The trucking industry has been at max capacity for a few years now. That means there are just as many hauls that need to be moved as there are tractor trailers to move them. At the same time, there is a major issue here. The industry lacks quality truck drivers to keep these trucks moving. Furthermore, truckers are getting hired by trucking companies only to quit or transfer to another company within a few weeks or months. This makes for a lot of tension among truckers who may not be working with the same fleet of drivers one week to the next. So how are trucking companies dealing with this issue of truck driver shortages?
Better Pay for Truck Drivers
The best news truck drivers have heard all day is that these trucking companies are paying drivers more. Every week in trucking news you hear about yet another company that has increased its cents per mile for its fleet of truck drivers. For example, just this week, Hornady Transportation is paying all its drivers a minimum, guaranteed pay rate of $1,000 weekly. These drivers are earning up to 52 cents per mile making for some of the best paid trucking jobs in the US.
In terms of attracting top talent among truck drivers, trucking companies are giving out bigger sign-on bonuses than ever in history. Consider Roehl Transport. This trucking company just started giving $10,000 sign-on bonuses to drivers with at least six months of trucking experience. Plus, these drivers can earn an extra $1,000 when they are paid out this full bonus over 10,000-mile increments. That means Roehl Transport is really giving truckers an $11,000 bonus, which is the biggest sign-on bonus for any solo truck driving job to date. Of course, Roehl is far from being the only company paying out huge bonuses for new drivers, so check around to see what companies are offering in your area.
Driver Retention Perks
Trucking companies have several options to keep new drivers with their company after they have given them the sign-on bonus. Trucking benefits, including health insurance and retirement plans, are typically given to a driver after they have worked for a trucking company for a set period of time. This is usually a 90-day period, but a few companies have started giving health insurance options as soon as the driver starts work. The goal with stretching out the benefits schedule is to retain these drivers’ services. This gives truck drivers more of an incentive to stick with a single company, rather than shopping around for better-paying carriers.
Drivers and Trucker Turnover Issues
It is a costly issue when a trucking fleet is constantly hiring and losing truck drivers. For starters, these companies have to pay to find new truck drivers and to put these truckers through orientation and/or truck driver training. Plus, the fleet of existing truckers must deal with the social constraints of new truckers. Think about it. When you are working on a job, you want coworkers you can get to know and learn to depend on. When that pool of coworkers is constantly changing, you never know who you can trust. For truck drivers, this is an even bigger problem.
After all, as a trucker, you aren’t able to indulge in water cooler chitchat, and you might not be face-to-face with your coworkers for more than a handful of times a year. This makes it even more difficult to get to know and trust these people. Yet you are dependent on your truck driving community when you are on the road. You need to know you have coworkers who aren’t going to quit at the drop of a dime. You need to know these people by name, so you can call on them in case of an over-the-road emergency. You simply need to be able to develop a trucking relationship with others on your fleet.
Constant truck driver turnover doesn’t allow for that, which is a major reason why trucking companies have turned to massive sign-on bonuses, pay raises, and other driver benefits. Not only do these techniques allow trucking companies to hire new truck drivers, but they also ensure these drivers are going to be around for more than a week or so.