National Clothesline
National Clothesline
Who to fire, who to hire for a route
Why is it so hard to hire and fire route drivers? Again, I will preface my article with the fact that I am protective of route drivers when it comes to determining the role, the duties, the requirements and the strategies to get more from your current route delivery personnel.
James Peuster
The struggles that many of you have are shared from cleaner to cleaner and I completely understand the reasoning behind the complacency or the difficulties in hiring the right individual to build the one aspect of the business in which you can control the growth.
Remember, every time you lose a route customer, someone has to go out and get another one. So, let’s look at a partial list of all the reasons I see in the difficulties in finding or replacing route drivers.
You are comfortable with their comfort level. This is the biggest enemy we face when our Route Pros visit onsite projects. We are asked to fire up the staff when in turn, the current driver is doing the minimum required to maintain the routes.
The time is now to face the music and ask yourself one question: “Would I have this driver run, manage and operate a store all by himself?”
Usually the answer is no. Before you fire, ask the driver if he is willing to add customers to the route to ensure growth. At least give him a chance.
Your pay structure limits potential professionals to come onboard. You will get what you pay for and it shows most of the time.
Sometimes there is a superstar in waiting, but the motivation to perform is nowhere to be found when the pay structure doesn’t provide the opportunity to grow financially with the route. Take a serious look at the income potential you have provided and restructure when necessary.
You believe that no one is out there. This myth has been busted by various drycleaners in almost every market. It may take some time at first, but you must believe that a new hire has the potential to grow your routes.
There are plenty of career-minded individuals out there. Your job is to invest time, effort, research and money in locating Mr. or Mrs. Right.
The customers love them and they never miss a day of work. Those are two of the requirements for any position and, yes, I appreciate the loyalty. However, if you are in a position in which the drivers solely know the route, the customers only talk to the driver and you truly feel that you would lose customers if you lose the driver — well then, you are in trouble.
You would rather hire people to save you money than make you money. Cost groups and consultants often battle with me on this one.
Look at it this way: you have about a 75 percent attrition rate on the route. There are uncontrollable reasons why a customer leaves the route.
If you do not have someone in place to replace the lost customers, then your routes will decrease 25 percent a year. You must look at the top line as well as the bottom line.
These are just five of the many reasons you get in a rut with your route delivery personnel and you get paralyzed in moving forward. Take a look at your current situation and make the decision to move forward. Your future may depend on it.
James Peuster offers onsite training and all aspects of routes. Management, marketing and maintenance are all key components in developing a million-dollar route.  You can listen to his radio programs on
He can be contacted at (816) 739-2066 or