Mapleton, North Dakota-based Great Plains Transport offers its new company drivers an interesting benefit: $50 in groceries for their first run.
Tyler Holland facilitates and runs the fleet’s orientation program and works in driver retention. He says the program launched a few months ago and has received nothing but positive feedback. Transitioning into trucking or from one driving job to another can often leave those individuals strapped for cash, and the program is designed to relieve some of that burden.
“We know that sometimes the transition from one job to the next can be pretty difficult and times can be tough. We don’t want any of our new drivers to worry about going hungry or worrying about how they’re going to get groceries to fill their fridge,” Holland said. “It’s one less thing that they need to worry about before they leave.”
Drivers fill an online grocery cart and their groceries are then delivered to the fleet. Holland says the fleet is family-oriented and the grocery program is reflective of those values.
“It just shows the values that we have. We pride ourselves on being family-oriented so this is just really showing that we’re going to take that extra step to care for them,” Holland said.
Austin McCracken, from Texas, is a new Great Plains Transport driver. He is a father of seven and says any free food for the truck is a great help.
“Most truckers when they start new jobs, they don’t come up with much,” McCracken said. Drivers may bank on a sign-on bonus or their first check to make ends meet, but “most of that first check or budget goes straight to food so they don’t have anything for if an emergency comes up like needing to pay a toll, parking fee, or something like that, or you need an extra pair of gloves.”
McCracken found that $50 goes pretty far. When he was done picking out his groceries his bill was only about $38, but the fleet encouraged him to take advantage of the full $50.
“They make sure you spend that $50, that way you have plenty of food,” he said.