6 Types of CDL Class A Endorsements

There are three options when getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL): the CDL A, the CDL B or the CDL C. Each class has its own training requirements and testing procedures, and there are pros and cons to explore for each type. Your lifestyle and career plans dictate which license will be the best fit for you. The Class A CDL is the most widely obtained CDL license, and here are the 6 types of endorsements you can get once you obtain a Class A CDL License.

The Basics of a Class A CDL

A Class A CDL endorsement usually opens the most job opportunities for a driver. The Federal Motor Carrier Association defines CDL A trucks as, “Any combination of vehicles which has a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more) whichever is greater, inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) whichever is greater.”

Once you have your CDL A license, you can get additional endorsements to allow you drive more specialty vehicles. These endorsements require extra written and sometimes, skills testing to obtain the endorsements.

There are 6 Types of CDL Class A Endorsements

commercial driver's license endorsements

U.S. Department of Transportation

1. (H) Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT)

A HAZMAT endorsement opens the doors to hauling hazardous materials over the road. These jobs are often higher paying and there is usually a larger pool of jobs available. Once you have your CDL A, you can obtain a HAZMAT endorsement following required TSA background checks, a written test, as well as a medical exam by a DOT doctor. In many cases having your HAZMAT license is a requirement for getting the X endorsement which will be described shortly.

2. (N) Tank Vehicle

The tank endorsement allows a driver to haul a tank or “tanker” full of liquid or gaseous materials. These jobs are often higher paying and usually are local or regional runs, so you’d have more home time than some other jobs. This endorsement does require an additional written test. A tanker truck driver needs to be able to adjust to having his cargo constantly moving around if the tank is not full. Dealing with the “surge” caused by the movement of the liquid in the tank while driving, does take some practice and skill development.

commuter bus passenger endorsement3. (P) Passenger Transport

Passenger transport endorsement is pretty straightforward. It allows a licensed driver to drive a vehicle which carries more than 16 passengers, like a city commuter bus. This endorsement requires an added written and skills test to obtain. These jobs are great for people who want to drive a set schedule and be home every night, or for seeing the country driving for travel companies across country. One thing is certain, you will interact with passengers all day long, so this is not the job for someone who likes being alone. This endorsement is usually required to subsequently obtain the S endorsement to drive children in a school bus. Usually the S & P endorsements go hand-in-hand.

4. (S) School Bus/Passenger Transport

School bus endorsements are required to drive children around in school busses. Like the P endorsement just discussed, this also requires an additional written and driving skills test. But for the S endorsement, there are also background checks, criminal history checks, physical fitness tests, and they usually require more frequent supplemental training and testing when the school bus rules change. And these drivers should have a little more patience and certainly must be able to tolerate driving boisterous children.

doubles triples endorsement5. (T) Double/Triples

Double or triple trailers require their own endorsement. The T endorsement allows drivers to tow more than one trailer on the back of their truck. This endorsement requires an additional written test as well. The T endorsement allows a driver to haul twice or even three-times more freight, while driving the same amount of time over the road as with a single trailer. These are often higher-paying trucking jobs, due to the added skills and driving ability the driver needs to have.

6. (X) Tanker and Hazardous Materials

Finally, the X endorsement allows a driver to haul large loads of any type of liquid or gaseous HAZMAT cargo inside of a tanker. Having this X endorsement even further separates these drivers and their skill sets. This endorsement requires an additional written test. If a driver has any plans to be in the gas and oil hauling business, an X endorsement will certainly be required.

Regardless of the type of license and endorsements you pursue, you need to ensure that you are matched with the best fit job for you. If you’re a newly licensed professional truck driver looking for your first road job, or you’ve been driving for years, let Drive My Way help you get connected with the perfect job for you.

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Wide load truck

The exact dimensions of an over-dimensional load vary by state. In a nutshell, over-dimensional is exactly what it sounds like—any high, long, heavy, or wide load truck that is larger than typical dimensions. This usually includes trucks or loads taller than 13’6” (with some regional differences) and wider than 8’6”. Length regulations change by state. Because there are different regulations based on where you’re driving, it’s important to check every state along your route before you start. If you’re considering moving to over-dimensional loads for the next stage of your trucking career, here are some pros and cons to keep in mind. 

Pros

1. Pay and Job Security

Let’s start with the big questions. Is there any real pay benefit to hauling more challenging loads? Actually, yes. Wide load truck drivers and other over-dimensional load haulers are pretty well paid for the position. You will be required to carry special permits, but even with that added expense, the finances work out well in your favor for over-dimensional loads. In addition, you won’t be tied to a single piece of equipment. That significantly boosts job security. Being able to haul a variety of loads means you won’t drive with your truck or your pockets empty.

Vic R. Oversized Load Truck Driver

We talked to Vic, a truck driver who has hauled oversized loads for 14 years. 

Vic was previously doing container work but chose to transition to oversized loads for the pay increase. He now makes significantly more money and has variety in his work daily. Vic shared “There’s a lot more money in oversized loads. Every day is an adventure, and it’s never boring.”

Over-dimensional loads require a high level of responsibility and a bigger mental load, but there’s also usually less physical work. That said, don’t look for compensation as a good CPM. This type of run isn’t about the miles—there’s a lot of waiting involved. If you are not a patient driver and willing to wait for parking, room to fuel up, etc., this probably isn’t the job for you. Because miles aren’t the bottom line, typically pay will come as salary, percentage pay, or hourly wages

2. Show Your Skills

Hauling a wide load truck or other types of over-dimensional load is not usually a job for rookie drivers. There is a high level of skill required for this type of position because the cargo is often high value and oversized. Defensive driving is a must. As a result, many drivers have 10+ years of experience in other types of trucking. The vast majority of over-dimensional drivers have at least some flatbed trucking experience. Similarly, drivers with more endorsements are often hired more easily. Even if you don’t need endorsements for a particular load, endorsements have a lot of value. They show that you are able to work a variety of assignments and, importantly, that you are a hard worker who prioritizes their career. 

There are no hard and fast rules about years of experience or endorsements, but in general, more is better in this case. Hauling over-dimensional freight can be a great job for drivers who want to incorporate a lot of the skills and experience they have gained along the way. 

3. Pilot Cars

Pilot cars (also known as escorts) are commercial passenger vehicles that drive alongside an oversized vehicle. They are required to have visible signage on the front and rear of their cars, and you’ve probably seen them on the road before. In tricky situations or routes, they can be a big help.

If you’ve never driven with a pilot car before, you should know that they won’t necessarily join you for the whole trip. They may only accompany you through the most treacherous areas.

Escorts will either drive ahead of you as a scout or they will follow you to help ensure that other vehicles observe proper spacing. There are also specialized escorts called pole cars whose purpose is to check the height of any overhead obstacles to make sure that the truck and its load will be able to pass safely. Most escorts also carry safety equipment in case of a breakdown on the road.

Cons

1. Preplanning Is a Must

Preplanning is a standard part of any trucking job. But, many experienced drivers might not need to spend as much time preplanning as they once did. For a wide load truck or other over-dimensional loads, preplanning is not optional. You must know your route well before you set off. Are there any road obstacles to be aware of? When can you fuel? Will parking be readily available when you’re scheduled to stop? 

It’s also a good idea to find out whether your pilot car knows the route well. Some escorts run the same lanes over and other. Others are simply hired and may be driving your route for the first time. There can also be different requirements in different states or regions. Make sure you know the regulations of each place you will travel through.

2. Route Requirements

As an over-dimensional load driver, you will usually have a set route with a specific delivery window. That can be a bit of a challenge, especially in bad weather. In an oversized flatbed, a big storm could have a big impact on your intended delivery time. Unfortunately, responsibility for an on time delivery ultimately falls on the driver. That’s one reason why many oversized loads don’t move during the night

Responsibility for an on time delivery ultimately falls on the driver.

With that being said, there are some loads that can be hauled at night as long as there is proper lighting. Ultimately, that decision depends on the state you are driving in. For most places in the United States, anything under 10’ wide can run at night. On the flip side, superloads (the next size classification up) often haul only at night. Most of these giants require a police escort as well as pilot cars, and they prefer to run when the roads are emptiest.

Getting Started

There is no set way to become a wide load truck driver or to start hauling over-dimensional loads. Typically, employers look for flatbed experience, and drivers need to be comfortable tarping and strapping their load. There are some training programs through companies like ATS and Lonestar, but not all drivers start over-dimensional trucking through a formal program. Multi-axle trailers are one of the best ways to start moving toward the world of over-dimensional loads. 

There really is nothing like hauling over-dimensional loads, so do your research before you get started. It’s not for everyone, but for patient, experienced drivers who want to put their skills to the test, driving a wide load truck or hauling over-dimensional loads is very rewarding.

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refrigerated truck driver

Are you looking to expand your trucking experience? Being a refrigerated truck driver might be the perfect fit. It’s most commonly known as reefer trucking, and this haul type is particularly good for drivers who have some experience already and pride themselves on their close attention to detail. Reefer trucking is hard work but is also compensated well. Here are a few ways to decide whether being a refrigerated truck driver is for you. 

Job Security is a High Priority

Job security is one of those things that is hard to measure when you are job searching but helps us all sleep a little better at night. This year, job security has been top of mind for many Americans. As we saw in Spring 2020, many truck drivers were considered essential workers, but not all of them. One big benefit of being a refrigerated truck driver is that your job security is very good. Reefer trucks primarily carry fresh food. As a result, no matter what else happens, reefer trucks will be on the roads. 

Job security is very good for reefer drivers. Most refrigerated truck drivers haul fresh food, and that will always be essential.

Demand for reefer trucking is consistently moderate to high because of the goods hauled. On the other hand, because of the extra training requirements, the supply of drivers is comparatively low. If you are a refrigerated truck driver or want to become one, that means less job competition for you! Many (but not all) reefer drivers are owner-operators. If you are finding your own loads, reefer trucks are a more flexible choice. Even if you can’t get a refrigerated load, some dry van loads can also be hauled in a reefer truck. That helps reduce the possibility of an empty return trip where you’re not earning a paycheck.

You Want to Diversify Your Experience

Being a refrigerated truck driver isn’t a first step for most CDL holders. Running refrigerated loads can be challenging, but it’s also well-paid. Typically, people start considering reefer driving after at least a few years of other driving experience. To become a refrigerated truck driver, you will need some extra training. 

In addition to the technical skills you will learn, refrigerated truck drivers need to be excellent decision-makers and problem solvers. Because of the temperature control required for successful reefer runs, a breakdown can mean losing a load. So, drivers must have quick, sound judgment when they run into unexpected challenges on the road. Once you have a few years of experience under your belt, reefer driving is a great way to stand out as a skilled candidate for future jobs. 

Employers Consider You Punctual and Detail-Oriented

Being a refrigerated truck driver takes more than just good driving. Arriving on time for deliveries is extremely important. Often, a missed appointment isn’t just a question of a slight delay. It can mean a very long wait time (even up to more than a day!) before you can reschedule your delivery! With that in mind, punctuality is critical for anyone hauling a reefer trailer. 

Punctuality is critical for anyone hauling a reefer trailer. Schedules can be very tight and most loads have very specific requirements for temperature.

In a refrigerated truck, precision doesn’t stop at the schedule. Most loads have very specific requirements for temperature. To help manage this, drivers may be responsible for supervising the loading and position of freight in their trailer. Depending on the job, drivers may also be responsible for loading or unloading as well. Then, after you’re on the road, drivers must use consistent tracking to maintain a certain temperature in all parts of the trailer at all times.

9-5 Jobs Aren’t Your Style

Truck driving is more than a job. For many drivers, it’s a lifestyle. Each haul type has unique pros and cons, and refrigerated loads are no exception. These runs are a good fit for night owl drivers who love the quiet roads in the early morning hours. Reefer drivers tend to work odd hours and will find themselves regularly loading and driving during nighttime hours. 

Reefer jobs can be local, regional, or OTR. Many local drivers are home every night, but regional and OTR drivers will be spending nights in the cab. In a refrigerated truck, the cooling unit has to run 24/7, and that comes with a lot of noise. For light sleepers, earplugs may be a worthwhile investment.

It’s Time to Be Your Own Boss

Refrigerated trucking owner-operators are in high demand. It is also possible to be a refrigerated truck driver for a large carrier, but these positions are harder to come by.

If you are interested in becoming an owner-operator, being a refrigerated truck driver might be a perfect fit for you. 

As with any owner-operator position, confidence navigating hiring contracts is a must. Because the stakes for breakdowns or repairs can be a lost load, owner-operators need to understand their contract inside and out. A contract should clearly state who is responsible for the cost of repairs and maintenance. Once you understand the finances, logistics, and contracts of being an independent contractor, you’re ready to be your own boss!

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Regional Truck Driving Jobs

There’s a trucking driving job that’s perfect for every professional CDL driver. Drivers choose between 3 primary types of runs: local, regional, and over the road (OTR). Finding the best balance of pay, home time, and physicality are usually a driver’s main concerns. For a driver who’s not looking to go too far from home, but still get out of town for a bit, a regional truck driving job may be perfect for you. Here are 5 things to know about driving regional runs.

1. Home Time

Lifestyle preferences are crucial considerations when choosing a trucking job. For those drivers who need to be home some nights and most weekends, regional truck driving jobs are a great option.

If you aren’t home every night, you can be home most nights and  weekends. These jobs can be a great fit for drivers with kids and families.

Regional drivers have a defined area to cover, usually 1,000 miles or less. So that can ensure a nice amount of home time.

2. Consistent Schedule

Regional drivers tend to have predictable and set schedules. Driving a specific regional route, drivers can usually do a decent job of planning ahead. For someone who has active weekend plans, this might make a social calendar easier to keep. And keeps you from being someone who has to miss out on fun frequently because you are out of town.

3. Solo Drivers Preferred

great truck driverIf you enjoy driving alone, this is an excellent choice for you. Since these runs are usually shorter, companies most often leave the regional truck driving jobs to solo drivers. The work and pay for a regional driving job is best suited to a single driver. Team drivers usually need not apply, although there are certainly exceptions.

4. Less Labor Intensive

Regional truck driving jobs are usually not as physically demanding as local driving jobs. Local drivers make frequent stops delivering partial loads, which the drivers usually need to unload themselves. This can be quite a workout over the course of each day! Regional runs aren’t like that. In most cases, drivers don’t need to load and unload at each stop, but again, this depends on the company and type of haul.

5. Short Breaks Between Runs

The nature of a regional truck driving job usually dictates quick turns at each stop. For a driver, this doesn’t allow much time to walk around and stretch your legs and rest your eyes very often each day. Regional drivers are usually moving again shortly after they reach their destination. But the offset for most weekends and some nights at home can make it worthwhile.

Are you searching for a perfect fit regional truck driver job? Let us help. At Drive My Way, we can help you find a great new job that’s just the right fit for you and your lifestyle. Fill out a profile and get started today.

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What Does It Take to Be a Car Hauler Truck Driver?

One of the most recognizable trucks on the road is a car hauler. Those big double-decker rigs, bringing shiny new cars to dealerships across the country. Easily recognizable, and something that might be an excellent, and lucrative choice for a job in trucking. If you are interested in a job delivering cars, here’s what it takes to be a car hauler truck driver.

Basic Qualifications

When looking for a new truck driver job, you usually need to start with meeting the basic qualifications. And a car hauler must meet basic requirements to be considered for the job.

First thing you need to have is a Class A CDL driver’s license and all the requirements from the Department of Transportation that go along with getting your license.

Over the Road Experience

So you’ve got your license, and now you need some practice navigating over the road. Long hauls across the country, winding roads, crowded city streets: these are all things that you’ll need real world experience when you’re getting ready to deliver cars. Once you’ve been driving for a while, in most cases 1 or 2 years, you might want to start looking at your opportunities for first car hauling job.

Car haulers usually need 2 years of experience for insurance requirements, but it can  vary by state or by job.

No matter what the time is, the goal is to get plenty of experience with driving safely, learning the ropes, and keeping your record clean.

Clean Driving Record

With the value of the cargo for a car hauler, there’s a lot of risk that goes into this job. These drivers always have to be safe drivers. Frequently, these drivers are hauling a dozen or more brand-new sedans. Sometimes your haul might be someone’s private collection of extremely expensive antique cars. Other times, you’re hauling burned-out wrecks headed for scrapyards.

No matter what the load, if you are considering a job as a car hauler, ensure that you have a clean driving record.

Additionally, these drivers are subject to all the standard drug testing rules, if not more, due to the high cost of the loads.

Total Attention to Detail

This is a tough job. It requires total attention to detail at every step. As most car haulers are usually responsible for loading and unloading the cars, they not only have to transport them safely, they need to get them on and off the truck safely. This means 100% perfection in your routine while spacing the cars and strapping them down in place. No damage in transit or during delivery is paramount to your paycheck.

It might take years of practice getting to the point where you’re ready to work as a car hauler, but a few years in a specialized trucking field can be the best step to getting there.

Car hauler jobs come in a few shapes and sizes. From the open-sided double-decker rigs carrying new cars to dealerships across the country, to enclosed trailers hauling one of a kind cars for a private collection, getting into hauling cars might be a great job for you. If this is the next job you’re looking for, complete a Drive My Way profile. We work hard to match you to the exact truck driving job that’s best for you.

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Local Truck Driving Jobs

So you’re looking at local truck driving jobs? Great choice. Local trucking is a good fit for many drivers. Remember, as with any job, there are pros and cons to local trucking jobs. Before you make the switch, get to know the benefits and drawbacks of local trucking, and decide whether it’s a good fit for you. 

The Pros 

family life 1. Home Time

Many drivers are drawn to local truck driving jobs because of the home time. It’s for a good reason. Local jobs typically get drivers home every night. If not every night, drivers can expect to be home almost every night. For drivers with a family, that’s hard to beat. 

2. Frequently Off on the Weekends

In addition to being home every night, many local drivers are off on the weekends. This does depend on your company and what you’re hauling, but many local drivers have weekends off.

Weekends off are much more likely in a local position than for OTR drivers.

Attending social gatherings or events on the weekends becomes much more possible with a local truck driving jobs. 

3. Health Benefits

In addition to more home time, local truck drivers pick up some serious health benefits. Local drivers tend to spend less time behind the wheel than regional or OTR drivers. As a result, local drivers are less exposed to the safety risks of being on the road for long periods of time. They are also usually more active. Because local drivers make more stops, there are more opportunities to move around throughout the day. 

4. A Set Routine

If you like to have a fixed schedule, local trucking is for you. Drivers generally have a set hourly schedule that they can count on. That’s great for planning things outside of work. It also gives you a little extra peace of mind to know when you’ll be home and when you need to leave. 

work life balance of Local Truck Driving Jobs5. Excellent Work/Life Balance

Work/life balance is a huge consideration for local drivers. Local truck driving jobs are hard work, but they also help drivers be present for the day to day relationships at home. Local drivers still have to find a balance with their loved ones, but the rewards can be great. If you value being physically present for life’s little moments, local truck driving jobs are for you. 

The Cons

There’s a lot to love about local truck driving jobs. At the end of the day though, they’re just not for everyone. There are a few downsides to consider when you are deciding whether to become a local driver. 

6. Lower Pay

On average, local truck driving jobs pay less than the average OTR position. According to Ziprecruiter, local drivers in the United States earn an average of $51,355. Consider your personal budget and whether the finances work for you in the short and long term. For many drivers, the lower wage is worth the extra work/life balance, but pay is an important consideration.

7. Positions are Competitive

Local truck driving jobs are often extremely competitive. Trucking companies can afford to be choosy because they have a lot of interested candidates.

A good position may require drivers to have some experience first. In addition, there will likely be lots of applicants, so you have to make a strong positive impression when you apply.

If you don’t get offered a position right away, keep getting more experience to help you stand out from other candidates. 

load unload Local Truck Driving Jobs8. Loading and Unloading

Some local truck driving jobs make frequent stops and require physical labor. This depends heavily on your company and type of haul. In some positions, drivers may need to load and/or unload their trucks. Think of it as a built-in weight lifting workout! This might be minor for some drivers, but if you are only interested in no-touch freight, read the job descriptions carefully.

9. Long Hours

The hours you work as a local driver depend heavily on your company. However, for many drivers, days last 10-14 hours. In addition, local drivers may start at any time of the day. For example, it’s not uncommon for a work shift to begin at 4:00 AM. The good news is, many companies offer overtime pay. Longer hours can help bring in a bigger paycheck. With such long days, some drivers find home time a challenge during the week. While local drivers are home every night, there may not be a lot of downtime between shifts. Some drivers feel like they finish work just in time to go home, eat dinner, sleep, and wake up to do it all again. 

Additional Factors

Some parts of local truck driving jobs aren’t exactly pros or cons. It all depends on your preferred work experience. Here are a few additional things to think about.

Are you a People Person?

Some local jobs require more customer interaction than regional or OTR positions. Others don’t ask drivers to interact with customers regularly. Also, local drivers tend to communicate very frequently with their coworkers and dispatchers. This can be a huge plus for some drivers and a downside for others. It’s really about personal preference. Decide for yourself whether you want more interaction with others. Then, seek out jobs that fit your preferences. 

CDL B licenseCity Driving

Like more regular communication, city driving isn’t necessarily a pro or a con. If you don’t mind spending more time in cities and towns, local driving is a good fit. If you strongly prefer to drive on highways as much as possible, consider whether the benefits of local truck driving jobs outweigh the downsides.

Choosing Your Company

You’ve heard it a million timesgood employees don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses. It’s true for local truck driving jobs too.

For any trucking job you’re considering, read the details carefully. When talking to recruiters, try to get a sense of the company culture.

Each fleet traits drivers differently. Look for a fleet that matches your professional qualifications and your personal lifestyle preferences.

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truck driver pay

Truck driver pay is one of the key elements that CDL drivers look for in a new job. Some of the most important factors for earning potential are years of experience, location, the number of miles driven, special qualifications such as endorsements, type of haul, and haul range. Not all jobs are equally compensated, but you should be able to know what to expect from your paycheck. Make sure you get all the details from your recruiter. Whether it’s for a new job or to get started in trucking, here are the types of compensation you may get offered. 

Base Pay

For company drivers, there are four main types of base pay. Some drivers may receive additional compensation in the form of bonuses or specialty pay. That said, the bulk of your income will come from one of these types of base pay.

1. Hourly

Hourly pay is likely familiar to many drivers because it’s common in many industries. In trucking, pay per hour is frequently used by intrastate delivery companies with relatively small driving ranges. Drivers who are paid hourly can often expect work with frequent stops, loading and unloading, and regular customer interaction. Many hourly positions offer overtime hours which can add a big bonus to your paycheck if you’re willing to take on extra hours.

2. Pay Per Mile

This is one of the most common types of pay across the trucking industry. Pay per mile, often called CPM (cents per mile), pays drivers for the miles they run. Within mileage pay, there are several ways to calculate truck driver pay.

  • Practical Mileage. This is the number of miles based on the most efficient path between the address at your starting location and the address at your destination. It’s often calculated with an ELD. Think of it as similar to how Google or Apple Maps calculate a driving route. 
  • Household Goods (HHG) miles. HHG miles are also called zip code miles. Companies calculate routes based on the shortest distance between the post office zip code in the origin city and the post office zip code in the destination city. 
  • Hub Mileage, also called Actual Miles. This type of truck driver pay uses the mileage change on the odometer. It accounts for all hours of service miles including changes in routes or stops. 
  • Sliding Scales Pay. Often this type of pay is used by companies who want to give short-haul drivers a chance to earn a higher income. For example, short hauls (1-500 miles) may pay $0.55 CPM while routes of 500+ miles might earn $0.50 CPM.

In addition to CPM, a job description that pays based on miles should include the number of miles per week that drivers can expect. For example, a job description might offer $0.53 CPM and an average of 2500 weekly miles. A higher CPM is usually good news, but it’s important to read the fine print. Your total pay depends on the number of miles traveled, so look for jobs with a high CPM and enough miles to earn the paycheck you want.

3. Salary

Salaried trucking jobs offer income consistency. For drivers who receive a salary, income is not dependent on the specific miles or hours worked. Instead, a flat rate is set at the start of the job contract and drivers will consistently earn that amount. Often, salaried drivers receive pay weekly.

4. Pay Per Load

Pay Per Load is the least common type of base pay. Most jobs that offer pay per load are in the agriculture, oil and gas industries, or are local delivery jobs.

Drivers earn a flat rate of pay for each load they deliver. In this type of pay, drivers earn more when they deliver more loads regardless of hours or miles.

Additional Truck Driver Pay

Per Diem

In a nutshell, per diem is money given for any place you stay overnight, meals, and other incidental expenses. Per diem is a form of reimbursement, but the biggest benefits come during tax season. Companies may offer per diems by day, per mile, or even as a percentage. If you are a company driver, per diem wages are not considered taxable income. 

For example, if you are paid $0.60 CPM and $0.45CPM is your base income and $0.15CPM is per diem, 25% of your income is not taxable. 

As of 2018, even though company drivers can no longer claim $63 per day as an expense on their taxes, they can claim the standard deduction. A higher per diem wage doesn’t change your annual income, but it does mean that you will pay less in taxes. Owner operators are still able to use per diem and deduct it as an expense on their taxes.

Detention and Layover Pay

When drivers are stopped for long periods of time, some companies will offer compensation. Drivers get detention pay when they are held up at a shipper or receiver for an extended amount of time. Layover pay may be given to drivers who have to wait between loads. Detention and layover pay are particularly important for drivers who are paid by the mile. In addition, some companies offer breakdown pay when incidents happen on the road and drivers cannot log miles.

Stop Pay

Stop pay is typically offered to drivers who will make multiple stops on their run. In general, stop pay does not include the initial or final destination. Like detention and layover pay, stop pay compensates for the time that drivers are not adding miles to their logbooks. More deliveries mean more time stopped and fewer miles. Stop pay helps make up the difference. 

Special Incentive Pay

Drivers can earn special incentive pay for loads that are more difficult because of location, border crossings, hazardous materials, or other non-typical duties. For example, tarp pay is not uncommon for flatbed drivers. Truck drivers who haul refrigerated loads may get a higher cent per mile rate. Similarly, there may be additional compensation for over-dimensional loads or routes in NY and NJ. Endorsements such as HazMat, Tanker, Doubles/Triples, or TWIC cards also frequently help drivers earn higher pay or bonuses.  

Bonuses

While base pay makes up the majority of a driver’s income, many people receive additional pay through bonuses. All companies choose their bonus structures a little differently. Some of the most common bonuses are for fuel, safety, and inspections. Many companies also offer hiring bonuses for signing on to their job or referral bonuses for bringing in new drivers. Performance and on-time delivery bonuses are also frequently used to incentivize drivers. 

Team Driver Pay

Like solo company drivers, team drivers most commonly receive pay based on mileage. For teams, the per-mile rate is a bit higher than for a solo driver, but team drivers share the rate.

The rate for each driver may be lower than for a solo company driver, but each person’s annual income is often higher because teams can drive significantly more miles.

Typically, team drivers split the mileage pay evenly. In some situations, each driver has a different per-mile rate. This may be based on experience or other similar factors. Team drivers may also qualify for bonuses if they reach certain mileage targets. 

Owner Operator Pay

Percentage pay is one of the most common types of income for owner operators. Typically, owner operators negotiate a percentage of the linehaul (gross revenue of the load minus the fuel surcharge). A load with a higher gross revenue means a better payout for the driver. Both independent owner-operators and lease to own operators can also expect to be paid all or almost all of the fuel surcharge. 

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How to Create a Career Path as a Truck Driver

Once you’ve determined that a CDL truck driver job is right for you, how do you get started? And where does the job take you? How long of a haul are you hoping to run? Whether you are starting at age 20 or at age 50, this is a crucial decision. So, when it comes to creating your trucking career path, here are some tips to get you started.

Getting Started

The first thing you need to do, is get a CDL license. But what exact type of license should you get to start? You want to get the right license for the work you’re hoping to do. Once you’ve made up your mind on the type of driving that interests you, you can work to get the correct endorsements.

We spoke with Trucker Style Shawn, a truck driver and now fleet owner, and he shared his advice for new drivers getting started in their trucking career.

Trucker Style Shawn

Trucker Style Shawn

“CDL school will only teach you the bare minimum just to pass your test. The real training is when you go out with a trainer with whatever company you choose. Now I own and operate my fleet of 33 trucks. I went into trucking knowing I wanted to grow a business. I am 30 now and think it has all paid off so far,” shared Shawn.

Getting your CDL license is the place to start when putting together your trucking career path. The process can take some time, but if you’re well prepared, you can work through the steps with ease.

Finding the Sweet Spot

Once you’ve logged a few years on the road, and have a solid safety and driving record, it might be time to start thinking about your options. When preparing for a job change, there’s plenty of things to consider. Is more money a big motivation? Or more time at home is what you’re after? Or perhaps you want to move out from being a company driver to become an owner/operator.

At this point in your career, it’s important to take stock of everything you like and dislike about driving, and carefully weigh it against what your goals are. Then take the necessary steps to move into the best role that aligns with your goals.

Ending Your Time on the Road

Once you’re ready to hang up your keys, there’s plenty of options for a trucker outside of driving. You can become a mentor to young drivers. Or get into a training role to teach those just getting into trucking. Outside of roles helping new drivers, there’s so many other roles that might also be appealing. Your employer might have opportunities available in the office or the warehouse that might be a good fit.

We spoke to another truck driver, Emily Ann, and she shared her advice for finding a company that meets your qualifications and lifestyle preferences.

Emily Ann Trucker Barbie

Emily Ann

“Experience is the biggest thing. Find a company that will train you then you can go anywhere. Don’t jump from job to job. It’s a red flag for companies. I didn’t start right of school because the only people wanting to hire me at the time was over the road companies, and I wasn’t ready to do that. A couple months later I got a job driving a tanker delivering motor oil,” shared Emily.

Many times, retired drivers have great luck working at the office. Who is a better choice to work inside the office, than a driver with years of experience.

Every truck driver has a story about how they got into their career. And they have a story about the many roles they’ve had over the years. Chances are, there’s no 2 stories exactly alike. The standard career path doesn’t really exist. So like every driver, their story of route they took from start to finish is probably a unique one.

If you are looking for the next chapter in your truck driving story, let us help! If you’re looking for a great trucking job that pays well and meet your needs, sign up here for a profile and see what matches we’ve got for you.

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4 Tips for Nailing the Virtual Interview for a CDL Job

Interviewing for a job is probably not on anyone’s list of favorite things to do. Interviews can cause stress and worry. But they are a crucial step in the process. For a seasoned CDL truck driver looking for a new job, you’ve probably seen and heard every possible interview question and technique in the book. However, even for those drivers who have been through dozens of interviews in their careers, the virtual interview can be a new way of the hiring process.

What is a Virtual Interview?

A virtual interview is exactly what it sounds like. A recruiter wants to setup some time to talk to you about joining their company, and they want to interview you. The difference here is that you’re not going to go to their office to have the meeting. You’ll receive an email with information on how and when the meeting will take place. The email should detail the program to use for the call, and how to dial-in when it’s time for the call. For those of you that are used to having video calls with friends and family, it’s very similar. But instead of checking in on how your family is doing, it’s going to be you and the interviewer talking about a potential new CDL driver job.

Preparation

Whether you recently lost your trucking job, or you’re simply looking to explore other opportunities, you need to be prepared for your virtual interview. Be ready for whatever questions they throw at you. Do your research and have your questions ready for the interviewer. That’s a great place to start. But since this one is virtual, not in-person, you need to be sure your environment is going to be ready for the call. Here’s a quick checklist to think through:

1. Prepare Your Environment

Is there loud background noise? Will you be able to hear the interviewer? Is there enough privacy to talk through your answers and questions? Could the interviewer be distracted by what’s going on behind you? Consider all of these things when selecting where you’re going to be when it comes time for your virtual interview.

Try to find a quiet place, free of distractions, where there’s good lighting so they can see and hear you well.

Use your environment to help raise your confidence during the interview. But be sure that it’s in a space conducive to a business meeting.

2. Check Your Technology

Do you need to test the software the company will use? Is your wi-fi or internet connection reliable? Is it best to use your phone or tablet? Or will you be better with a larger screen like a laptop or a desktop? Be sure whatever you choose, you’ll have all the technology working, well before your call is scheduled.

Check your connection and make sure everything is plugged in or fully charged. And have a backup plan handy just in case the day of the interview there’s a snag.

Be sure to test your camera to make sure it’s working properly. And make sure that your phone or laptop is set on a level surface, and not at risk of moving around while you’re talking. One less thing to worry about when you are having the call.

3. Choose Your Clothing

Even though you don’t have to meet your interviewer at their offices, it doesn’t mean this is a pass to stay in your pajamas for this meeting. It’s still a job interview.

You should dress the part of someone who’s looking to make a great first impression. Make sure you look your best and wear a nice clean shirt.

Nobody will know if you’re still in your gym shorts as long as your top half looks presentable and professional.

4. Be Authentic

Even though a virtual interview might be new for you, treat this interview like you would any other job interview. You know that you’re prepared, and your driving record is in good shape. Now it’s time to be yourself!

You’ve got a new advantage in the virtual world, you’re not on their turf in an unfamiliar office. You might be at home, or in the comfort of your cab if you’re out on the road.

Use this to your advantage to put any game day jitters at bay. Being prepared and comfortable can help you nail this interview!

Is the Virtual Interview the New Normal?

For now, many companies continue to have office employees continue to work from home. This means that most of the recruiting and hiring will be done from home. Many companies have been doing this for months now and can seamlessly handle the entire process without ever meeting in person. This might be the new normal for some time. So if you’re in the market for a new CLD truck driver job, the virtual interview is something that you can expect for the foreseeable future.

If you are looking for a new job, please let us help. We can help find you a perfect fit trucking job.

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cvsa safe driver week

Safe Driver Week is almost here! Coronavirus can’t keep trucks off the road, and it isn’t stopping the CVSA Safe Driver Week either. Mark your calendar for July 12-18, 2020. During the second full week of July, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is hosting a week to turn a spotlight to safe driving practices. Each year, the CVSA picks an area of focus. This year, it’s speeding. Clearly, CMV safety is important every week of the year, but CVSA is using this week to nationally highlight safety in trucking.

Why is there a CVSA Safe Driver Week?

If you’re a truck driver hauling essential goods, you may be on the roads almost non-stop. You also might have noticed that most people aren’t driving as frequently. During COVID-19, roads have seen a lot less traffic than usual. It might seem like the roads should be safer during stay-at-home orders, but studies have shown that isn’t the case. There are fewer vehicles on the road, but unfortunately, some drivers are getting too relaxed with safety regulations on the open highways. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA), many regions are seeing a big spike in speeding. 

Here are just a few of the numbers from the GHSA:

  • Colorado, Indiana, Utah, and Nebraska have all recorded highway speeds over 100 mph
  • In Minnesota, motor vehicle crashes and fatalities are up more than 2X from a similar period last year. Half of those deaths were related to speeding or negligence
  • New York City has nearly doubled its number of speeding tickets issued in March compared to February of this year

It’s tempting to meet the open roads with an open throttle. Especially when the pressure to meet deadlines is high, a few extra miles per hour might not seem like a problem. But we also know that you care about your safety and your loved ones. The most important thing is to get home safely to them.

During safe driver week as well as the rest of the year, stay safe by practicing defensive driving. That includes regulating your speed and being proactive in poor weather conditions. Similarly, staying alert and well-rested, especially in work zones and other high activity areas helps keep you on the road. 

What Safe Driver Week Means for You

Throughout the week of July 12-18, law enforcement officials will be particularly watchful for drivers engaging in unsafe behavior.

The focus is on speeding, but there will be an increased awareness of other unsafe habits as well.

If officials identify a driver as engaging in unsafe behavior, they may issue a citation. Safe driver week is a national effort, so truckers should be aware whether you’re local, regional, or OTR. Pay close attention to changing speed limits as you drive between states or in and out of cities. 

How to Avoid Citations

The CVSA Safe driver week is focused on speeding this year, but enforcement officers will also have a sharp eye for other violations. Avoid following other vehicles too closely, improper lane changes, and follow traffic signs carefully.

Some of the most obvious reasons to pull someone over are visual ones.

Keep your smartphone away and your eyes on the road. It’s easy to notice when someone is texting or talking on a handheld phone while driving. Both are illegal in many states. Another easily spotted violation? Seatbelt use. Belt up while you’re on the road and you’ll be safer and less likely to get pulled over. 

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