Kameel Gaines

Interview by
Published on
June 14, 2022

In this episode...

In a business looking to make leaps and bounds going forward, there are issues in driver retention, recruitment, and development that can be addressed by looking at what is working right now. Instead of asking what’s wrong, why don’t we look at what’s being done right - and be consistent with that. To find something that works and do it more often, make sure it’s being done all the time. This is what Rig on Wheels CEO Kameel Gaines explains on Life By The Mile as she sits down to talk about retention, recruitment, and all things trucking. In what could be one of the most passionate and hard-hitting episodes, listen to Kameel’s advice to new owner-operators, young people looking to get into the trucking business, and the importance of having a pulse on your employee's feelings and communicating with your drivers daily.

Kameel Gaines

CEO & Top Advisor in Trucking, Transportation & Logistics | Corporate Retention Trainer at Rig On Wheels Brokerage & Recruitment Services


you should be communicating with your drivers on a daily basis period if they're doing long haul and they're on that truck and they're doing 600 miles and they deserve you to talk to them not to check up on them to to check for them they want to know that you're going to show up that you're going to be there to help them figure out what's going on welcome to life for the mile delivered by brake works one of america's fastest growing podcasts actually produced by trucks indicted to tell stories compelling drivers i need to do something bigger streets all here right now this life of the mile delivered by freight works and uh we are so excited today to have camille gaines with us you know i know sometimes when i do some research on our guests where they're gonna be great and you're gonna be great uh you've got a lot in your background is so interesting i found this i don't usually do it but i'm gonna go ahead and read it because it's a great summary and i just like the way that it read ceo and owner of rig on wheels recruitment services i'm a proud mother of two young adults and a teen and at the same time being the sole caregiver for my elderly mom i've been in recruiting and sales for more than 20 years early in my career i earned a couple of grad degrees my end goal was to become an entrepreneur so by saying that you can imagine the businesses that i've started but it was always vital for me to do what i was good at recruiting all things considered i discovered my love for the trucking industry i pride myself on eating and drinking it and can talk trucking for at least 16 hours per day now i'm assuming you sleep that's sometimes at some point it's the only place i can tell the things that are funny and still feel at home so 12 years ago i found my love and that was in the trucking and transportation industry as a recruiter and consultant for mega mid-size and small fleets seen lots of ups and downs in the recruitment and retention side of the business i started researching and analyzing ways to increase and realistically maintain drivers my goal as an industry expert is for drivers to become more educated and confident in their professional paths and help companies stop the revolving door and hamster wheel turnover issues what a timely guest to have on camille welcome oh thank you thank you for having me well now let me start out by asking the obvious question what is broken in the trucking recruitment enterprises of america what's broken i think we forgot what our mother taught us is just being nice and being good to people and too many profit margins don't get me wrong we're all in it to uh profit we're not here to volunteer our time in the industry as a whole but just simply doing what our parents taught us to do and as being right to somebody you know treating them in a proper manner actually what asking what the issue is what's going on what do you want those questions like that because if we ask questions like that sometimes we're afraid what someone might say and it dips into our profits i think that's the issue that's a big issue and kabil so many drivers that come to freight works of course they come from other companies and they will tell me they'll say butch i want to believe because everybody all the companies say the same thing you're going to be family you're not a number we're going to pay you right we're going to give you miles you get home time you'll be safe you'll have a nice truck they'll come in and they'll say we want to believe you and so there's a real trust issue out there isn't there talk about that yeah it's a huge trust issue and and it goes back and forth um so it goes both ways i guess i should say the drivers have to be honest and open and the companies have to be honest and open but as a recruiter and a company we have to realize when um the drivers are not telling us the truth it's not necessarily habitual liars they're in a drastic situation so they're trying to get a job well guess what driver that's the same that it comes with a company there's a quote unquote driver shortage right so companies are desperate and so they're doing the exact same thing as they're saying things that they can't deliver on um or saying things that they can deliver on sometimes so what we need to do is only advertise and promote the things that we can deliver on all the time and if a driver is okay with that right then they'll like the other times which will be considered bonuses that is so strong yeah that's what it is that is that is so strong you know there's a a principle called variable reinforcement it's the unexpected touch the unexpected encouragement that carries the greatest power you know when i was married if on uh mother's day i gave a gift or if there was some sort of uh encouragement that happened that was sort of expected but if you do things that are delighters that people don't expect you go beyond you know you under promise and over deliver that really matters with drivers doesn't it yes it does matter with drivers but we have to when we're talking about a retention issue it's on both sides of the aisle okay so just like the companies have to do what they say and say what they do and be professional the drivers have to be professional if we want to treat if they want to be treated in a certain type of way so it goes both ways and when we lose respect or trust from each other then that's when we are in the situation that we are now because the trust is broken both ways right it can happen both ways do you do you believe that there are drivers that are loyal to companies i mean we have them here at freight works but a lot of it feels like there are a lot of drivers that just kind of flip from place to place and the grass is always greener is that true i think it's both ways right so you are going to have drivers that are loyal to their company when you find a driver that is loyal to their company you need to ask why and that is exactly what we do so of course as recruiters you're in the business of stealing drivers right because typically a driver is at another company when you're trying to recruit them to company b right so when they say i'm fine where i am our next thing is that is great why because then we can pass that on to the company right or if we are recruiting for company a as well we're able then to utilize that as a reinforcement of why we should place this driver here tell the driver you know timmy let me tell you what another driver said about company a um so that is true now the hamster hamster wheel is a real thing so a lot plays into that i prime myself on retention but it's not just for a particular care carrier is actually retaining them for the industry interesting so that goes above all of us it takes more than just us it takes the department of transportation it takes fmcs it takes way above us to promote advertise market to stability in the industry if all the propaganda that's coming out between social media the regular uh traditional medias if it's all about oh the grass is greener over here and they're flipping back and forth all the time right so people are programmed our media programs us so that's what we hear all day long all day long and so the driver is hearing that and so that is one of the things that makes them flip back and forth if they're told all the time that the industry is not stable then guess what that brings about change so they want to flip jobs the industry is stable in its instability right that's what it is it's called seasonal it's called washing out getting taken out the old bringing in the new that is the stability in our industry but if it's marketed to say instability then you're gonna have drivers keep flipping flipping flipping flipping flipping you don't have drivers leaving out of plants or municipality jobs it's quick why because we're told as society plant jobs is stable or stable we're told if you work for the state all of these different things you're told that is as little as i could think is when i first started hearing things like that um so that is the propaganda behind that and the mindset behind it so it has to be more than just you i other trucking companies talking about this it needs to come from administration all the way down interesting you know there are a lot of youtubes out there from drivers talking about the fact that the market right now is changing it's softening and you get somebody on there that gets 300 000 views saying 40 of you that are owner operators aren't going to make it and it's all this fear that's engendered what do you what do you think about all of that i think it is much of it is right is wrong all at the same time i believe in continuing education right i do believe if you have strongly believe this in fact if you are a new owner operator and you know nothing about the industry i don't want you in the industry because you're watering it down from a driver that really has put in the work in the knowledge and now you're driving down market and you're coming into the industry and it's all supply and demand is what's happening right so that waters it down and you can't do that you have to buy your time you have to educate yourself on what's going on um and that brings more people thinking the market is unstable when it's just kind of doing what it did in the past right and you have to live through those cycles don't you yeah to really understand okay this is not strange this this happens and all those folks that came in a couple years ago and said man the rates look good and i'm going to get myself a truck and they spent more than they should have on the truck probably and they're sitting there they have no background and managing finances or a profit and loss statement they're feeling anxious aren't they yes and those are the ones that are not going to make it but it's not that they're not going to make it because it's trucking they're not going to make it because they don't know how to do business right so i don't like to bring down our industry by saying oh they're not going to make it because they're in trucking and all of that and trucking is not for the week no business is not for the week so you need to get you a mentor business coach you need to get you an accountant and you need to get you all of these things if you're going to do business do business

you know camille one thing i could tell already is that you know how to deliver a hard message to do it with a smile yes right and so and the role the role of a leader is to define reality and it doesn't serve the company does it or the driver if people are just talking in inflated terms and not speaking the truth yeah absolutely i take it personally because as i have a son he'll be 22 in july right he does want to get his cdl so what if he gets his cdl and he goes out to a company that knows nothing about trucking all they had was good personal credit first of all and got uh expensive equipment on their personal credit but that's for another day and so now my son marcus starts working for him and marcus needs to pay his rent he'll be getting married at the end of the year and he's talking about buying the house now all of that faith is put he's put all his faith into someone that knows nothing about the industry and he has to it doesn't matter about race it doesn't matter about a dispatch about a broker his rent is due every first of the month that is why it's so personal so it's a lot of marcus's out here it's a lot of people that have sons and daughters that are in the business and they deserve to work for somebody that worked their butt off to learn about the industry you know i love the way that you make it so practical because it is you know we often here at freight works will say we never want to lose sight of in some cases little children looking out the pained window for daddy or mommy to come home from a trip that they're on and if we ever lose that we know as a company we've lost the values which in our our case are driven at the leadership and founder level by biblical values not every company is that way but in our in our case we keep our promises because god tells us to keep our promises you know so but you know let me let me ask you this if if you were talking to some young people that were considering the possibility of getting into the business getting into the industry becoming a professional driver what kind of coaching or mentoring input would you would you give to them let's say they're just coming out of high school and they don't want to go to college they don't feel like that's their motivated ability what would you say it'd be really valuable to hear what you'd say to them well the first thing i want to know is you want to be in the industry but do you want to drive okay i have three children they are totally different god bless them and i have a daughter she's about to graduate she does not want to go to traditional college however she doesn't want to drive a car right but that doesn't mean that the trucking industry isn't for her so that's the first thing i want to know what is it that you want to do do you want to be behind the wheel for 10 and 11 hours a day if you do like to drive how long do you want to be around behind the wheel so i ask real questions um because if they want to be behind the wheel but they don't want to be behind the wheel for 10 11 hours at a time are you okay with multi stops are you okay with touch free so i dive into that if they want to be drivers what does your day look like what does in your mind keisha when you close your eyes what do you see your day looking like as a driver not what you're told your day looks like that's good and then we go into stuff that's realistic so i talked to a guy yesterday he wants to drive but he only wants to drive one or two hours a day so but he still wants his cdl the industry is for him it's just not in the traditional sense that you and i are thinking he works at a plant they have drivers at plants that just shuttle around right or ones that work for rail yards right that are just driving through the rail yards right they still need a cdl yeah you know that's something yeah so really breaking that down so they know which avenue to go to so i i do a lot of career development when it comes to that that is that is so good because what you're describing here is that the term driver does not mean the same thing it's like a salad bar yeah yeah you tell people you want a salad it's like well a salad bar has got all kinds of things and so you really you're you're you're matching the motivation interests and abilities of an individual with the needs of a company yes the same way i think about it and i don't mean to act like the drivers of my kids because a lot of the drivers are older than me right and some are younger i don't mean like that but the same care intense i'm very intense about everything right that i say when i talk to all three of my kids i want to know what it is you want to do and we can still make it your niche be logistics of transportation that is so good it requires creativity it requires good listening i've already learned in our short time together that you ask good questions i'm sure of them so you could assemble a profile of what their gifts abilities and possibilities might be folks this is camille gaines ceo and owner of big no a rig on wheels recruitment services she's got big thoughts and big ideas this is life by the mile delivered by freightworks make sure that you hit that subscribe button engage like share and become part of this growing family that we have here life of the mile delivered by freight works now let me let me ask you this when it comes to the whole area of retention are you able to get a handle on when you believe a person is getting ready to consider leaving the company do you have a feeling talk a little bit about some of the indicators the red flags the yellow flags the flares talk about that when you have an employee and i what i did was with my retention program and rigging wheels so when we talked about it i took the employee retention from other industries that i've done or retention programs and then you just bring it into this industry and you make it equitable okay you make it make sense here when you have a driver that's starting to ask a lot of questions you get in front of that immediately don't let the just questions because perception is reality so even if their thoughts none of it is true you don't know where they came up with this if you don't say anything perception is reality and you're going to be allowing whomever they get their information from to be the truth because afterwards it's so solid after a certain amount of time of someone hearing the same thing over and over that's what they assume is true so

that's one huge indication right there but then demeanor

you know literally somebody's demeanor how they're coming in every day how when you're talking to them every day you should be communicating with your drivers on a daily basis period um if they're doing long haul and they're on that truck and they're doing 600 miles and stuff like that they deserve you to talk to them not to check up on them to to check for them you know things like that they want to know that you're going to show up that you're going to be there to help them figure out what's going on same thing that goes back to the same values that your mother taught you

right right and and respect respect is not a word it's an action is what you do it's an action it's like love it's yes right love is a verb it's not a it's not a noun yes no you know it's interesting because when when i talk to some of the drivers here that are very satisfied at freight works and i'll ask them what is it about the company that you like they talk in terms that we hear like it's a family and the like but i'll hear stories like uh i had a death in the family and the company stepped in they flew me to where i needed to go right on the spot and then they figured out a rescue on the load and they didn't complain about any of it because they said i'll be part of a family yeah and and and the deposit of that in trust and equity that driver is a lifer yeah that's it that is right that that driver is your biggest commercial that you can ever have it's doing right by people because it's the right thing to do that's it but right retention for a company starts before you post the ad what are your values that way you know if this driver doesn't fit and rig on wheels somebody can be a dynamic recruiter but they don't fit what we do so they can be that recruiter they have to be that recruiter elsewhere so it's the same thing with the driver you know making sure that driver fits so you will feel comfortable was driving him or flying him because he had a death in the family and you know you said something earlier and i always like to say dig in um to questions so when somebody wants a family feel what does that feel like because what i consider family is definitely and might be different right than the traditional i have a best friend tq she is the closest sister i could ever have she's not blood related to me at all she's the best auntie my kids have ever seen that's good you hear what i'm saying so who is family yeah you know and what is that so if we are going to assume oh i want them to treat me like family well we need to know what family is to them and what that means right right yeah that's so that's so good because people could be talking past each other or talking over each other using a term that's not the same the same kind of term now how would you explain you know the mark of a good conversation by the way is when they go quickly and ours is going quickly i'm looking at the clock what what what what what would you say to companies about the cost of not recruiting well and the cost of not retaining employees i mean talk to me like i'm the owner of a company oh my goodness how vital it is i mean you will see statistics everywhere from 000 to 25 000 or more if you don't recruit the right driver so obviously they're not moving a load right so you have that the on initial onboarding because onboarding really takes a year so let's start there okay that's the difference between hr and recruiting um so it it takes a year onboard it's it's not what your hr or your orientation people do but they'll know several days but all of that capital and manpower right then now they come into your company and they have become a cancer and now they start talking to other people right and remember those questions that i say that when the drivers start asking a lot of questions now you have bobby jim peter and dre asking all type of questions because of steve

it becomes just a whole big old mess at this point now right all because of that one wrong hire and some companies can dissolve that some companies that's part of their business model so that goes back to your culture right that goes back to before you put in that ad how are you able to are you able to lose x amount of drivers because of this so that's you know that goes into accounting and everything um but just in general that one bad hire can do so much it can mess up your relationship with your dispatcher your broker your shipper so it can be from 5 000 to tens of thousands in all of the relationships that are attached to those relationships and it can demotivate some of your best performers right yeah if you've got somebody uh a man or a woman that's just a cancer you know absolutely that is that is that is so that is so important talk a little bit about your company before we we end here i i want you to have the opportunity to talk about what you do and why you're so good thanks so ring on wheels freight broker and recruitment services like i said i started almost now 13 years ago and now we have a team of six recruiters um some right here in the office a few others that are remote and now doing freight brokerage as well with it i'm the one that deals with a lot of the retention consulting for the small and mid-sized companies to really go in there and really help them with certain things in some companies it could just be something small and other companies is something large but the small things uh typically would cost the most for the company um but that that's what we do all day we're on the phones we're emailing we're texting we're hearing good bad stories you know all of that

we know what i can tell uh camille this camille gaines and she's ceo and owner of rig on wheels recruitment services down in houston i can tell that you're really good at what you do and i also would predict this you're a really good mother yes i try to be thank you i mean my mother raised the bar up there as far as being a good mother and making it seem very easy so if i could just be 60 percent of the mother she is and was to me when i was younger i'm good with that yeah she raised the bar pretty high that is such such a blessing and for all of us that have had the input of uh in my case you know in many cases godly parents i'll never forget my grandfather you know he had 11 children my mother was the oldest of 11. i'm number i'm the oldest grandson of 44 grandchildren 123 great grandchildren and 22 great girls and every so often they all get together but he used to look at me and say when i was little there's no right way to do the wrong thing absolutely and and i never forgot that at this advanced stage of life that's a lesson that i'd i'm learning each and every day you have been a tremendous guest and you know what you didn't know this but we we actually give a little gift to people that come on life for the mile delivered by freight works so now i'm going to seem like somebody on qvc and i'm gonna let you pick out what you want so item number one item number one you tell us and we'll get your address is uh you know i've learned that the trucking and logistics industry is a big place this this is hat option number one it's got the freightworks one logo option number two is a genuine yes okay

it's got the life by the mile logo it's got the freightworks logo there and then at the mid-america truck show i went there for the first time yeah it was awesome oh my god it was it was awesome we did like 18 or 20 podcast episodes here this went over pretty big it's it's a uh a hat life of the mile hat that's a leather patch and on the back it's got red white that's awesome blue so you get to pick one of those which one do you want yes okay so we're going to make sure that you get this right will you get your address and here's what i want you to promise and i know this about you you're a person of integrity you you won't promise unless you could do it we want to have you back on oh awesome yes i would love it it it would be it would be great and uh you know the thing i love i love authenticity and it's something that you can't manufacture and it's just clear that you love what you're doing you do it well you're principle and conviction based and that really comes through this is camille gaines she's ceo and owner of rigon wheels recruitment services i'm butch malpe your host this is life by the mile delivered by freightworks make sure you subscribe make sure you hit the notification button you can find us on uh audio podcast platforms everywhere and it's because of you engaging as an audience member that we're able to have stellar guests as we've had today thank you so much for being with us thanks for watching this episode you know life by the mile delivered by freightworks is one of the newest largest and fastest growing podcasts actually produced by a trucking company now we want you to like and share this episode if you'd like to see more episodes click here and make sure that you subscribe to the channel by clicking here we'll see you there


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