By Robert Hall

In today’s Internet-driven world, more and more consumers are expecting their ordered products delivered. If you will be delivering items directly and need to hire a delivery driver, here are some important considerations.

1. The Driver’s Credentials

Any driver who works for you needs to have proper auto insurance and a clean driving record. In general, look for an active policy and no moving violations on the driver’s record in the past 12 months. Remember, if your driver is in an accident, the circumstances of that accident will reflect on your company.

2. The Driver’s Personality

Also, remember that attitude and personality are important credentials as well. When your delivery driver heads to your customer’s home, he is the face they put with your company. For this reason, his smile and attitude are important. While he doesn’t need to have a savvy salesperson’s charisma, he should be pleasant with an overall friendly impression. If he can put forth the right image for your company in the 30 to 60 seconds he spends with your customer, then he is probably a good candidate.

3. The Driver’s Appearance

Like personality, appearance can be an important consideration for your delivery drivers. You want a driver who will put forth a clean-cut appearance, so you can send the driver confidently to your customers. If the interviewee arrives to the interview for your position looking presentable, he’s off to a good start.

4. Vehicle Ownership

While the driver may use a personal car or a company-owned car — both situations bring their own considerations.

For a driver who uses his or her own car, you must decide how to ensure that your business logo and brand are attached to the vehicle. Placards, magnets and car-top signs are all options. However, before you slap your brand onto the car, check its condition. Is it a good representation of you and your company? You may need to require that your drivers have clean, well-maintained cars before allowing them to drive for you.

For driver-owned cars, you must still add insurance coverage. Most personal vehicle automotive insurance policies do not cover situations when the car is driven for delivery purposes. As a result, you will need to add “hired auto” or “non-owned automobile” coverage.

Using a company-owned car may make more sense if you wish to protect your brand, have the budget for vehicle purchases or need something unique in the vehicle to deliver your product. For instance, a pizza restaurant can send pizzas in any car, but a company delivering appliances will need a large delivery van. When your drivers operate your vehicles, be sure to add each potential driver to your company’s automotive insurance policy. This may make your liability costs increase, but only slightly.

5. Payment Terms

Finally, it’s time to consider how and what you will pay your driver. As you decide pay rate, consider whether or not the driver will make tips. If the driver is certain to make some tips, then you can afford to pay a little less. Also, consider whether or not you will add a stipend for gas money or wear and tear on the car if the driver is using a personal vehicle.

If you choose to pay for mileage driven, you can either collect the mileage and calculate a payment based on the standard mileage rate — which according to the IRS is 57.5 cents per mile driven — or tack on a charge per delivery that the driver collects no matter what the mileage is.

Hiring a driver is not a choice to take lightly. With these suggestions, you can make the right choice for the driver that will represent your business and interact with your customers.