Uber Freight has altered the fine print in how truckers are paid for detention, and drivers are frustrated with the change

Uber Freight has altered the fine print in how truckers are paid for detention, and drivers are frustrated with the change


Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Uber Freight has changed how truckers are paid while waiting for shipments to load or unload.

  • One of the biggest frustrations for truck drivers is detention - when they are stuck waiting at warehouses for hours at a time, often unpaid.
  • Truckers who use Uber Freight are paid for detention, which is a win for truckers who use the freight brokerage tool.
  • However, Uber Freight now requires drivers to submit several pieces of documentation in order to receive full detention pay. The new policy was announced in July, but truck drivers told Business Insider that the details are still confusing.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Uber Freight and other app-based trucking tools allow truck drivers to quickly find new jobs, avoid hours of phone calls and faxing, and a slew of other efficiency gains.

And truckers say one of the biggest wins for using an app over a traditional broker is the ability to secure what's called "detention pay." Truck drivers spend 2 1/2 hours on average waiting to be loaded or unloaded, but they're typically not paid for that time. Almost 63% of truck drivers say they wait three hours or more every time they're at a shipping dock.

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All told, truck drivers lose $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion in pay every year because of detention, according to a 2018 study by the Department of Transportation.

To lure new users into their businesses, Uber Freight, Convoy, Transfix, and other startups in the truck brokerage industry have made it clear to truck drivers that the typically-elusive detention pay is available when you book a job through them.


But now, some truck drivers who use Uber Freight say a July pay policy change is making it more complicated to get that detention pay.

Read more: Truck drivers wait an average of 2.5 hours at warehouses without getting paid - here are the 20 cities where truckers wait the longest

"You pretty much have to follow what they say, and, if there is a problem, forget about it," one owner of a small Chicago-based trucking company told Business Insider.

According to a July 11 email sent to Uber Freight drivers and seen by Business Insider, truck drivers who use Uber Freight must do the following within 24 hours of the job to receive the full detention pay of $75 an hour:

  • Book their load through the app
  • Upload a signed bill of landing with "in" and "out" times as well as a proof of delivery
  • Send continuous GPS tracking updates through the app while driving

If truckers using Uber Freight miss any of those steps, they are paid only $50 an hour. Uber Freight truckers are eligible to up to four hours of pay, or $300 maximum. Through Convoy, another leading truck brokerage app, requests for detention payment is automatic, but tops out at $40 an hour for five hours of waiting, or $200 maximum.


An Uber spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement that this new policy is supposed to clarify procedures and "create more efficiency."

"Consistent with our carrier and driver first commitment, we recently updated our detention policies so that they were clearer for carriers and help to create more efficiency in the marketplace," the spokesperson wrote in the emailed statement. "No payment amounts have been changed with this policy revision and updates to eligibility criteria can be viewed on our published policy page here."

(That published policy page does not include the $50-an-hour note.)


Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Truckers must also arrive exactly on time and, after exactly 90 minutes of waiting, alert Uber Freight in the app that they're still detained. Delles Knight, who owns a trucking company in Dallas, Texas, said he alerted Uber Freight one hour and 50 minutes into waiting, and was denied detention.


Truckers are also not informed if they make a mistake in any part of the detention pay processing, Uber Freight drivers told Business Insider. They have to reach out to Uber Freight directly to get the full pay.

Read more: Truckers voted for Trump in droves. Now they say his trade war is 'killing' their ability to make a living.

"(Uber Freight's detention pay) was great when I started," Knight told Business Insider. "It became tougher and tougher to get it. And now, there are so many steps that basically they're gonna pay $50 an hour unless you catch it. They will pay you only if you jump through enough hoops for them."

The frustrations echo challenges that Uber passenger drivers have noted. Uber drivers said in Dec. that a pay structure change in the company's ride-hailing arm hurt their ability to make money on long-distance trips.

Despite those challenges, drivers on Uber Freight told Business Insider that they won't stop using the app. Their alternatives, particularly traditional brokers, very rarely pay truckers for waiting for loads. According to a survey from DAT Solutions, only 3% of truckers said they receive detention pay for at least 90% of their claims to the shippers.


"Detention takes precious time away from carriers and at Uber Freight we've always been focused on providing some of the best detention rates and fastest payment terms in the industry," the Uber spokesperson said in a statement.