Quick Transport Solutions Inc.

How Trucking Companies Use Uniforms to Build Their Brand

According to data from the American Trucking Associations (ATA), trucking companies will need to hire approximately 1.1 million new truck drivers over the next ten years to keep up with shipping demand. That represents an average of 110,000 new truck drivers per year. While this sounds like an insurmountable task, it must be done.

As truck drivers retire and ecommerce grows, trucking services and truck drivers are going be needed in greater numbers than ever before. Unfortunately, the loss in business and missed revenue is already being felt. Some motor carriers report that they could do up to four times more business than they are currently doing, were it not for more truck drivers on their payroll.

Still, even with the troubles stemming from a lack of truck drivers, trucking companies are expected to grow their revenues by up to three percent year over year through 2025. The growth in the trucking sector is only expected to increase, whether it be in terms of employees, revenue, establishments, or routes.

Growth is a Double-Edged Sword

While industry growth is always a good thing, it also is a double-edged sword. Not only is trucking industry growth expected, but industries and sectors that depend on trucking and transportation companies are also expected to see double digit growth. Many consider this growth to be an opportunity. As truck driver wages rise, industry growth becomes an opportunity to attract talent and stem the truck driver shortage.

These problems stem from the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it had on the trucking industry. All told, COVID-19 increased the U.S. unemployment rate to over 11%. Compare that to the 4% it was at before the pandemic and the problems appear in stark relief. Still, even with such high unemployment levels, the transportation sector still needs truck drivers. And once the worst of the pandemic subsides, companies will require talent to continue operating.

The question now is how trucking companies can innovate to find quality truck drivers. And how will they retain the truck drivers they currently have. From increased pay to enhanced benefits, fleets are doing everything they can to find new people and keep their experienced people. But will it be enough? And are there more innovative ways they can use what they must recruit the people they need?

The Truck Driver Shortage Doesn’t Let Up

According to a recent HireRight survey, the top three recruiting challenges trucking companies face are finding qualified recruits, creating a more efficient recruiting process, and nurturing a brand that attracts talent. They also must focus heavily on retention to ensure they keep the truck drivers they have. Retirement and discipline are the two factors impacting retention.

One of the major sticking points fleet managers must deal with is the fact that 60% of truck drivers do not feel loyal to their employers. And if your people aren’t loyal, how can you expect to keep them. If you can keep a truck driver for at least six months, the likelihood of them sticking around for the long haul improves by a factor of three.

To overcome these challenges, fleets are finding themselves putting a lot more money into advertising, referral incentives, and improved compensation and benefits packages. They are also creating partnerships with trade schools and increasing their social media and digital marketing activities. But is there more they can do? Perhaps it is time to look at uniforms. It may seem simple, but they can have a big impact.

Uniforms to the Rescue

It may be time for your trucking company to stop thinking about uniforms as simple articles of clothing. Your uniforms are your brand. And if you want to stand out for all the right reasons you must pay attention to the story your uniforms tell. It’s time to learn how uniforms can help you recruit and retain quality truck drivers to your operation.

You might ask yourself, “Why do uniforms matter?” While uniforms are not always top of mind for fleet managers and executives, your truck drivers wear them every day. And they make an impression on your customers. What kind of impression will your uniforms make?

A properly uniformed truck driver is more easily recognized by a customer at the time a pickup or delivery is made. As a result, your customers will have a greater sense of security seeing your uniformed truck drivers. And they will be more likely to interact with the driver, as opposed to one who is not in a proper uniform. It is these little things that make interactions more efficient.

Beyond uniforms, you want to also focus on appearance. A well-groomed and uniformed truck driver is key to making a good impression on your customers. And since your truck drivers are often the first line of contact with your customers, these impressions count.

How do Your Truck Drivers Feel?

Truck drives want to look and feel good. And it is up to the company they work for to facilitate that feeling. They want to know they are empowered to do their job and they want to look good doing it. Did you know that over half of all first impressions are based first on the appearance of the individual representing your brand? How they feel about your brand and their impression of your truck drivers all happens within the first 10 seconds of an interaction and appearance plays a big role.

Good looking and appropriate uniforms accomplish the following from an employee relations perspective. They:

  • Keep your truck drivers safe, cared for, and comfortable on the job.
  • Improve your overall brand image and reputation.
  • Are internal and external brand messages.
  • Show your appreciation to your truck drivers.
  • Operate as a uniform-led benefit.
  • Reach a large pool of truck driver candidates.

Millennials especially care more about how they look and the kind of impression they make. A fancy uniform they can be proud of showcases innovation and provides stylistic cues regarding what kind of company you are. A great uniform can really set you apart from your competition, especially from a recruiting and retention standpoint.

Uniforms Say a Lot About Your Safety Culture

Operating big rigs for a living, whether long-haul or a private fleet, can be dangerous job. Why? Because they encounter bad weather, heavy traffic, and other difficult situations that can cause stress. Consider that one of the top reasons truck drivers stay at their company is because they feel safe and supported by their employer.

One of the best ways to ensure your truck drivers are safe and support their development is by providing them with proper uniforms. You want to make sure they uniformed in a way that keeps them safe no matter what situation they find themselves in. Whether that be through giving your truck drivers proper footwear or providing ANSI compliant hi-visibility clothing – these are measures you must take.

Work boots are one area where fleet and safety managers are sometimes lacking. Truck drivers often deal with heavy packages and equipment. To ensure your truck drivers’ feet remain safe, you must make sure you source them with work boots that adhere to ANSI/ISEA 107-2105 types and classes.

Caring for the Face of your Fleet

Your truck drivers are the face of your fleet. And whether they are interacting with a customer or simply walking down the street, you want them to represent your brand in a positive way. The uniforms they were play a big role in the perception of this representation. In fact, if done right, uniforms can be more effective than some forms of traditional advertising, from TV and radio to billboard.

Proper uniforms provide your truck drivers with a sense of identity and pride. A uniform goes a long way in promoting a positive team culture. Uniforms also provide a differentiating element, not only among your staff, but also with your customers and competition. A truck driver who looks and feels good operates with self-confidence and helps promote an environment where people are satisfied with their job and want to stay and be loyal to it.

When sourcing your uniforms, consider the following factors:

  • Tailored fits
  • Wrinkle-resistant fabric
  • Brand logos
  • Employee name
  • Comfortable textiles
  • Wearability and ease of movement

In the same way that truck drivers want to work for a ‘winning’ fleet, your customers also want to partner with a ‘winning’ operation. Portraying a professional, positive brand image is one of the key steps to ensuring everyone who interacts with your brand is a champion of it. Always remember that the correct uniform selection should adequately express the aesthetic and graphic attributes that characterize your brand.

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