Team Truck Drivers Home Time: R&R Trucking, Inc. Revises Home Time Policy
R & R believes home time is key factor in driver recruitment and retention. R & R drivers receive two days off for each over-the-road week out.
Joplin, Mo. February 03, 2015
When R & R Trucking, Inc., a nationwide specialized trucking company, was confronted with losing one of their veteran driver teams because of the company’s current home time policy, they were faced with either making a change or losing the driver team.
According to team drivers Mitch and Amanda Browning, their home time is a precious commodity. “My wife and I are very happy at R & R, and we make great money here, but we were willing to take a cut in pay to go with a company that offered more home time,” said Mitch Browning.
Upon hearing that the Brownings were leaving, and that the reason was strictly over home time, R & R’s management group got together, reviewed the numbers, and decided it was time to modify their driver home time policy. Now, instead of drivers getting one day off for each over-the-road (OTR) week out, R & R drivers now earn two days off for each week out.
“We found that it was worth it to give the drivers the extra time off – not just for that team, but for recruiting and retention of the other teams as well,” said Vonda Cooper, Vice President of Operations for R & R Trucking, Inc.
There is little debate that home time is still a major issue with many carriers in the truckload sector. Driver home time, and how it relates to driver recruiting and retention, seems to be a major topic of discussion at each yearly conference held by the Truckload Carriers Association, (TCA).
According to Shepard Dunn, TCA Chairman, there are several reasons why some carriers are seriously looking at modifying home time policies for truck drivers. “Ultimately the reason is that our industry needs them in a bad way — our customers need them in a bad way — and we got to do things better as an industry to be able to retain the ones we do have and find other ways to attract the ones that we don’t have,” Dunn said. “This is just a different dynamic that they haven’t done before, and it’ll work. I am sure it will work.”
Kevin McKelvy, Vice President of Administration for R & R Trucking, Inc., emphasized that those OTR drivers that work for R & R make up a unique demographic. “The average age of our drivers is 53,” McKelvy said. “Drivers want more home time so they can be with family, conduct personal business and do things outside of trucking.”
Age Wave, recognized as the nation’s thought leader on issues relating to an aging population, is aware that a specific segment of the truck driver demographic is made up of individuals 50-years-old and older. In several national studies, spearheaded by Age Wave and partners Merrill Lynch and Harris Interactive, they found that 72% of pre-retirees age 50 and over want to keep working after retirement, and 42 percent of Baby boomers want to cycle between periods of work and leisure during retirement. For more information on the most recent study, see Work in Retirement: Myths and Motivations, published by Merrill Lynch in 2014.
According to David Baxter, keynote speaker for Age Wave, within the truck driver demographic there is a segment of the driver workforce that deals with many of the same issues found within recent studies. “If trucking companies are able to find ways to give their experienced drivers more time off — that perfect mix between work and leisure, particularly as the workforce continues to age — they may find this is part of the equation to solving their driver recruitment and retention issues as well as attracting more individuals to the industry,” said Baxter.
Drivers at R & R like the new home time policy. “Before, we would go out four weeks and get four days off. Now, we go out four weeks and get eight days off. I love it,” says Mitch. According to Mitch’s wife, Amanda, there are other benefits to receiving more home time. “The extra time off allows me now to spend more time with family, relax for a few days, and then I am ready to go back to work,” she said.
The reality is this — the vast majority of trucking companies give their non-driving employees two days off each week. Maybe it’s time that all OTR truck drivers get the same consideration. For R & R Trucking, Inc., that consideration is now a done deal – drivers get two days off for each OTR week out.
“Drivers want more home time so they can be with family, conduct personal business and do things outside of trucking.”
AATCO Team Drivers
Amanda and Mitch Browning