Did 2013 forever change the way drivers are paid? Performance-based pay making headway

| January 31, 2014
Gordon Klemp told an audience at the ACS/TCA Recruiting and Retention Conference that the driving population is changing, as for the first time in two decades the percentage of drivers that are 65 and older fell in 2013 and they're not being replaced on the other end.
Gordon Klemp told an audience at the ACS/TCA Recruiting and Retention Conference that the driving population is changing, as for the first time in two decades the percentage of drivers that are 65 and older fell in 2013 and they’re not being replaced on the other end.

National Transportation Institute CEO Gordon Klemp set out to answer the question in his general-session presentation to attendees of the ACS/TCA Recruitment and Retention Conference Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. Klemp pointed to a series of indicators as well as more anecdotally established patterns, supported by data, that show an increasing willingness among truckload carriers to give more rein on pay to drivers.

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Chief among Klemp’s supporting data analysis was the fact that “roughly 6 percent of [pay packages in] our database now use some sort of performance-based pay plan,” he said, “characterized by pay that moves in a range driven by performance.” Setting such pay plans off from more traditional “gain share” plans were “feedback systems that provide metrics to the driver,” he added, and make adjustments on as frequent as a monthly basis. Most, however, are quarterly adjustments.

All in all, such plans are win-wins for drivers and carriers with robust communications back and forth between both parties in order that drivers can know where they stand in all aspects affecting pay. “This is really all made possible by being able to communicate enough that the driver knows exactly what’s going to happen to his pay,” Klemp said. “He’s got total control of it. If you engineer it right, the driver wins and the company wins. We don’t know of anyone that’s instituted it and pulled it back. We think we’ll see more of that, and that it could be a big deal in driver pay going forward.”

Capacity in the market continues to be tight, Klemp said, noting 2013 tonnage numbers that rose significantly while overall shipments actually fell. While it would seem good news for rates going forward, Klemp said most analysts project pricing to remain flat through 2014. However, he added, “I’d say that’s a safe guess for an analyst. My guess is if we get good economic growth, we’ll see the spot market go up sharply,” good news for small fleets and owner-operators utilizing brokers.

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Contract-freight rates then would be expected follow that upward in the next round of negotiations.

Fleet size averages remained 10-15 percent off their pre-recession peak, with small fleets gaining some ground in recent times, and per-mile pay in pay packages in all segments continued an upward trend, most significantly in flatbed.

Competition for qualified drivers in the market today has become increasingly heated, Klemp emphasized. He pointed to the prevalence of sign-on bonuses as evidence. Near 60 percent of all van carriers his NTI company tracks were offering sign-on bonuses at the end of last year. Private fleets, likewise, continue to poach for-hire companies’ drivers, offering considerably higher pay, he said, and representing one of many “predators” — regulatory drag, age factors and more — standing to make it harder and harder on hiring for many truckload fleets.

  • norman ott

    in 76 I was making 22% of gross hauling livestock, brought home around 800 a week, I maxed out my SSI the first 8 months. How many do that today?

  • haller

    Truck drivers are not second class citizens, they are third class workers, and they are lucky we ruling class, rich and wealthy take time from our busy day to spit on them… So keep quiet and work for whatever we allow you to have.. You low class workers are lucky we don’t charge you and your simple offspring for the air you breath…

  • Brad

    The pay is definitely lower than years ago, but let’s face it the class of truckers have dropped even faster. Most truckers have brought this low life career on themselves. Just look at any truck stop and see the slobs that get out of the trucks. What a disgrace. It is sad that good drivers get the label that the slobs get. My advise. If you feel you are a class truck driver; find a small company that values your experience and pride. They will hire you and than shortly you can negotiate a better pay. That’s what I did and it works. Don’t show up at some transport company wearing worn out running shoes with no socks and grey track pants and a tee shirt hanging out of your worn out sweats. I now am doing recruiting for this company that hired me and you should see what comes through the doors looking for work.
    And these guys want respect. What a joke. They are overpaid as it is with that presentation.
    TRUCKERS,CLEAN UP! before you ask for more money.

  • ilovdieselsmoke

    every time i see some of these carriers offering or advertising you can make forty to fifty thou per year like that’s an acceptable amount of money i just laugh. the average should be eighty for a good dedicated driver who makes the highway their home. sixty should be the norm for local work. anything less is an insult especially today with the regulations, traffic, prices, and security issues to put up with.. sadly yesterday i saw one of many adds that read make the big money at $.32 cents per mile. the type company that offers poverty wages like these should be among the very first on the list to be investigated by the FMCSA for safety/log/equipment violations. they are bottom feeders with astronomical turnover rates.

  • leo

    brad- a little disrespectful, not all truckers are this way… a pay increase is overdue for us all, but you are right, presenting yourself as a professional is vital to be treated as such.

  • LEO

    haller, you are an idiot. you are either part of the problem, or part of the solution. guess what you are!

  • classic1

    Is sad when our drives clear 1300-2300 a week yet wine if they have to wait 12 hours for the next load, they keep the inside of the trucks nasty, drill holes, and mount items to the dash decreasing the value, but are the first ones to complain if there check is off 10-50 dollars,,, they forget who has to fix the units, who buys the tires they ruin by not checking the pressures…. I see 1 out of 20 drivers worth the amount they are paid….. just saying. Thank you Truck Driving schools

  • haller

    I am reality..

  • idontknowyou

    If you keep smoking that crack you won’t pass your next DOT physical.

  • David

    I agree. The trucker of today gets out of the truck and looks like he is on vacation, or just came out of slobsville. I got out of trucking about 12 years ago and would like to get back into it again but I think I may be too far gone on all the regs, ect.

  • Jim

    I have read some of the comments on here and , for the most part , agree. I have been in this industry as a driver and in safety for 35 yrs . I have seen the good , bad and the very ugly ( currently ) . Drivers: If you claim to be a professional, at least look and act the part. The current pay scale is terrible for what we, the driver, go through. We incur a lot of responsibility , commit an awful lot of time as well as sacrificing home time for basically peanuts. I can remember when you could get a decent breakfast for around five bucks , including tip. That has almost tripled and other expenses have gone up by a multiple of 3 or more and our wages have been stagnant at best.
    Most drivers just want to be fairly compensated for the job they do , including pre-trips, fueling , unloading/loading etc…
    Maybe being compensated by the hour would be much more fair. The industry has changed and the outdated way of compensating drivers should change.

  • bigb

    What company are you with? I want a job where I “clear” $2300 a week.

    I promise you, I won’t “wine” about it.

  • Bossman

    I own 9 trucks and opened my own brokerage office to increase all my drivers pay. I also drive daily. Paying a minimum of 60K up to 80K per year to all my OTR crew. I drive a 10 year old pick up to work and live in a 900 sq ft house (not raking it in). Let me be the first broker/professional driver to be honest——- I bid a fair rate keeping it above $2.00 per mile plus fuel minimum on every load. This is the minimum anyone should haul for today any time any where. If we all stick together we could be making $100,000 each per year. Oh hell no, these IDIOTS give rates of $1.00 to $2.00 all in. WTF how can WE give raises, bonus, incentives. There is no money left at the end of each week when I fight these low life, no good , blood sucking, freight whores. Not to mention all the costs of keeping up with regulations, maintenance, health care, insurance. The whores and the government win, I just about give up

  • John Scott

    I would say that most companies average what every truck needs to make per week or month. I think they have a incentive to pay people more if they stay out longer and therefore make more money. Is staying out longer to make better pay a advantage or reduce quality of life for the driver and make the company more money and simply pay the driver a small percentage of that? Most raises these days seem to be directed not at safety, longevity and loyalty. But at how hard that driver is willing to work and stay out.

  • John Scott

    I have to agree, the dress for success is gone from trucking. You don’t see hard working blue collar, you see low self esteem, lower class people anymore. I know its getting tougher to afford to clean up, some companies limit fuel purchases so free showers don’t get earned and at $10 A shower that’s understandable. But wearing the same cloths for days and simply not trying is making things worse for the image of a truck driver.

  • John Scott

    Yea, you do the math on many of those and you would almost have to live in your truck to make that kind of money. I guess that’s OK if your willing to be a slave to the company. Anyone who actually figures in your gross wages vs hours worked and you find yourself at a minimum wage job for trucking.

  • John Scott

    Bossman I concur with you 100%. The end result is the whole industry has hurt itself with wages and profits. Companies have to learn to value their service correctly and drivers need to stop accepting minimum wage for a profession like truck driving. But you have kids out of trucking school who want to drive new trucks or almost new. Not realizing accepting a older fleet truck could mean more money in pocket. Although these days I am not sure modern trucks are reliable and practical after 500,000 miles. Its definitely a industry that needs to stand up for its service and demand better rates. Giving services away helps nobody.

  • John Scott

    Clearly a lot of drivers today have no ideal how many more miles they have to work to match earnings in those times. Everything was also much cheaper. Fuel, trucks, repairs. No doubt earning potential for anyone in trucking is diminishing.

  • ilovdieselsmoke

    you must be one of the bottom feeding trucking companies running a sweatshop operation on wheels! no trucker would argue that the majority of this industries current wages are ridiculous to expect the type professionalism that is required to properly do a good job out here today in transportation!

  • Matt

    Classic1, The problem is not the driving schools. The problem is management and leadership, not just in your company but the entire industry. I pay my drivers .50/mi and hourly for servicing/maintaining the equipment. Det. pay, stop pay, NYC spiff. $1900/wk is the top average. I run along side these guys every day and they see my truck is impeccable every day. They see my appearance and demeanor is professional at all times. I demand they present the same to our customers and the general public at all times or they will have no job with our team. I have two “school” drivers and two I taught to drive myself. I have five others that either learned from their fathers or military. We all treat the trucks like their own homes and we have no problems. We have the mindset that we are all on stage and in view of the world at all times and we present the best appearance at all times. I respect my team and I keep up my part of our agreement. My team appreciates that and performs the best possible at all times. Leadership by example instills trust, respect and a commitment to excellence.

  • norman ott

    I slip seat for several small companies, no safety directors, I find that I am always busy because the regular drivers don’t show up for work. or are fake sick or some other excuse. When I was younger I always drove the newest equipment and had the better runs because I would go without whining, I knew how to make things work, didn’t need a baby sitter. The new rules have taken away the incentive to do this. use to be the more you worked the more you made. not any more.

  • idontknowyou

    Nah – I just think you drank the Kool-Aid at the Wally World Driving School you went to “Earn $80K a year after you graduate!”. Should have asked someone – oh, and by the way, you can always STAY OUT OF THE TRUCK.

  • http://www.truckertwotimes.com/ Truckertwotimes

    I’m glad to be out of that profession, although it’s what I wanted to do since the 4th grade, I wouldn’t haul a box of apples to the majority of bi-products of sex if they were starving to death such as those that are the majority i.e. “haller” Have Nice Day

  • http://www.truckertwotimes.com/ Truckertwotimes

    You don’t have a driver that clears 1300-2300 a week.

  • http://www.truckertwotimes.com/ Truckertwotimes

    I always dressed clean and drove professional even though I made some funny and crazy videos, everything was clean and professional to the overpopulation bi products that are driving with a me first attitude as well as those that made the me first laws that disrespected and disrespects truck drivers, I miss what it used to be a longgggg time ago, all the good things won’t bring a pay increase no matter what and I am sorry about that.

  • Jim

    Haller, the best part of you was left on your parents mattress!!

  • Freightshaker

    Wait till the ILLEGAL MEXICANS are legalized and then watch what happens to rates. Think its bad now, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Their already tryin to take over dirt hauling. Their trucks are CRAP, most can’t speak english second rate or fake insurance and DOT never bothers them. The worst is coming. Elections have consequenses.

  • jojo

    Per mile pay means the Driver is being paid when driving. Who am I to tell them how to dress or behave when they are not at work!
    The fact that a driver is at work the entire time that they are following the direction of their supervisors is cancelled out by milage pay!
    Bullshit bonuses are a slap in the face to all of us! They deny a driver his due! Pay the driver to do the job expected of them. Expect a driver to be legal then pay him to be legal. MANDATORY BREAKS IN ANY OTHER JOB ARE PAID!! MANDATORY DO NOTHING TIME IN ANY OTHER JOB ARE PAID!!
    $7.25 an hour flat X 24 hours = $174.00 a day. $174.00 X 300 days = $52,200.00. 0 to 100,000 mile drivers should be paid no less than minimum wage for every hour they are AT work!
    Cheap wages allow for CHEAP Freight!
    Milage pay combined with the new HOS has created a hazardous situation for us all! They race the clock to feed their families!!!!
    Treat the Drivers like animals and expect them to behave like businessmen! Are You SERIOUS!!!!
    Pay them like SHARECROPPERS and expect them to represent you in a Dignified MANNER!
    If you want something for nothing then expect NOTHING!!!! When the Driver is being PAID to do the JOB, then and only then should you expect a Job Well Done!!!

  • Tommy T

    Could not agree more. This is why unions are started. Read and study how the Rockefellers and all the other Titans controlled everything. Even the Presidency. Then by chance. Teddy Roosevelt got a chance to change important things to then develop the middle class. Out of 47 years only 13 were in the unions. Not an advocate of them. Something has to happen. When I started driving in the 60’s a grandfather his son and then his grandson. Would all work for the same company. No signs on the back of trucks “Drivers needed”. Companies today have had as much as a 300% turnover and think they are doing great with it down to 125%. Step up change your rates to pay a fair wage with a chance to retire with something other then social security. Or get out of the business and let someone else do it right.

  • Tommy T

    76 everything was regulated. don’t remember if livestock was or not. Produce wasn’t. Guy could afford to work hard and yet get paid a fair wage to take care of his equip. and or replace it. Pay for his kids education and plan on a vacation. Rates on livestock were always bid as a one way haul. Anything else was gravy. Today you better connect the dots. Hope you are loaded all the time.

  • Tommy T

    They weren’t cheaper. There was inflation. That is why they De-Regulated. Just so happened within 5 years wages would catch up and you could get ahead. Look at all the CEO’s and the perks and nothing is being passed on to the Lil worker bee today. They have such a large labor pool to draw from. There will always be some Good ole boy say ” It don’t take much for me to live. I can do it cheaper”. Hell I am a Caucasian that fought these cheap rates. Then you read on here. “The illegal Mexicans took us down or will take us down”. Started with J.B Hunt, then Swift and the rest of these parasites. Hell Hunt was subsidized by our government to get started to throw the rates in the cellar. I am just talking to a screen. Good Luck to those who want to try this mess.

  • KW 57

    With the rise in equipment costs, fuel prices and maintenance drivers are being under paid to the point of slave wages. The major problem is that drivers that are coming in to this country are from other countries! IE: Mexico, Russia, and India. These people live several people to a house and pool their money together so they can live. Major companies are in tune with this and this is who they hire.This way they can under bid the smaller companies, get the contracts, and put the smaller companies out of business. They make more money as they pay their drivers less, and they become the big fish in a small pond. Rail Roads are doing the same thing by capitalizing on the governments mandate of intermodel services. This was to take thousands of trucks off the road. Remember that we are paying up to $4.00 per gallon of diesel, while thru government subsidies the Rail Roads pay less than $1.00 per gallon of the same fuel. Only difference is the rail roads fuel is Red dyed, for off road use, therefore no taxes, plus the government subsidies. Trucks pay more in taxes, more in fees than rail roads and make less money. This guys affects your pay! The rail roads have lobbied and have continued to keep speed limits to 55 in states like Texas, California, Oregon etc. Reason: “RAIL ROADS CAN MOVE MORE FREIGHT FASTER THAN OVER THE ROAD TRUCKS” a major selling point for them! Remember that these are the major reasons we no longer make a respectable wage anymore! Think about this the next time you go to the voting booth! A lot of politicians are taking away your jobs and money thru immigration, higher fuel prices and subsidies!!!

  • Tony J. Brock

    I don’t want you American whiney-asses who want to make great money and do little work all the while complaining. I can get an Eastern European guy who never complains, who will work his ass off, and pay him 30% less than I have to pay you whiney-asses. If you want to stop me from doing this, you have to address immigration. And, nobody, but nobody, has the courage to do that. Nobody. So, I’ll keep hiring the immigrants who work cheaper, and have a real appreciation for freedom.

  • http://www.truckertwotimes.com/ Truckertwotimes

    …NO COMMENT :(

  • jimmy

    I’m a truck driver I can tell you the pay sucks they promise you 40 to 60000 a year You will be lucky to make minimum wage just ask a real truck driver
    Our government need to make them pay by the hour just like any other job in our country then you could make 40 to 60 pre year with the hours your putting in

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