In 2015, the General Counsel for Dart Transit Company, Doug Grawe, had grown tired of the headlines. Grawe knew misclassification cases had led to $6.9 million in penalties for Pacific 9 and a $228 million settlement for FedEx. Would Dart be the next to make headlines?
Fortunately, the answer was ‘no’ because Dart had decided to take the leap to a new way of contracting with its owner operators. No penalties would be levied. No articles written. But the risk of continuing to use a hard copy paper contract system to manage the company’s 1,400 owner operator contracts was inescapable.
For Grawe and Dart Transit Company, that better way was Openforce, a cloud-based online onboarding technology solution that streamlines owner operator contracts, provides an online database and helps ensure compliance.
“In today’s day and age of misclassifications you’ve got to make sure you’re crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s,” Grawe says.
But many companies aren’t taking those precautions. In fact, 44 percent of all companies haven’t automated their onboarding process, according to a Careerbuilder.com survey. But as the government encourages states to crack down on owner operator violations, many trucking companies who are still doing paper contracts may be putting themselves in jeopardy.
And companies that continue using old school hard copy contracts may be more at risk. That’s because those outdated methods are mired in inefficiencies and inaccuracies. In fact, hard copy, hand filled-out contracts can be as little as 10 percent accurate. That kind of haphazard owner operator contract management hardly puts trucking companies in a position to capitalize on the phenomenal growth the industry is expected to experience over the next five years.
Companies such as Dart that can ensure fast, accurate onboarding of owner operators are sure to have a competitive advantage in this fast growing market.
How Openforce Works
As Dart Transit discovered, Openforce’s innovative technologies help speed, manage the owner operator contract management lifecycle, and remove inefficiencies from the process. Finding and securing quality owner operators takes a host of complicated management practices and process protocols to ensure owner operators have freedom, choice, and time:
- Proper contracting
- Compliance with state and federal regulations
- Certifications of skills
- Accurate, timely payment for services performed
In addition, owner operators present unique challenges in risk, logistics, quality and compliance. The nature of owner operator relationships further complicates matters. For example, owner operators decide their own elections including:
- Occupational accident insurance
- Base plates and permits
- Heavy highway vehicle use tax
- Fuel services
- GPS service
- Maintenance reserve accounts
“For each contractor there are dozens and dozens of different iterations of how the contract looks based on their individual situation,” Grawe says. “There’s no standard one-size-fits-all contract packet that everyone signs. And every time an owner operator makes a business decision, that can lead to a new document in the contract.”
Seven Best Practices that Optimize Dart’s Owner Operator Management
So just what are the best practices of automating owner operator contract management that’s also in support of compliance? Download the whitepaper to take a closer look at the technology-enabled solutions Openforce’s platform provided to optimize Dart Transit’s processes.