Offer them a job. Yes – even though they failed give them a conditional job offer.

Tell them if they go get some remedial training (at KRTS) in the areas that need improvement you will road test them again immediately. In as little as a week you can be road testing and passing this candidate. Talk about win/win.

Does it work? You betcha. We have been doing it with a number of companies. It’s how you and I go to war with the licensing mills. You see, we don’t have to compete with them, we just need to come up with a better mouse trap to deal with them. One way to do that is to not be so hasty to discard drivers that have potential, they just need some polish. I bet your commitment to them will follow with creating a committed, loyal driver in return.

Give us a call to learn more about our “Rehab Program”. You will be glad you did. Don’t disqualify the failures – rehab them, retest them, then – hire them.

About the Author
Kim Richardson is a husband, proud dad, friend, loves Caledonia, and is involved in a couple of businesses, KRTS, Transrep, The Rear View Mirror. Currently the Chairman of the Board OTA Allied Trade Division. Executive Director, PTDI and TTSAO. Anyone who knows Kim knows he has been in the industry and transportation runs in his blood. Kim can be reached through his business websites at KRTS Inc, and Transrep Inc, Kim Richardson on Linkedln, krichardson@krway.com