What’s the first thing that pops to mind when you think about success in the trucking business?
If you are thinking of finding profitable loads to haul and exceeding your capacity, then you are not alone. The success of many owner-operators and trucking businesses does hinge on finding loads and maintaining the loyalty of profitable customers.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) expects the business and related jobs to grow by 3% through 2029.
Now, as your trucking business grows, your customer network will expand, and your delivery destinations will stack up. The next thing to do is to buy, lease, or rent trucks to grow your trucking business.
But there’s a twist.
You need more qualified drivers to make those timely deliveries, avoid truck accidents, and keep your customers happy.
Here’s the thing, though: In October 2019, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) revealed industry stakeholders ranked driver shortage as the most pressing challenge for the industry for the third year straight.
Source: ATRI 2019
The ATA in its July 2019 report, estimated driver shortage could hit over 105,000 by 2023 if the current trend holds, and up to 160,000 by 2028
Source: American Trucking Association 2019 report
So, the statistics show a concerning trend for growing trucking companies looking for qualified CDL drivers and experienced interstate truck drivers.
So, what is it that’s contributing to the runaway annual truck driver turnovers?
Prevention is a better strategy than cure. And to understand how to handle truck driver shortages in the industry, the smart thing is to start with knowing what’s causing the exodus.
Then you can come up with countermeasures that will help you enjoy a high driver retention rate in 2020 and beyond.
Here are evidence-based causes of truck drivers around the country. We’ve followed the problems with potential solutions for how to solve the truck driver shortage problem for your trucking business in 2020.
1. Truck drivers say they are poorly paid
Drivers leave because they feel they are not compensated for all the work they do.
The American Transportation Research Institute reported in 2019 that inadequate driver compensation was a top concern among truck drivers in the previous year.
Some drivers felt disappointed by promises of making upwards of $55,000 a year but wound up making about $34,000 to $38,500.
Also, many trucking companies pay drivers on a per-mile basis, which drivers say is a raw deal considering time spent in traffic while delivering loads through city streets is not compensated for, and so chops into their compensation.
How to address the pay issue:
2. Some carriers can’t find qualified truck drivers
An interesting finding the ATA revealed in 2015 was that while 88% of fleets said that they did receive enough applications, the applicants were simply not qualified drivers. Getting in touch with experienced truck drivers can be tough if you are not sure where to look. So, what to do?
How to find qualified truck drivers fast, smooth, and reliably:
That way, you can avoid wasting precious time interviewing dozens of unqualified drivers and go straight to hiring proven drivers in as little as a day, not weeks
3. There are much fewer young drivers getting into trucking than older drivers are exiting the industry
The average age of a truck driver in the U.S. is 47 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Many are retiring, but few younger drivers are replacing them.
The ATRI found that young drivers cited a combination of low pay, long hours, and wanting to have time for their young families as reasons for exiting or avoiding the trucking industry altogether.
So, how do you attract young drivers?
You’ll also want to consider hiring more women and qualified drivers from minority groups to increase the pool of talent and experience from which to hire the best long-term drivers for your company.
Long driving hours. Biased dispatchers. Difficult supervisors. Brutal FMSCA regulations, penalties, and fines. Inaccurate GPS directions. Traffic accidents. Tough luck when locating safe and ideal truck parking.
The ATRI found additional more driver issues in 2019:
Truck drivers deal with more than just other motorists and truck routing challenges.
If you can help alleviate some or all of the above challenges, you can attract ideal candidates to drive your business forward.
How to improve truck driver working conditions:
Will taking the recommendations we’ve discussed above help your freight company succeed?
To quote Tim Hindes, co-founder and CEO of StayMetrics, focus on:
“drivers first—not customers, not shareholders. They get taken care of in the end.”
Your award is being able to attract and retain qualified CDL drivers to grow your trucking business.
Having a great team of drivers can mean the following benefits to your trucking company:
Receiving accurate driver feedback to help you foresee problematic areas so you can proactively solve them
These are just a couple of measurable benefits that can positively impact your trucking bottom-line.
The smartest, long-term, and reliable way to beat the truck driver shortage is to focus on improving the factors that promote your drivers’ job satisfaction.
Finding and keeping experienced truck drivers can be the highway to growing your freight business. Truckbook app for IOS or the Android app is helping over 10,000 owner-operators and 5,000 trucking companies to find skilled CDL drivers in one place easily. Download Truckbook today to beat the driver shortage as well.