It is no secret that hiring and holding onto qualified truck drivers is difficult to impossible for most fleets. Driver hiring and retention has always been a sticking point for carriers, with turnover rates for some truckload carriers eclipsing 100% during multiple quarters of 2019. Driver surveys examining turnover rates have consistently shown that drivers value three things: pay, time and respect. If a carrier can find the right combination of all three, its hiring rates will increase and turnover rates will dwindle. That is easier said than done, however.
Legend Transportation is working hard to crack the code to hire and keep its drivers behind the wheel. The company’s multifaceted approach has led to conversion and retention rates higher than the industry average, and current drivers have been excited to participate in the company’s recruitment efforts.
Everyone wants to be compensated for a job well done, and drivers are no different. While pay increases and monetary incentives like bonuses can certainly hit a point of diminishing returns, not paying drivers enough is a surefire way to ensure they leave for another carrier with a better pay rate.
At Legend, driver pay is a top priority because the company understands that drivers are the heart and soul of the transportation industry. Without drivers, no one gets paid. The company offers a competitive pay rate, 14% above industry average, designed to keep drivers loyal. From the start of the recruitment process, Legend is transparent about pay, bonuses and incentives.
“When we quote drivers on pay, we stick with base pay and we follow through on that. We do not add our bonuses into base pay because we want to be transparent with our drivers,” Annette Winkles, Legend’s recruiting manager, said. “In the industry, there’s not just a driver shortage, there is a driver appreciation shortage. We fill that gap. Drivers are the backbone of this industry; taking care of them and making them successful is what matters.”
Legend Vice President of Operations Robert Moffitt agreed wholeheartedly.
“We map out strategic lanes to increase revenue for our drivers,” Moffitt said. “We provide more options and miles for our drivers to make more, for them to be more successful.”
Average drivers for Legend have brought in close to $30,000 so far in 2021, and it is only April.
Some things are priceless during a driving career, like having pets or guest passengers. Legend is also pet and passenger friendly.
The value of time has multiple meanings for drivers. Some drivers prefer routes that allow them more flexibility, predictable downtime and frequent nights at home. This tends to be especially important to drivers with young children. This desire for home time and predictability explains why less-than-truckload carriers boast lower turnover rates than truckload carriers.
On the other hand, some drivers prefer the truckload space. These drivers often value being busy because they are hoping to get in as many miles as possible. For them, maximizing their time is all about maximizing their mileage.
While Legend is understanding of drivers’ familial commitments and works to meet important downtime requests, they keep lanes flexible for drivers’ needs and location. The company helps drivers maximize their mileage by ensuring equipment is kept up-to-date, repairs are performed quickly and downtime at shipping facilities is minimized. Legend’s current fleet consists of equipment 2019 and newer, with features to ensure drivers are comfortable and safe.
All drivers understand the importance of time management in their day. Legend mentions some of the larger perks are to assist with time management for drivers with 70-80% drop-and-hook loads. An additional perk is 99% of Legend’s freight is no touch for the driver.
It is not surprising that drivers are more likely to come on board and to stay with carriers that show them respect. The desire for a good work environment is universal. For drivers, that often means working with carriers that value and recognize their individual efforts.
One way the company respects drivers is through quality communication, giving them direct access to everyone on the team.
Glenn Bodnar has worked for multiple companies during his 16-year driving career. Currently, he drives Western Regional for Legend Transportation and averages 12,000-13,000 miles a month. Bodnar speaks highly of his driver manager, Chris Thompson. “Always looking to get me home when I want to go home,” Bodnar said. “Having a personal dispatcher, I can get a hold of is a plus. I can text or call and within five to 10 minutes I am connected. We can work things out, and I can be on my way. You don’t have to wait more than 15 minutes for their response.”
Legend seems to have mastered the respect element, treating its drivers with the same level of personalized care it offers customers. The company prides itself on treating its drivers like people and acknowledging that happy drivers make for happy customers.
At the end of the day, Legend Transportation understands drivers’ needs and has the ability to provide the three keys for the success of the driver: pay, time and respect. This is done through good communication, strategic planning and strong driver support. It’s no secret Legend is willing to go the distance for their drivers.