By Randy Seals, McLeod Software Customer Advocate
There’s at least one trait shared by every successful trucking company—they all do an excellent job of managing their drivers. Driver retention has been and will continue to be a major factor effecting company profitability. As capacity tightens up and CSA regulations have their impact on the driver pool, managing these drivers will become even more critical.
Anyone who’s not convinced about the crucial role driver relations plays in the trucking business should consider these points:
No income is generated until the “big wheels” turn.
Trucking companies rely on people to handle every aspect of the business. There are people in sales, dispatch, accounting, and more, and yes, each job is important. It definitely takes everyone working in tandem to make the business run smoothly. Yet when you assess each contribution, you have to conclude that one job is paramount to the production of corporate revenue and that job is truck driving. This is the activity which “puts bread on the table.” For every 100,000 miles a driver runs, he or she produces approximately $134,000 of income to pay the bills, the wages, and to secure everyone’s future.
Drivers can survive without trucking companies, but trucking companies go out of business without drivers.
The trucking industry’s long history of driver independence is one reason some individuals choose the difficult work of driving a big rig over hundreds of miles week after week for years on end. There’s no question that many drivers prefer to be part of a larger organization, because working for a company can bring benefits of all sorts. At the same time, don’t forget that a single owner-operator can handle his or her own sales, accounting and dispatch, but if a trucking company runs out of drivers, it’s not an option to send salespeople, accountants, or dispatchers out to haul the freight. You have to have trained and qualified professional drivers. There’s no way around it.
Driver turnover is a problem, driver recruitment is expensive, and there is a shortage of good drivers.
Driver turnover is high relative to employee turnover in other industries. There are many reasons for this, but one of them shouldn’t be that trucking companies fail to manage their drivers well. A good deal of work goes into each new driver that comes on board. Some estimates put the cost of replacing one driver at somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000. Currently, all indications are that the driver shortage will get worse before it gets better and the lack of good drivers makes driver recruitment even more expensive.
Stay tuned for our next post where following ten rules can turn your goal of improving driver management into a reality.