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The driver team was a married couple on a mission. For over fifteen hours they alternated shifts behind the wheel. They stopped only to re-fuel and for necessities. The GPS indicated another two hours to their destination. 

Their cargo was cancer medication for a sick child in Florida. As a provider of critical logistics, with same day delivery in North America and beyond, Crossroads Courier’s promises of excellence in service for their pharmaceutical customer was taken to heart by this driver team. 

Whether a Crossroads Courier route is regularly scheduled, dedicated, on demand, or next day distribution; and regardless of the nature of the business–medical or parts delivery, e-commerce or retail distribution, flowers, or many others–Crossroads considers every delivery a critical delivery. The reason? It’s important to the customer and their customer. 

The husband and wife driving team was transporting a critically-needed cancer treatment from Saint Louis, Missouri to the Florida hospital. The goal was to drive 1,024 miles in seventeen-and-a-half hours to deliver the medicine to the patient’s care team. Turns out the dispatcher chose the right team to get this job done.

Medical supplies in delivery cooler

Developing Driver Relationships

Crossroads Courier develops a  relationship with their independent delivery drivers through their time-proven method. 

  • Careful listening – Understanding each drivers’ needs and issues
  • Accountability – Being there for the drivers always, but intensely during the early weeks of the relationship
  • Flexibility – Valuing the two-way street that flexibility truly is
  • Appreciation versus underappreciation
  • Prioritization – Knowing that developing long-term, successful relationships with independent delivery drivers is just as important as developing those same relationships with customers

“We want our independent contractor drivers to be successful,” says Crossroads Courier Vice-President Brad Crank. “If they are not successful, we will not be successful, and the customer will not be successful.”

The goal was the shortest distance between two points with their precious medical cargo.  The mission was serving the treatment needs of a child patient with a serious illness. The drivers and their commitment to excellence made the difference. 

In logistics and the courier business, do we know the true impact a single parcel has on the recipient? It could be just a routine replenishment of household supplies. But it just as well could be the gift from a grandparent thousands of miles away to a grandchild that results in a happy smile and the joy of knowing they are loved, or the potential life-saving results of a new cancer medication. “We never know,” said Brad. “That’s why our promise of excellence-in-service for our customers means amazing delivery experiences. For Crossroads, excellence-in-service is not just a tagline, it’s who we are.” 

The relationship between an independent delivery driver and Crossroads Courier starts with investment in driver success with a focus on the long-term.  Just as the company desires long-term relationships with customers, Crossroads Courier also strives for long-term independent delivery driver relationships.

“It starts with honesty,” Brad said. “From our first conversation, we want to be clear and lay out what they can expect. We discuss the premise that being a courier is an important job and that we deliver critical items each day. A certain ‘weight’ and sense of responsibility is inherent in the job.”

Driver Onboarding

That very first conversation between an onboarding delivery driver and the Crossroads Courier team includes these fundamental points: 

  • Being a courier allows for people with no experience to have flexibility in their schedule and make great money.
  • Being a courier is not without its challenges.
  • Running a profitable independent delivery business (for the driver) requires:
    • Paying attention to fuel spend
    • Proper maintenance of the vehicle
    • Meeting Crossroads Courier’s customer delivery deadlines
    • Dealing with environmental elements and other challenges on the road

The conversation also includes:

  • Being open and transparent about IC earnings
    • What drivers can expect
    • How they can move forward
  • Acknowledging shortcomings when they occur
    • Being clear that we are not perfect, but believe that if we approach the relationship as partners, we will find a way for all to be successful 

Crossroads has a four-person team that engages with their new independent delivery drivers at the beginning of the relationship on topics such as, onboarding help; guidance for proper insurance; earnings reviews and counsel on how to maximize earnings; satisfaction ratings; offering fuel cards for a limited time in the beginning or when higher prices hit in the summer months; roadside assistance; questions about technology; scheduling; and a host of other factors that pave the way for a successful business for the contractor. The onboarding team is a defined focal point for issue management, guided by a ticketing system. 

As IC drivers gain familiarity and confidence in their engagement with Crossroads Courier, their relationship management eventually transitions to the local markets’ operations teams. The corporate team continues to be available to support the drivers as needed. Ongoing solutions support for drivers can include settlement advances to secure new vehicles; settlement advances for repair of existing vehicles; and regular reviews of new or upcoming work which may interest current drivers. 

The team counsels on general knowledge such as how they can be more efficient and profitable in their business and how to find opportunities for new and different work. Crossroads values their driver relationships, and the company culture is high on driver appreciation. There are awards for “Driver of the Month” and “Driver of the Year” for each Crossroads market – Saint Louis, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Kansas City. The company also celebrates a driver appreciation week. 

Flexibility as a strength

Crossroads Courier’s definition of flexibility in the independent delivery driver or independent contractor (IC) relationship is indeed a two-way street. “Today’s post-pandemic environment has accelerated the adoption of the IC and gig-work mentality in those looking to become couriers,” said Brad. “The app-driven rideshare industry has played a major role in that. Our business is dynamic, and our most successful IC drivers are oftentimes the most flexible. Therefore, it’s paramount that we exhibit the same flexibility in the relationship with our IC drivers as they provide us. So, in that respect, we welcome those who are driving for the large gig-work companies as well as those who drive for our competitors. But we think the difference is that at Crossroads Courier, you’re not just a ‘number.’ We’re there for you, to help and support, and we don’t think of our drivers as just part of the app.”

Communication is key

As in all great relationships, communication is key. Crossroads Courier works hard to assure that IC drivers have an avenue to communicate their needs and concerns. The company does its best to help their IC drivers work through obstacles in real-time when making deliveries, especially with the push-to-talk capabilities of Zello. Dispatchers are passionate about helping drivers with route and order issues when they arise. 

Qualities of a great delivery driver

Courier driver hands on steering wheel

Brad and the team look for specific characteristics in potential new driver engagements. Besides the obvious safe driving record, they are interested in developing relationships with drivers who can meet the demanding nature of excellent courier work. This includes persons who:

  • Can meet the expectations of Crossroads Courier’s customers
  • Those that are driven to succeed and are “hungry for more”
  • Those that have excellent communications skills

“Our business is diverse in terms of what, when, and how we deliver for our customers,” said Brad. “Our goal is to provide our potential and existing IC drivers with the opportunities that best fit their needs. It’s a great arrangement when our customers’ needs fit with our IC drivers’ schedules and vehicle types.”

Crossroads courier company culture and values

Crossroads Courier aims to have long-term relationships with IC drivers where the driver’s values, company culture, and corporate values align. “We put a lot of thought into understanding our values and who we are,” Brad continued. “We concluded that whether it’s our approach to customer service, working with each other, or getting the job done, it all starts with putting the customer and the IC driver first. We want to be (and want to have people work with us – and independent contractors driving for us – who are):

  • Gritty
  • Efficient
  • Take ownership
  • Are Solutions driven
  • Innovative
  • Tenacious

It adds up to ‘we find a way,’ and ‘we pride ourselves on getting to the finish line and being creative.” Thus, the values framed in such a way so that it’s easy to remember who GETS IT. Crossroads Courier does by understanding and responding to the needs of its delivery drivers and customers. 

The cancer medication? It was delivered on time as expected and required. The Crossroads Courier dispatchers confidently expected nothing less, understanding the capabilities of the driving team they put to the test. 

Many lives have been improved, even saved, by Crossroads Courier deliveries. The urgent delivery of a heart valve to a hospital, surgeons waiting, patient on the table, a nurse hurrying out of the doors when Crossroads Courier called and said the driver was arriving and shouting out her name for the proof of delivery as she sped back into the hospital.  A packet of a rare blood type delivered for an accident victim. These are the critical logistics calls that have been answered by Crossroads Courier. There’s also the daily delivery of flowers, brightening the day of the person who luckily receives them, or the parcel that is the gift from a far-away grandparent. 

It is all in a day’s work for the great independent contractor drivers who make these deliveries on behalf of Crossroads Courier.

Drive with Crossroads courier

To learn more about driving with us as a courier or independent delivery driver please call (314) 764-2512 or complete our online application at https://crossroadscourier.com/NewDriverApplication.php. We look forward to connecting with you!

Independent delivery driver

Whether it was the Air Force’s Lockheed C-141 Starlifter, her “little” Honda CR-V, or one of her 3 Kia compact crossover “never let me down” Rondos, Jane Schoonover has always delivered. She’s delivered figuratively and literally. It’s who she is.

An independent contractor driving for Crossroads Courier for thirteen years, Jane says her keys to success are simple. “I do what you’re supposed to do. I show up. I dress well.  I’ve always had an interest in and a willingness to learn. I always want to project professionalism and take a professional approach to each route, each day.”

One of six children in her family, Jane grew up in Webster Groves, in the southwestern suburbs of Saint Louis, Missouri. “We all went to Catholic grade school with the nuns. I was a good student, and I think it was the nuns insisting we should want to do everything right that stuck with me. I always wanted to do my best, to do everything right,” she said. “I also developed the need to know that I have a purpose, that I’ve accomplished something at the end of the day.”

Money was tight. She knew her parents couldn’t afford college for all of them. One of her teachers suggested she take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a test that measures developed abilities and is predictive of potential academic and occupational success in the military. An Air Force recruiter contacted her and guided her into a field he thought would be a good one for her based on her test scores – avionics – the electronic systems used on aircraft. “He convinced me I was smart enough to do avionics, so off I went to tech school in Biloxi, Mississippi to learn avionics maintenance.”

Upon graduation, she received orders to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. Her job was maintenance and repair of radar and navigational computers on the Air Force C-141 Starlifter, at that time the Air Force’s long-range strategic airlifter, designed for transporting large loads of cargo or passengers.

“It was 1975, and I was the first woman in the shop. Many of the men didn’t think I could do it. They were all thinking that I wouldn’t last,” she said of her assignment. “In the 70’s there were maybe ten women in the Air Force for every 100 guys. Maybe it was because I grew up with four brothers, and maybe it was my inclination to learn, always do my best, and to finish each day having accomplished something. But I worked hard and proved myself. The men, they eventually admitted to me ‘We were all thinking you couldn’t cut it, but we would choose to work beside you over anybody else.’ Jane believes her adaptability to different environments and situations won their respect.

Her life’s journey eventually took her back to Saint Louis and a job with McDonnell Douglas, who was competing with other defense contractors for a Defense Department contract to build air-launched cruise missiles. Jane’s role was to test guidance systems. As interesting as that might seem to many, for Jane it “bored the heck out of me.” Always looking to stretch her horizons and her knowledge, she was transferred to the Harpoon missile program, tracking altimeters for the missiles. She eventually went to work in a new depot where Harpoon missiles were brought back from the field for repairs.

It was then that she realized what was important to her. “It was my sense of purpose that needed to be fulfilled. I was running tests and so forth. But I didn’t get that thrill of accomplishment. I would end my day saying I don’t think I did anything today.”

Jane met her husband in the cockpit of a C-141. They married and raised three sons. Both in the Air Force, they lived the military life, moving around the country and across the Pacific to Okinawa. Through it all Jane worked different jobs. Eventually her need for purpose led her to Crossroads Courier.

Back in Saint Louis after his 2009 retirement from the Air Force, her husband found a job listing on Craigslist posted by the courier company. “Here’s something you might like,” he said to her. Jane remembers Crossroads asking if she knew the St. Louis area, quizzing her over the map. She read some information about Crossroads’ business. Medical and pharmaceuticals. Banks and beauty supplies. Small animals. “Small animals? I was having my doubts,” she said.

Crossroads offered Jane a contract driving opportunity, running flower delivery routes for a new customer in the St. Louis market.  “I like trying new things,” Jane says. “It was the flowers that drew me in. Flowers are always received with a smile.”

Asked what she did to get started, Jane thoughtfully answered, “I realized early on that you must be a tenacious person. It sounds so simple, pick something up, take it to another place. But so much is involved in the routing and timing. The dispatchers do a good job routing you as best they can. But what I like about this profession is if you’re good and enjoy challenges, pushing yourself to be your best, you must know how to route yourself. You must think on the fly, so to speak. This is a great job for those who want to be their own boss, own their own business and who care about making a difference and having that sense of purpose, of getting something good done every day.”

Jane loves the independence and flexibility she experiences in her flower delivery routes. Some drivers like scheduled routes that are the same each day. However, she enjoys the challenge of variety she experiences delivering flowers. “Some of the deliveries are the same each day, such as certain businesses and a funeral home or two. But I plan all the unique, individual stops around the regular ones, and I enjoy that,” she said. “I prioritize the funeral homes and some of the businesses over the homes and other deliveries. I enjoy packing my car carefully and orderly, so nothing is damaged and the packing is efficient,” she continued.

Crossroads appreciates drivers like Jane who bring initiative, common sense, attention-to-detail, problem-solving, and the desire to help others with their work every day. Jane thinks about taking care of the products being transported, and she prioritizes safety. “Good stewardship is how I see it,” she says. “Plus, safety. Good driving means watching out for the other drivers on the road,” she commented.

As an independent contractor delivering for Crossroads Courier, Jane’s sense of purpose fits well with Crossroads’ values and culture. “Crossroads is very focused on the customer,” says Jane.

“They want great service to be the norm for them. The people at Crossroads are very positive-minded, and they want all of us – their drivers  – to do well. They are honest, above-board, and ethical. Crossroads is a great organization to be associated with.”

What advice does Jane have for those who are considering entering the profession? “It’s important to establish relationships with courier companies who share many of your values,” she advised. “I think you want to make smart decisions, to do things right, and to have as your purpose getting things done and helping people. You never know which delivery truly makes someone’s day better.”

What about women considering careers in transportation? “I think it’s great, this has been my favorite job since leaving the Air Force,” she answered. “I think women are plenty capable, and there is the aspect of the flexibility and independence that you can earn. Women often have a lot of responsibilities to juggle, and this profession can give you the flexibility you need.” Despite her time in the Air Force doing critical work on military transport planes and fighter jets, working on cruise missile projects for McDonnell Douglas, and other jobs along the way, Jane says that “driving for Crossroads as an independent contractor is the closest thing I’ve had to an actual career. I have a purpose, and I get things done every day.”

Everyone’s life has its paths. Jane’s eventually led to a satisfying role in delivering good things to people – to perhaps brighten their day or help them meet a critical need.  Just as we in the delivery business never know when that package we’re delivering makes a big difference in someone’s life, we, in turn, never know when our life’s endeavors will deliver good things to us.

Crossroads Courier, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and equal opportunity provider for independent contractor positions. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, genetic information, gender, veteran status, or any other status protected under applicable federal, state or local law.