Butch is a team straight-truck driver who has been driving for Tempus for a little over a year. On a recent pay statement, his average rate per mile (RPM) was $0.78—to date, the highest average RPM earned by any Tempus driver. As one of our top drivers, he is sharing some of the things he does to bump up his average rate.
First, Butch’s base RPM is $0.50 (a.k.a. 50 CPM), which is the highest base rate a Tempus driver can earn in a straight truck. To get to 50 CPM, Butch needed to get both hazmat and tanker endorsements, and also earn a strong score on his 90-day performance review. Opportunities to increase the base RPM come from bonus pay on loads. Butch has learned our system for efficient and profitable driving, which means he is now the primary decision maker and negotiator on his loads. We tell drivers in orientation that our goal is for all drivers to learn the system, and then become both independent and profitable. We are always here to provide support, but our best drivers, who earn the most money, are very good at load selection, trip planning, and running efficiently.
Still, Butch had to go above and beyond to set a new record for highest average RPM, so we wanted to know how he did it. Here are his tips:
- Understand the ways to increase the value of a load through ancillary pay. This is one of the things we teach all of our new drivers. Ancillary pay can include things like stop off, detention, hand load, etc.
- Negotiate everything you can on a load. If you are going to negotiate loads, it’s your job to get as much added on to each load as possible.
- Accurately bill for everything you negotiate. Your negotiation efforts are wasted if you don’t complete your paperwork properly.
These tips add up to one of the most important keys to success in the trucking industry: the attitude of the driver. Butch realizes that we’re all in this together. Even if the bonus pay he negotiates isn’t a direct pass-through to him as the driver, he knows anything that benefits the company will indirectly benefit him in the long run. For example, bonus pay will help us to fund an empty move, which we still pay at the driver’s full RPM.
Thanks to Butch for sharing his tips. Congratulations on setting the new record for highest average RPM!