So, 2016 is here. Let’s hope it’s a good year for us all. One issue that has hampered the waste disposal industry in recent years — and the trucking industry in general— is a lack of good truck drivers.

Last year, Road Transport Forum (RTF) chief executive, Ken Shirley, was quoted in the Timaru Herald as saying the shortage showed “no sign at all” of ending. It seems it is taking young drivers too long to become licensed. Mr. Shirley said changes to the heavy vehicle licensing system might help, but he didn’t expect any changes to come into place until 2017.

This is a concern — without drivers, businesses like ours would grind to a halt. Luckily, we currently have plenty of good drivers on board.

Contract drivers

Actually, many of our drivers are self-employed contractors who work for Pink Bins exclusively. It’s a great arrangement: our customers benefit because it’s in our drivers’ best interest to work as efficiently as possible, and our drivers are in more control of their destiny. It’s a win-win all round.

What makes a good driver?

You might think anyone can be a truck driver. Well, that’s just not the case. Here are some important qualities a good truck driver must have.

  • Ability to work independently — in the waste disposal business you can’t just switch off your brain. Drivers are often required to solve problems and swap out bins in tricky locations. They must often think outside the box.
  • Sense of responsibility — our drivers are our front line; they represent us. So, they must be mindful of their responsibility to work safe and be respectful to customers.
  • Stamina — driving a truck and swapping out bins all day can be pretty strenuous, both physically and mentally.
  • People skills — as we’ve already said, our drivers are on the front line. So, they need good people and communication skills, particularly when problem solving.
  • Good time keeping — this is one of the most important qualities of a good driver. “Time is money”, as the saying goes. If we don’t swap out a bin when scheduled, it can result in wasted time and double handling for our clients.
  • Able to handle stress — waste removal can be stressful: drivers have to manage demanding customers, tight deadlines and often horrendous Auckland traffic. So, being able to keep cool and manage stress is a must.

If you’re a professional driver and have these qualities, perhaps we should talk?

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