Home time vs. pay. For the vast majority of truck drivers, these are the two biggest factors they look at when choosing what carrier to work for. The question is, what do drivers care about more? As you could guess, the answer depends on the individual driver candidate. That being said, there are ways to make your jobs more appealing to drivers, no matter what they find more important. Here’s what to know about home time and pay.
Before all else, comes pay. A carrier can have the best home time and benefits, but they won’t be attracting many drivers if their pay is far below industry averages. And that average isn’t what it used to be.
Due to Covid, stretched supply chains and other factors, many carriers have been steadily raising their driver pay over the past two years. Wal-Mart even announced recently that they would be raising driver pay across the board to between $95,000 and $110,000 annually.
Paying that amount of money may be unrealistic for some carriers, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to hire quality drivers anymore. Offering overtime and detention pay are two smaller ways that carriers can show they’re committed to offering fair compensation without stretching the payroll budget. Referral, safe driving, and delayed sign-on bonuses are other ways to do this as well.
While money means a lot, it’s not always everything to drivers. It’s of course important to offer competitive pay, but recently truck drivers have been citing home time as a bigger priority for them. The Covid pandemic led many people, truck drivers included, to start valuing their home time and free time more and more.
For carriers who only hire local drivers, this isn’t an issue since drivers are home every night. For carriers looking to fill regional and OTR jobs, this new emphasis on increased home time may seem difficult to navigate.
As a carrier, it’s important to make an effort to understand each driver’s home time needs and make efforts to work with them. Instead of enforcing rigid schedules that can’t be adjusted, be flexible in what you offer drivers. Some drivers may prefer to be home 3 days every week, while others may want to be on the road for a full week, then home for a full week.
You may not be able to accommodate every home time request, but listening to your drivers and being open to what they want will take you a long way in recruiting and retaining top talent.
What Can Recruiters Do?
Know your driver candidate. In your first call, have a discussion about what their priorities are for their next position. Some family-oriented drivers may be willing to sacrifice a difference in pay if they’re able to be home an extra night every week. A young single driver may just care about getting the biggest pay package possible. As a recruiter, it’s your job to be aware of these priorities so you can see if they’re a fit for what your company can offer.
Another tip is to never give an answer to a driver when you don’t know the answer yourself. If a driver asks if there’s any wiggle room on the home only two nights a week part of the job, don’t just say “yes” without knowing if that’s true. Inaccurate information from recruiters can lead to frustrated drivers, increased driver turnover, and possibly a poor company reputation.
For the first time in a long time, truck drivers have real control and a lot of choice for who they drive for. For carriers, this means that offering competitive pay packages and flexible home time options is now a necessity if you’re planning on bringing drivers to your organization. But, home time and pay aren’t the only things drivers are worried about. Building a driver-centric company culture where drivers are valued is another great way for your carrier to attract drivers.