There has been a lot of things written recently about customer of choice. Over the years, I have abandoned some customers who treated me poorly. There are other customers who I look forward to visiting for one reason or another.

I was reading an article recently that had 5 rules for being a customer of choice. It had the usual things. Quick loading and unloading has increased in importance. Automatic detention pay lessens the economic damage that delays can cost. More importantly, it lessen the odds of delays happening. Delays add stress. With the HOS regulations one day often effects the next day or even the entire week. Having a customer do their best to get you on your way, relieves that stress.

Jeff’s rule number one is to aim for overall efficiency. There are times when I pick up a trailer that needs to be swept out. Ideally they would get swept out when they get unloaded. We all know that this doesn’t always happen. Often there is no place to sweep out the trailer between where we picked it up and where we are loading next. When I get to the shipper in this instance, before I back in I offer to sweep the trailer out.

I had a customer send me to “their” place to sweep out a clean trailer and got charged $10. Then I drove back to the shipper after driving about 4 total miles and paying “their” sweeper to clean the trailer, only to be told that my trailer needs to get swept out. Then I told them that I just paid their guy to sweep out my trailer, and then they let me in. That is no way to treat a carrier. I stopped hauling their loads for a few years. They no longer engage in this particular practice.

We live load scrap paper. A lot of these shippers have truck scales. It is easier for them to get a truck empty and full weight than to weigh each bale separately. It would seem a simple thing for them to weigh your trailer tandems on the way out. Yet, many won’t. The driver then has to stop at a truck stop and pay to get scaled out when it could have been done in less than 2 minutes at the customer. Plus, if there was an issue it could have been corrected right there.

Recently more of these shippers are letting us get a trailer weight. Some of them have readouts, that the driver can see as we either enter or exit the scale. Others, you just pull your drives off the scale and walk back to the office, and be given the trailer axle weight. Recently, I noticed that one of our customers actually prints out the bill at the scale and gives you an axle read out. That is a customer of choice. Speaking of the little things, I always say thank you to a customer who goes beyond the minimum.

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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