If the driver is a long-haul trucker, the tractor part of the rig will have a sleeper berth (living quarters) complete with bed, fridge, TV, air conditioner, microwave, and other home comforts. I once met a long-haul trucker whose sleeper berth included a bed for the Jack Russell terrier that accompanied him on all his trips. Truckers—men and women alike—tend to be tough, no-nonsense individuals; essential traits for coping with the demands of the job. But they are also highly skilled individuals, as you will know if you’ve ever seen a trucker handling a big rig in heavy traffic or backing up to a loading dock with the precision of a seamstress threading a needle.

My business dealt with truckers extensively for both incoming and outgoing shipments. If—as is often the case—their service is vital to your small business’s operations, manage the relationship carefully. Trucking is a complex business prone to problems that can directly affect your business. When it all runs smoothly and shipments arrive on time and intact, it’s a good day. When urgently required shipments are delayed, go astray, or are damaged, it’s a bad one. Managing the relationship carefully helps to keep this kind of bad day to a minimum.