As the leader of a delivery business, your drivers are one of your most important assets. Having a team of dependable, knowledgeable drivers will impact the success of your business. As an entrepreneur tasked with staffing your delivery business, one of the most important decisions you have to make is whether you’ll hire drivers as employees or offer independent contractor jobs.
Many truck drivers are owner-operators, which means they own the trucks they drive as well as any other equipment they use as part of their jobs. As such, they are independent contractors. For a business owner, working with independent contractors has many benefits, such as saving money on certain taxes and workers’ compensation insurance. There are also potential drawbacks to working with independent contractors, like the lower level of control you have over their working hours and work processes.
Create a Business Plan
Every entrepreneur needs to create a business plan when launching a new business. A business plan is a thorough document that details everything about a business, such as:
- Where the business is headquartered
- Who owns the business
- How the business is incorporated
- The market the business serves
- The product or service the business provides
- How the business provides these products or services
- The business’s debt and earnings projections
In your business plan, state that you will hire contract drivers. By including this piece of information, you can calculate your staffing costs and compare them to the costs you’d incur if you chose to hire employee drivers and purchase all the equipment necessary for them to work.
Understanding Independent Contractor Jobs
Independent contractor jobs are not the same as full-time employment. Although an independent contractor may work a 40-hour week and work alongside a company’s employees, the contractor is not an employee of the company. Rather, an independent contractor is an independent business owner who may be contracted to perform a specific job.
As a business owner, you are not responsible for providing the equipment a contractor uses to perform the work. When you hire an owner-operator, you don’t have to worry about buying a truck, buying insurance for the truck, fueling the truck or paying for its repairs — the contract driver takes on these costs and responsibilities as part of running his business. You also do not have to:
- Pay your independent contractors' Social Security and Medicare taxes
- Purchase workers’ compensation insurance for independent contractors
- Pay independent contractors overtime compensation for hours worked beyond 40 in a week
- Provide any type of health care benefits or paid time off for independent contractors
Advertise the Courier Contracts Available
If you have courier contracts available, make it known to independent drivers who are looking for work. There are many ways to advertise that you have courier contracts available and that you’re looking for drivers. A few strategies for finding qualified drivers include:
- Posting job ads on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn
- Attending local networking events to meet drivers and staffing professionals face to face
- Putting a “qualified drivers wanted” sign in front of your building
- Asking for driver referrals from other business owners who work with drivers
- Working with a staffing agency
- Posting job ads on industry-specific job boards, like everyowneroperatorjob.com
Run a Great Company
If you want to keep working with competent contract drivers, you need to make your company an easy, rewarding business with which to work. For a contract driver, the factors that make a company a great client are somewhat different from the factors that make a workplace a great environment for an employee.
While an employee might be attracted to a workplace with a generous vacation policy and an environment stocked with snacks and high-end coffee, an independent contractor is most attracted to a client that’s communicative, respectful of her independence and compliant with the terms of the contract.
Lindsay Kramer has been a full-time writer since 2014. In that time, she's experienced the ups, downs and crazy twists life tends to take when you're launching, building and leading a small business. As a small business owner, her favorite aspect about writing in this field is helping other small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs become more fluent in the terminology and concepts they face in this role. Previously, she's written on entrepreneurship for 99designs and covered business law topics for law firms.