The trucking industry is benefiting from an economy that’s doing very well. After all, the extra stuff people are buying has to be delivered to the retailers selling it. But rising fuel costs and limitations on driver hours established by the ELD mandate have resulted in widespread driver shortages throughout the United States.
Even if you are finding a steady stream of work through load boards or managing expenses by taking advantage of freight factoring programs, you still need to attract and retain qualified, reliable drivers — preferably ones who will stick around and contribute to your growth and productivity.
Pay, Miles, and Home Time
Regardless of the nature of the trucking operation, there are three main factors that typically matter most to drivers – pay rate, average miles driven with trips, and opportunities for time at home.
With pay, you want to, at least, remain competitive with what’s typical for starting drivers. If your goal is to hire someone with a lot of experience, you’ll need to up your pay rate to attract them.
Yes, there some folks out there who don’t mind long hauls and multiple days or weeks away from home. However, most drivers appreciate having a good work-home balance and a mix of local and long-distance hauls.
If you can be reasonable with pay, miles, and home time, emphasize this in the ads you post for drivers. If you have certain times of the year when you’ll demand more from your drivers (like around the holidays at the end of the year), be upfront about this if you don’t want to deal with high turnover rates.
Mutually Beneficial Relationship Building
There’s nothing wrong with emphasizing deadlines, procedures, and regulations and issuing appropriate reprimands if expectations aren’t met. However, people have a tendency to make a decision about a job based on whether or not they feel like there’s going to be a mutually beneficial employer-employee relationship.
Drivers maneuvering a fully loaded vehicle with perishable or valuable freight across hostile highways want to know someone has their back. Companies more likely to attract and retain top-notch drivers are ones that make employees feel appreciated by:
• Allowing for anonymous or honest feedback
• Offering praise for jobs well-done
• Being empathetic, encouraging, and responsive
A generous health insurance and a 401(k) program can certainly generate interest among both younger and seasoned drivers. But if this isn’t something that’s in your budget, you can still offer some attractive benefits. Some smaller operations do this by offering out-of-the-box perks that might include:
• Gym memberships to encourage efforts to stay in good shape when not on the road
• Tangible recognition (e.g., certificates of appreciation, driver spotlights in newsletters)
• Doing kind things for drivers and their families
• Having some flexibility with scheduling (whenever possible)
• Handing out gift cards for places drivers are likely to frequent when on the road like Starbucks, McDonald’s, or Walmart
It can also be helpful to spread the word that you have steady work available because of the abundance of jobs on the load boards you use or the long-term contracts you’ve established. Drivers appreciate knowing there will be sufficient work available. Also, steady work means there’s less risk of having to deal with seasonal layoffs or reduced hours when things get slow.
Whether you’re looking to expand an existing trucking business or you’re a small one or two-person operation considering hiring a new driver, Pay4Freight is here to help you manage your operations efficiently. We offer competitive freight factoring programs, add-on services, and advice on important trucking-related topics.