Owner-Operators vs. Company Drivers
When talking about driver recruiting it’s important to recognize the differences and similarities in the two main subsets of drivers. Owner-operators and company drivers.
Just as with fleets themselves, both sets of drivers have different needs and goals. Knowing what they have in common and where they differ can be helpful to fleets and recruiters working with them, and allow them to be more effective.
How do owner-operators and company drivers differ?
To effectively target, fleets must know what sets these two groups apart in important areas such as media usage. What do they use and how often do they use it?
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some data gathered by referring to two of our connectivity studies.
- Overdrive 2016 Connectivity Study (owner-operators)
- Truckers News 2016 Connectivity Study (company drivers)
What can we learn from these truck driver surveys?
While there are plenty of similarities between the results of the two groups, there are a few key differences. The average ages are very close, but we see a much bigger gap in the amount of long-term experienced drivers.
We also see a difference in the two groups preferred information sources. Owner-operators tend to lean heavily towards printed magazines while company drivers tend to prefer email newsletters. This could possibly be attributed to the fact that owner-ops have more experience and have become accustomed to using trade magazines throughout their tenure.
However, both groups show frequent use of handheld devices and activity on Facebook. In addition to driver connectivity studies, much can be learned from trends we see in the industry.
How are company drivers and owner-operators the same?
Being aware of what is trending and becoming popular keeps your finger on the pulse of what is important to truckers. Though company drivers and owner-operators are different, the following areas are trending up for both groups of drivers.
The dominance of mobile continues to grow.
Mobile device use with the public continues to grow annually, and that holds true with drivers as well. More importantly is what they are doing with those mobile devices. We’ve seen that 81% of traffic generated through recruiting campaigns has come from mobile devices.
This means that making sure all your websites and content is mobile friendly is more important than ever. With so much recruiting traffic coming from these devices, it is crucial to make sure that content is easily accessible and functional on those devices.
It’s important to have a presence on social media.
Another growing source is that of social media. As we saw, just over half of the Overdrive respondents and nearly 60% of Truckers News respondents are active on Facebook. In addition, our research shows that nearly 80% of all drivers are active on some form of social media. Targeting and reaching prospective drivers on these platforms can be a great way to secure quality recruits.
Become more active with video.
One thing is for sure. People love video. Pairing video with the aforementioned social media approach can lead to big gains. It has become common place for many to research products through videos before making a buying decision. Use this to your advantage and embrace video to help drivers see your fleet as the best choice moving forward.
Stay current with hot topics.
What matters to drivers and how can you help them? Keep current with the hot topics that matter to them and be ready to show how your fleet addresses the issue. Regulations are an ongoing source of interest for drivers, because of how it affects their every day lives.
The ELD mandate for instance. While it will ultimately affect drivers differently, it is something that has become a topic of discussion amongst all drivers.
How is your fleet approaching the impending regulation implementation? What kind of equipment will you have? How is this better for drivers? This kind of information is exactly what prospective drivers are looking for.
For a more in depth look at current trends and how to approach them you can refer to Digital Trends for Recruiting Truck Drivers.
How can fleets apply this information to their recruiting?
Though there are many similarities and the differences don’t seem extreme, there are some kernels of information fleets can take and apply to their recruiting strategies.
Both groups rely on handheld devices and are active on Facebook. So, investing in a performance marketing recruiting campaign with Facebook in the mix could be a nice place to start.
With the knowledge that owner-operators place a high value on word of mouth, those fleets attempting to target them could highlight positive stories from current drivers to help show why their fleet is the best choice. Using driver created content or promoting videos (remember, people love videos) focusing on positive driver interactions could also help prospective drivers in the decision making process.
We also know that company drivers prefer email newsletter information, so targeting that group through an email campaign could prove successful. These survey questions and answers are only portion of the of the information contained with the Overdrive and Truckers News Connectivity studies.
Every fleet is different and has unique circumstances or needs. Knowing what your target prospective drivers are thinking and their preferences can help to better inform fleets and how they move forward with recruiting.