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Weekly Tip For Perfect Furniture Deliveries #1 - Hiring/Recruitment

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Nebraska Furniture Mart Delivery Truck

In this 10-week FURNITURE WORLD series, Ryan Ford of Ford Storage and Logistics will present Tips For Perfect Furniture Deliveries, often using Nebraska Furniture Mart to illustrate best practices.

Tip #1- Hiring/Recruitment: Nebraska Furniture Mart's drivers are expected to set standards, not just meet them.

Most people that apply for a furniture delivery driver position believe that it will be a simple job. They say to themselves “I can do this” as they reminisce about a time they moved some of their own furniture across town. Typically, furniture retailers reinforce this misconception during the interview process as they  "sell" the position and all the perks that come along with being a driver. 

As everyone in the industry knows, successful deliveries play an important role in making or breaking a retailer's reputation, and bottom line.  It is, therefore, important that individuals interviewed for delivery driver positions be told some war stories and about worst-case scenarios they may encounter.

At Nebraska Furniture Mart, potential drivers are made aware that this position is not simple, comes with a moderate/high level of stress at times, requires heavy lifting and quantifiable accountability that directly affects pay.  
"Selling" the benefits of the job and the policies and values of the company is undertaken only after an individual is hired and been on a truck for at least a week. Experience has shown that speaking about how great the job is before the first day of work, increases expectations and attrition rates. A new hire should come into work first day expecting rude customers, that they will have to lift five marble tables and will encounter ten different customers that live on the third floor of an apartment complex. It is always better for a trainee to look back and say “This isn’t that bad.”
Attracting applicants by word of mouth works well for many furniture retailers. These applicants know the job through friends or family and are aware of the positives/negatives of the delivery driver position. More importantly, if you have drivers referring people, you will know that your current employees are happy with what is going on in your organization.
Recruiting should always be going on at some level. Depending on the size of your fleet, you may want to have 1-2 future drivers in training. A potential delivery driver at Nebraska Furniture Mart trains for at least 2 months when all the stars align. It may seem like a large operating cost to have 1-2 future drivers in training when you feel your fleet is performing well, however there are arguable benefits. Factoring in costs associated with a new delivery team can be staggering if it is not properly trained. These costs can include care of equipment, claims, safety violations, disgruntled customers and injuries. A huge added benefit is that when drivers know there are people waiting for an open driver position, their performance is typically better.

Ryan Ford has been in the furniture home delivery industry with 13 years experience operating third party home delivery services. Ryan works for Ford Storage a logistics firm specializing in warehousing, freight, home delivery and other 3PL services. Ford Storage has been in business since 1915 and began partnering with retailers in 1996. Ford Storage and Logistics provides services for retailers such as Homemakers Furniture Store and Nebraska Furniture Mart. Ryan can be reached at or 402-392-3185. www.fordstorage.com


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