Truck driver pay is one of the biggest factors which candidates consider before accepting a trucking job. Carriers are aware of this, and recruiters scramble to offer the best salary they can to their drivers. But the driver pay numbers aren’t the only important thing to consider. Driver compensation rates have actually increased over the last few years. Yet, carriers struggle to retain drivers over the long haul. The truth is, how you pay truck drivers is just as important as how much you pay them. If your truck driver pay process is messy, complicated, and not transparent, drivers will find it difficult to work with you. Here are 3 tips on simplifying truck driver pay.
Tip 1: Clean and Simple
How difficult is it for the average driver to understand your pay rates? Does it require a five-minute explanation with a calculator? If so, you’re making the pay structure too complicated. While there are many factors that determine driver pay, if the process becomes too messy drivers won’t want to deal with it. Similarly, how difficult is it for drivers to actually get that paycheck? Filling out complicated and unnecessary forms is a burden for drivers, who have limited free time as it is. Remember that most salaried employees simply receive a direct deposit in their bank account every 2 weeks or so. Recruiters and managers should aim to make the pay process as simple as that, if possible.
As Einstein once said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
Equally troubling is the hassle of delayed payments. If there are delays in paychecks because of clerical or logistical error, the inconvenience shouldn’t be passed along to the driver. For them, the few days could make the difference between paid and unpaid bills or the purchase of time-sensitive medicine. Do whatever you can to make delayed payments less likely. Updating your pay systems reduces the chances of human error and makes it more likely that payments will be made on time. You don’t want drivers to consider leaving your fleet because every pay period remains uncertain, or they can’t decipher their pay stub.
Tip 2: Load Board Transparency
Drivers get paid based on how many loads they get assigned or agree to take on. Sometimes dispatchers or fleet managers will think that drivers will be happier with their pay if they just took on more loads. Simple, right? While that may be true, think about it from the driver’s perspective for a minute. Often truck drivers may think that other drivers are receiving more or better loads because of favoritism. When was the last time you spoke to a driver who was happy with the loads they receive? There is such a gap between manager perspective and driver perspective on this issue that the only way to bridge it is more transparency.
When it comes to favoritism, perception is more important than reality.
Try to create a system where drivers are fully aware of who has received which loads and when. This helps both drivers and managers. Any unconscious favoritism or bias will be filtered out and less likely to occur. Drivers will also be less likely to perceive favoritism, as you’ve taken steps to counter this. Think of how scientists create double blind studies, or some professors use proctors to grade their exams. Students know that bias is less likely to creep in, so they trust the system more. Similarly, if you create a transparent process on load assignment, you will create perceived equity and fairness in truck driver pay. Drivers are liable to quit because of perceived bias, even if it doesn’t actually exist!
Tip 3: Uncontrollable Factors
Truck drivers make money when they’re being productive driving or loading and unloading freight. However, there are many other things that happen during a driver’s work-day that may affect their productivity or their paycheck. Unnecessary idle time, traffic delays, adverse weather conditions, and human error all reduce truck driver pay. Everyone in the industry knows that these things happen and are usually an unavoidable part of the job. Most of these factors are also out of a driver’s control. Yet, the driver loses time, and possibly pay, because of weather and traffic and that isn’t going to look great to them!
While weather, traffic, and other variables may be out of your control also, they shouldn’t be reflected in driver pay
We know that every carrier’s finances are different, and some can afford more luxuries for their drivers than others. If possible, do whatever you can to not pass the cost on to drivers. It will seriously make driver reconsider their employment. Maybe charge for clients for the unnecessary delays and pass it on to your drivers. A promise of guaranteed payments will ensure that drivers don’t have anxiety over delays. Many carriers provide minimum weekly pay guarantees which remove the stress of worrying about delays that could reduce the paycheck. Don’t worry about free-loaders to the system: there are enough tracking devices and performance measures to ensure that drivers won’t milk the system. Investing in these methods will pay for themselves by reducing turnover.