7 Proven Ways to Recruit More Drivers
25th March 2017
Let’s face it … without drivers you don’t have a taxi business.
And more importantly, without good drivers, you don’t have a business that can compete in today’s world … where new firms spring up every day, and outfits like Uber are changing the landscape.
But with some firms reporting that they’re actually having to pay drivers ‘signing on bonuses’ to join them in order to meet demand, how do you ensure that you are able to attract new drivers and that your business is represented by high-quality, honest, hard-working drivers?
Drivers who will not only create a great impression on your customers, but who will stick with you through thick and thin and act as ambassadors for your firm?
More often than not, recruitment comes through word of mouth, as news travels through your drivers that your firm is the one to work for.
So, with that in mind, here are our top seven ways to recruit more (and better!) drivers…
1. Be Fair!
When it comes to earning money, you know that there are two types of drivers. The ones who jump on every call, whether it’s worth £40 or £2.50 – and the ones who’ll hang around just waiting for the big jobs to come in – the ‘grabbers’.
That’s all fine and normal … but what happens when the serious earners, the ones who take every job available, start to feel that the best jobs are all going to one or two ‘grabbers’?
Whether you have 10 drivers or 110, ensuring that each one of them gets the same chance to drive the high-earning jobs will build you a reputation as a fair employer – and that reputation can be like gold-dust when it comes to attracting new drivers.
Whether you assign journeys manually or via an automated system (where the software does it for you), make sure that your controllers are not favouring some drivers over others to ensure that drivers know that they are being treated fairly.
With your drivers out on the road morning, noon and night, communication isn’t always easy.
And yet keeping them informed and up to date is key to making them feel involved in the business … and when they feel involved, they also feel invested and loyal.
If it’s impractical to get your drivers together physically on a regular basis, then you might try regular email updates or even text messages.
The taxi industry is perhaps unique in the ease with which drivers can move from one firm to another … and ensuring that your drivers know that you are there and that you are committed to them is a powerful way to get them to stick around.
There are a few key messages that we believe you need to reinforce over and again…
- Allocation – work is allocated fairly to all drivers with no favouritism (if you use a system like iCabbi remind them that the system does this automatically).
- Uber – driving for Uber ‘on the side’ may be tempting, but remind them that Uber takes 25% of their earnings AND reports it all directly to the tax man.
- Standards – remind them that your customers really value clean cars and uniformed drivers, and encourage them to keep their standards high.
- Customer App – remind your drivers that a high percentage of customers love using your customer app (once they download it), and that this is one of the reasons why you are successful and growing, and why you can give them a high volume of work. Encourage them to talk about the customer app to customers who don’t yet use it.
- Positive Feedback – relay praise from customers back to the specific driver and copy in all of your drivers.
3. Supply a Uniform
It doesn’t have to be a full chauffeur’s suit and hat!
Even offering your drivers a branded shirt can give you a competitive edge.
Firstly, it helps your drivers to feel like part of the team – your drivers stop being an odd assortment of individuals and become a recognisable team. It gives them an identity and helps to build loyalty.
And just as important, it creates a great impression with your customers. Smartly dressed drivers suggest a level of professionalism that will give your customers an extra degree of confidence in the service you provide.
4. Respect, but Lead
As we said, it’s important to make your drivers feel like they’re a valuable part of your team – that way they’re more likely to stay with you longer, and act as advocates for your business – but it is equally important not to let them “take over”.
When it is so easy for drivers to move from one firm to another, it can be tempting to give in to their demands, and slowly hand over control. Yet making your firm a profitable, efficient and well-run business requires you to stay in control at all times.
Respecting your drivers and treating them as valued individuals doesn’t mean that you can’t still be the boss. And when your drivers respect you for taking control, you increase their sense of security and their desire to stay loyal to you.
5. Don’t Compromise on Driver Quality
This follows on neatly from the idea of respecting your drivers but making sure you are always seen as the boss.
Drivers want to drive for a successful, profitable firm where their earning potential is high. Customers want to book taxis from a firm where drivers are polite, timely and helpful, willing to go ‘above and beyond’ in order to make them feel valued.
The best way to ensure that everyone is happy is to insist on the highest standards of performance from your drivers. That might be as simple as greeting their passengers by name, or helping them with shopping or luggage (to the door, not just out of the boot!). Whatever it takes to ensure that your customers leave delighted after every journey.
When drivers fail to uphold these standards, be fair but be tough. There’s no point holding on to a driver who’s bringing down your reputation. It’s something that your customers will notice, and that will have a knock-on effect on your other drivers, too.
6. Use a Great System
Time and time again when we speak to taxi company owners and managers we hear that their outdated dispatch systems are a major cause of upset among their drivers.
The perception is often that outdated systems allow dispatchers to favour some drivers over others, and that they can make it harder for drivers to do their jobs effectively.
For example, the GPS be a bit hit and miss causing drivers frustration as they try to locate their passenger.
Implementing an up-to-date system can deliver you several key benefits.
Firstly, when your dispatch system works well your drivers can perform better. Accurate GPS so that pickups are straightforward, a fair way of distributing jobs … simple things that add up to happier, more efficient drivers.
And when they’re more efficient they can take on more work. That’s good for them, and good for you!
In addition, the impact on your reputation in a busy marketplace can be tangible. Customers will notice that your cars always arrive on time, and that they’re always greeted personally.
They’ll notice that they get where they want to go without delay … and they’ll choose you again for these reasons.
7. Market Yourself!
Word of mouth is a great way to win new customers, and attract quality drivers to your business. But, it’s not the only string to your bow.
In a marketplace swamped with competition (both from other taxi companies and newer solutions like Uber) the most successful players are actively promoting their businesses systematically and regularly.
There are numerous ways that you can employ low-cost options from simple flyers and beer mats to social media.
This could include running limited special offers and promotions designed to attract new customers and keep existing customers happy and loyal … and this all filters through to how your drivers feel about working for you.
Striving to be the best company to work for might take a bit more work, and you may have to take some tough decisions about how you promote (and enforce) your high expectations, but in the long run it will lead to happier, more diligent drivers who are not only proud to be seen working for you, but who actively promote your business and attract similar quality new drivers to you.
To discover how you can recruit and retain more high quality drivers, request our free guide – “How to Recruit and Retain More Drivers – The Top 10 Things You Need to Know” by clicking here.
If you have any questions or need more information you can speak to one of the iCabbi UK team based in our Mansfield office. You can call us on 01623 44 22 11 or email enquiries@iCabbiUK.co.uk. Our friendly team are here to help and support you.