Five Best Practices for Hiring School Bus Drivers
published on May 03, 2019 by Sonia Mastros
Are you having much luck hiring new school bus drivers? If you're like many districts around the country, this is a constant source of frustration. The bus driver shortage shows no signs of abating, with some outlets even referring to it as "the new norm."
To get qualified drivers into your district, you need to be creative about your recruitment techniques - but without sacrificing any quality in your hires. We've got some suggestions for how to do just that.
Five Solid Strategies for Recruiting Bus Drivers Despite the Shortage
1. Advertise on the Bus Itself
School buses are eye-catching by their very nature, so make use of that! Signs hung on the sides of your school buses can be one of the most effective ways of getting word out that your district is looking for drivers, and it's basically free advertising, aside from making the sign itself.
2. Consider Recruitment a Year-Round Activity
Even if you have enough drivers to fill your needs now, there's no telling when one might leave or change jobs. Recruiting part-time or standby drivers year-round helps ensure you've always got someone "on deck" if you suddenly lose a couple drivers without warning.
3. Offer Better Benefits
We talked about this at length before, but it still bears repeating: In a competitive hiring market, you need to be offering better benefits and bonuses. Even if this is difficult to budget for, the flat reality is that if the next district over is making a better offer than you, they will be the ones getting the drivers.
4. Offer Referral Bonuses
The faculty and staff of your school can often be one of the best sources for new applicants. In particular, your bus drivers are very likely to know other drivers. Give them an incentive to act as liaisons by offering bonuses for any referrals which result in a new hire.
5. Target Retirees
The nature of bus driving makes it hard for working-age people to turn it into a sustainable career. However, retirees looking for part-time work to supplement their income, or pass the time, could easily be good targets. Try putting some ads on your local AM/Talk Radio stations. In most markets, AM radio ads are quite cheap, and there's a good chance of them being heard by qualified older drivers.
The Other Alternative: Route Optimization
If you cannot find enough qualified school bus drivers, it's often possible to eliminate one or more bus routes through smart route optimization! Modern bus routing software can quickly chew through even the most complicated maps and student lists, searching for the most cost-efficient solutions.
To see it for yourself in action, contact BusBoss for a free demonstration!