Personal touch

Sept. 3, 2015
Paying attention to driver needs keeps seats filled

Last month, I showcased the first of two small trucking companies that faced similar driver turnover challenges. Although the companies approached the challenges differently, both successfully maintained a turnover of less than 10% for the past four years. Now let’s look at Carrier Two this month.

Carrier Two, which owns 30 trailers, has 12 trucks, four lease operators, five company drivers, two part-time drivers, and an owner who is a driver as well.  One of the full-time company drivers picks up full trailers to be staged at the carrier’s facility for OTR and delivers empty trailers to customers for loading. Part-time drivers fill in for both OTR company drivers and the local driver for their extra time off as needed. They also deliver a loaded trailer brought in by leased OTR drivers, so the OTR trucker can hook to another outbound trailer. This keeps OTR drivers rolling and earning.

Every driver is guaranteed to be in for two days each weekend. If they need to stay out due to unexpected circumstances, they are paid $400 in addition to their regular pay.

The owner covers loads in emergency situations for his customers. A fifth wheel tow hook is used to get a spare tractor to a driver whose vehicle has broken down. It is also used to transport the disabled truck back to the shop to be repaired, saving the lease driver or the company an OTR repair. By focusing on maximizing revenue over time instead of miles, the owner makes sure all of his truckers have plenty of hours available. This gives drivers plenty of time to accomplish their pickups/deliveries with the greatest amount of earnings.

In the past four years, turnover has been less than one driver per year. The owner’s primary goal is to find the perfect match for the operation, so there is never a rush to replace a driver.

The owner works closely with each of his truckers to determine their vacation time each year, and schedules driver time around special family events so drivers don’t miss out on important activities with their families.

This operation is a family-owned and -operated trucking company; two of the owner’s brothers work as mechanics and another works dispatch and safety.

The carrier featured in last month’s article hired lease operators from the destinations of outbound freight. This trucking company owner hires from within a 100-mi. radius of his domicile/office. 

Each operation achieves a very low turnover. The secret to their successes? Both companies provide their drivers with what’s most important to them and their families, i.e., regularly scheduled home time and fair and reasonable compensation for their time, both driving and sitting. Both companies make sure their truckers are home for once-in-a-lifetime family events, yet still earn what they need to take care of their families.

That’s what keeps all their drivers from jumping ship.

Contact Tim Brady at 731-749-8567 or at www.timothybrady.com

About the Author

Timothy Brady

Timothy Brady is an author, columnist, speaker and business coach who provides information, training and educational presentations for small to large trucking companies, logistics organizations and community groups. He’s the business editor for American Trucker Magazine, the “Answer Guy” for trucking education website TruckersU.com, an author and business editor for Write Up The Road Publishing & Media and freelance journalist. An expert in crafting solutions to industry challenges after 25 years in trucking, Brady’s held positions from company driver to owner-operator to small trucking business owner. Along with sales and business management, he has a well-rounded wealth of experience and knowledge.

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