Truckers see income, use of technology increase
Owner-operator business services firm ATBS said the average income of its clients was just over $70,000 a year from June 2020 to June 2021, according to a new survey released by the company. That’s a 10.2% increase over the prior 12 months.
ATBS president Todd Amen called the current freight market “the best trucking environment I’ve seen in 30-plus years.” Aided by stratospheric rates on the spot market and an abundance of freight, dry van operators averaged $70,017, up $5,721 compared to the previous year; reefer haulers averaged $64,013, an increase of $6,483; and flatbed owner-operators averaged $80,529, up $11,817.
The survey of 135 fleets showed that the top 10% of drivers made more than $225,000 per year.
Despite rising income, there are potential speed bumps ahead. Among them:
- Maintenance costs are up. The average cost to maintain a new truck was about 5 cents a mile, while the cost of truck that’s five years or older was about 11.7 cents per mile.
- Used trucks are more expensive. “The average driver today is paying $2,500 per month for a truck and that is not going to change any time soon,” Amen said.
While freight markets go up and down, Amen said one positive effect from the last 18 months shows no signs of slowing: new technology has made it easier than ever for owner-operators and small fleets to find freight, run under their own authority, increase efficiency, manage the business and make money.
Transflo is leading the way.
Our Transflo Intelligent Automation (TIA) suite of document automation services significantly cuts the number of the days it takes to bill customers and receive payment for services rendered. Introduced earlier this month, TIA also minimizes hours spent by back-office personnel manually sorting and managing paperwork, ensures accuracy of document input, eliminates tracking errors and cuts the need for long-term paper document storage.
Supply chain managers raise wages
Truckers aren’t the only ones seeing their wages rise.
Nine in 10 supply chain leaders say they will increase hiring to meet peak season demand, and 47% expect to pay higher salaries or wages before the end of 2021, according to a survey from GlobalTranz.
About 30% of survey respondents said 2021 will be more challenging than last year’s peak season in terms of meeting demand and keeping deliveries on time. The responses came from 200 U.S.-based supply chain leaders and managers at companies with 500-plus employees.
Across the country, companies are raising pay and perks to attract thousands of workers to meet demand:
- The average hourly earnings for warehouse workers was $22.47 in June, up from $21.99 in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Major retailers like Costco, Walmart and Target have raised hourly wages during the pandemic. Walmart plans to hire 20,000 supply chain workers for the holiday season.
- Amazon is looking to recruit 40,000 workers across 220-plus locations in the United States, as well as tens of thousands of hourly positions in Amazon’s Operations network. “We’re spending a lot of money on signing and incentives,” said Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky on the company’s Q2 earnings call. “While we have very good staffing levels, it’s not without cost. It’s a very competitive labor market.”
- FedEx COO Raj Subramaniam said in June that the company’s inability to hire enough package handlers and other workers “has driven wage rates higher and creates inefficiency in our networks as we use overtime to cover open shifts and route volume around known constraints.”
Many companies anticipate expanding the type of services they offer, such as last-mile delivery solutions and white-glove services. And 79% worry that a resurgence of COVID-19 will negatively impact their supply chain operations.