Month: May 2020

Improving Driver Retention

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For carriers, keeping good drivers can be a challenge.  Whether there’s a driver shortage or an abundance of them, trucking companies want to keep drivers who are dependable and are going to stick around.  Carriers need to look for new ways to not only find reliable drivers but also to keep them happy.   Hint:  it’s not just about the money.

The trucking industry has been on a rollercoaster ride with a trucker shortage, massive layoffs, and a pandemic, and that’s just in the last year.  The coronavirus has left carriers and drivers alike closing up shop with their return uncertain.  Drivers who deliver food and essential freight are working overtime while others can’t find any loads.  When the dust has settled on this economic shutdown, drivers everywhere may be scrambling for work, giving carriers a good crop to choose from.

The Money

For most people, money is the most important part of their job.  After all, people need to support themselves.  Offer good pay, benefits, and bonuses.

Give Them Time At Home

If possible, give drivers a schedule that allows time at home.  This is particularly important when recruiting new, young drivers as hours away from home are the main reason that they turn elsewhere for employment.  Life on the road doesn’t appeal to everyone and for people with young children, long hauls are a deal-breaker.  One of the most underutilized groups of drivers are women and looking at ways that drivers can have shorter hauls may open up interest from younger or female drivers.  Many companies are now offering shorter routes and flexible schedules so employees can have more balance between work and home.

Show Them Respect

People want to feel respected.  If you treat drivers with respect and let them know that they are valued members of the company, they’ll take pride in the work they do for you.   Your place of business should be professional and welcoming to both men and women.

Create a Safety-Conscious Environment

Understand the safety concerns of all employees because their safety on the road isn’t just about avoiding accidents.  For women, long hauls are particularly dangerous but there has been much concern with trucks being robbed on the road during the coronavirus shutdown. It’s important that safety procedures are in place to protect drivers on the road. Offer seminars and training on how to stay safe out on the road by carrying pepper spray, parking in well-lit areas and other safety strategies that they may not be aware of.

Create a Team Atmosphere

Creating a team atmosphere makes drivers feel like they’re part of something and may make them want to stay with your company.

High turnover costs carriers money but if it is viewed as a puzzle with many pieces, they can improve driver retention, save money and have happy drivers.

At Direct Freight Services, we help shippers find carriers to bring loads to their destinations.  From short routes to cross-country, Direct Freight gives shippers the tools they need to find reliable truckers to carry the load.  For drivers and carriers, Direct Freight’s database of currently available loads will keep your trucks rolling.  Go to Direct Freight today to find out more about how this vital tool can help you.

Low Rates During the Coronavirus Pandemic Are Hurting Drivers

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On May 1st, a convoy of more than 70 trucks gathered on Constitution Ave. in our nation’s capital to protest the low freight rates that are crippling an industry already damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Rates have fallen to unsustainable lows with truck load rates down from an average of $1.79 per mile in Feb. 2020, to an expected $1.51 in May.  The protesters aren’t asking for changes in the rates but rather, more transparency when it comes to freight brokers.  Drivers have the same overhead they had before the virus hit―truck payments, insurance premiums, fuel costs, repair bills, etc. It is all still there.  Despite the lowered rates, many freight brokers are charging the same commission as before so the protesters are asking for more government regulation.  The drivers are asking that Congress require brokers to provide transparent transaction records upon service completion and eliminate clauses that keep drivers from accessing them.  

There have been some ease of restrictions for drivers who are hauling freight that’s considered essential, the 14-hour limit has been waived so the restriction doesn’t prevent necessities from being delivered quickly, but it’s not enough.  With the closure of bars, restaurants, and many stores, freight isn’t moving like it was before the pandemic so there are fewer available loads and many carriers and drivers, especially smaller operations, are really struggling.  Drivers who can find loads are barely breaking even.  With the major hit to the number of loads, drivers are finding it more difficult to fill deadhead miles and are returning with empty trailers.    For others, it’s more profitable to park their trucks.  

Of course, those who do get loads are opening themselves up to getting the virus.  With so many drivers prone to obesity and who smoke, they may be at greater risk for developing severe symptoms or even dying from the disease. Many owner/operators have chosen to stay home over contracting the virus driving through “hot spots” in states where the virus is more prevalent.  

As we gain control over the virus and the country begins to open up again, there may be lasting damage to the trucking industry.  Even when demand grows in this country, much of the freight comes from overseas, leaving us dependent on the re-opening of other countries so recovery may be slow getting off the ground.  When it does, there’s a real fear that after businesses begin to reopen and the demand for drivers climbs that many drivers will simply not return.  

The protesters in Washington, D.C. are looking for fairness, that if load rates are less during this time, freight broker rates will be less too.  They aren’t looking for Congress to step in and do something about the declining rates because, even with all the punches this virus has inflicted on the trucking industry, there’s still the belief that with recovery of the American people, recovery in the economy, recovery of our nation, will come the recovery of the trucking industry.  

Direct Freight Services is a web-based load board that can make finding profitable loads easier.  It has many helpful features like full credit reports, load filtering, payment expectations, and broker authority information.  Whether accessed online or now through our easy-to-use Direct Freight app, Direct Freight helps you find the right loads. Go to DirectFreight.com and start searching for those high-quality loads today!