Bad Information Can Mislead Your Drivers
By Don G. Archer
Did you know that providing your drivers with the printed call sheet that some of the motor clubs provide can possibly harm your business?
Here's what happened with one business owner.
It all began when tow operator Tony walked into his boss's office and, with a strange twinkle in his eye, asked for a raise.
Tony had only been with the company for two months and he knew there were still four months remaining before his initial review was to happen; but there he stood confident in his request.
Granted, Tony was a decent driver. He showed up to work on time and seemed to have a pretty good head on his shoulders. But Tony's boss was still baffled as to why he was requesting a raise. Why now? Does he have a more lucrative job offer elsewhere?
As the two stood there talking, Tony's boss noticed that his driver had a sheet of paper in his hand. As he watched as Tony slowly moved it from hand to hand, folding it and unfolding it with care.
Curious, Tony's boss asked, "What do you have there?"
Tony looked down at the paper, and then back into his boss's eyes.
It was at this moment that Tony realized he hadn't really thought this through--but it was now or never.
So he took a deep breath, held the paper in the air, and said, "It says right here that YOU got paid $150.00 for that tow I just did. It only took me 45 minutes to tow that lady across town and you're just paying me $11per hour. That means you're making a killing off a me."
At first Tony's boss was confused, "What? $150 dollars? Where the hell did you get that?"
Then he recognized the logo on the paper and quickly realized that Tony was waving a call sheet from one of the motor clubs. But where he got that the company was making $150 off that call was still a mystery.
Then a light bulb went off. The boss's wrinkled forehead smoothed, and his face softened with a smile.
He then sat back in his chair, chuckled, and with a wave of his hand said, "Give me that paper."
Confused by the boss's demeanor, Tony sat down and slid the paper across the desk.
The boss picked it up and examined it. Just as he'd suspected, there was a section that detailed the customer's benefit limit: $150. The customer's benefit limit is included on many call sheets and digital dispatches.
Tony's boss was glad: he had finally gotten to the root of the problem. He then proceeded to explain that the benefit limit given on the call sheet was the maximum amount of coverage the customer was entitled to. Due to the constraints of the company's contracted rates with the motor club, the amount of money the company received was only a small fraction of the benefit limit.
Tony's boss then went into detail to explain. He looked at the particulars of the call in question and tallied up the mileage to scene and the tow miles and showed Tony exactly what the motor club would pay.
"Looks like the tow you did will pay just a little over $39.00 dollars."
Tony was shocked and embarrassed at the same time. He apologized and quickly backed out of the office without another word.
Who knows how many good drivers have been lost, either through jealousy or similar misunderstandings, and have struck out on their own believing that their bosses are making big money—only to find out the truth after they're buried in thousands of dollars of truck debt—with only motor club revenue to dig themselves out?
So what's the answer? How do you avoid these misunderstandings when you must provide all the necessary information to do the job?
If there's nothing you can do to get rid of the benefit limit line on motor club dispatches, you must then go into detail and explain the entire call sheet.
As you're training each new employee with your company's procedures for towing a car, changing a tire, and customer service, be sure to include a word or two about business jargon and industry terms. Explain the difference between contracted rates and the customer's benefit limit. Explain how motor clubs pay, and the differences between them and cash customers.
Doing this will help to avoid confusion and allow you to retain good drivers, longer.Don G. Archer is also multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at TheTowAcedemy.com. Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, MO. E-mail him direct at firstname.lastname@example.org