Graphic via Katz, Sapper & Miller

Graphic via Katz, Sapper & Miller

Large carriers lead the trucking industry on several key metrics including per-mile rates, driver retention, and revenue-per-driver, according to a recent survey conducted by transportation consultation firm Katz, Sapper & Miller.

While large carriers had the longest length of haul, averaging 600 miles, they also posted the highest rate-per-mile. Large carriers averaged $2.28 per mile while medium carriers averaged $2.00 per mile and small carriers averaged $1.96.

Large carriers averaged $235,605 of revenue per driver, according the survey, which was more than $10,000 higher than in medium-sized carriers and nearly $25,000 more than in small carriers. The survey also found a correlation in trailer-to-truck ratio that indicated that larger fleets were more successful at using their assets.

In addition to operating more efficiently than smaller carriers, large carriers also had a more diversified revenue stream. While small carriers attributed as much as 63% of revenue to its top five customers, large carriers were much less reliant on top customers, making up only 28% of total revenue.

When it comes to retention, large carriers typically have more driver turnover but that changes after a year, according to the survey. It found that after 12 months, large carriers retain more of their drivers than both medium and small carriers. Without giving specific reasons for the higher retention, the survey found that the average age of tractors at small large fleets tended to be younger than those at medium and small carriers and noted that large carriers have made efforts to increase driver pay.

"The results from this year's survey indicate that large carriers are leading the field in terms of rate per mile, long-term driver retention and revenue per driver," said Tim Almack, partner-in-charge of KSM's Transportation Services Group. "By analyzing the correlations between carrier size and certain performance metrics, our findings provide clues on how the large carriers are mastering the game."

The survey was collected using data from fleets using McLeod LoadMaster Enterprise and represented 51 carriers and over 63,000 trucks. Carriers of all sizes were represented in the survey. Small carriers were considered those with 100 trucks or less, medium carriers had 101-500 trucks, and large carriers had 501 trucks or more. There were 18 small carriers, 21 medium carriers and 12 large carriers included in the survey.

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