Trucking isn’t just a career – it’s a lifestyle. Though it can be an extremely rewarding profession, a driver will have his/her patience tested on a daily basis. Work-related stressors can even cause some to wonder why they ever entered the industry in the first place. “Get a trucking license, they said. It will be fun, they said…” In all seriousness, as the demand for truck drivers is increasing at a staggering rate, much needs to be done to encourage retention and morale. Promising beautiful scenic views outside the window of your 18-wheeler just isn’t enough. The real pain point is felt when paying the lumper. Lumper fees are payments made to the receiving warehouse for unloading and loading services performed at their docks. These fees can amount to hundreds of dollars, which drivers are expected to produce before their trucks can be unloaded. There are several reasons why the current lumper payment system needs an overhaul:
Drivers cannot continue to be expected to carry large amounts of cash on the road. Not only is this an unsafe practice, but it may also simply not be possible for some individuals, depending on their pay schedules.
Truckers shouldn’t have to fear being shorted in their paycheck for a misplaced receipt. Keeping track of countless documents while driving from appointment to appointment can be a challenging process. Employers may not reimburse the full amount the driver paid to a lumper if the receipt is not present.
Dispatch operators are few and far between during nighttime deliveries. With 90 percent of trucking companies owning only six trucks or less, the odds of staffing round-the-clock dispatch operators to issue electronic checks can be slim. Drivers cannot rely on their offices to provide such payments, which then puts them in the position of searching for an ATM, or making plans for an overnight detention.
Title 49 of United States Code §14103 states that the practice of drivers paying for lumper fees out-of-pocket is completely illegal; however not much is being done to enforce this regulation, and the legal departments of most shipping companies are not always aware that they are in violation.
While we often hear the call to treat truck drivers with more respect and appreciation – little has been done to improve this one very sore subject in the industry. We remain hopeful – for as technology in trucking advances, it seems only natural that this ailment will soon see a remedy.