Last time, our small but highly qualified panel of truckers looked into the alleged shortage of drivers. This week, they look at the Washington Post headline implying that drivers routinely get $80,000 per year.
Richard: The $80,000 per year in a recent Washington Post headline isn’t common. I looked up Brenny Transportation, the company that said they had many drivers making that much; they haul specialized loads — over-dimensional and other loads that require special treatment — and, it seems, some cross-border flatbed work. In other words, they need the absolute cream of the crop. They’re going to have to pay well for that cream, and sadly it’s getting thinner every year. The part in the article about driver bonuses is similar — the guy didn’t read the fine print. You have to research before signing on the bottom line.
Clint: People ask about pay raises and such… well, this market fluctuates so much that one year as a business owner I will do great and the next, not so much. I have to factor in fuel, tires, maintenance, and other obstacles that might come up. It is a tough lifestyle being away from home most of the time, and when you own your own equipment, you have to spend some of your time at home preparing for your next trip out.
I don’t believe that we are treated as badly as many drivers make it out to be. Some drivers bring their treatment on themselves, with a bad and impatient attitude.
Kari: First, no company worth its weight is going to offer a sign-on bonus. That money will be used for driver retention as in a higher cents-per-mile (cpm), or investing in a 401(K). Some contracts I have seen require you to stay years to be paid the entire sign-on bonus.