How To Establish & Maintain Good Relationships as an Owner-Operator

June 29, 2018

Understand the importance of maintaining your relationships with these helpful tips.

Being an owner-operator is about more than simply picking up and dropping off loads. While that’s arguably the most important part, much more goes into the job. The most important part is establishing and maintaining good relationships with fleet managers and customers. Relationship-maintenance skills and effective communication are both critical to your success as a driver.

Maintaining Relationships with Fleet Managers

Staying in regular communication with your fleet manager can shape the way you view your job. At Bennett, we strive to provide a phenomenal support system for our drivers. Learning the type of work you’re interested in, how you like to work, and even what your hobbies are; become important to us when you join our team.

Larry Barnes, the fleet manager of the McDonough terminal, says Bennett does a tremendous job of providing owner-operators with choices. Bennett allows drivers to create their personal “path to success.”

“Hundreds, even thousands of owner-operators can enjoy the freedom and flexibility of choosing their freight, annual revenue and home time; all specific to their needs and desires,” says Larry.

Christy Parker, another fleet manager with Bennett, believes the key to being a successful owner-operator is to talk to your fleet manager often, and make sure you have all the equipment you need for different types of loads.

Parker says, “Some of the easiest drivers to work with are those who have all the equipment they need for different types of loads, such as tarps, ramps, load levelers, a TWIC card and his or her passport.” Unless an owner-operator is only interested in regional truck driving jobs, Parker says, “Drivers who are more open to going anywhere and don’t limit themselves to just a few areas on the map are also great.”

Charlie Shireman is another one of Parker’s owner-operators. He appreciates having a manager he works well with. His advice is to speak with your fleet manager as much as you can to help build a stronger rapport.

Shireman says, “I call her often, but I know she’s busy, so I have to make the most of my time. I do this by planning in advance and preparing everything I need to discuss with her ahead of time. I make sure to tell her the most important information first. Not just ‘hey, my day is going well or bad.’ Instead, it’s more of a ‘Tomorrow, I plan on doing this and the day after that, I do this.’ I try to give her a heads up three or four days in advance.”

Because Bennett is family-oriented, we make sure our drivers feel both appreciated and understood. However, it’s the driver’s job to be proactive when attempting to reach specific business goals. Maintaining a positive attitude and requesting assistance from your fleet manager when problems arise often results in a lasting partnership between both parties.

Maintaining Relationships with Customers

As an owner-operator, it’s extremely important to foster strong connections with customers. Although load boards help you find work, they can’t create ongoing relationships to ultimately help put more money in your pocket.

Keep in close contact with your fleet manager, especially when problems arise, and position yourself as a reliable driver they can count on. It takes both time and effort on your part to win a customer’s trust, but it’s worth it in the long run.

Shireman’s number one success factor is calling shippers and receivers ahead of time to ask for specific details. He uses this time to ask questions such as, “Is there a place to park?” and even for suggestions on best places to grab something to eat.

“I always call ahead. When I put the address in the GPS, it isn’t going to give me details on whether or not you have any big trees or low hanging wires I need to be cautious of. Only they can provide that information.”

Always Communicate

To establish these types of relationships, frequent communication should be the goal. Life happens, and trucks break down, but communication is key. When you stay in contact with your customers, they are almost always willing to work with you.

No matter what type of communication you’re striving toward, always make sure you’re practicing these skills. Being available and willing to connect are two things that can take you very far in your career as a driver.

If you’re considering a career change, it’s time to think about joining Bennett. If you want to learn more about what it’s like to drive with us, or if you’d just like more information, visit www.drive4bme.com, or contact one of our recruiters at 800-367-2249!

Related Articles

September 11, 2023

Drivers & Women of Excellence 2023 Award Winners

Today, we honor our 2023 Drivers & Women of Excellence award recipients. We value our drivers/employees and take pride in celebrating them during our annual Drivers Appreciation event. 2023 has been an extraordinary year and these women have performed with the highest levels of professionalism and represent the best in the industry. Please take a few moments to watch as Marcia Taylor, CEO of Bennett Family of Companies presents the winners with their awards in a virtual format.
Read More
May 30, 2023

Social Media Influencers at Bennett

According to Transport Topics, truck drivers are becoming social media influencers.  There are several drivers among the Bennett Family of Companies that are on various social media platforms as social media influencers in the transportation industry.  In addition, Bennett is a sponsor of Tony Justice, all-American country music artist and truck driver, who also has a considerable social media presence.  Learn more about why our drivers and Tony use social media to expand their career.
Read More
May 9, 2023

BME Drivers Share Insight with Mutha Trucker News on Today’s Freight Market

Bennett Motor Express (BME) owner-operators, Daniel and Phyllis Snow with Snow Trucking recently attended the 75 Chrome Shop’s 25th Annual Truck Show Extravaganza held on April 28-30, 2023, in Wildwood, Florida. During the show, they were approached by “Mutha Trucker News” to speak on the current state of the freight market. Since the beginning of this year, the team drivers have only been home one week. The couple shared how it is very hard to find freight and be able to make a living without putting in the extra hours out on the road in today’s market.
Read More
April 28, 2023

BHS Safety Director Shares Communication Techniques Around Risk Assessment

Safety is Priority One at the Bennett Family of Companies.  That’s why it was important for Alicia Echols, Director of Safety and Compliance with Bennett Heavy & Specialized, LLC (BHS), to be a part of the recent Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) webinar to discuss the significance of “Making Risk Reduction a Fleetwide Initiative.” During the webinar, Alicia spoke on a variety of topics including a safety culture within Bennett, communication strategies, safety initiatives and driver engagement efforts around safety.
Read More
March 29, 2023

Bennett Holds Ft. Worth Symposium Event

Bennett Family of Companies’ freight agents, field offices and company employees gathered for Bennett’s Ft. Worth Symposium held on March 9-11th at the beautiful Omni Hotel in Ft. Worth, Texas, for the second consecutive year. The weekend officially kicked off on Thursday evening with a fun-filled “Wild West” themed welcome reception. Attendees wore their favorite cowboy boots and enjoyed a night of music, drinks, food, dancing, and networking.
Read More
March 8, 2023

Bennett Celebrates 43rd Annual Symposium

Bennett Family of Companies’ freight agents, field offices and company employees gathered for Bennett’s 43rd annual Symposium held on February 3-5th at the beautiful Hilton Peachtree City Atlanta Hotel and Conference Center in Peachtree City, Georgia, for the second consecutive year.
Read More
November 4, 2022

Remember Our Fallen U.S. Veterans on Wreaths Across America Day

Wreaths Across America (WAA) is an organization that coordinates wreath laying ceremonies at more than 3,400 locations across the United States, at sea, and abroad to help remember veterans and their sacrifices. Since 2017, the Bennett Family of Companies and the Taylor Family Foundation have proudly supported WAA during the Christmas season by providing trucking and financial support for the organization.
Read More
October 20, 2022

Bennett Supports the Convoy For a Cure – Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Bennett is proud to be a sponsor of Tony Justice and his efforts to raise money for breast cancer research. Tony is a truck driver and country music artist that recently released a song, “War Paint,” dedicated to his wife and all the beautiful warriors that are battling breast cancer. All proceeds from the download of the song will benefit Susan G. Komen in the fight against breast cancer. Get your copy on iTunes today and please share the link with your friends to join us on the Convoy for a Cure!
Read More
September 13, 2022

Drivers & Women Of Excellence 2022 Award Winners

oday, we honor our 2022 Drivers & Women of Excellence award recipients. We value our drivers/employees and take pride in celebrating them during our annual Drivers Appreciation event. 2022 has been an extraordinary year and these women have performed with the highest levels of professionalism and represent the best in the industry. Please take a few moments to watch as Marcia Taylor, CEO of Bennett Family of Companies presents the winners with their awards in a virtual format.
Read More
April 7, 2022

Bennett Celebrates 42nd Annual Symposium

Bennett Family of Companies’ freight agents, field offices and company employees gathered for Bennett’s 42nd annual Symposium held on March 4-6th at the beautiful Hilton Peachtree City Atlanta Hotel and Conference Center in Peachtree City, Georgia. The weekend kicked off on Friday evening with a fun-filled Mardi Gras themed welcome reception for attendees. Guests wore their favorite carnival attire and enjoyed a night of music, drinks, cajun food, dancing, and networking. It was a wonderful night of fellowship and being back together in person for this year’s event.
Read More
March 23, 2022

Bennett Family of Companies Enjoys Atlanta Motor Speedway Race Weekend with #21 Austin Hill

With the NASCAR Xfinity Series coming to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Nalley Cars 250 on Saturday March 19, 2022, the Bennett Family of Companies rolled out the red carpet for its favorite driver, #21 Austin Hill.
Read More
September 8, 2021

Women Drivers of Excellence 2021 Award Winners

Today, we honor our 2021 Women Drivers of Excellence award recipients. We value our drivers and take pride in celebrating them during our annual Drivers Appreciation event. 2021 has been an extraordinary year and these drivers have performed with the highest levels of professionalism and represent the best in the industry. This year, due to COVID-19, we celebrate differently than we have in past years. Please take a few moments to watch as Marcia Taylor, CEO and President of Bennett Family of Companies presents the winners with their awards in a virtual format.
Read More
May 27, 2021

Thunder for Wreaths Ride 2021

The Bennett Family of Companies and the Taylor Family Foundation hosted the Thunder for Wreaths Ride on May 15, 2021. This annual event serves to raise awareness for Wreaths Across America, an organization that honors deceased veterans during the Christmas season.  This year, Bennett partnered with local motorcycle groups and car clubs, and those participating rode in a single procession from Hampton, Georgia and finished in Americus, Georgia.
Read More
September 15, 2020

Women Drivers of Excellence 2020 Award Winners

Today, we honor our 2020 Women Drivers of Excellence award recipients. We value our drivers and take pride in celebrating them during our annual Drivers Appreciation event. 2020 has been an extraordinary year and these drivers have performed with the highest levels of professionalism and represent the best in the industry. This year, due to COVID-19, we celebrate differently than we have in past years. Please take a few moments to watch as Marcia Taylor, CEO and President of Bennett Family of Companies presents the winners with their awards in a virtual format.
Read More
August 10, 2020

Women in the Driver’s Seat Spotlight on Denise Endicott

When it comes to truck driving, “Just watch me,” is a familiar phrase to Denise Endicott, this month’s featured Women in the Driver’s Seat member. Before a career in trucking, Denise was a Legal Assistant working in Largo, FL. Denise realized that she had a passion for trucking and wanted to drive an 18-wheeler after spending over three years out on the road with a former boyfriend that was a truck driver in Bonifay, FL. During this time, she rode with him and learned everything from securing loads, handling paperwork, staying compliant with truck inspections, and getting dirty with the upkeep of the truck; during that time, Endicott states that she was “bitten by the trucking bug”, and she definitely knew that she wanted to make a career of truck driving. However, Denise’s former boyfriend did not take her seriously, and she remembers there were several times when “He told me I couldn’t do it, it was no place for a girl.” On April 4, 2014, she received her CDL and began her career in the transportation and trucking industry. She quit her job and used money from her 401k and went to truck driving school with her CDL in hand. Denise was the only female in the class and the only one with a CDL already!
Read More
15 articles

Join Our Community

Bennett Newsletter Subscription

Sign up to stay current with Bennett and Transportation Industry news. We send out a digital newsletter monthly. Unsubscribe any time.