You make money when freight gets moved. Freight isn’t moved unless someone is hauling it. These are not earth shattering revelations. Every carrier in the world knows these things. Yet, their recruiting budgets don’t reflect these revelations.
If you don’t know your cost of advertising per hire, you should. How to assess that cost is the topic of another article, but for the sake of this article we will presume you know your cost.
Along with cost-per-hire, you should know how many drivers you need. While many carriers will tell us they have all the drivers they need, the numbers tell a different story. Despite the increase in hires since 2008, there is still a driver shortage of around 30,000 according to Roz Wilson, a senior analyst with the Delcan Corporation. Once the new hour restrictions kick in, that number could reach 100,000. With the turnover rate averaging 98% in 2012, more than likely you have empty trucks waiting to be filled with drivers.
As any carrier knows, empty trucks cost money. In fact, our math puts the direct loss in freight revenue around $500 – $800 a day (depending on the type of freight.) This does not include all of the indirect cost; i.e. recovery, new driver prep, repairs, and bad press. These factors can increase your empty truck loss from $800 a day to $5,000.
The question is, does your advertising budget match your recruiting needs? If your average cost of advertising per hire is $1.00 ( which it is not) and you need to hire 40 drivers, math tells us that your budget should be $40.00. And you can’t argue with math.
Too many times we talk to carriers whose budget is nowhere close to their driver shortage. If you need to spend X amount of dollars to hire Y amount of drivers, but you’re $30,000 under X, you will never get the amount of drivers you need.
By not spending money, you are losing money. Don’t get me wrong, cost management is an integral part of maintaining a thriving business, but losing freight is not a prudent way to manage cost. Make sure your recruiting budget matches your driver needs.
This attention to scale and number should be applied to every aspect of your advertising. Figure out how many calls, impressions, clicks, traffic, etc you need to make a conversion and adjust your budget accordingly. Perhaps you are spending too much on online banners but too little on PPC. If your main goal is to get recruiters on the phone with drivers, perhaps your PPC ad campaign spend should be entirely mobile.
Along with matching your budget to your driver needs, the details of your budget need to match your expectations and desired outcome. Don’t blindly throw precious dollars at shiny new products.
First I was telling you to spend more and now it seems I am telling you to spend less. So let’s sum it up like this: spend enough to reach the amount of drivers you need, and make sure your spend is allocated to the platforms that deliver the kind of application, phone call, or click you are looking for.