The past couple of months have seen a flurry of announcements from fleets raising driver pay. But some are trying something a little different than the usual per-mile increases by also addressing some of the personal and human factors behind driver satisfaction.

Deborah Lockridge

Deborah Lockridge

U.S. Xpress is going after team drivers with what it’s calling its TeamMax Bonus program. Current and prospective team drivers will have the chance to earn as much as $50,000 in bonuses and up to four weeks of paid vacation in a single year. On top of the company’s regular benefits package, drivers in the TeamMax program get other perks, such as first priority for the newest trucks and top priority at service centers.

Boyd Bros. Transportation unveiled a new type of truck-driving position to give experienced flatbed drivers a more predictable driving job. As part of the company’s new Mission Fleet for experienced drivers, in this position drivers can earn a $1,300 weekly salary and have guaranteed 48 hours of home time each week between Friday and Sunday. The drivers will use a paid time-off system for sick leave and vacation time based on employment. The carrier will evaluate how well the program works to see if it can expand this type of driving position to more of its fleet.

Nussbaum Transportation has also changed its pay structure to address some issues that are common problems. The company already pays practical miles, but it’s now using a door-to-door miles calculation method rather than a traditional zip-to-zip mileage model. It’s going to pay for all reserved/paid parking, without question, and it’s raising bonus payouts for drivers who reach the Platinum performance level in Nussbaum’s driver scorecard program.

When it comes to retaining drivers, pay is important, but oftentimes even more important are the things you do that make drivers feel valued and respected, as professionals and as human beings. Paying for parking? Drivers get the message that you care about them finding a safe place to rest when their now-mandated electronic logs say they’ve run out of driving hours. Home time is a long-standing complaint among long-haul drivers, and what employee doesn’t appreciate paid time off and vacation?

New equipment is always a welcome perk, but obviously you can’t always give every driver a brand-new truck. What do you do to make sure that trucks are still appealing when reassigned to a different driver?

In a recent post on the Women in Trucking Facebook page, a driver wrote, “We have assigned trucks with my company. A team left and I inherited their truck. It’s a really beautiful truck, 2017. But the people that had it prior to me were heavy smokers! I have scrubbed with a citrus industrial cleaner that is made for these types of situations. Sprayed Febreeze to the extent of fuming myself... and my clothes, hair and skin, still smell! Went through a roll of Scott towels... they were brown in a matter of seconds... the good thing is that the leather is coming back to its original color and feel. What can I do?”

The group offered dozens of suggestions, from changing the cabin air filters and cleaning with vinegar, to commercial odor-elimination products, baking soda, and coffee grounds. But might a better move for a fleet wanting to keep its drivers happy have been to address any issues before reassigning the truck?

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