Hiring Truck Drivers: When to Hire, Fire and Invest

At this time of industry growth and driver shortages, it has never been more important for small trucking companies to efficiently handle their staffing requirements.

Hiring truck drivers for small companies is not the easiest process. With the current truck driver shortage across the industry, just trying to find a truck driver who’s qualified and experienced is a challenge in itself. According to the American Trucking Associations, 88 percent of carriers said that the majority of applicants were simply not qualified for the position.

When it comes to knowing how to run a trucking business, being able to find the right driver is the key to success.

Finding Truck Drivers

Although there is a shortage of truck drivers, small trucking companies shouldn’t hire just anyone. Particularly for small carriers, insurance providers have requirements for new truck driver hires.

Although large carriers are able to hire newly licensed truck drivers, most insurance companies require smaller carriers to hire drivers with at least two years of on-the-road experience. During a driver shortage, this makes it even tougher for small carriers to find the right candidate. Applicants need to come in after leaving a larger carrier, and this means a trucking company must ask why that driver left the other company in the first place. Turnover rates in the trucking industry are near 100 percent, meaning most drivers never make it past one year at a company.

Some trucking companies turn to staffing or truck driver recruiting agencies as a way to find truck drivers. Although this can be a successful tactic, it’s important to note that a recruitment agency’s main goal is to recruit drivers, not retain them. This means the quality of the candidates can be lower than desired. Although this may be acceptable for some larger carriers, a small trucking company is extremely reliant on every employee.

With a need for 38,000 more drivers in the industry, pressure from the rise in demand may push a trucking company’s hand, but it is better to spend time recruiting the right truck driver than it is to make the mistake of hiring the wrong one.

Keeping Good Drivers

If you know how to run a trucking business, then you know that when a driver is unreliable or inconsistent, the company needs to get rid of that employee. Any failure on the part of a driver will have a significant impact on the bottom line, whether that is a serious accident or loss of business for the company.

Many smaller trucking companies are running on thin margins at a median rate of 6 percent, so they need to make sure they are proactive about their business’s future and safeguarding against any potential losses.

With high demand for drivers at this time, trucking companies need to know when to invest in their employees. The rise in demand for good drivers is pushing up wages, and signing bonuses and training reimbursements are growing increasingly common. Many major carriers have hiked their pay rates by as much as 18 percent.

Any company that doesn’t know when to put money into its drivers won’t be able to hold on to the good ones. An investment in reliable drivers is an investment in the company itself.