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It’s well known that drivers are underpaid for the hours they work and many bounce from company to company looking for a place where they can earn a decent living with a steady number of hours. With the freight environment strengthening, many carriers are offering pay raises to entice their drivers to stay put.

The largest fleet is less-than-truckload carrier Con-way Freight, who’s hourly and salaried drivers are receiving their first pay raise in three years. They are also starting a mileage guarantee for team drivers of 5,000 per week, and Baylor Trucking has begun offering guaranteed weekly pay of $1,000 per week instead of a mileage guarantee. Both Maverick Transportation and Fikes Truck Line’s are also offering pay increases. Fikes is increasing owner-operator’s pay to 80% of the load, an increase of almost 5 percentage points, and Dupre’ Logistics switched from mileage to hourly to hold on to their drivers.

Carriers are trying to entice their drivers to stay put with better pay and a steady paycheck, offering a more attractive and regular pay package. Con-way has even started a lease-purchase program aimed at company drivers who want to become owner-operators.

Inconsistency in pay is the biggest issue for drivers who may be forced to wait as much as a day in dwell time. Purchasing fuel, paying tolls, lumpers, pallet exchanges, all of these expenses require cash up front. Drivers need to know from week to week what they will be paid, based on freight load. Fuel advances and freight factoring, our business at is one way to keep a steady cash flow, and it looks like this may be the year you need to take a hard look at all your options and decide who you’d like to work for.

Experts are cautious, but hopeful that 2012 will bring about domestic economic growth, and the trucking industry may be entering its most profitable year yet as freight demand continues to push against the limits of industry capacity.

Freight is strong, drivers are in demand and turnover is at its highest in three-years. Take advantage of the times and make 2012 you’re most profitable year yet.