A successful vending route driver is an integral part of any vending business. They are the lifeblood of your company; a successful route driver keeps your machines serviced and your customers happy. Without a proper route driver, vending operators could experience potential theft, under-serviced machines, and under-served customers. But just how much damage can a bad route driver do?

Hiring the wrong route driver can be catastrophic for your vending business. As shown in this infographic, bad employees can hemorrhage both time and money from a company. The average cost of hiring a new employee is over $57,000; an employee must perform well to make an adequate return on that investment. Beyond the financial cost of hiring a bad employee, poor employees can also negatively affect your company’s culture. As careerbuilder.com explains, having a bad employee is like a contagious illness. Similar to how an illness spreads throughout a body, a bad employee can spread negativity, incompetence, and laziness throughout a company. Hiring a successful route driver is an absolute must for any successful vending operator.

Unfortunately, good route drivers are not always easy to find. What traits end up being important for the job? How can you tell if the employee will be effective? We’ve compiled a list of the top four qualities to look for when hiring an effective route driver:

1. Honesty

One of the most important traits a route driver should have is honesty. Your driver will be dealing with money on a daily basis. Without telemetry or a VMS, tracking money can be inaccurate and time consuming. If you don’t know how much money you should receive from a driver, a dishonest route driver could pocket some without you ever knowing. You also have to trust that your route driver will go to each location and service them properly. Even more, successful route drivers are the face of your company out in the field, so they need to be trusted to interact with customers in a friendly and professional manner. The last thing you want is a phone call from an unhappy customer complaining that a machine is empty or an employee was rude. An honest vending route driver does their job to the fullest without taking any short-cuts.

2. Teamwork

Teamwork isn’t talked about often in vending, but it is an important part of any successful vending business.  Even though route drivers may be on their own the majority of the time they are working, they still operate as part of a larger team. A vending business is not a divided workplace; people help each other out because they are all working together for the same goal: the advancement of your business. If a route driver has an expertise in car repair, for example, he or she can lend a hand when a truck breaks down.  Route drivers should be invested in more than just making money, they should be invested in the success of your company as a whole.

3. Merchandising/Retail Experience

Why is it that people flock to Apple Stores? If products look great, people are more attracted to them and are more likely to purchase them. One vendor had a route driver that was previously a manager of a pharmacy. This driver turned an unprofitable route into the most profitable route in the company. How did his success in a pharmacy relate to success in vending? Simply put, if products are properly arranged, they sell better. Making sure that the expiration dates are in full view, for example, helps customers purchase your products with confidence. If the route driver does their job well, customers will have positive experiences with your vending machine.

4. Competency

There are a few core skills that a successful route driver must possess to properly do their jobs. Route drivers should be able to provide great customer service, drive a truck or cargo van, carry a certain amount of weight, stock a vending machine correctly, and utilize technology in vending machines. A truly competent route driver can do all of this while maintaining a positive personality. They must exhibit endurance and perseverance. Whether they are running in the rain with a dolly full of product, lifting dozens of cases of sodas, or dealing with rush hour traffic, a good route driver greets his job with a smile.

These are four important qualities a vendor should look for in a successful route driver. Great route drivers make a huge difference in a vending business. If you truly want to pursue success in your vending business, hiring the right route driver is a good place to start.

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