The age old debate. Looking to save cost, many agencies look at the two highest paid employees in the field and figure – why not combine them and save some cash.
The issue is with rare exception, the two are not the same skill set. They are typically good at one, and marginal at the other.
First let’s discuss what the roles of each entails. A driver gets your vehicle from point A to point B in a safe and prudent manner, all while following the laws. Once on site they coordinate with the event site contact and figure out the best times, routes in etc. for your event set up. Many times the driver also serves as the point person on your set up. They are the one who understands how it all works and how to trouble shoot when there are problems.
A Tour manager coordinates with the office, the site contact, sometimes the client, the staffing agency, trains and coordinates with BA’s. They manage every detail so your event goes off as planned. When the event is over they recap the event, upload photos, approve expense reports, approve time sheets etc.
Reason #1 – Insert Eye Roll – DOT hours of Service – There is no way most manager /Drivers really have enough time to legally record every task. Can they get away with it – absolutely, for a while. They get caught when there is an accident , or the Dot audit’s you. The Auditor or investigator’s review every record including tolls, Expenses, email, interview staff etc.
Reason #2 – Your taking the field manager’s eye off of what’s important by yet adding more to their plate.
Reason #3 – Good event managers have their CDL, but do they really have enough experience behind the wheel of a semi tractor / Bus / Etc.? Your entrusting your expensive custom built equipment to a driver many large trucking companies would not hire, or if they did would be in a training program.
Reason #4 - The Skill sets are typically different, Good drivers are skilled with equipment, mechanically inclined and are an asset to your tour. You can rely on them to get the equipment there on time and damage free. A Manager may posses some of those traits but is typically a people person. They love the details, they are the leader of your team.
Do you really want your driver who just drove 1,000 miles to get to the event to be responsible for flawless execution? Or do you want a tour manager?