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A 'Lug' Connection: Cleveland company uses tech to connect truck drivers to motor carriers looking to hire

Posted at 4:44 PM, Oct 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-28 19:18:15-04

CLEVELAND — The US trucking industry projects it will need to recruit a million new drivers over the next decade in order to offset high turnover and continued high demand, according to industry trade groups. With the number of open positions, competition for talent has never been more fierce. For a Cleveland-based tech and services company, the tightening labor market has created a unique opportunity for growth.

If the average person didn’t have an appreciation for how vital the trucking industry is in the US economy, the past two years and the continued supply chain constraints have certainly hammered the point home. Even to this day, the trucking industry is certainly a jobseekers’ market. Founded in 2016, Cleveland-based Drive My Way aims to better connect qualified truck drivers with their ideal positions.

“When we were hit with the pandemic, it really brought the light to the heroes that they are in keeping America moving,” said president and CEO Beth Potratz. “I’m kind of on a mission to make trucking sexy again for this next generation that is coming up.”

At its core, Drive My Way is a matchmaking service for truck drivers looking for new opportunities, whether it be a full-time position or a temporary gig as part of being an independent contractor. Akin to a dating app, drivers fill out a free profile that lists their qualifications, experience, certifications, desired routes and cargos along with other sought-after perks. Using patented technology, Drive My Way then cross-references those profiles with available positions, which are advertised by motor carrier companies, who pay a subscription fee to join the service. Once a match is made, the service notifies the driver and lists their capability with the open position.

“It pushes real-time matches to both sides so they both know how well they match before they even engage in the hiring process,” Potratz said. “The driver literally controls the entire process and their whole profile and who they engage with.”

To better facilitate the connections and to ensure that the driver is interested in one of the matched positions, a Drive My Way support specialist, colloquially known as a matchmaker, then reaches out to the driver. The company, which has a staff of more than 40 full-time, part-time and contract workers, boasts a community of more than 70,000 drivers.

“I think it’s one of the most rewarding things about being a matchmaker: we get to connect these drivers to the jobs that they will love. That changes their whole life around in a positive way,” said Beth Laurence, one of the first matchmakers hired at Drive My Way more than four years ago. “We have had drivers that have been over the road for many years. They are looking to be home more. They may have a sick relative. They may have a newborn coming into their family. They need a local position. They need to be home every day.”

Although the service is entirely free for drivers, motor carrier companies are required to pay a 6 or 12-month subscription, which gives them access to send out job postings and match with drivers. In addition to being provided with an account manager that will help craft and fine-tune their job postings, Drive My Way also provides data and analytics based on the responses from drivers.

“We are able to give carriers real-time feedback about what it was about their employment value proposition that wasn’t particularly attractive to that driver at this point in time,” Potratz said. “They can learn some of the themes and feedback that they are getting so they can improve their offering.”

The feedback is invaluable, Potratz said, because it gives companies real-time insight into whether they need to increase pay, offer better perks and benefits or give their drivers more flexibility in assignments. That awareness will allow them to better compete in the tight labor market, Potratz said.

“It’s not just posting your job across a lot of different job boards. You really have to think about who you are as an organization, a little bit about your culture, and what you’re offering,” Potratz said. “You really need to give a driver a picture about what a day in the life looks like.”