When we bring on a new driver, the first 90 days on the road are a probation period. We provide extra support to help the driver learn how to maximize his or her availability and productivity. The driver can find out whether the truck type and over-the-road lifestyle are a good fit for his or her needs. At the end of the first 90 days, we conduct a merit review of the driver’s performance to date. If that goes well, the driver is eligible for a rate per mile (RPM) increase. Our merit review looks at four key areas: safety, equipment, performance, and value.
Safety is absolutely the most important category, and too many safety violations can keep a driver from receiving the rate increase. We expect our drivers to operate at a safe speed, comply with DOT regulations, and avoid collisions. That said, we understand that minor issues do happen from time to time, and our review system gives drivers some grace in these areas. However, consistent speeding; receiving two or more DOT violations within 90 days; and causing a wreck, injury, or property damage are all things that will disqualify a driver from receiving the merit-based rate increase.
We own the equipment and cover all associated expenses, which many drivers see as a great benefit. If a truck goes down, the driver isn’t out thousands of dollars for repairs like an owner/operator, and we can often move the driver into another truck in our fleet. Because of this, we rely on our drivers to keep the equipment in top condition and report any issues immediately. Drivers are required to complete a pre-trip inspection every day prior to driving the truck. We compare drivers’ reports to shop reports any time a truck goes in for work. If a shop finds a burned out lightbulb that the driver hadn’t reported, we know the driver’s pre-trip inspections need to be improved. Inadequate pre-trip inspections often go hand-in-hand with DOT violations. Our own staff and seasoned drivers will also inspect equipment to ensure newer drivers are taking good care of the trucks.
Tempus Transport drivers are known for being on time, operating efficiently, and fulfilling customer needs on every single load. Those high standards mean drivers must be responsible for all the little details. We expect paperwork to be completed correctly and submitted on time, every single week. We also expect drivers to stay in communication with our driver liaisons, particularly if an issue comes up that will make the driver late for a pickup or delivery. The performance portion of the review looks at timeliness, fuel economy, and successful deliveries.
Being in expedited freight means that our fleet is as valuable as its trucks are available to take a load at a moment’s notice. We look for frequent availability, a low percentage of empty miles, and as few missed load opportunities as possible. The final piece of the value score is at management’s discretion. Nobody likes working with someone who’s argumentative, vulgar, grumpy, or otherwise unpleasant. Our highest performing drivers also happen to be great people whose calls we are happy to take!
Drivers who receive high marks are eligible for a merit-based increase on their rate per mile. That increase is not automatic—not all drivers hit these four criteria, and it’s sometimes the case that they aren’t a good fit for Tempus Transport. Those who do start driving toward their one-year anniversary, and we offer bonuses that grow with each successive year a driver stays in our fleet.