OK... HERE'S What I Don't Get! ...

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Marc Lee's Comment
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OK... I get that freight is an expense for shippers... is considered a commodity... is competitive, etc....

I get that recruiters will do what they need to do, as will dispatchers and FM's...

I get that drivers are in demand, yet driver pay seems to be lagging - perhaps a symptom of the greater economical situation: record profits for corporations and stagnant wages for workers...

BUT WHAT I DON'T GET IS WHY ISN'T DRIVER RETENTION A BIGGER PRIORITY THAN IT SEEMS TO BE???

It must cost these companies a small fortune to onboard new drivers. Recruiting, orientation, indoctrination...

It seems that no one is looking at the "big picture".

Perhaps the "best company" to drive for is the one who wants to share in my success. Bring me in, teach me their ways and help me be successful so I have no reason to want to leave. Seems like a win/win.

Is this too much to hope for???

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Keith A.'s Comment
member avatar

I wouldn't call driver pay "lagging" I'm making up to double what my peers are, the ones that went to college at least. As far as retention goes, as I've seen things thus far, the company doesn't want to retain everyone. They want to retain the best. If they don't see or feel they're going to get your best right off the bat they're less likely to give you their best, which can be very good indeed.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Agreed. They want to retain the awesome drivers. My company discounts our health insurance after a year. But other incentives are performance based. Jackets, gold rings diamonds, duffle bags and $50 awards are given in addition to weekly bonuses for safety and on time delivery. We also have probably the most incredible terminals around. we even have a driver advisory board that meets with management to discuss drivers needs.

i have no idea what kind of retention incentives yiu are looking for.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Perhaps they see the "big picture" a little more clearly than you realize.

The carriers are in business to make money, and they clearly have a handle on how to do that. There is no shortage of new drivers coming into the industry. Those new drivers are going to be paid at a starting rate. Paying those drivers twice as much isn't going to prevent them from clipping someone's bumper, or putting it in a ditch, or getting home sick after a month and quitting.

These companies have mastered the art of attracting a steady influx of new drivers, getting their freight moved, retaining the best drivers while purging the worst, and maximizing profits in the process.

I think they got it figured out.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Cold War Surplus's Comment
member avatar

BUT WHAT I DON'T GET IS WHY ISN'T DRIVER RETENTION A BIGGER PRIORITY THAN IT SEEMS TO BE???

There are many factors that contribute to this. Any company has to make hundreds of decisions about how they run that cumulatively add up the experience their stakeholders (employees, customers, shareholders, etc.) has with them. On one end of the spectrum is tech where change is constant and some jobs in organizations are just about managing change. Trucking is definitely on the other end of the spectrum where companies are slow to adopt changes, have no interest in best practices and are much more likely to shrug their shoulders and say, "this is how we've always done it" instead of looking for a better way to do something.

A good example is the empty trailer problem. I've driven 11 hours looking for empty trailers that aren't there for zero pay. To this day it blows my mind that a company can have no clue where their trailers are. More experienced drivers here just shrug their shoulders and say that's the way it's always been and suggest keeping a book of addresses where you find trailers so you don't have to depend on your dispatcher. Meanwhile, Schneider has satellite tracking on their trailers and and app that lets a driver see where empty trailers are on a map. Someone at Schneider figured out that the bill for the satellite tracking and putting the mapping app together was cheaper than the cost in driver time and diesel to have their trucks roaming the earth looking for trailers. Schneider found a better way. Has the industry jumped on board to copy Schneider's best practice? Why not? Is Schneider that much different than their competitors that it makes economic sense for Schneider, but wouldn't for Swift, CRST, etc?

The biggest factor affecting the low wage growth is that the industry is an oligopoly - there is some competition but the large, publicly held companies set the expectations for the industry and they don't want to rock the boat so they are slow to innovate - similar to how the US auto industry was before they saw real competition from Japan. Less specific to our industry, but across the board are activist investors and shareholder lawsuits. Companies are slow to pay their employees more because an investor like Carl Icahn can buy up a bunch of their stock then sue them for not maximizing shareholder value, "wasting money on wages" that could have gone to shareholders instead.

Sadly, until an existential threat hits the industry (a company doing things differently than the rest that can put competitors out of business) don't expect things to change any time soon.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Perhaps the "best company" to drive for is the one who wants to share in my success. Bring me in, teach me their ways and help me be successful so I have no reason to want to leave. Seems like a win/win.

That's one of the many reasons we recommend that new drivers go through Paid CDL Training Programs instead of a Private Truck Driving School. The company is paying for your training up front so they have a vested interest in your success. They also train you on their own equipment and on using their own procedures, so the training is very specific to the job you'll be doing.

You can learn more about it and follow this link to Apply For Paid CDL Training.

What I'd like to know is where did you get the idea that these companies aren't seeing the big picture and that they aren't focused on retaining drivers? The large carriers have been incredibly successful in one of the most hyper-competitive industries on Earth for many decades. They have gigantic fleets of brand new trucks blanketing the nation. Do you think these companies have found that level of success because they're poorly managed, can't see the big picture, and don't take care of their best employees?

Geesh

There is a long list of reasons for driver turnover. What I've always found odd is that you'll see 1,000 surveys that asked drivers why they left their company or their industry, but no one asks the companies for their side of the story. The drivers just cry and complain and blame everyone else for their unhappiness, and yet every one of these large carriers has a long list of million mile superstar drivers who are making top wage, have been with the company for many years, and are thrilled with the job. If the company was a bad place to work you wouldn't have such a huge list of happy, successful drivers making top wage. These drivers can literally go to any trucking company in the nation and get a job today. And yet they stay.

The biggest factor affecting the low wage growth is that the industry is an oligopoly - there is some competition but the large, publicly held companies set the expectations for the industry and they don't want to rock the boat so they are slow to innovate - similar to how the US auto industry was before they saw real competition from Japan. Less specific to our industry, but across the board are activist investors and shareholder lawsuits. Companies are slow to pay their employees more because an investor like Carl Icahn can buy up a bunch of their stock then sue them for not maximizing shareholder value, "wasting money on wages" that could have gone to shareholders instead.

I don't know a kinder, gentler way to say this so I'm just going to say it. This is 100% wrong. Like completely and totally wrong.

There are 1.1 million trucking companies in the nation if you count owner operators, which you of course should. 93% of all of the trucking companies in the nation have fewer than 6 trucks, 97% of the companies in the nation have fewer than 20 trucks. Less than 1 out of every 10,000 companies has more than 1,000 trucks.

So looking at those statistics, how do you come up with the idea that it's an oligopoly?

The reality is quite the opposite in fact. The reason truck wages don't grow more over time is for a few reasons:

1) Trucking is a commodity business. It's all about the lowest price. The price of hauling freight hasn't changed in almost 40 years. Trucking companies were getting the same rate per mile in the 1970's as they often do today.

2) The demand for drivers isn't what the media would have you believe. There's no shortage of people willing to take a shot at trucking. What there's a shortage of is people who can handle the job, will stick around, and can do it at a high level. There's a never-ending stream of new recruits who take a shot at this industry, but 95% of them don't last a year. Trucking is far more difficult and complex than most people would ever imagine. The days are very long, there's a good bit of stress involved, you have to be fiercely independent, you need a high level of ambition, and the time away from home and family is too much for most people to bare. So there isn't a shortage of new recruits, there's a shortage of people who can do this job well. There's a shortage of quality recruits is the reality of it.

3) The job itself is demanding, but at the same time it isn't worth paying a ton of money for someone with good experience. It's worth paying a little more, but not a whole lot more. Why? Because great truck drivers are not game changers the way great athletes, actors, and top executives are so their value doesn't keep going up over time. This is a commodity business. It's all about moving freight as inexpensively as possible. A great driver can't move the freight any cheaper than an average driver, or even a newbie. If all 3 get the freight from point A to point B the experienced driver, who is making the most per mile, is the most costly option, and yet didn't do the job any better than the others. So why would you keep paying someone more and more money when people making far less money can do the job just as well and make the company more profitable at the same time? Simple economics of a commodity business.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Marc Lee wrote:

BUT WHAT I DON'T GET IS WHY ISN'T DRIVER RETENTION A BIGGER PRIORITY THAN IT SEEMS TO BE???

It seems that no one is looking at the "big picture".

Perhaps the "best company" to drive for is the one who wants to share in my success. Bring me in, teach me their ways and help me be successful so I have no reason to want to leave. Seems like a win/win.

Marc; "what I don't get"?

How someone, a total novice can make a feckless claim like you did. Sorry, I know you are new, so no offense, but this kind of nonsense annoys the hell out of me. How did you come to that conclusion?

Reading the Internet of Misinformation ?

Getting Advice from the Wrong People ?

Listening to Terminal Rats ?

Please click-on the above links; read the content and listen to the Podcasts and you will hopefully realize how FALSE and misguided your claim is, on many different levels!

I have been a driver for Swift well over 5 years running NE Regional Walmart Dedicated and have no reason or intention of looking elsewhere. Why? Because I have a great job, working with a great management team, driving top-notch equipment and have more freight to move than hours available. With the healthy pay increase we just received as part of the new contract between Swift and Walmart, plus the associated SLAs; my daily average income will be about $265. A "fantastic day" like the one I had last Saturday? $311.00.

I suggest investing some time looking at the articles in the Trucking Truth blog section, like this one: Working for your Starter Company Beyond the First Year . Marc, please look at the Truthful Big Picture, beyond what you assume to be obvious...the good drivers are definitely retained (of which there are many in this forum). Why? Simply put, because they are hard to find. Focus all of your energy on being one of them, a top performer and you'll never need to worry about the issue that you raised.

Good luck!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Brett absolutely nailed it!

Marc Lee's Comment
member avatar

Thank you all for your replies. I truly appreciate it.

If this truly is a performance-based opportunity I am psyched! I have always been willing to work hard and try to be the best I can be in whatever profession I have found myself over the years.

It took me a while to find my way here. Perhaps I watched too many videos posted by the "wrong" drivers along the way. Example: "No. I AM still at Company A" (My current "first choice/hope"), followed by "Why I left Company A and Company B!"

I just need to focus on the tasks at hand. Everything else should work out fine!

Sorry for any mistaken assumptions!

Brett absolutely nailed it!

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Yeah you weren't here... we are the right place lol

All of us are where we want to be and most for years because of how we are treated, and all at different companies. My supposed starter companies has hallways of plaques of million mile drivers who have been with the company for years. in the picture is just one wall, but we have four or five walls filled with those gold plaques. So the crap about drivers don't stay with companies is a lie. Good drivers find homes. Bad drivers jump.ship.every few.months.

check out these links

Why Im Not Just a Number at My Mega Carrier

The Web of Lies and Misinformation

0070767001533365160.jpg

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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