I wonder sometimes why some trucking companies have such a big turn over rate with both new truck drivers and veteran truck drivers. This led me to do some research to understand this better.
What I found through various forum boards and social media and going through countless numbers of websites. Is that there are many reasons.
There are 3 main reasons why truckers quit driving semi trucks altogether. They are:
- Expectations are never met as promised.
- Pay feels it is lacking, the trucker feels something is consistently wrong with their paycheck.
- Limited home time, the trucker desires a consistent quality amount of hometime which is ignored.
These are not the only reasons why semi truck drivers quit a trucking company or quit trucking altogether. I’ve actually found more alarming reasons which could change your entire outlook on choosing a truck driving job as a career choice. These could also save trucking companies turn over ratio as well. Scroll down before its to late to see my search results.
The Basic Reasons Trucker’s Quit
Before I get into the nitty-gritty of why truck drivers quit. Please allow me to explain the format really quick of how I’m going to present this. I will provide the reason and then follow it with a “possible” solution. From a truck driver’s perspective.
Being that I have driven various types of semi trucks since January of 2000 throughout the United States of America, Canada and parts of Mexico. While working through various areas of the trucking industry. I’ve always tried to see both sides of a fence so that I can better understand the overall spectrum of things.
Truck drivers quit for a vast amount of different reasons, let’s be honest. Truck driving really is not for everybody. It takes a certain type of mindset or personality to be able to be a truck driver.
It also takes safe practices over and over again each and every day. Through routine management, these safe practices can save a truck driver from being terminated by a trucking company.
Though most of the following reasons truck driver’s quit trucking or a trucking company. Have some things in common. Some fall back onto, a lack of communication from all parties involved. It could also be a lack of communication from not communicating with the correct personnel.
Other’s may fall into, the idea of understanding, that not everyone has to be best friends. Though most should try to be professional on both sides of the debate as often as possible. So that all persons involved can maintain a productive atmosphere for solution solving when it deals with a work environment. Especially in Truck Driving.
Too often what occurs is everyone tries to be friends. Then later someone feels a little betrayed because someone didn’t help the other out in a manner that couldn’t have been done for one reason or another.
Whereas if we removed this idea that we must be friends first in a work environment. Implemented a theory that maintained it as a professional relationship, where everyone understands the level playing field of exactly what is expected and what that expectation pertains to.
Then nobody could feel betrayed as easily. Please know, I am not saying do not have friends. I’m only suggesting, sometimes you will have to put on your Friend Hat, and other times you will have to put on your Be A Professional Hat.
By maintaining just these two ideas, we would greatly improve communication and professionalism where the truck driver currently is and reduce the turn overrating at a trucking company by a significant degree.
Now let’s get into these alarming reasons that can save truck driver’s careers and trucking companies turn over ratios!
17. Not Enough Home Time For The Trucker
This one is pretty close to being tied with the next one. So since it stands out to me more, I’m gonna call the tiebreaker. When your a Regional or Over The Road (OTR) Truck Driver that drives a semi truck in the USA, into Canada, and into Mexico. You do not go home every night as a Local Truck Driver would.
A local driver may go home every night, but in most cases from the time they clock out, they are expected back to work within 10 to 12 hours. At some trucking companies, they may or not have the entire weekend off.
If your regional, you may be gone 2 nights then home for the evening or up to 5 nights may be longer, then home. Some companies will only give your 10 to 12 hours off if in the middle of the week and maybe as little as 34 hours over the weekend.
At most, you may go a state or two away from your home state. Then back to your home state. Some will even classify it as a tri-state or quad-state route.
Now, this is not all trucking companies, however, there are many like these.
If you are OTR, you may not see home for anywhere from 2 to 4 or more weeks at a time. Some trucking companies will expect this as the normal way of truck driving for an Over The Road Truck Driver.
At many over the road trucking companies. The average amount of home time earned varies between 1 full day to 2 full days off per week out on the road as a truck driver. Based on these numbers we can assume an average of 1.5 days per full week away from home.
Since your traveling within the coasts of the United States of America or from the eastern coast to the west coast or all of the 48 connected states within the United States.
During these full weeks away from home as a truck driver, birthday’s are missed, anniversaries are missed, kid’s soccer or baseball games can be missed, various holidays and even emergencies at home can even be missed.
When I started 18 years ago, I was gone from home for an average of 6 to 8 weeks at a time. Then having a week off, but when you’re taking that week off, your not making any money.
So, the cycle repeats and every once in a while a truck driver is forced to make the decision of if I go home, how is the ____ bill going to get paid? Due to the above, is why many things like birthdays, holidays, and etc are being missed by the truck driver.
Inside the truck driver’s mind. Wishes of being there, watching, taking part in and many things like this run through the mind of thoughts. How can we make the best of both worlds unite in some way and this would then be better solved when figured out.
There’s an old saying,
“Most talk about a mother’s love, but never a father’s sacrifice.”
Many truck drivers are fathers, husbands, grandfathers, a friend to someone, and etc. Just as many of them are moms, grandma’s, best friends forever’s, and etc. These truckers would love nothing more than to be where ever they’re friends and family are.
Though they understand they have a job to do. Putting food on the table and providing a roof over they’re loved one’s head is their job.
With home time, comes the understanding that as a new truck driver. You will be far away from home more often than not. Many times, while at home, you can only be home for only 34 hours. Then back down the road again. Being away from loved ones can be hard.
Make sure you are ready for this type of change. Understand how your home time will work, and how it will be implemented. Truck drivers have a high divorce rate because a lot of people both the truck driver and the spouse can’t deal with being away from their loved ones as much as truck drivers tend to be.
So, the more important home time is to a trucker. The more important it is for that trucker to ensure that the company they are going to drive a semi truck for as a company driver. Has some type of the following allowances.
Some trucking companies have vacation time. Some have it set up so vacation time can be earned, just as sick paid time off (PTO Time) can be. If we know of a special day coming up in the future. It “could” be secured with one of these options.
Now the reason for the parenthesis is so that we obtain a quick understanding. At no point can any trucking company guarantee you to be home on any given day. It is unreasonable to think that they can.
Between unforeseen weather, unforgiving traffic, and many other things. This just is not possible. Anyone that guarantees you to be on home time on an exact day, take it with a grain of salt. Though what really can be guaranteed is a suggested time frame.
Meaning if you have to be home on the 5th of the month for example. I would not put my home time in for the 5th. Instead, I would put it in for the 4th or maybe even as early as the 3rd depending on how the extra time would affect the real date I would have wanted for home time.
By scheduling your home time for the day before or so. You the professional truck driver has just provided yourself with a cushion of time. Let’s face it, you could get home early that day or you could get home very late at night that day. Which allows reduced stress, reduces aggravation for everyone and promotes a lot of positive things, like safety.
When you are not rushed, you will without a doubt, drive safer. If this time off request is extremely important to you. Express it to the correct people. Enforce your time off with the why it is so important to you to the correct people at your place of employment.
The more advanced your notice is for home time, the more likely a trucking company can make it happen. However, if your advanced notice is more than a couple of weeks, do not be surprised if you may have to remind them a couple of weeks away, then again a week away.
This way, they can get their mindset, they’re load planners in check and etc that needs to start taking place to make it happen for you. Before you start with a trucking company, ask “What percentage of they’re freight travels through your area of a 60-mile radius of you?”. Anything less than 15% and you could find getting home to be difficult.
Though, 15% is a big number to some and small to others. This percentage should be more conformed to what you like and what you find necessary.
Now if your an owner operator. Only you yourself can make the call of when you go home. You’re in a bit different type of scenario. Not only do you understand that home time equals no pay. It also equals there may still be a semi truck payment, there is still insurance every month.
The fuel tanks are not going to fill themselves with diesel fuel if you go home. So when you go home, you actually could be losing money. To be honest, sometimes it sucks to lose money, but it sucks even more to miss every stage of your kids growing up.
Now if you’re leased onto a company with your own truck. Just use the same examples from above that I suggested to company truck drivers. Give yourself a time cushion, be safe and spend time with your family.
16. What A Truck Driver Expect’s Isn’t What A Trucker Gets
Many times, us truck drivers talk to someone at a trucking company we are interested in. We are told many things. Things of how amazing or great it will be or could be and all of this fancy stuff. The unlimited number of miles provided at a whim for every trucker at their trucking company. All types of things any trucker would love to hear.
Then after we go through the process of everything, we realize our expectations are never being met. So because the expectations we’ve expected rarely occur or just never occur. We start to feel as if we were shammed in some manner.
We begin to feel uneasy about the whole entire idea of even being a truck driver for any company when this occurs. Empty promises from a trucking company drive thoughts deep into a truck driver’s mind. These thoughts sit there longer than any positive thoughts could ever dream of.
Then when the truck driver finally does really quit due to this, everyone acts as if they have no clue why the truck driver quit in the first place. When this occurs, it does so for two reasons. One, the trucking company’s representative that should have been communicated to, was not communicated with by the truck driver with the issue.
Two, the truck driver was ignored.
When the latter occurs, this is what causes an extremely high turn over rate. In which case, there’s just nothing I can really suggest to help. Since it most likely is just as described.
Though, there is an area of research we could have did prior to starting with any trucking company. Now many people may not like to hear this, but with anything, if we don’t do any type of research, then who’s going to do it for us truck drivers? Here’s a good example:
I am deathly afraid of being on a ladder (Story for another time, summed up, big fall as a kid, almost crushed by a bag of shingles while helping my grandfather.) Back on topic, I applied for, the second time in my life, at a flatbed hauling company.
My resume was spotless, my references were the best of the best. My driving record impeccable. I am extremely desired as a Truck Driver. I talked to numerous amounts of their company truck drivers.
I talked to office personnel, I helped a company driver secure his load, just to help myself better understand how to secure piping, being I come from a mostly car hauling background.
The job is all mine for the taking. Then my friend tells me, “Thought you didn’t like ladders?” Interesting, what do you mean I said to him. He said, “Flatbedders get on ladders.” I hung up the phone with him.
Called the representative of the trucking company and I asked: “Hey buddy, do your company drivers ever have to get on a ladder?” He responded with “Well, let me think, maybe once in a blue moon they will have to if it’s unsafe to ride the crane up.”
I know me, at that point, I apologized to this man who I felt like I just wasted a whole lot of his time. I offered to reimburse him for the drug screens that I passed with flying colors, the background check and etc.
If I would have taken that opportunity, I know without a doubt a day will come where I come off as being extremely unreasonable and I would have quit on the spot if it meant me being on a ladder or being unemployed.
He asked me “How did you haul cars if you didn’t have a ladder?” My response was “I’d rather scale across the side of the platforms, doing a balancing act then step a foot on a ladder”. Am I crazy, possibly, but that too is another story for another time?
We as truck drivers need to start taking more control of what we allow and not allow to impact our lives. If I would have talked to several more truck drivers of the trucking company, and/or asked the right questions from the start, maybe I would have known more information prior to that moment.
Know what you are getting into before you actually start at a company. Before you talk to anyone, put out applications or resumes. Make a list of 12 or more things that are your must-haves.
Also, make a similar list of your “must not’s”. Between these two lists, you should be able to obtain a great amount of information.
Turn these two lists into questions, and then ask them to a recruiter of the trucking company your applying at, to the truck drivers of the trucking company, etc. Then proceed forward based on the answers.
By going this route, you reduce the possible negatives that do not work for you as the company truck driver, up front, before you even start working anywhere.
What if you’re already working at a trucking company though? Then, it all boils down to communication. Nobody will know anything if you do not let them know. All I’m suggesting is give it an honest try to communicate your issue in a professional manner.
Maybe what is needed is to communicate with someone higher in the company’s food chain. Many times it’s easier to keep working then it is to find a new place of employment.
Maybe the information we would have learned would have directed down a different option towards a different trucking company as in my case from above. So do yourself some due diligence and as a favor to yourself as a proud truck driver and make sure you’re making the correct honest choices for yourself from the start.
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