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As an independent fleet owner, we know how difficult it can be to compete with larger or legacy trucking companies — both for quality loads and for quality drivers. SmartHop’s latest report, The State of Independent Driver and Small Fleets, explores the biggest challenges that come with running under your own authority. For fleet owners, these challenges include truck driver retention. In fact, over 6 in 10 independent fleet owners (64.77%)* told us that labor shortages and turnover are major industry concerns they’re up against.

‍Attracting quality drivers and keeping them requires a deep understanding of what they care about most. Below, we’ve highlighted drivers’ top concerns and three driver retention tips you can apply now.

‍Driver retention tip #1: Give them consistent work

‍Most employee drivers surveyed (62.34%)** shared that they have considered leaving their current employer to work for a larger or legacy trucking company. The top reason for this? More stability and consistency in booking loads (33.33%)***.

‍To guarantee a reliable stream of work for your fleet, especially with spot market rates fluctuating, it is critical to have a plan in place. This includes identifying the most efficient routes for your drivers to keep them away from cold markets, in addition to fostering relationships with brokers or exploring other sources to find quality loads. Some fleet owners choose to manage this process themselves, while others bring on a dedicated dispatcher or work with a dispatching service to lighten the administrative load. This is a matter of personal preference; you can read more about how to decide what’s right for your business here.

‍Driver retention tip #2: Make health and wellness a priority

‍Of all truckers surveyed, over 6 in 10 (65.1%) stated that burnout from irregular work hours would drive them to quit. Additionally, more than half (58.9%) said that health issues would cause them to leave the field.

‍Prioritizing your drivers’ well-being will keep them happy and healthy. There are even some programs and apps that offer tips to help drivers prepare for the DOT medical exam, as well as ways to eat healthily and exercise while on the road.

‍To combat burnout, careful planning can help you maintain better control over driver schedules and routes. Beyond this, you can reduce driver stress by offering attentive support when issues arise on the road. Some fleet owners find it helpful to work with a trusted partner who can jump in to assist in the event of a breakdown, delay, or other stressful situations, as coordinating phone calls between your drivers, brokers, maintenance workers, and other third-parties can take you away from managing business as usual.

‍Driver retention tip #3: Money talks

‍Not surprisingly, compensation plays a big part in driver retention. Of all truckers surveyed, pay was mentioned as the top response as to why they entered the field in the first place. A steady paycheck was also cited as the top reason that these truckers would consider changing employers, with over 6 in 10 (60.1%) responding that they’d quit trucking entirely due to low compensation.

‍Reducing your additional operating expenses, such as your monthly maintenance costs and insurance premiums, can help you to ensure that you are best positioned to pay your drivers what they deserve while maintaining a profitable business. This can start with simply understanding where your money is going each month. From there, evaluate where you can save. Discount programs can help you to get better rates on everything from parts to fuel to reduce your overhead costs.

SmartHop can help with truck driver retention

‍Are you interested in improving driver retention but need some help getting started? SmartHop can help you:

‍Give your drivers consistent work: We know what it’s like to run a small trucking business because we’ve been there. That’s why we set out to change things. SmartHop gives you access to high-quality loads, regardless of your size or years of experience. Our technology predicts hot lanes and recommends the right moves to keep your drivers running and reduce empty miles.

‍Create a strong support system: Our dispatchers find the best loads and communicate with your drivers to ensure that they always have delivery details and rate con at their fingertips. To reduce driver stress, we also offer around-the-clock support with everything from breakdowns to broker communication, and a Stress Free Guarantee program to minimize headaches when the unexpected happens.

‍Increase take home pay (for you and your drivers): The numbers speak for themselves. We can help you plan long-term load strategies for your trucks. Find out why SmartHop customers earn 68% more than the industry average here.


‍*Based on the results of a survey to 281 carrier owners of a trucking company of 20 trucks or less. The survey was conducted via the online platform Pollfish from Dec. 23, 2021, to Jan. 7, 2022, on behalf of SmartHop.
**Based on the results of a survey to 278 employee drivers of a trucking company of 20 trucks or less. The survey was conducted via the online platform Pollfish from Dec. 23, 2021, to Jan. 7, 2022, on behalf of SmartHop.
***Based on the results of a survey to 278 employee drivers of a trucking company of 20 trucks or less. The survey was conducted via the online platform Pollfish from Dec. 23, 2021, to Jan. 7, 2022, on behalf of SmartHop.

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