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Giving drivers what they deserve

Oct 12, 2020 at 08:13 AM CST
+ 2 - 3

Hello everyone,

I have a quick thought experiment I would like to throw out there to see what the EXPERIENCED driver in the community have to say.

We have all seen that there are issues with load pay. It gets brought up all the time. I personally try to look at all angles and take everything on a case by case basis. We have all been on the customer side of things at some point. Wondering why our stuff that we ordered online or wherever hasn't gotten to us yet. I have been around the shippers who are just trying to keep their business going and honestly can't afford to pay the higher rates. And can't get a driver to take the load.

Any one of these could be caused by refusing to do our job as drivers.

Now, what if we didn't have to worry so much about the rates? What if we were actually able to run our business and provide for our family while taking the financial load off the shippers and receivers? It could have a trickle down effect where the costs of products goes down instead of up. Thus allowing everyone else in our country to enjoy a better lifestyle as well.

What I propose is a discount system. Similar to the military. As a former military member I know that there were many times that discount would make a difference. We as drivers are the life blood of the country. If we got treated as such it could have a huge impact. Small percentage discounts on utilities, rent, food, services......

They all add up in savings for you as a driver. If you can save a few hundred or maybe a few thousand a month in just cost of living expenses would you still be bothered by the lower rates? If you could actually afford to operate on $1.05 a mile and your family and lifestyle were not affected would you still turn down the loads?

Now this discount would not be given simply because you drive a truck. It's something that would have to be earned. By a driver's safety score, performance score and experience level.

The longer you safely drive a truck, the better your discounts get till you get to the highest level at which point in theory, you would have a pretty good life.

Anyway, what do you all think? I know it sounds good. I would like real feedback on what you think would make this actually work. Who would be willing to help get this started? It might start slow at first but give it a few years and we might see a whole different industry for the better if we actually do something instead of just complaining about how it's unfair or hard things are right now.

Thank you for your time. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Replied on Mon, Oct 12, 2020 at 09:05 AM CST
+ 5
Good morning Zues.

Just my opinion here, but I don't know any shippers that can't afford to pay freight. That cost is passed along to the customers. Unless my math is wrong, if I hire you to haul 50000 pounds of something for me, and I pay you 4 dollars per loaded mile and its 1000 miles, thats 4000 dollars, and 8 cents per pound of product.

The problem comes in when the shipper is charged 4 dollars per mile and the truck only receives 1.80. Im not blaming brokers alone,, the "driver shortage " myth has people fighting for loads, slashing their way to the bottom, the low rates have driver quality pretty low, which increases dot rules and insurance premiums.

Hopefully my truck is out of the shop today so I can eliminate this boredom and quit running my mouth.
Replied on Mon, Oct 12, 2020 at 12:07 PM CST
- 1
I can agree with your perspective. I am in no way implying that drivers should not get paid well. Like I stated this is just to see what people think of such an idea. In some countries professional athletes are given very comfortable lives as long as they perform adequately. I understand the thought process that shippers seem to have a lot of money and should be able to pay higher rates. But like everything, the business scales. Just because they are shipping a load worth tens of thousands doesn't mean that it is mostly profit. They have operating expenses also. Material, labor, machinery.... So while that extra thousand or so a load doesn't seem like a big deal add up all the loads they send out for the year and that could end up being in the hundreds of thousands extra they have to pay to run their business. There are many areas of the shipping industry that are broken. But we as drivers should not pay the price for that. Our job is to deliver goods in a safe and timely manner. As long as we do our jobs right I feel that there should be a reward for our part in keeping the entire country and in many ways, the world flowing. I also am not saying this should be a government run program. It should be privately ran so as to make sure the drivers actually are getting the lifestyle they deserve with all the sacrifices they make every day.
Replied on Mon, Oct 12, 2020 at 12:59 PM CST
+ 4
Zues, I think you are missing the point im making. Im not saying shippers are loaded, I understand that just because a business cash flows a pile, doesn't mean there's an abundance of cash. Freight is an expense for the shippers, if the shipper isn't passing that expense on to their customers, thats a failure on their part. Its not my problem. From what I've seen, as far as products hauled in a semi, the only thing Americans are paying too much for is cars, clothes and electronics. Passing the freight bill on to the consumer is hardly measurable.

I'm not saying people should take advantage of shippers in any way. Im just saying nobody cared when I was in financial trouble of my own stupidity, why would I lower my rates in order to accommodate someone else's failures? I'm sure someone will try to twist my words into something negative, but the reality is that life gets way easier when people exercise the muscle between the ears and have respect for themselves.

Replied on Mon, Oct 12, 2020 at 03:48 PM CST
- 1

I agree. If an OO isn't going to put in the time and effort to be successful then there would be no reason for them to be part of this program. Maybe I should clarify a bit. The reason I'm looking for feedback is because my wife and I will be starting our own company soon. The overall concept is to be successful ourselves then show others who want to start a business how to be successful by having them work with us. If we are fortunate we would like to also have other successful OO on the team so that anyone can show up and learn any part of the industry they wish while learning from those who have made it work. Our goal is to not have a business for the sake of business but as a platform for others to learn, grow and thrive. But with that we want to start a local program as described to reward those drivers for their hard work and sacrifice. So I'm just wanting to see if something of this nature would be worth the effort put in to make it happen. I'm looking at all angles here. It's a very big intertwined picture and I'm just wanting to know how drivers might react if they were offered something like this.

Replied on Tue, Oct 13, 2020 at 08:03 AM CST
+ 1
We dont need more drivers. We need more people that want to work and make an honest living. I dont see that working because the guy that has high insurance, truck payments, house payments and whatever other expenses his family could wrap up for him. That poor guy is still out there trying his hardest and somebody that's been in trucking for a long time goes and cuts his rate because he dont have the living expenses.
Replied on Tue, Oct 13, 2020 at 08:03 AM CST
+ 1
So your going to get into trucking and show other people how to be successful? Do you even have any experience in trucking? Why would someone work for you, when they can just buy a truck, get their own authority and go right past you to the customers, and eliminate you from the payroll?
Replied on Wed, Oct 14, 2020 at 07:21 AM CST
The low rates have created intense pressure to eliminate cost anywhere you can, and now that includes the middle man in management. In the scenario Zeus laid out, he wanted to have a management job, but there is no longer enough profit for drivers to pay him, so in today’s world of low interest rates, easy finance, and deregulation combined with the help of the internet, drivers just buy their own truck, file a couple hundred dollars worth of paperwork, and go into business, creating more pressure to drive rates down. There are plenty of shippers dealing direct with independent truckers these days, Cargill for example is currently advertising on satellite radio, offering to put you on direct, and take care of all your needs. The trend now is for the drivers to bypass working for carriers or brokers, and go right to the customers.
Replied on Wed, Oct 14, 2020 at 08:17 AM CST
Quote: "I can agree with your perspective. I am in no way implying that drivers should not get paid well. Like I stated this is just to see what people think of such an idea. In some countries professional athletes are given very comfortable lives as long as they perform adequately. I understand the thought process that shippers seem to have a lot of money and should be able to pay higher rates. But like everything, the business scales. Just because they are shipping a load worth tens of thousands doesn't mean that it is mostly profit. They have operating expenses also. Material, labor, machinery.... So while that extra thousand or so a load doesn't seem like a big deal add up all the loads they send out for the year and that could end up being in the hundreds of thousands extra they have to pay to run their business. There are many areas of the shipping industry that are broken. But we as drivers should not pay the price for that. Our job is to deliver goods in a safe and timely manner. As long as we do our jobs right I feel that there should be a reward for our part in keeping the entire country and in many ways, the world flowing. I also am not saying this should be a government run program. It should be privately ran so as to make sure the drivers actually are getting the lifestyle they deserve with all the sacrifices they make every day."

"perform adequately". There is a problem. You except "half-assedness"....

Replied on Wed, Oct 14, 2020 at 12:23 PM CST
ZEUS. We already have a system like you mentioned. Its called truck insurance. Once you perform flawless for a few years your premiums can do a nosedive therefore making it easier for the guy that's been around for a while. On another note do you have any of your special hopper trailers finished yet?