For the last couple months, my team and I have been deeply immersed in a topic that has been long despised by most truckers. The Lumper fee, Through our digging, we interviewed countless truckers to find out the true meaning behind their lack of appreciation for the lumper industry, and what we have discovered is an answer that was once lost in translation.
Although lumpers are needed in order for truckers to make their jobs safer and more efficient, for some reason or another, drivers can’t seem to appreciate the service.
At one of the last truck stops in Atlanta, we discussed the lumper service issue with a number of drivers and asked them to express their feelings about the importance of the lumpers and also to rate their value in the trucking industry. We realized that the great majority did not want to carry any freight that requires them to unload it themselves, nor did they like to select freight that requires the use of a lumper, which left us in a quandary. What other option remains?
After spending most of the day interviewing the drivers, we had found one anomaly. In speaking to a trucker named Trey, I learned quite a bit of his backstory. He’s been driving with his wife (who is also a trucker) for the past decade, loves trucking, and he enjoys crochet. He’s currently working on a beautiful blanket for his mother. This driver in particular had a back injury from a previous job, which automatically disqualified him from unloading any of his own loads – yet he can’t stand the idea of using a lumper. My team and I decided that if we are going to learn anything about why the truckers have such intolerance for the lumper industry, then Trey will lead us to our 1st breadcrumb.
MyLumper: How has your load volume changed from last year?
Trey: Last year was much better.
ML: Besides being a dry load only driver, is there anything else that makes your market share less than others?
Trey: I refuse to carry any loads that require a lumper.
ML: Why? Would you rather unload the trailer yourself?
Trey: No, actually because of my past injury, I can’t unload any freight myself.
At that point we were puzzled, here’s a trucker that cannot unload his own trailer even when given the option – yet still can’t stand the idea of using a lumper.
ML: How do you get your freight unloaded when you arrive at the receiver’s dock?
Trey: I have the receiver at the warehouse help unload me.
ML: What is the difference between getting unloaded by the warehouse receiver or by the lumper? As we all know, even though you have to pay the lumper – you will get reimbursed for that expense.
Trey: I don’t want to have to carry cash or deal with calling dispatch for checks.
Eureka. As it turns out, the drivers truly don’t care about whether they are unloaded by a lumper service or the warehouse employees. They believe their job is to pick up and deliver freight – and anything in between should be the responsibility of the shipper or broker. Their goal is simply to avoid calling dispatchers for an express-code or having to carry the cash themselves, as reimbursement for cash receipts isn’t enticing enough when those little pieces of paper seem to get lost so easily.
We feel encouraged that those great drivers have reinforced our solution to this particular matter. Our lumper payment service was never mentioned to them, as we wanted an unbiased response to our questions.
We’ve now added more shippers to our Early Access Clients (EAC) database to experience firsthand the change. MyLumper will be responsible for paying lumper fees on behalf of our shippers/carriers and 3PL clients by using our MyLumper payment platform, therefore removing the burden from our truckers. In the end, drivers don’t hate the lumper services, the simply can’t stand the current payment system – and that is all about to change.
The driver’s name has been changed to protect identity.