The key to retaining that team of super truckers to haul your customers' freight is honest communication. The biggest complaint many truckers have is that they are not told the truth about what to expect. In defense of the carriers, many truckers only hear what they want to hear — a romantic, adventurous life on the road; the epitome of the professional tourist, which we know is great fiction, but it's not what freight hauling is about.

The needs of drivers vary, but three main themes are consistent from driver to driver: reasonable compensation for hours worked, consistent pay and scheduled home time. Fulfilling these needs will put you and your motor carrier on the road to higher driver retention.

The most important task, though, to keep your drivers happy is to listen carefully for information. For example, identify your drivers' needs and wants, their family's expectations, compensation and benefit requirements, debts and obligations, whether there is additional income for the household, and career goals.

Obtain information from your employee/contractor to assist in determining if either expectations or financial requirements are beyond what you can provide.

Next, tell your drivers all about your operation — the good, the bad, the ugly. Provide them with the opportunity to get all the details, and don't hide anything. If you've got an important customer whose contract doesn't compensate them for specific extras, like detention, it's only fair that information be made known. Keep your drivers in the loop on the ever-changing business environment. Honesty, no matter how painful, is better than finding out after the fact.

This interactive communication becomes even more important during tough economic times. Remember, it's not just you and your company struggling with this recession. Every employee/contractor and his/her family are working their way through it as well. When we finally emerge from this financial upheaval, make sure you have a strong core of truckers ready and available. This is why you are sharing your challenges with them and they are letting you know theirs.

Together, you can come up with solutions that will benefit everyone.

Contact Tim Brady at 731-749-8567 or at