“Being a commercial truck driver is more of a way of life than it is a job,” notes The Advanced Technology Institute (ATI). For most, it is not an easy way of life. Inconsistent pay, being alone on the road for extended periods, heavy paperwork, hazardous traffic and weather conditions, complicated regulations, roadside inspections, and a lack of respect from shippers and receivers are just a start to the list of factors that may drive OTR truckers to seek an alternative career. The good news is you can lift some of the burdens that get in the way of professionals committing to life as a long-haul trucker.

Start Simply

To attract drivers to this unique lifestyle, and more so to your company, start by making it simple for them to apply for a job. It’s not enough to provide an online application process, especially if the application isn’t mobile-friendly and consists of a long form with thorough questions that request too much personal information upfront. Instead of promoting a web site, advertise a text number through which applicants can access a short form that will help determine if the person is qualified for the job. Save requests for personal and sensitive information for further along in the process; this alleviates the time and effort it takes to apply and lets the recruit build trust before divulging private data.

Cover the Basics

Paying your drivers well enables them to focus on doing their jobs without the distraction of worrying about how to pay the bills. Go a step further and provide a weekly or monthly wage minimum; pay for a percentage of the hours they spend delayed by traffic, weather, and detention; offer staggered bonuses; or consider establishing a salary. A consistent paycheck can give drivers even more peace of mind than a higher one. Provide medical benefits and other incentives to assure your drivers’ well-being. Give them a say in their scheduling, making local or shorter routes available and offering paid time off so they have more opportunities to be home.

Equip Well

Safe, well-maintained equipment outfitted with modern technology can make all the difference in keeping drivers from burning out. Establish safety standards for your drivers and vehicles so they can stay on the road with less risk of breakdowns and accidents that prevent them—and you—from earning. Implement fleet tracking solutions that monitor driving habits and vehicle diagnostics so you can uphold safety and ensure productivity. Preventive and predictive maintenance can give drivers peace of mind while improving your bottom line.

Features of a comprehensive GPS tracking system can make drivers’ jobs easier by eliminating the piles of paperwork that often fill their cabs; electronic filing and invoices can reduce errors, streamline operations, and free up workers to focus on driving. Modern applications make daily tasks like scheduling and dispatch easier on everyone involved. Route optimization helps drivers identify the quickest, safest, and most truck-friendly routes to their destinations. Yard-mapping features reduce the stress of docking, while trailer tracking keeps drivers in the loop as to the status of their equipment.

Wait Not

Detention is one of the biggest burdens impacting truck drivers today. Business Insider recently highlighted a study that said almost 63% of truck drivers report waiting at least three hours every time they are at a shipping dock. A study from the American Transportation Research Institute revealed detention has increased in length and frequency; the number of truckers who said they were detained more than 71% of the time increased by nearly 40% from 2014 to last year.

Drivers say they often don’t request detention pay, but it’s a major source of frustration because every hour they wait is a loss of opportunity for income. You can ease this burden by offering detention pay, working with shippers and receivers to address detention issues, and doing what you can to make sure drivers are treated well when picking up and delivering. GPS tracking features equip drivers with details unique to the location, like correct entrances and gate codes. ETA notices, yard mapping, and electronic invoices can be used to improve the interface with shippers and receivers and streamline the process so there’s less waiting.

Uncomplicate Compliance

From HOS regulations to the ELD rule and roadside inspections, you can make life easier for drivers by equipping them with the latest solutions that electronically record and report the correct information to the right people. Doing so relieves workers from the headache of staying on top of evolving rules and regulations, and it reduces the time it takes to keep track of and prove compliance. Time is money for you and your drivers, which makes it a common-sense solution to invest in modern tracking tools that include compliance features.

With the American Trucking Associations currently reporting an 87 percent churn rate in the industry, it pays to make your driver’s lives a little easier. Raising their wages isn’t a bad idea, but make sure to move through the list if you want to stand apart from competitors who are vying for your drivers’ attention.

Read the next article in our Driver Recruitment and Retention series - Home Away From Home: How Vehicle Maintenance Impacts Retention