The Senior Care Transportation Guide: Interviewing Transportation Providers

What you need to find out in an interview

Once you've assessed your parent's transportation needs and identified certain transportation providers, you will then have to select the one offers the best fit. Here are some questions you will want to have answered.

  • Start by asking for general background information. Find out how long the provider has been in the transportation business. Also, let him do some of the talking so you can get an idea of his personality and communication skills and make sure the driver's style is compatible with your parent.
  • Ask for at least three references, with contact information for each, and then call them. Be diligent about checking these references, since this is a stranger your parent will be spending a lot of time with, and entrusting her safety to.
  • Since people often find it difficult to ask certain questions about a person's background -- such as criminal history -- creat a short application form to help you through this part of the interviewing process. Some points you'll want to include are:
    • Social security number, driver's license number or ID card
    • Full name and street address
    • Documentation of legal permission to work in the United States
    • Address, phone and email contact information
    • Whether or not the candidate is bonded and insured
    • Emergency contact name and address
  • It's a good idea to run a background check on people you hire to drive family members, especially check that looks into their driving history. Many agencies will do this for a small fee. Or, you can use a service like Care.com that will provide you with free background checks on providers you are interviewing.
  • Ask hypothetical questions about driving choices and make sure you and your parent feel comfortable with the responses.
  • When you think you've found the right person for the job, be upfront about what you'll pay and what you expect of him. It is important to know ahead of time what tasks he dislikes doing or will do at an extra cost -- such as unloading the groceries and putting them away.
  • If your parent will be riding in the transportation provider's care, you'll want to make sure the car is a safe one.
  • Ask why he wants this job, his previous experience, and why he thinks he is right for the position.
  • If you do hire the driver, set up a trial period of two to three weeks so you have time to evaluate his work over time and make sure he has a compatible relationship with your parent. Make and appointment to discuss the arrangement after a few driving sessions, and then again every few months, so you can give each other feedback. Your goal is a relationship that meets both your parent's needs and those of the transportation provider.

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Ronnie Friedland is an editor at Care.com. She has coedited three books on parenting and interfaith family life.

Previous: Cost of Transportation for Seniors « Next: Evaluating Your Parent's Transportation Provider »
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