Panther sets up ‘frequent flier program for drivers’

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Panther Expedited Services Inc. has introduced The Panther Premier Driver Rewards Program, a campaign designed to reward top-performing drivers with additional benefits like cash rewards, hotel stays and greater priority for getting home.

“Think of it as a frequent flier program for drivers,” says Andy Clarke, president and chief executive officer of the Seville, Ohio-based company. “We wanted a standardized way to reward drivers and owner-operators for good performance, not just tenure. This program allows them to earn perks for driving a high number of miles or for delivering a high number of loads, even if they’re relatively new with Panther.”

Drivers will achieve Bronze, Silver or Gold membership status every six months based on either their miles or number of loads from the previous six-month period. For example, a tractor-trailer solo driver would reach Bronze status after driving either 32,000 miles or delivering 70 loads in a six-month period. “The more you drive and arrive on time, or the more loads you deliver on time, the higher level of membership and the greater number of perks you’ll receive,” Clarke says.

To qualify, drivers first must meet Panther’s requirement of 99 percent or better on-time service. Additional perks include priority “concierge” phone service, priority for desirable loads, cash rewards, rollover miles, fee waivers and vouchers for meals, hotel stays and services like satellite radio. For recurrent achievers, an additional rate-per-mile cash bonus will be awarded to anyone who maintains their membership level for two six-month periods in a row. For example, Gold members will have a 1.5 cent-per-mile bonus added to their compensation.

“This is just one in a series of programs we’ve put in place to affirm our commitment to owner-operators and continue to attract the best contractors in the industry,” Clarke says. “We’ve also instituted a ‘Fuel Expenses Paid from the Point of Dispatch Program,’ where we pay for deadhead starting at the first mile with rates that’ll cover the cost of fuel. Our Truck Lease Program helps contractors obtain guaranteed financing that gets them in a truck immediately. Plus, we give owner-operators sign-on bonuses of up to $5,000 for straight truck teams and $8,000 for tractor teams. Everything we do is done to provide more opportunities for owner-operators as an investment in their livelihoods.”