I am my own boss. I run under my own authority. I don’t take loads that I don’t want. I’m the one that calls the shots. It’s my business, why shouldn’t I be calling all the shots?

How long do you think I would be in business with an attitude like that? I’m thinking, not very long at all. I often have people tell me that I am lucky that I am my own boss with my own business and operating on my own authority. The reality is, that I treat each one of my customers as if they are the boss. After all, if I’m not doing the job as the customer likes, they will find someone who will. This doesn’t matter if you’re a farmer, a car manufacturer, or any other business owner. If you don’t produce a service or a product that is wanted by your customers, you will find yourself with a soon-to-be-shuttered business.

On the other hand, I have been in business long enough that I have had to fire my customers. That was simply because the services that they demanded were not on par with the compensation they offered. At the same time, some businesses did not use my services because, in their opinion, they found my rate schedule to be above what they were willing to pay. 

This has always been a balancing act of having enough customers to support my business, which in turn supports my family. It’s easy to tell when I’m not charging enough because my phone and email will explode with more business opportunities than I could possibly service. On the flip side, if my rates are out of line with the marketplace, the phone and email requests will fall significantly silent. 

Lately, I’ve been showing company drivers the versatility of the features in today’s trucks for maximum fuel efficiency, driver comfort, and safety. Company drivers will often tell me that it’s different for me because I am my own boss. I laugh because the boss side of me always demands maximum productivity and efficiency from myself as a driver. What seems to be lost with many employee drivers, is the reason that their employer hires them. The employer does not hire because they want to take care of their drivers, or because they care about the driver’s family. The employer hires the driver to make a profit from their investments and be able to pay their employees. 

The employee’s job, in the case of transportation, is to drive the truck that they’re assigned to drive, exactly the way it was designed to be operated. Companies select their trucks with the technology and features that are essential for maximum profitability. Therefore, they require their drivers to perform their operations with efficiency. The reality is that a driver’s opinion really doesn’t matter unless it has something to do with safety. In which case, the FMCSA has a hotline for them to call. 

At the end of the day, if an employee isn’t doing their job as prescribed by their employer, why should the employer pay them for a job that isn’t completed properly? The company driver may feel as though they were performing the task properly. However, what matters is whether the person who writes the paycheck feels the same way. It’s not much different whether you’re self-employed or working for someone else. There is always a “boss” to please. My boss? I make sure to go above and beyond what is expected from my customers. I take care of my customers and in turn, they take care of me and my business.

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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/Tâ„¢, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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