Are You Making the Most of Training CDL Drivers?

Ongoing training is essential in any workplace. The trucking industry is no exception. You work hard to recruit and hire the best team of professional truck drivers you can find. So it’s very important to keep their skills sharp and keep them up-to-date on training requirements. You can offer many types of training, and various methods to conduct the training sessions. The key is to make sure the training sticks and is sustainable. So here are a few ways to be sure you’re making the most of training CDL drivers.

Purpose of the Training

Workplace training isn’t always every employee’s favorite thing to do on the job. Some employees see it as a chore, and some see it as an important benefit of the job. So you want to ensure that you’re providing training for the right reasons. And at the right time. What is the purpose of the training? Why are you offering it now? You need these answers before you start any planning. If you go into planning before you have your needs and goals clearly defined, you might wind up creating confusion in the workplace. If you’ve got these things well thought out, your training will be much more impactful and more well-received.

Types of Training

The Quick Guide to Remote OnboardingThere are several diverse ways you can execute training. You can bring in a trainer and conduct training live and in-person with a large group. In addition, you can offer opportunities for group training online or individualized online training. You want to make sure the delivery matches up well with your driver’s needs and workplace conditions. Find ways to best leverage your current resources to offer training. Training CDL drivers in a group setting might not be very feasible at this time, but online options might be a better fit right now.

Stay Ahead of Needs

Anticipating your long-term training needs and planning accordingly can go a long way to stretch your training budgets and positively impact your business. Pricing for training planned well in advance is usually at a cost savings vs. needing to get a trainer lined-up at the last minute for an emergency session. Your best strategy is to document upcoming needs and plan training out at least a few months in advance. This will help ensure best pricing and no schedule surprises to your team.

Training For the Long Term

When investing in training, it’s important to make sure that you’re setting up a plan for the long term. If you need to bring in resources from the outside to train your team, ensure that you’re appointing team members to become leads for the new training to keep the new learnings alive and well. Be prepared to have these team leads help with training new employees on these topics or reinforcing the training to keep the learning fresh and evergreen within your team.

When you’re working to plan your training for your employees, think about how this will help your overall recruitment and retention plans. Find ways to include topics in training that you can use to clearly showcase why working for your company is a good choice for any candidate to come onboard.

ultimate guide to retaining truck drivers

Ultimate Guide to Retaining Truck Drivers

You work so hard to recruit the best truck drivers for your fleet. The trick is retaining them. This guide is packed with tips for retaining your fleet.

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truck driver mental health

Promoting healthy habits among your fleet is about more than physical health. More and more trucking companies are prioritizing mental health and considering its impact on overall employee well-being. Especially with increased tension due to COVID 19, creating strong connections and policies that support the mental health of truck drivers is critical. Here are a few ways to incorporate healthy structured and unstructured practices in your company.

1. Allow Person and Pet Ride-along Programs

Long hours of solitude on the road can take a toll on drivers. Even for drivers who love the open road, solo driving can make it hard to build and maintain close relationships.

Recruiter Bryce Kjellander at Stevens Trucking shared this about why they offer a pet and rider policy:

“Our pet and rider policies have definitely assisted with driver retention.  In the recruiting office, we hear how certain drivers wouldn’t even entertain driving for a company who didn’t offer both. A majority of our drivers love having the option to have a loved one or pet in the truck with them. In stressful times, both help improve a driver’s mental health, and we are pleased to offer both.”

Offering a partner or pet ride-along program is a great way to support driver mental health. Having a co-pilot can help prevent loneliness, alleviate driver stress, and boost spirits on the road. 

2. Support Regular Food and Exercise Routines

Trucking has been called one of America’s most unhealthy professions. Unfortunately, it’s for good reasons. In a study from the CDC conducted with more than 1,600 long haul truck drivers, 88% of drivers reported having at least one risk factor for chronic disease. Poor physical health can also take a toll on mental health. 

healthy truckerTo support strong mental health in your fleet, support good dietary and exercise habits. Regular, moderately intense exercise can reduce stress and anxiety while also improving sleep. Similarly, a healthy, well-balanced diet and proper hydration are great ways to improve overall driver health. As a company, consider how you can support healthy habits in your fleet. Health coaching, dietary resources, and regular health screenings are all ways to create a culture of physical and mental health in your fleet.

3. Encourage Good Sleep Habits

Whether your fleet is OTR, regional, or local, sleep is a critical part of road safety. Whenever possible, keep driver schedules as consistent as possible. In addition, fleets should consider offering sleep apnea testing as part of health care benefits. According to an FMCSA study, an astounding 28% of commercial drivers suffer from sleep apnea. Untreated sleep apnea can make it difficult for drivers to focus and react quickly on the road.

To put the impact of sleep in perspective, Smart Trucking notes that the impact of driving with less than 8 hours of sleep each night is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol content level of 0.10. 

For OTR drivers, good sleep can be particularly hard to come by. Help your drivers improve their sleep by encouraging them to use blackout curtains in the truck and bring some of the comforts of home in the cab. Some photos or small decorations can go a long way to keeping drivers in a positive mindset.

4. Promote Strong Relationships

Having strong, healthy relationships is closely linked with positive mental health. That extends far beyond the walls of the home. Build a company culture of connection, especially during this time when health concerns are keeping many people apart. Internally, encourage meaningful relationships in structured ways, such as mentor programs. Encourage drivers to be particularly proactive in taking time to connect with loved ones while on the road. Employers can help facilitate strong home relationships by clearly communicating home time to drivers.

Technology can also help play a role in strong relationship building. As a company, take advantage of software that optimizes drivers’ time on the road. Work with your sights set on improving quality of life rather than exclusively raising your bottom line. Drivers will reward you with loyalty and retention.

5. Have Available Resources

One of the best ways to support the mental health of your truck drivers is to be prepared with resources before they are urgently needed. Make sure that counseling and other mental health supports are included in the health insurance plan you offer. Similarly, share information such as national hotlines as part of your driver orientation. Doing so sets a tone that mental health is a priority and helps destigmatize conversations when drivers need them most.

Warning Signs of a Mental Health Crisis

If you start noticing strong behavioral changes in your drivers, it may be a sign of deeper problems. Watch for these common red flags among your drivers:

  1. Quick and strong emotional reactions
  2. Extra tired
  3. Trouble focusing  
  4. Inability to handle daily problems and stress 
  5. Withdrawal from social circles personally and professionally

Especially in times of uncertainty, it’s important to connect with drivers proactively. Even if drivers are initially uncertain or skeptical about taking mental health seriously, provide them with support resources, and encourage drivers to peruse at their own pace. 

ultimate guide to retaining truck drivers

Ultimate Guide to Retaining Truck Drivers

You work so hard to recruit the best truck drivers for your fleet. The trick is retaining them. This guide is packed with tips for retaining your fleet.

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connect drivers

Crafting messages that connect drivers during the time of Coronavirus is a balance of content and delivery. Each time you communicate with your fleet, look for ways to emphasize the value your employees bring. Then, choose the channel that is best suited for the message you are sending. Here are 8 best practices for effectively communicating messages that connect drivers.  

Craft the Message

1. Keep It Positive

Everyone is experiencing the pandemic a little differently, but it’s not easy for anyone. In a June 2020 survey of nearly 250 million American adults, the Household Pulse found a dramatic increase in anxiety, depression, and worry directly correlated to COVID19.  As an employer, you can be confident that at least some of your drivers are among those numbers.

More than ever, this is a time to keep your messaging positive. Recognize quality performance and create opportunities to build c  omradery among your team.

Keep content upbeat and treat drivers with respect. Share company highlights and successes, especially if you can attribute it to the work of your team. Small gestures quickly add up and can make a big impact on drivers.

2. Put People First

National job uncertainty has been a hallmark of 2020. With that in mind, it’s more important than ever to show drivers that you care. Making people a priority is more than a feel-good gesture. In times of economic uncertainty, high driver turnover rates are more costly than ever. Make it a priority to keep drivers that you have and to recruit with retention in mind. To be successful, launch or renew efforts to get driver feedback on what they need. Then, be proactive in implementing changes for their health and wellbeing. 

3. Prioritize Transparency

With information changing so quickly, communicating with transparency requires a delicate balance. The good news is, drivers also know this. Be as accurate as possible, but also honest about the uncertainties you are navigating. Prioritize sharing information with drivers that will affect their jobs or lives. In your communication, be realistic and honest about what your company is and is not able to accommodate. When drivers have questions, listen to understand rather than to respond. Focus on setting appropriate expectations and de-escalating frustration or tension.

4. Be Clear and Consistent

In addition to transparency, consistency is critical during uncertain times. It’s so important that in 2019, Harvard Business Review found that consistency is one of the three key elements of building trust.

In the trucking industry right now, transparency is a way of giving drivers something stable to rely on. Have policies in place for personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitizing resources, and sick days. Unfortunately, no one can control the outcome of this disease or how different economic sectors will respond. That said, veteran and new drivers should know what they can expect from you. Be proactive in communicating measures for their health and safety before it’s an emergency.

Fine Tune Your Message Delivery

5. Give Praise in Public and Private Ways

To connect drivers during Coronavirus, the message delivery is almost as important as the content. To recognize drivers, take a two-fold approach. Be public with praise on social media in addition to internal kudos. Highlight drivers who are doing quality work during this time, and call attention to their hard work! Hero campaigns are a great way to do this. 

Public recognition is most meaningful as a way to connect drivers when it is paired with private or internal recognition as well. Drivers will quickly see through any companies that praise in public and don’t value drivers in private. In addition to external marketing campaigns, take time to reach out to drivers individually. Share your appreciation directly with drivers who are doing good work. Listen for signs of stress and other challenges that drivers are facing. Support drivers in any way you can. Good employees are your most valuable company resource.

6. Sending to One or Many?

There is a lot of information to communicate right now. Within that flood of content, identify dissemination best practices. In short, not every message is for every driver. Some information is best shared with your entire fleet as a bulk message. Other instructions or resources might only be relevant for a subset of individuals or even a single person. Consider carefully who needs to hear which pieces of information before sending anything. 

7. Contact Drivers on Their Terms

Choosing to use the platforms drivers prefer is a form of respect, and it’s good business. Our Drive My Way Driver Happiness and Retention Survey found that 64% of drivers prefer to speak with recruiters by phone with email being the next closest option. Now, other platforms using video calling or other technology may also play a role in training or fleet communication.

64% of drivers prefer to speak with recruiters by phone. Email is the next most popular communication channel.

Choosing to communicate based on drivers’ preferences is a small way to accommodate your drivers and increase job satisfaction. Similarly, reach out to drivers at times that work for them. Attending to details like communication channel and timing turns the driver – manager relationship from a one-way chain of command to a conversation. 

8. Air on the Side of Over-Communicating

hiring truck drivers

Communicating with the mobile, widespread workforce that is truck drivers is no small job. Add to that challenge the flood of information and misinformation that is swirling around Coronavirus. The bottom line? It’s hard to overcommunicate with your fleet right now.

Drivers’ viewpoints are shaped primarily on their day to day experience on the road or hear from other drivers. That may not be the whole picture. Because drivers have often not earned the respect they deserve, some may think they are being singled out unfairly. Take the time to listen to their concerns and empathetically explain any increased regulations and reassure drivers that they are valued as part of your team.

driver happiness and retention survey

FREE SURVEY REPORT

Driver Lifestyle & Job Happiness Survey

We surveyed over 400 CDL truck drivers nationwide to discover what makes them happy in their career and life. Access the survey report to see the results.

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home time

Home time is a very important job benefit to many drivers. Communicating policies clearly sets drivers’ expectations from the start. As with all driver communication, strive for clarity, consistency, and empathy. Set your policies early, but prepare a few flexible solutions for the times when unexpected emergencies arise. Implement these best practices for communicating home time with drivers, and get to know the most frequently asked questions.

1. Give the Details Early

Home time is cited as a top priority for many drivers. In our Drive My Way Driver Happiness Survey, time at home was ranked more important than Bonuses and Benefits, Equipment, and Route/Location among other factors. Only pay and company culture ranked higher when drivers answered what was attractive to them in a job. With that in mind, make sure to list home time in job descriptions.

Allowing drivers to decide right away whether the job is a good fit for them ensures you’ll only interview drivers who are a good fit. 

Home time policies should also come up in a job interview. If drivers don’t ask, be clear in stating your policy, especially if there are any unique elements to it. This is another opportunity to ensure that your recruitment policies prepare you for strong driver retention. Communicating policies early and often helps set a tone of transparency for new drivers.

2. Strive for Consistency

Clear home time policies go a long way with drivers. When possible, follow a clear pattern for days off. For some companies, this will be easy. For others, a consistent schedule simply isn’t practical.

Whether you offer 2 weeks on the road 2 days off or 7 days on 1 day off, be as consistent as possible within your scheduled routes.

Drivers want to know what they can expect and may be planning family events around their time off. Stay as close to their anticipated schedule as you’re able to, and share changes with advance notice. 

3. Put it in Writing

Home time should be clearly stated in the hiring contract. While it may seem unnecessary, putting home time in writing is good protection for both the company and drivers. If your policy is in writing, it ensures consistency among drivers. If you do have different policies for seniority or other factors, make sure that is clearly outlined so there is no favoritism at play. 

Having expectations set in writing also manages company optics. There should be no question about why drivers have different home time policies. Visible policies are good for clarity upfront and protect you if disputes occur later.

4. Be Understanding

Inevitably, drivers will request time off that is different from their standard home time policy. When extenuating circumstances arise, be flexible when you’re able to. Understandably, it’s not always possible to get drivers home immediately. Strong communication is your best asset. In difficult situations, be sympathetic, and use neutral language as you explain the situation. Empathize with the driver and work to identify a solution that works for both parties.

5. Be Prepared for Driver Questions

Home time is very important to most drivers.  Drivers who are willing to be out for weeks may still have obligations at home. They speak highly of companies that recognize this and try hard to get them home when they need it. Because home time is so important, questions are a guarantee.

Here are some of the most common questions that we get at Drive My Way.

  1. Is home time truly guaranteed?
  2. Do I have a say in when I take my time?
  3. Will I work weekends or be off?
  4. Will I be home for my reset? 
  5. Are the home time and mileage really what is listed in the job description or communicated in the interview?

TruckingTruth also shares a few common driver FAQ.

  1. What happens in case of an emergency?
  2. How are loads assigned?
  3. What hours will I work each day?

6. Identify Areas for Flexibility

If drivers stay with your fleet for long enough, they will likely request time at home outside their typical policy at some point. Additionally, new drivers might ask about for more time at home in a hiring interview. Before those conversations arise, consider how you can offer flexibility in a way that works with you.

One option is to offer a take your truck home program. If drivers don’t have to add the extra miles to and from a terminal, that means more time with their loved ones. Another option is to offer an emergency policy. Drivers might be granted a minimal, set number of days to use in case of personal emergencies. Partner or pet ride-along programs also offer drivers similar benefits while keeping them on the road.

driver happiness and retention survey

FREE SURVEY REPORT

Driver Lifestyle & Job Happiness Survey

We surveyed over 400 CDL truck drivers nationwide to discover what makes them happy in their career and life. Access the survey report to see the results.

Get the Results

driver care

Let’s call a spade a spade. 2020 has been a year full of surprises and challenges. As an employer in the trucking industry, you may have a front-row seat to the hardships of Coronavirus. As you’re navigating these uncharted waters, be proactive in reaching out to your entire staff. This is not business as usual, and silence will be noticed. Take this opportunity to firmly demonstrate that your company cares about drivers. Focus on driver care, and you will build positive, lasting relationships for years to come. Here are just a few ways to show employees that you value them as people as well as for their work. 

1. Clear Communication

Be transparent and proactive with driver communication. It is one of the best ways to demonstrate driver care during COVID-19. Good communication is increasingly important because face-to-face interactions are scarce and can be hard to facilitate.

As you navigate the many transitions of this year, integrate driver check-ins as a regular priority. Ask drivers what form of communication works best for them.

While you may prefer emails, your drivers may feel more connected through phone calls, video calls, or texts. Show them you care by reaching out in the way they prefer, even if it’s not your most natural communication channel. 

2. Truck Sanitation

mask

As essential workers, truck drivers are keeping our country moving. As a fleet manager, you know that keeping drivers safe and healthy needs to be top of mind. Even as other industries slowly reopen and stay at home orders are lifted, the danger is not gone. Make a plan for sanitizing fleet equipment. 

If you haven’t already, consider sending drivers out with the resources they need for their day to day work. Masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes go a long way toward making drivers more comfortable. Regardless of what you decide, clearly communicate with drivers what you are doing and your expectations for them. If you ask drivers to bring their own supplies, consider reimbursing their purchases. 

3. Mental Health

A life on the road has its fair share of loneliness for anyone, but COVID-19 adds unique stress. Often, drivers are working increased hours or are completing more runs. The pressure for on-time deliveries is high. In addition, many drivers are deeply concerned with the well-being of their loved ones.

The same home time that is often a relief may be equally or more stressful than being on the road.

As a result, even when they come home after a few days or weeks on the road, family time may be very different. Some drivers intentionally quarantine themselves when home to reduce the risk of spread. As you check-in with drivers, provide them with resources to help connect with spouses, children, and friends. 

4. Company Culture

Perhaps ironically, challenging times often provide the clearest moments for demonstrating strong company culture. Focusing on driver care helps build relationships throughout your organization. It’s also an effort that will leave a lasting impression on your drivers. Treat them well, and you will reap the benefits for years. 

Drive My Way feature of Driver Dee from Prime Inc.

There are both public and private ways to prioritize driver care. In the public eye, use this opportunity to visibly thank and showcase drivers. If you maintain social media accounts or share a regular newsletter, use your platform to elevate drivers. Trucking is often a thankless job. Even though many Americans are now publicly thanking drivers, company recognition goes a long way. Consider launching a driver showcase series where you spotlight one stand-out driver each week. Then, you’re boosting morale and offering other drivers a model of what a top employee looks like. 

Private appreciation of drivers can take many forms. In addition to your regular driver check-ins, consider writing short, personalized notes. Alternately, pack lunch bags or coolers for drivers. It’s no secret that a healthy life on the road is harder than ever right now.

Sending drivers with a cooler shows that you care and you understand their challenges. If you’re not sure where to start, ask for feedback. Most drivers are all too happy to share their suggestions for improvement. Are drivers happy with how communication and health concerns are handled? Thoughtfully consider the suggestions that are offered. Then, choose a few to implement as soon as possible. Being responsive to driver questions and concerns is a form of driver appreciation.

The Long and the Short Of It

As we move into the second half of 2020, experts forecast that companies should prepare for the continued effects of  COVID-19. Now, you have time on your side. A focus on driver care necessitates both short and long term planning. In addition to your ongoing efforts to support drivers now, start developing a relief plan for the future. Consider, what would you have done differently this spring if you had been given 4 months warning? Take advantage of your experience this spring and develop a plan to sustain your company and support drivers in the event of a second wave.

quick-guide-to-remote-onboarding-truck-drivers

FREE QUICK GUIDE

Remote Onboarding for Truck Drivers

Is remote onboarding the new normal in trucking? This quick guide is packed with tips to get you started or help you optimize your current remote onboarding process.

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Total Compensation for Drivers: Communicating Effectively

Job offers that are limited to salary and health benefits tell a partial story. If you have great perks, equipment, or company culture, don’t miss a chance to talk about it! Total Compensation statements are a great way to showcase all of the direct and indirect compensation benefits you are offering to truck drivers. They won’t make up for bad pay, but they are a good way to highlight all of the assets you have to offer. In short, a total compensation package accounts for the complete pay package awarded to employees on an annual basis.

Direct compensation is the money that is paid directly to an employee. It typically includes base salary and incentive pay. On the other hand, indirect compensation accounts for all of the compensation that is not paid directly to the employee. Healthcare, retirement benefits, fuel perks, and continuing education opportunities are just a few examples of indirect compensation.

When talking to a candidate, share both the direct and indirect compensation to effectively communicate what you have to offer.

Typically, the more detail you’re able to give, the more beneficial the statement will be. Here are several common assets to include in a total compensation package.

Direct Compensation

Direct Compensation is divided into two main categories⁠—base pay and bonuses. These are the most common forms of compensation that come to mind for most people.

Base Pay

Whether you state base pay as an hourly rate or annual salary, be clear about your offering. At a minimum, include how much can drivers expect, the anticipated hours or miles, and how frequently they will get paid. If your company offers a per diem rate, this can also be included.

Bonuses

Clarify the potential for driver bonuses from the start. A few of the most common are safety, sign-on, performance, retention, and referral bonuses. Consider sharing the average amount that drivers receive from bonuses in addition to the top amount. By sharing both, drivers have realistic expectations (boosting driver satisfaction and retention) and a goal to strive for.

Indirect Compensation

Indirect compensation includes a very broad range of offerings. Most companies offer several forms of indirect compensation, but may not discuss it in their job offer. That’s a missed opportunity! Let drivers know about all of the benefits you’re providing them. While it may not come as money in the pocket, indirect compensation can be significant financial assets. Drivers who are a good fit for your fleet will value the benefits your company provides.

Health and Wellness

Medical benefits, life insurance, retirement benefits, and disability insurance are all common forms of health and wellness benefits. Nearly all fleets offer basic healthcare, and many go above and beyond. This section should communicate when benefits start as well as the details of each package. If you offer a 401K match, that’s another great asset to include in this section. Even perks like a gym membership allowance or smoking cessation programs can be included here. Drivers love to see that you are prioritizing their health by supporting their healthy habits. 

Days off

Paid time off and vacation days are another form of indirect compensation that drivers value highly. If you are offering any additional sick days or benefits for drivers who get sick with COVID-19, make sure your total compensation package includes that time. In addition, always include the anticipated schedule for home time in a job description or compensation package. 

Continued Education

Learning and development offerings are a wealth of opportunities for drivers. Many potential employees will be particularly excited to find a company that supports their professional growth. Whether you offer compensation for educational assistance programs or regularly facilitate career advancement opportunities, these are a form of indirect compensation. Not all drivers will take advantage of continued education opportunities, but those who do will be highly appreciative. 

Perks

Once you have covered the big benefits like health insurance and PTO, it might be easy to overlook smaller perks, but they add up! Perks can help drivers with big expenses such as relocation benefits or maintenance benefits. They might also defray the cost of smaller, regular expenses such as highway tolls, or gas. If you offer an EZ Pass or a Fuel Card, list it in your total compensation package.

Highlight Non-Financial Incentives

When asked, drivers revealed that there are consistently two top factors that determine whether they are looking for a new job: pay and company culture. Company leadership and culture are difficult to equate to a compensation amount. That said, they are no less important to driver recruitment and retention. If you prioritize a family-like culture or are very safety-minded, it’s appropriate to include this in your total compensation package. 

Foodliner, Inc. is one of the largest bulk food carriers in the country and a Transport Topic Top 100 carrier. They make a point to highlight company culture in their job descriptions. We spoke with Tim Yochum, Foodliner’s Director of Recruiting, and this is what he shared:

“The culture of a family owned business that values their people, treats them with respect, and works well together as a team is what makes us successful and provides a more positive experience for the driver. We have late model equipment, high quality shops, and a great customer base, but in the end it is people that make it all work.”

Similarly, quality equipment is a high priority for most drivers and can be included. Consider adding the year and type of truck as well as whether it is manual or automatic. Then, highlight any additions to the cab. If you provide a fridge, microwave, Sirius XM radio, or allow ride-along programs, share it in your total compensation package. To recruit drivers, there are also other attractive non-financial incentives that you can implement.

Communicating Total Compensation Effectively

After you have clarified exactly what your company is able to offer potential candidates, start drafting the total compensation statement. Ultimately, you’re looking for good hires and strong retention. Tim Yochum shares why he prioritizes transparency at Foodliner:

“We list non-monetary compensation in our job postings and if a candidate contacts us we are very open to providing the details of the compensation so they understand how this can affect their total compensation package. Honesty up front verses a surprise later is what we feel candidates value and appreciate. We feel that if the only reason you take a job is the money, then that will eventually be the reason you leave the job. We want the candidate to understand how the total package affects them and their family.”

Give as much detail as you are able to clearly share. It’s important for drivers to have all of the necessary information to make a decision. Even if drivers decline the job offer, that is a better outcome than hiring drivers with misleading information. If drivers feel like they have been intentionally deceived, they are more likely to quit and will have a poor impression of the company. There should be no hidden surprises. Clear communication that highlights everything you have to offer is the best approach to a total compensation package.

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lease purchase trucking company

Recruiters work hard to find the best candidates for their open jobs. Using all available resources, recruiters need to need to differentiate their job postings from others that might be very similar. So it’s important to find out what your potential drivers are looking for in a new job and what can help your company stand out from the others. In some cases, it takes more than just switching up your recruiting tactics. Sometimes it means adding a new lane to your business strategy. Perhaps becoming a lease purchase company is something worthwhile to attract new drivers?

The Basics

Many CDL drivers are looking to advance their careers by owning their own trucks. Often, these drivers need some support with buying the truck in the first place. However, this is a big step for a driver and requires a significant financial investment up-front. Lease purchase agreements can be a great solution! If your company owns a number of trucks and is willing to get into the business of selling them through lease payments to drivers, this model might work for you. And if so, this is where you start setting up your strategy to enter this new aspect of your business.

This type of arrangement can bring in new leads for your recruiting efforts, as many drivers are interested in becoming an owner operator someday.

But it also adds a level of complexity to your business. It’s essentially having a small business within a business, as the drivers are seeking to become their own company with its own vehicle.

Rules and Regulations

Becoming a lease purchase company requires a carrier to follow a set of federal guidelines that spell out all of the considerations of leasing. These rules inform all aspects of the leasing agreements. When drawing up all the various policies, paperwork, and contracts needed to lease trucks to your drivers, it’s important to understand the regulations that come with these transactions.

Transparency

lease purchase agreementThere are plenty of opportunities to market that your company is a lease purchase trucking company. As mentioned earlier, it’s a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition. And unfortunately, it is also potentially an opportunity for carriers to put out deceptive marketing messages—ones that might make it seem that it’s an easy way for a driver to become an owner.

The federal truth in leasing laws have been put in place to protect drivers and carriers entering into a lease agreement. These laws ensure transparency on all aspects of the lease.

These regulations ensure that nobody is less than transparent when it comes to these types of purchase agreements. So be sure to be clear and forthcoming on every aspect of the deal. That includes the terms, the payment schedules and all of the specific details of the lease. This will help you avoid any confusion later, or worse, lawsuits.

Risk

There is a level of risk associated with becoming a lease purchase trucking company. There’s always a hope that everything goes right, but sometimes things do go wrong.

All of the deal points of the lease agreement can be as specific as possible, and everyone can enter into the agreement hoping things run smoothly. But, that’s unfortunately not always the case.

The driver might not be able to keep up with the payments, and then they’re put in a position of needing to reclaim the truck. Additionally, the driver might unfortunately have an accident with the truck while it’s still under lease and not fully owned. This has implications on the lease company as well, if the driver can’t cover the costs to repair. Throughout the lease period, the carrier has an interest that the proper insurance and maintenance is being done on the leased vehicle.

Do Your Homework

Knowing what your potential drivers are looking for, helps you develop the best set of tools to recruit the best candidates. As your company grows and expands your recruitment efforts, consider looking into becoming a lease purchase trucking company. This can bring in new leads to your hiring office, and new revenue streams to benefit your bottom line. But it is also a complex business, with a decent amount of risk involved. As with most things, it’s good to do your homework to make sure you make the right decision.

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

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How to Boost Driver Retention with What You Already Have

Trucking companies are in competition every day for the best drivers. Recruiters work hard to find the best fit drivers for their current and long-term needs. Once these drivers are onboard and driving, you still need to work to keep your driver retention rates high. Otherwise, you will be constantly cycling through the hiring process. You want your drivers to stay with you, and need to work to keep them. So when it comes to keeping good drivers, let’s explore how to boost driver retention with what you already have as assets to your driver strategy.

Company Culture

Every company has a culture, and it could be either your best asset or your worst enemy. One thing any recruiter needs to be aware of is the general perception of what it’s like to work for your company. If you’ve got satisfied and productive drivers, your company culture is an attractive value proposition when recruiting new drivers. And a strength that you should leverage when recruiting and onboarding your drivers.

Drivers will look for jobs where they find personal fulfillment and a sense of belonging, not just simple job satisfaction. Soliciting and acting on driver feedback signals to drivers that they can call your company home.

However, if you’ve got disgruntled employees and corresponding high turnover rates, it’s time for change. You need to do some hard work to fix the internal issues causing the problems. Take the steps needed to build a driver-centric culture. Your current employees and new hires will stay longer, improving your driver retention over the long run.

Driver Testimonials

Current driver testimonials are a powerful tool in recruiting for retention. Who better to tell a prospect about why a driver would want to work for your company, than a current driver? Sometimes the most sophisticated marketing tools for recruitment can’t compete with a simple, honest and authentic testimonial from a driver who loves their job. So use these to your best advantage!

Drivers looking for work, often ask around their peers for leads and opportunities to apply for driving jobs. Having a few good testimonials to leverage in your marketing channels is a fantastic way to recruit for drivers that will best fit your company culture for the long-term.

And when hiring for a best fit from the beginning, it also helps with driver retention once hired. Having your current drivers be a marketing asset for your company is a great way to make current employees feel even more valued. It shows that you’re proud of the work that they’re doing, and gives them even bigger feeling of belonging vs. just punching a timecard.

Flexibility

Flexibility is a major strength in any good recruitment and retention strategy. Keeping things personal in this process, means being flexible. Listening to what your candidates need in order to join your team vs. another, is extremely important. Candidates have a lot of questions for any recruiter. Are you ready to answer them for each candidate?

The more you can tailor the experience to each individual, gives you the best advantage for signing the best drivers. And signing them quickly.

Once new drivers are hired in, staying flexible to meet their needs help keep these drivers as happy and engaged employees.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your hiring process and start hiring for retention, Drive My Way can help!

ultimate guide to retaining truck drivers

Ultimate Guide to Retaining Truck Drivers

You work so hard to recruit the best truck drivers for your fleet. The trick is retaining them. This guide is packed with tips for retaining your fleet.

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team drivers

Is there a clear benefit to team truck driving? With regulations on the number of hours an individual driver can run, it sounds like it should be a simple answer. Two drivers in one truck can turn more miles in less time than one driver. And therefore, they can get more work done for you. But is it really that easy when it comes to team drivers? For a recruiter, here are 3 benefits of hiring a team.

1. Offer Above Average Pay

When deliveries need to go a long distance in the shortest amount of time, your buyers will pay a premium for that service. And those premiums can be distributed down to the team drivers that make it happen.

When hiring team drivers, you can let your drivers know that there’s a financial incentive for the jobs that you’re filling.

Each driver on the team usually will make a higher average salary than if they drove alone.  And if they’re willing to put in the work, you’re willing to compensate drivers accordingly.

2. Driver Safety & Health

You want to hire drivers who do whatever it takes to get the job done, safely. Without someone keeping a driver in check, this could lead to driver(s) pushing past their physical limits or even considering taking shortcuts that might risk their safety.

When there’s another driver in the cab, there’s always a back-up ready to go when one driver gets too tired or isn’t feeling well.

Drivers know that they can count on their teammate. And that’s there’s safety in numbers. By using team drivers, you can potentially provide that built-in double check for your drivers.

3. Companionship

No matter how your individual internal teams are determined, compatibility is the key to success when it come to team drivers. With teams, they can provide each other the one thing that a solo driver can’t avoid: hours and hours of being alone on the road. When hiring for retention, hiring team drivers vs solo drivers is an important tactic. Employing drivers who are a part of team and can potentially do double-duty over the road is key to a successful team strategy over the road. Having the right partner is key.

Bonus: What to Evaluate When Assigning Partners

Here are key things to evaluate when assigning team partners.

 

For carriers that need long-haul runs, in very short amounts of time, hiring a team is a great opportunity to meet these needs. There’s a number of options for team drivers, and it’s worth looking into when optimizing your driver fleets. Having two drivers to do the work of one driver, could be a good solution when rounding out your team. Every carrier is looking to maximize the return of time and effort put into developing their drivers. Leveraging team drivers is a great way to do that.

ultimate guide to truck driver recruiting

Ultimate Guide to Truck Driver Recruiting

Current ways of recruiting truck drivers just don’t work anymore. That’s because recruiting isn’t a transaction. This ultimate guide helps carriers recruit for retention.

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3 Important Ways the Coronavirus Impacts the Trucking Industry

The Coronavirus may be the most talked about and least expected economic trend of the first half of 2020. Airborne diseases like influenza are common this time of year, but Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is raising concerns because of the rapid rate of infection. A full understanding of how the Coronavirus impacts the trucking industry remains largely unknown. Most companies will soon feel the impact. That may come either directly through their supply chain or through indirect economic ripples. 

As we move into mid-March, the rate of infection in the epicenter, located in Hubei Province, China has slowed. Despite that, reports of Coronavirus cases internationally, including in the United States, are increasing. To date, 423 cases have been identified in the United States with 19 deaths reported. The majority of these cases are concentrated near coastal states and shipping ports. 

Short Term Outlook: Global Supply Chain Disruptions

The global impact of the coronavirus is already evident domestically. For instance, late February marked one of Wall Street’s worst weeks ever. The automotive, technology, and medical industries are seeing some of the earliest impacts. Unsurprisingly, this can be traced to the importance of Chinese manufacturing in their supply chains. 

In August 2019, President Trump issued an order for US companies to diversify supply chains. Despite that, the reality is that many US Companies have global supply chains with a strong presence in China. Based on a study conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, 87% of companies operating in China expect the coronavirus to impact 2020 revenues. Already, the freight industry is working to stabilize against the reduced port activity. Recent weeks have seen an increased supply from Mexico.  In addition, a $225 Million grant was recently made available by the US Department of Transportation.  

Global Supply Chains in the Trucking Industry

shipping containers in port

The full impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on freight carriers who are part of a global supply chain will not clarify for weeks and even months to come. At the end of the day, the nature of the freight you carry will determine how COVID19 will most strongly affect your company. For example, carriers in technology or medical supplies may already be experiencing the impact. Sluggish import activity may be slowing loads out of port cities. Other carriers may experience a delayed impact.

Unmet Q1 manufacturing targets, lethargic return to production, and continued global virus outbreak all contribute to delays. Many Chinese manufacturing companies are returning to production. However, facilities are operating at reduced capacity as workers slowly return to work. As you know, ground transport typically makes up one of the final processes in supply chains. As a result, employers can expect the effects of the coronavirus to continue well into Q2 and Q3 2020.

Long Term Outlook

The number of ways the Coronavirus impacts the trucking industry is largely dependent on how quickly cases continue to spread globally over the coming weeks. For example, if the rate of infection slows, economic growth is expected to recover fairly quickly with a strong rebound in the second half of the year. Delayed shipments in Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 of 2020 may invigorate sluggish freight markets in Quarter 3 and Quarter 4 of this year. In short, this uptick anticipates increased port activity to compensate for the current delayed shipment rate. On the other hand, a slow response to virus containment will bring more lasting challenges to the freight industry. 

Ripple Effects

placing money in piggy bankFor companies with a domestic supply chain, the effects of the Coronavirus will be less immediately obvious. That said, they are no less important. National and international markets already are reacting to the pandemic. As a result, we may see economic instability increase in response to the uncertainty. As this reaches individual consumers, demand for non-essential goods may decrease shipping demand.

Drivers may also feel ripple effects from the outbreak in parallel industries such as oil and gas. In the near term, gas prices may remain low due to reduced export to and demand from China. Low gas prices will benefit freight in the short term. But, a prolonged imbalance may contribute to long term economic instability.

Protect the Health of Your Employees and Company

Currently, the Coronavirus has had very limited spread in the United States. Unsurprisingly, health officials caution that the illness may become more widespread in the United States in the coming weeks.  Prioritize your health, the health of your employees, and the health of your company. In addition, take measures now to reduce how the coronavirus impacts your company. Each company’s actions can also change how coronavirus impacts the trucking industry at large. There are several common sense measures promoted by the CDC. You can implement these measures immediately to reduce any risk of infection. 

    1. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently
    2. Watch for symptoms in yourself and your loved ones 
    3. Reach out to a medical professional with any concerns
    4. Stay home when you’re sick and encourage your employees to do the same
    5. Consider offering a few extra days of paid sick leave to allow employees to prioritize their health

The health of your company is closely tied with the health of your drivers.  Consider, you may be able to weather a mild driver shortage due to illness without lasting impact. This is more serious. Quick recoveries are critical to long term company health. Ensuring that drivers are able to take the necessary paid sick days will reduce their exposure to other drivers and will help them quickly return to work.

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