Does Guaranteed Pay For Truck Drivers Keep Them In The Seat?


The decision to offer guaranteed pay for truck drivers is one that many trucking companies wrestle with. Managing the balance between adequately compensating employees and maintaining driver productivity can be a struggle.

Today’s standard compensation structure is based on paying per mile driven. But while pay-per-mile provides flexibility for companies and incentivizes drivers to maximize their productivity, it comes with downsides – the biggest one being that the inherent volatility in this system tends to lead to high driver turnover.

Enter guaranteed pay. Firms offering some amount of assured weekly or monthly compensation jumped by 6% from 2020 to 2021, according to the National Transportation Institute data.

And with good reason. Drivers love the sense of security and stability that guaranteed pay models tend to provide. Any number of incidents (outside of a driver’s control) can happen on a haul and reduce a paycheck. Guaranteed pay for truck drivers removes some of that stress – an equipment breakdown or heavier traffic won’t jeopardize their ability to pay the bills that month.

Not only does guaranteed pay add a semblance of predictability each week, but it reduces potential resentment towards dispatchers when they assign a less lucrative route or toward Maintenance when breakdowns get in the way of productivity.

Guaranteed pay isn’t just a perk for drivers and dispatchers, though. It benefits recruiters by keeping their company competitive with prospects. When drivers are in as short supply as they are today, maximizing appeal to them isn’t something to shrug at.

So, by now you can probably guess that we are fans of guaranteed pay for truck drivers. We believe in its potential to make everyone’s lives better, including yours. But once a company decides to offer guaranteed pay, there are still questions that need to be answered. Organizations have to decide when guaranteed pay kicks in, how much to offer, and whether and how drivers qualify

That can be a tough decision. On one hand, pay packages have to provide enough to be attractive to prospects and keep current drivers on the company payroll. At the same time, companies don’t want to lose out on driver productivity. How do you balance these concerns?

For that, you need data, and we’ve got that.

Our best-known survey, The National Survey of Driver Wages includes information on guaranteed pay, along with 180 other attributes of pay for truck drivers. Who’s offering it, how much, what its structure looks like at comparable companies…all the data points you need to stay competitive in the recruiting game without killing your productivity, either.

When it comes to wage structure, we wish that we could throw out one framework that magically works for every company to better retain our professional drivers. While that’s not possible, we’ll make sure we keep tracking top trends to help you to make the most informed choices to best support your culture.

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Listen live every month

On the first Thursday of every month, NTI President & CEO Leah Shaver, aka the Sunshine Girl, goes live on air on SiriusXM Channel 146, Road Dog Trucking, to talk with drivers about all things pay. From paycheck questions to working with fleets on resolving issues around compensation, HR and legal, life on the road, and relationships with their employers, Payday on Road Dog Live dives into topics drivers care about most.

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