According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, tractor-trailer and heavy haul truck driving jobs make a little more than $40,000 per year on average. When you factor in time spent away from home, the rigorous task of driving all day to make a living and the second-rate benefits packages that many trucking companies offer to their drivers, $40,000 doesn’t seem like a lot of money. And that’s not even considering the crucial role that truckers have in getting items from Point A to Point B in a safe and on-time manner, a role that continues to keep the U.S. economy churning.
Yes, $40,000 isn’t a lot all things considered – and it’s a big part of the reason why the industry is facing a projected truck driver shortage in the future. The good news is that certain companies have stepped up to do more for their drivers, whether it’s offering them a more competitive and well-rounded benefits package or instilling performance-based bonuses into their job title. Some companies are even taking measures to significantly increase driver base salary to make the position a more desirable one, a tactic that helps increase employee satisfaction and retain workers (not to mention lead others to want to work for your company).
Dart Transit Company is one of these companies that is significantly increasing driver pay, specifically when it comes to compensating its over-the-road, or OTR, drivers. In fact, the company says that it will be increasing driver compensation by 5 cents a mile, meaning that drivers now have the potential to make more than $60,000 per year – and that’s in their first year of driving with the company. But there’s more – while this base pay hike is significant, Dart Transit is also offering the following to help its drivers earn a better living:
- Annual pay increases that will kick in on driver anniversaries.
- A “Sign-on Plus” bonus that is paid to new drivers from the time they start until they reach a year-and-a-half on the job.
- The opportunity to earn an additional 3.5 cents per mile as part of a new performance bonus initiative.
Says Russ Moore, Dart Transit’s vice president of safety and fleet services: “We are thrilled to offer truck drivers a large increase in pay. The higher pay, combined with anniversary increases, the Sign-on Plus and performance bonus, make Dart’s pay package one of the best in the industry.”
But what Moore fails to mention in his statement is that Dart’s initiative could set a new precedent for the trucking industry. Think of it this way: When a top NFL quarterback is up for a new contract, usually he sees it as part of his responsibility to all quarterbacks to not settle for a salary cap friendly contract or for a “hometown discount.” Usually, these athletes negotiate said contracts for the great quarterbacks of the future, in an effort to boost the overall earning’s potential for the team’s most important player league-wide. Dart could very well be headed down a similar path, only not on the gridiron, but on the road. Certainly if enough like-minded companies follow Dart’s initiative of increasing base salary and additional earning’s potential for their drivers, the trucking industry isn’t likely to be facing a driver shortage for much longer. When people find out that they can make a solid living at any position, let alone that of an OTR truck driver, the interest in the profession and applicants will follow.
Think about what you’re doing for your drivers these days. Do you offer an adequate base salary and the opportunity to increase earnings through other mediums? Is the benefits package your company offers up to par? Do you want to be a trailblazer that helps lead the trucking industry or someone who holds it back? Dart Transit Company has clearly thought about this – and made a bold decision on it.