News Article: Is A Guaranteed Minimum Pay The Solution To The Driver Shortage?

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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In the ongoing effort to alleviate the driver shortage trucking companies are beginning to consider a new strategy to entice new drivers – they are taking a hard look at their reasoning behind sign-on bonuses. They are asking whether they should ditch them entirely in favor of offering guaranteed pay.

This article examines this new train of thought, and takes a look at some of the problems that drivers say they have with the existing sign-on bonus programs.

Is a guaranteed minimum pay the solution to the driver shortage?

Jamie's Comment
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I don't believe it'll resolve the problem, simply because people will always find a reason to quit when the job gets hard. They want to make good money, but they don't want to put in the extra work to accomplish that.

RealDiehl's Comment
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I could see maybe offering minimum pay after a probationary period. Once a driver proves he/she is reliable then the guarantee kicks in. Perhaps other rules such as the guarantee being withheld during a pay period if a driver rejects a load or fails to deliver on time. Otherwise people are going to take advantage of the system.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Perhaps other rules such as the guarantee being withheld during a pay period if a driver rejects a load or fails to deliver on time. Otherwise people are going to take advantage of the system.

Those rules always apply with these minimum pay packages. There are stipulations, like you have to be available for X number of days that week and you can't refuse any loads - that sort of thing. They're acutely aware of the fact that people will game the system if they can.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rainy 's Comment
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There are people with guarantees here who drive certain regions or dedicated routes. Problem is that if you or your student lives outside the area you can wind up making half Hometime weeks can absolutely suck and you sometimes have to time it so you are not spreading home time between two pay periods or 2 weeks will suck.

For example, our pay cutoff is Tues So Mon, Tues, wed , Thurs would ruin 2 weeks, but Sat - Tues ruins only one.

Dedicated Route:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Big T's Comment
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Maybe I'm misreading the article, but they admit that it is the lifestyle not the pay that is the issue.

But despite increased pay and bonuses the driver shortage remains a problem. Industry leaders cite conditions that drivers must work and live under – days and weeks away from home, lack of exercise, nutritional issues, etc.

If that is the case then how is pay the answer?

As is routinely pointed out on this site; the driver shortage isn't a shortage of drivers in general, but a shortage of safe, productive drivers. These are the drivers that find little use for a guaranteed minimum pay because they are usually producing more than the minimum.

It would be helpful to those starting out as they learn the ropes, but at some point the lifestyle issue will trump the pay issue for them as well.

Dm:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
NeeklODN's Comment
member avatar

I believe the lifestyle is the issue for most people. People are so used to their creature comforts. I think a guaranteed pay would persuade people to get into trucking but that doesn't mean they would make it. Money is a huge motivation.

Maybe I'm misreading the article, but they admit that it is the lifestyle not the pay that is the issue.

double-quotes-start.png

But despite increased pay and bonuses the driver shortage remains a problem. Industry leaders cite conditions that drivers must work and live under – days and weeks away from home, lack of exercise, nutritional issues, etc.

double-quotes-end.png

If that is the case then how is pay the answer?

As is routinely pointed out on this site; the driver shortage isn't a shortage of drivers in general, but a shortage of safe, productive drivers. These are the drivers that find little use for a guaranteed minimum pay because they are usually producing more than the minimum.

It would be helpful to those starting out as they learn the ropes, but at some point the lifestyle issue will trump the pay issue for them as well.

Dm:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

The other concern with paying more is that you're going to attract even more of the wrong people, many of which would have never considered trucking otherwise.

Personally I think it's a matter of marketing. To me, trucking was one of the grandest adventures imaginable. It was an amazing lifestyle. It's the perfect job for the right kind of people, but I don't think that gets communicated very well. Back in the day you had all of these crazy trucker movies like Convoy and Smokey And The Bandit that really created a ton of fascination with trucking and inspired a lot of people to go after that type of adventure.

I don't know for sure how you would do it, but there needs to be a massive marketing campaign for the industry as a whole that really gets the message out there about everything the industry has to offer and what an amazing adventure it is.

Unfortunately trucking mostly attracts 40 - 65 year olds who can't find work in their chosen professions anymore and have otherwise run out of good options. They weren't looking for a grand adventure at this point in their lives and their families back home certainly weren't expecting them to go off and live on the road for days or weeks at a time. It just isn't the right job or lifestyle for most people who give it a shot, and those that should be doing it don't see it as an attractive option. The image of the industry has just been so bad for so long.

Trucking pays well, it's a fun adventure, a challenging job, and of course big rigs are the coolest machines on the planet. It has a lot to offer for people who are looking for that kind of thing. There should be a flood of 21 - 35 year old single folk with no families looking for a great career and an exciting life, but there aren't many of those that take a serious look at trucking.

Everyone always says if trucking paid better there wouldn't be a shortage of drivers. I think that's baloney. The pay is super solid. I think there would still be a shortage, and the turnover would get even higher as you bring more and more people into the industry that simply don't belong.

Look at what happens when you offer more pay to be a trainer. You get a ton of people signing up that have no business whatsoever being trainers. They're terrible at it and they're not even interested in being any good at it. They're just trying to make an extra buck.

On the flip side, look at volunteer fire departments. They're filled with some of the hardest working, most caring and devoted people in the world. There is no one I respect more than firemen and EMT's, and they're not even getting paid. But being a fireman is a prestigious profession in the eyes of our society, one that anyone could be proud of. If trucking was the same way you'd have a ton of amazing people signing up. We just need a powerful marketing message to improve the perception of trucking as a career in our society.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
FreakTrain's Comment
member avatar

Something like the old US Navy ads comes to mind: "It's not just a job, it's an adventure!"

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Something like the old US Navy ads comes to mind: "It's not just a job, it's an adventure!"

Exactly!!!!

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