A trucking company CEO in Wisconsin says that hiring drivers is more difficult now than it ever has been in his 25 years operating a trucking company.
Wisconsin trucking industry experts claim that hiring seasoned drivers is “next to impossible” these days because of the supposed driver shortage, but say that hiring new drivers is easy as long as they offer them training.
Chris Schmus, CEO of PDL Drivers Inc. based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, says that hiring experienced drivers is more difficult than it’s ever been in his 25 years in the trucking industry.
“It’s one of the most difficult times that I’ve ever been through. I started this company 25 years ago, and hiring drivers right now is next to impossible,” Schmus said. “It’s becoming to the point where I have to grow my own drivers in order to get them to where they are.”
While hiring new drivers is an option, Schmus says it doesn’t entirely solve the issue, as his insurance requirements demand that drivers have at least two years of experience before they can go out on their own.
Schmus says that his company currently only has 150 employees, but that he could employ as many as 250 if he could find the help. Schmus has even resorted to hiring and training family friends to help him recruit experienced drivers so that the new drivers he has offered to train can start gaining experience.
“We have a minimum of 100 unfilled orders that are going through us on a weekly basis,” he explained.
“It’s difficult…Like I said, there’s a driver shortage,” said Casey Crangle, an employee at Milwaukee-based PDL Drivers Inc. and family friend of Schmus.
“The demand right now for truck driver training is huge. I don’t believe that the industry’s ever seen this interest, this desire to become a truck driver,” said Dan Zdrojewski, a truck driving instructor at MATC.
“We offer them this training and all of a sudden so many doors open up, it’s like they’re in front of a buffet. So we’ve taken individuals from one extreme of not having any choices, to all the sudden an abundance of choices, with an average pay of our graduate being roughly around $68,000 a year,” Zdrojewski said.
“(Students) often will have anywhere from 10 to 15 job offers by the time they are already finishing with our class.”
“Every company is competing for you [truck drivers],” Schmus said. Adding that he has even increased pay and benefits by 40% in the last year in an attempt to attract more experienced drivers.
Schmus says that a loosening of insurance regulations, allowing 18-year-old truckers to cross state lines, and most of all “more people. Period,” would solve the current truck driver shortage.