This article, featuring a Canadian Owner Operator has dozens of great points about the driver problem. It brings up the usual suspects, but quickly dismisses home time as an issue, noting that several other occupations require a lot of time away from home, but make it worth while to their employees.
He identifies the real root cause of the driver problem (inconsistent pay), but comes up with a myopic solution. The issue is not so much what drivers get paid, but rather how they get paid. The majority of over-the-road drivers are paid based on the miles they drive. This is an outdated methodology. It is the root cause of most driver turnover.
Basic psychology principles explain our human need for control over our own lives. We need some sense that our actions will result in rewards, or help us avoid punishments. The equation is Antecedent + Behavior = Consequence. When we can’t control this simple equation in our daily routines, we get frustrated and angry. Paying drivers by the mile decimates this equation and eliminates any sense of control.
Face it, drivers are at the mercy of inclement weather, belligerent, slow moving consignees, congested traffic, poor maintenance, slow response times to breakdowns and a host of mistakes made by shippers and dispatchers alike. These outside factors all impact the driver’s earnings. And many of these issues are twisted around in the driver’s mind to become disrespect or lack of appreciation.
When drivers quit over pay issues, it is rarely about the mileage rate, but rather about the inconsistency of week-to-week pay. Most live paycheck to paycheck, so a few set backs in a pay period make it difficult, if not impossible, to pay the monthly bills.
This owner operator nails it when he says, “Being at home matters, of course, but the big problem is not knowing what your paycheck is going to be. Provide consistent pay, either by the hour or the week and watch what happens to your driver retention."