In the bid to prove they have everything, Walmart has done the impossible and made truck driving a truly profitable industry for people who are brand new to hauling loads across the country, as well as those with years of experience under their belt. With their private fleet of trucks for cross country hauling, they can have nearly complete control over their inventory, something those other nationwide retailers just cannot compete with.
With 12,000 drivers currently on their books, the average driver is earning $56,491 and those with a few years are earning even more. With pay capping out at $110,000 in the first year, the sky is the limit for these over-the-road haulers. In a joint blog post on the company website, Fernando Cortes, Walmart’s senior vice president of transportation, and Karisa Sprague, the company’s senior vice president of supply chain people explained what they had done to make them more attractive to drivers. “The investments in pay and training build on multiple recent driver bonuses and improved schedules that enable drivers to spend more time at home.”
These kinds of small perks make drivers more likely to leave other long-haul companies and come work for one retailer with easily identified hubs. The investment Walmart has made into its driver’s program is simply heads and shoulders over the commitment of any other retailer or truck driving company. With the introduction of their Private Fleet Development program, in 12 weeks prospective drivers can earn their commercial driver’s license (CDL), and sign up for mentorship and training programs while on the road.
Over the years, other companies have offered to cover the cost of the CDL, but most want it back from your paycheck, and it isn’t cheap. Walmart on the other hand is eating that cost with a smile on their face, knowing that they are training the drivers they want, and keeping them happy is how they keep them around for the long haul. This level of dedication is something the company has become known for in recent years.
From covering the cost of college tuition to managerial certification, to supply trend forecasting classes, Walmart is becoming a one-stop shop for everything people need to become more successful and improve their lot in life. While many have been not so fond of past experiences surrounding their labor practices, this change in the last 5 years or so has warmed many up to the company.
When the COVID pandemic hit the US, Walmart was one of the first retailers to help first responders, as well as doing everything they could do to help employees stay paid, and stores open as much as possible. This kind of response showed great care for their community, but it also helped keep their bottom line intact. When shipping logistics threatened to greatly impact Christmas, Walmart was one of the first merchants to start hiring private ships to haul goods into the ports. A costly move, but one that ended up saving them money in the long run.
As a result of these efforts, Walmart isn’t just paying people more, but their stock is up 12.1% in the last year. This is nearly 4 times the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is outpacing many other retailers. Making these kinds of commitments to their employees, communities, and vendors to get the products out there and sold is not something to overlook. Love them or hate them for what has happened to a small business as a result of their expansion, but they are making sure to take care of their people and their communities.