Covenant Transport announced that its HazMat Over-the-Road team drivers with one- year experience are now receiving a guaranteed $1,000 per week. Those with less than a year on the road receive a guaranteed $850 per week.
The June 1 move – considered the largest guaranteed minimum program in the industry – has been in the planning stage for a year, says Vice President for Recruiting Rob Hatchett. It addresses drivers' most important concern: control over their own finances.
" There are some dedicated lines out there where drivers may be able to guess what they’re going to make, but the reality is most professional drivers don’t know from one week to the next how much they’re going to make. They don’t have a lot of control over it," he says. "When it comes to weather and equipment and freight cancelations, the driver has no control at all. Most people wouldn't like living that way," says Hatchett. "Just think about having to plan for life where every week is up or down, out of your control, even though you’re working every day. We got to the point where we had such confidence in our HazMat team where we said: 'Okay, we want to take that up and down away as much as possible.'"
The new plan covers more than 1,000 HazMat team drivers currently working for the company.
The new pay package also features guaranteed home time, company-paid HazMat endorsement, an improvement in earned home-time - 2 days earned for 12 worked - and starting pay for new professional trainers increased to 72 cents per mile. The guaranteed home-time policy also pays drivers $100 for each day they are late in being home. In addition, the company also hires individual drivers without their HazMat certification, pays for them to get certified and has an analytic matching program to pair them up with a compatible team driving partner.
How did drivers react to the news? Hatchett says that one of the first comments was, 'I already make over $1000 a week regularly.' Our response was: 'That's a good thing, but this is for that week when you’re in Wyoming, and the weather shuts you down. 'What’d you make that week?' They'd say: 'I made less than $1000.' Right; you had no control.' This is going to make you whole. The same goes for an equipment breakdown. You had not control over that, but we're making you whole.
"The next question from drivers was, 'Is this a draw? Are you just giving me my money early?' No, this is money the company is putting out to make up the difference."Hatchett wants drivers to fully understand the package. "If you make 800 bucks this week and you’re on a $1000 guarantee, here’s $200 extra bucks. If next week, you make $1400, we don’t take that $200 back from you. This is a pure minimum, where we make up the difference."
Adds Hatchett: "Will we roll this out to other drivers? This is our first test, but I think it’s going to become the norm in the industry."