It's hard to imagine our modern economy without trucking playing a major role in it, and as the people of Paul Miller Trucking remind us, trucking still is and always has been the cornerstone business of America, in a sense.
The fact is that all goods, right after production and development, need to be shipped to numerous retail businesses or customers directly. This is mainly handled by various trucking companies. Even though there are other alternative methods of transportation, over the years, trucking has proved to be the most reliable and the most cost-efficient method in use.
However, as Paul Miller Trucking experts report, the trucking business is starting to experience a shortage of skilled and, more importantly, trained truck drivers. The numbers are declining, which is very unfortunate considering the fact that the demand is constantly on the rise.
It's currently reported that trucking companies need as many as 30,000+ drivers to feed the market's hunger. These difficulties are not only connected to people not wanting to become truck drivers, though. The problem is also of a demographical nature.
Trucking business and its difficulties as told by the Paul Miller Trucking folks
The core of the problem can be tracked to the fact that the previous generation of baby boomers started to hit its retirement age. This means that every year, as the labor force declines due to retirements, there aren't enough young drivers to replace their older friends.
We have to remember that to become a driver, one has to go through a specialized truck-driving school, so the pure desire to be a driver isn't enough to get started. More than that, staying a truck driver is also not as straightforward as it might seem. Background checks are a must in this business, and every occurrence of drug use or spotty driving records is a red flag on the driver's resume.
Paul Miller Trucking Inc. reminds that on top of that, the job itself presents a lot of difficulties, especially for young drivers. The veterans are quite used to the long work hours and the fact that they can be away from home for weeks at a time. But for a young driver who just got married, this isn't always an attractive perspective, despite the good money that can be made in this line of career.
The Paul Miller Trucking specialists go on to reveal one more interesting metric about the trucking market. It turns out that the rising competition between trucking companies results in massive annual turnover rates among truck drivers. A staggering 97 percent of drivers change their employer every year. This is among large truckload fleet companies with more than $30 million in annual revenue. Nonetheless, for those with less than $30 million, the numbers are still very high, with around 82 percent turnover rate.
The problem here lies in properly educating young drivers, or those who are relatively new to the business. This education shouldn't be focused only on how to drive a truck, per se, but also on how to actually be a professional truck driver. The job requires a lot of discipline, understanding, and setting the right expectations on the amount of time one will be able to spend with their family versus the time spent at work, Paul Miller Trucking Inc. explains. Most trucking companies don't allocate much funds to educate their staff, which is one of the reasons for high turnover rates.
In a sense, big competition among employers is a good thing for the employees as it allows them to get better salaries and gives them a real choice in deciding which company to work for, but the above problems can't be neglected.
Setting all the internal issues of the trucking market aside, there are also the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations that the trucking world has to deal with. Quite recently a change has been made that prevents truckers from working more than 70 hours per week. The previous limitation was 82, which makes the change significant.
Interestingly enough, the specialists from Paul Miller Trucking say that this change can have a positive long term effect on the market. Since everyone has to follow the same rules, truckers will be able to better plan their time and spend more of it with their families. This means that the HOS regulations, despite being portrayed as a general threat at first, have the potential to result in more people choosing the trucker's career, hence keeping the American trucking business healthy.
In the end, the elements that constitute the biggest threat to the market may be the trucking companies themselves and their focus on competing on the job market to hire more people and fill their gaps. Doing so may result in significantly less resources being allocated to the actual business. This can decrease their profits in the long run, as argued by Paul Miller Trucking.