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If you go to your favorite job site, you’ll see no shortage of hiring pitches seeking dedicated, hard-working bus drivers. With the country currently short over 65,000 of them, expect the number of hiring ads to increase.
But what if I told you that you may be going about it the wrong way?
One of the most common mistakes I see employers and recruiters make when they look for drivers is not optimizing and refining their search. Have you ever heard the cliche “if your customer is everybody then you don’t have a customer”? This same philosophy applies to seeking the correct driver for your business. If your ideal driver is all drivers, you don’t have a driver.
Here is how to take the confusion out of finding the ideal bus driver.
The school bus industry is probably feeling the worse of the current driver shortage in the united states. This is due in part to the scheduling. Unlike transit, where they can use additional services to compensate for a missing trip, school buses cannot. If a school bus trip is missing, then it is missing. If your kids ride the school bus, I won’t have to explain why this is horrible for all involved.
To understand why there is a shortage of school bus drivers, you have to understand the drivers and why they don’t want to work there. School bus drivers have the lowest career ceiling of the big three (transit, motor coach school). There’s not much if any room for career growth within our favorite yellow bus.
In addition to the lack of career development, school bus schedules are in short- always part-time. Typically ranging from 2 hours in the morning, to 2 hours in the afternoon.
Considering this- you’ll typically experience higher turnover than most bus companies and that’s ok. Though that may be expensive, it can be reduced if you target, hire, and graduate the correct people.
It will be hard to find dedicated talent to want to drive a school bus long-term, simply because the reality is, bus drivers are in demand and there are and will be better opportunities for drivers. It a competitive market.
Is it impossible to get a long-term dedicated school bus operator? Not at all. Broken clocks are right twice a day, and people become millionaires overnight by winning the lottery. I say this to say your focus shouldn’t be selling your company as the primary employer for drivers, it’s not sustainable. School Bus income is not sustainable.
It needs to be promoted as part-time supplemental income, and a place for new CDL holders to gain experience.
Because of this, you cannot expect drivers that have 2 years of experience to see school bus operations as the primary destination, and here is why.
However, school bus companies have a huge competitive advantage when compared to transit and motorcoach.
Because of this school bus companies need to leverage their platform as the go-to place to gain experience and learn the rules of the road. Transit, unfortunately, has a bad habit of tossing new drivers directly into the fire, thus turning some of them off from the industry, this is where the school bus industry can thrive.