best trucker gps
While almost everyone has a cell phone these days, it may not be the most helpful tool if you’re a driver who often spends hours (or days) on the road. Using a GPS designed specifically for truck drivers will act as a partner on the road, by helping you navigate through difficult roads or unfamiliar state routes. Below are a few tips to guide you in choosing the best trucker GPS to fit your needs.

Consider What Best Fits You

Finding the right GPS model for you might be easier than you think. Before making your purchase there are a few items worth taking into consideration. The first thing to consider is screen size. Purchasing a GPS with a screen that’s too small can place extra strain on your eyes, making it harder to keep your eyes on the road. On the flip side, if you go with a model that’s too big, you risk blocking your vision.

In your trucker GPS, look for a good screen size as well as Bluetooth and hands-free navigation capabilities.

You should also think about whether or not the GPS comes with built-in Bluetooth capabilities and hands-free voice navigation. Certain models also have the ability to guide you through even the most remote country roads where WI-FI can be nonexistent, which is something that your cell phone won’t be able to do. Using a unit with a voice navigation function will not only make things easier for you but can also cut down potential distractions, allowing you to stay focused on the road ahead.

Remember: It’s All About the Features

semi truck dashboardTrucker GPS systems also come loaded with special features that you won’t find on your standard smartphone. Whether you’re looking to track your fuel usage, the number of miles you’ve driven, your tire mileage, or just curious about the nearest fuel stop, your GPS can provide you with all of that information. A good system will also alert you to changes in routine traffic patterns, hazardous conditions, weight restrictions, low overpasses, and more – all in real-time.

All of the features mentioned above will help keep you on the most efficient routes possible. And, most importantly, your GPS can help make sure you stay within HOS Compliance at all times, making the roads a safer place for everyone involved. This will allow you to deliver your loads on time, help ensure that you get the pay you deserve, and that you make it home on time.

Enjoy the Benefit of Automatic Updates

Additionally, many of the newer GPS models provide users with the benefits of automatic updates. This will help ensure that you have the most up-to-date software at your fingertips every time you get behind the wheel without the need for complicated instructions or flipping through manuals. Your system will always be up-to-date without you having to buy new equipment or software every single time.

Do Your Homework!

Happy trucker driverIt’s important to do your research before deciding on the best trucker GPS system that’s right for you and your life on the road. A simple internet search can lead you to a number of products on the market, as well as their reviews – many of which have been written by actual drivers. Use their feedback to walk you through the good, the bad, and the in-between before making your final purchase.

Remember that choosing the best GPS is all about finding the right option that fits your needs. Make sure that it comes with all of the features and functions that will help improve your driving experience. This will allow you to get a better feel for the product and everything it offers before making your selection.

truck driver at loading dock

Find a CDL Truck Driver Job

Drive My Way matches you with a CDL job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Create a Free Profile

non-cdl driver job
Do you need a commercial driver’s license to be a professional truck driver? Not necessarily. There are quite a few ways to get a non-CDL driver job. As delivery services become increasingly popular, driving jobs are in high demand, and a CDL isn’t always required. A non-CDL driving job is a great way to see if professional driving is for you. It’s also typically very quick to start, so if you want to jump right into driving, a non-CDL driver job could be the perfect fit. 

What Jobs Don’t Require a CDL?

Many professional trucking jobs require a CDL, but not all of them. Many delivery jobs with companies like Amazon, UPS, and FedEx do not require a CDL. Similarly, some box truck, reefer, and hotshot jobs do not require a commercial driver’s license.

Each company has different qualifications, so read the job description carefully for each non-CDL driver job.

If you’re new to trucking, you might be wondering whether you should get a CDL or apply for non-CDL jobs. Ultimately, that depends on what you want out of a trucking career. If you want to see the country and anticipate spending many years in the industry, a CDL will allow you to get a wider variety of jobs. On the other hand, if you want to jump in quickly and prefer to stay closer to home, a CDL may not be necessary. Non-CDL jobs are in demand and often keep you in a smaller range. Here are the pros and cons to consider before you take a non-CDL driver job.

1. The Pros

Fed Ex VanA non-CDL driver job can be a great choice because they are much faster and cheaper to start than earning a CDL license. For many delivery, box truck, and hotshot jobs, you will be able to start very quickly. If a CDL is not required, the only training you will need is typically provided with your new position. Similarly, there’s no large upfront cost for CDL training, so non-CDL jobs are a good choice if you want to get to a paycheck as quickly as possible. This also makes non-CDL driver jobs a particularly good fit for people between jobs. You can start right away with very little initial cost. 

Another huge perk of non-CDL driving jobs is that they are often local work. Many positions keep drivers in a relatively close geographic area. This means that drivers get to go home daily, which can be particularly good for drivers who want to spend more time with their families. Not all non-CDL driving jobs are local, so make sure to read the fine print before you take the job so you know exactly what to expect.

2. The Cons

There’s a lot to love about the “quick to start and quick to earn” nature of non-CDL driver jobs. That said, they are not for everyone. There are a few drawbacks that are worth considering before you jump right in.

DHL Van

First, some non-CDL driver jobs are contract work. When that’s the case, the pay may be lower, hours and workload may be inconsistent, and employees are often guaranteed fewer company protections. For people who live for the hustle, contract work can be a great way to earn extra cash. It’s not for everyone though. In addition, not all non-CDL driver jobs have a clear path for professional development. In other words, some of these jobs are great if you need a short-term job for a little while, but growth opportunities may be limited. 

The final factor to consider when looking at trucking jobs is vehicle use. Non-CDL drivers who use their personal vehicles for work should factor that into the total cost of the job. There will be some natural wear and tear on your vehicle because of the added use.  Typically the driver is responsible for any gas and maintenance costs, even when the cost is a result of increased work use.

3. How to Start

If you are ready to get started in trucking with a non-CDL driver job, the first thing to do is get a sense of jobs in your area. Based on the jobs you see, decide if there is a specific job or company that interests you. Then, read the job descriptions closely and clarify whether there is any additional training required. Look for jobs that are a good fit for your skills and lifestyle preferences, and you are ready to get started!

truck driver at loading dock

Find a Non-CDL Driver Job

Drive My Way matches you with a job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Create a Free Profile

cdl driving test
Passing the CDL Driving test is one of the first steps to success in a trucking career. If you’ve recently passed the test, you know the relief, pride, and satisfaction that comes with getting that license. Truck driving can be a great career, and if you’re thinking about becoming a driver, the CDL driving test is one of your next steps. Here’s what you need to know to pass the test with flying colors. 

Study Up!

The CDL test is a little different based on what state you are in. Make sure you get a copy of the study guide from the state where you’ll be taking the licensing test. Set a study schedule for yourself. Choose a target date to take the test and then spend a little time studying every day. Be realistic in the date you choose. You’ll want to be fresh for the test and stay motivated, so choose something relatively close. That said, make sure you give yourself enough time to properly study. It only adds time if you have to take the test twice.  

Once you get to know the material, start taking practice tests. Many states offer free practice tests on their website. There are also third-party sites like Trucker Country that allow practice tests. Drivers can take a generalized test for a CDL license or practice tests that are for a specific endorsement. These practice tests are a great way to test your knowledge and find any areas that need more studying. 

Make an effort to practice the driving portion of the test as well. If you are training through a CDL school, ask plenty of questions and put your learning into practice whenever possible.

New CDL Driver, Brittany

New CDL Driver, Brittany

We spoke with new CDL driver Brittany, and she shared this advice: 

“If they’re going to school, be out there every day doing Pre-trip and maneuvers and stay focused. Ask all the questions because that’s what instructors are for. No question is a dumb question and don’t be nervous on test day. All the practices will flow long as they’ve put in the work before test day.”

Passing a CDL test isn’t easy, but if you put in the work, you’ll be on your way to a trucking job in no time.

Demonstrate Technical Expertise

When you are ready to take the practical element CDL driving test, it’s time to show off your skills. First and foremost, make sure you know the truck. The last thing you want is to make a simple air vent adjustment and be fumbling with the buttons. With the evaluator watching, even routine adjustments can feel like they have a lot of pressure. Know the inside of the cab like the back of your hand. 

There are a few skills on the driving test that you have to get right in order to pass. Train yourself early to pay attention to these details!

Like knowing the inside of your cab, there are a few skills that you absolutely have to get right to pass the CDL driving test. Some of them are obvious — don’t stall and no shifting at intersections. Others are skills that you may need to be more conscious about. For example, it’s very important to use proper exit and entry techniques when you are getting in and out of the truck. Similarly, train yourself to notice weight limit signs as you’re driving. An examiner may ask you about a posted weight limit sign shortly after you’ve passed it. You need to know what it said. Any time you are driving, even in a personal vehicle, try to notice details on the road like weight limit signs. 

Make the Basics Obvious

cdl truckWhen you take the CDL driving test, it’s easy to focus on the things that will be challenging, but don’t forget the basics. These are the things that are probably almost second nature to you, and you do them any time you drive. Keep two hands on the wheel. Check your mirrors and scan regularly. Signal all lane changes. Keep an eye out for speed limit signs and make sure you’re driving a few miles per hour under the speed limit. All of these are common sense basics, but make a point to make these obvious when you take your licensing test. 

Beyond Driving Skills

yellow semi truckThe CDL driving test is a big step toward a driving career. It’s common to be nervous before the test. That’s why you practice beforehand — so that the information and skills are second nature when you take the test. Make sure you know the automatic failure points so you can avoid them, but set your sights higher. Don’t focus on just barely passing. When you are in the cab with the evaluator, remember to stick to your purpose. You’re not in the cab to make friends, so don’t get too chatty. Some evaluators may consider this distracted driving. 

Above all, stay calm even if you make mistakes. You will likely encounter at least one small unexpected surprise while doing the CDL driving test. Take in the new information and keep moving forward. If you made a mistake, fix it for the next time. A calm personality and the ability to respond well to unexpected changes are key for drivers. Demonstrating that skill in a road test will impress your evaluator and give them confidence in your ability to be on the road professionally

truck driver at loading dock

Find a CDL Truck Driver Job

Drive My Way matches you with a CDL job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Create a Free Profile

DAC Report
When you have an accident or fail an inspection, all drivers know that there are consequences. What you may not realize is that those records can follow you for years after an incident occurs! Future employers 2 years down the road can (and almost certainly will) be looking at your PSP and DAC records. As a driver, your record reflects your professional skills. Make sure you know exactly what is on the record. If you see a PSP or DAC report error, take steps to correct it as soon as possible.

Why dispute a PSP or DAC Error?

PSP reports and DAC errors might sound like unnecessary jargon and an entire alphabet soup of regulations, but don’t lose track of them. These two little acronyms play a big role when it comes time to find your next job. The Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) report includes your crash and inspection history. On the other hand, the DAC report is basically a credit report for truckers

Many employers will look at both of these reports before hiring a new driver, so you want to make sure that you have a good record. If you think there has been a mistake on your CSA or DAC report, take time to set the record straight. It could be the difference between getting your next job or not. 

How to Dispute a PSP Error

CDL truckDrivers can dispute PSP errors electronically. The PSP records are federal and the FMCSA manages the database. The record includes every driver’s 3 year crash history and 5 year inspection history. The website to check your record or file a dispute is called the DataQ program, but it manages PSP records. Drivers can visit the website and create a profile or login if you already have one.

Once you create the profile, it’s easy to submit a complaint through the same website. You can also view your existing record for $10. Ultimately, it’s a driver’s responsibility to ensure that the PSP record is accurate and free of errors, so make sure you know exactly what carriers will see. $10 is a small price to pay for peace of mind going into a job interview!

How to Dispute a DAC Error

Like the PSP reports, DAC records can be requested electronically. However, unlike PSP reports, DAC records are not managed by a federal organization. A private, third party company called HireRight manages DAC records. While it’s not mandatory, the vast majority of large carriers use HireRight as part of their verification process for new hires. 

As a driver, you have the right to know exactly what’s on the DAC report. HireRight offers drivers one free report for themselves. You can request a copy on their website. Their website also allows drivers to electronically dispute a claim if they believe there was a mistake. If you want to reach out by phone, you can find complete contact information for HireRight in this article from CDLLife.

Correcting a PSP or DAC error can make a big difference in hiring conversations. If you get a copy of your records and notice that something is wrong, correct it as quickly as possible. Fortunately, with PSP and DAC records now being stored online, a quick internet message will get you back on track. Disputing errors that are then cleared gives you a better chance of being hired and makes sure there are no surprises when you go into an interview. 

STAY UPDATED ON INDUSTRY TRENDS AND BEST PRACTICES

Join our community of over 150,000 drivers who receive our updates.

On the road safety isn’t just about driving practices. Maintenance of your semi truck tires boosts fuel economy and can improve the tires’ lifespans. Keeping your semi truck tires in good shape doesn’t have to take a lot of time. A little bit of regular maintenance goes a long way and can save you from long hours waiting and a headache on the side of the road!

Understanding Your Tires

The first step to proper tire care is to understand your sidewall. Did you know that everything you need to know about loading capacity and speed ratings is printed on the tire? Here’s a quick guide to your sidewall.

Most of the information on your sidewall won’t affect your day to day work. However, when the time comes to replace a tire, or you’re deciding whether a load might exceed your truck’s capacity, these little markings have everything you need!

Tire Regulations

To maintain safety on the road and stay within code for your semi truck tires, there are several numbers to know. The first is for tread depth. The FMCSA and CVSA have different tread requirements, and drivers must stay within the limits of both. For the FMCSA, the minimum tread depth for a steer tire is 4/32 of an inch on every major tread groove. Drive and trailer tires must have at least 2/32 of an inch tread depth in every major groove. The CVSA measures differently. For the CVSA, no two adjacent tread grooves on a steer tire can have a depth of less than 2/32 of an inch. For all other tires, the tread depth must be at least 1/32 of an inch when measured in adjacent grooves. Trucks that fail CVSA minimums will be placed out of service while FMCSA violations may result in citations.

In addition to FMCSA and CVSA regulations, the CSA issues tire scores. These scores are part of “Vehicle Maintenance” on the BASICs assessment. The data on these scorecards comes from roadside inspections, and tire violations can carry a lot of weight. According to Tire Review, 8 point violations include:

  • “Flat tire or exposed fabric
  • Ply or belt material exposed
  • Tread or sidewall separation
  • Tread depth
  • Audible air leak
  • Cut exposing ply or belt material”

Also, several of the 3 point violations include:

  • “Using regrooved tires (on front of truck/truck-tractor)
  • Underinflated tires
  • Tire load weight rating”

Tire violations can really add up on your CSA. Keep close track of your CSA and MVR score and be prepared to answer questions any time you change jobs. It’s important to remember that failing an inspection and being put “out of service” are not the same thing. A tire can fail the FMCSA standards while still meeting the CVSA requirements. In that case, you will likely get a violation on your record, but the vehicle won’t be put out of service. 

Best Practices

The best way to avoid tire violations is through regular inspections and maintenance. Measure tread depth to make sure it meets FMCSA and CVSA regulations. Also, look closely for early signs of tire wear. Cracks, bulges, foreign objects (like rocks or glass shards) are warning signs to watch for according to USDOT’s Tire Safety Tips. If you notice any of these problems, let your mechanic know as soon as possible. 

We spoke with owner operator Trucker Marq who shared this tip on the importance of tire maintenance:

As you inspect your tires, take a moment to gauge the inflation pressure. Make sure to do this before you drive while the wheels are cold. Overinflated tires will wear excessively on the center tire treads. An underinflated tire will wear on the outside tire treads and can lead to internal structural damage.

Finally, we recommend regular check-ups with a technician for your tires. As a driver, you can identify any obvious external signs of damage. A technician will inspect not just your tires, but also everything connected to them. A well-maintained rig will help make sure your semi truck tires are up to the job every time.

truck driver at loading dock

Find a CDL Driving Job

Drive My Way matches you with a CDL job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Create a Free Profile

Moffett forklift on truck
If you’ve ever had to load or unload heavy construction materials at your CDL job, you know it’s not a light load. That’s where a Moffett forklift comes in. They’re easier to maneuver than a crane and can get in smaller spaces. These powerful little lifts are also compact. Moffett forklifts attach to the back of your truck so you can easily take them between job sites. These machines aren’t very big, but they pack a lot of power!

What is a Mounted Moffett Forklift?

Drivers use mounted Moffett forklifts to unload construction and other heavy materials. Many CDL drivers won’t use Moffett forklifts at all. However, for some drivers, they’re an everyday machine. Mounted Moffett Forklifts fit on the back of trucks for travelusually flatbed or straight trucks. The forklift detaches from the truck for easy loading and unloading. Drivers haul heavy materials to their worksite and then use the forklifts to unload from the bed of the truck. You might also hear these forklifts called “piggyback forklifts” because they piggyback on the end of trucks when moving between sites. 

Austin, CDL Driver With Moffett Forklift Experience

If you’re new to operating a Moffett Forklift, truck driver Austin offers this advice:

“The first and foremost, seatbelt, and when you are on it take your time and go slow and always keep your head on a swivel looking around you to make sure you are not going to hit something or someone.”

Moffett Forklifts have several advantages for drivers who work with heavy materials. They are smaller and more nimble than cranes, so maneuverability in small spaces is better. Moffett Forklifts also frequently have 90-degree tire rotation. That allows drivers to pull right up to the side of their truck, lift materials off, and move the load with much less awkward maneuvering. For drivers working with heavy construction materials, Moffett Forklifts are a big advantage.

About the Job

If you’re thinking about taking a Moffett Forklift job, here are the basics to keep in mind.

CDL License

If you don’t already have one, you’ll need a Commercial Driving License (CDL) to operate a truck with a Moffett Forklift. Whether you need a CDL A or CDL B may depend on the type of truck you’re driving. The best way to decide what license type you need is to look for jobs in your area and see what they’re asking for. Some companies also require additional certifications to drive a Moffett Forklift. Depending on your state and company, you might need a forklift, hoisting, or hydraulics certification. 

Route & Pay

Moffett Forklift drivers often operate flatbed or straight trucks on local routes. As a result, many drivers are home every night. Some positions are also off evenings and weekends, but that depends a lot on your specific job.

Moffett Forklift jobs are often paid hourly. If you work more than 40 hours per week, that usually means you’ll earn overtime.

Like many local jobs, Moffett Forklift jobs are often paid hourly or weekly. The good news is, there’s usually overtime after 40 hours. So, if you do end up pulling long hours, you’ll be well compensated for your time. 

Personality Fit

A good trucking job isn’t just about having the skills to get the job done. There’s also a level of personality fit with the job and with the company. Moffett Forklift jobs often have some customer interaction. When drivers deliver to a job site, you might be working directly with customers. If you like to be a jack of all trades, these could be great jobs for you. Moffett forklift drivers may be asked to do related tasks that go beyond strictly operating the truck of the forklift.

This is a good job for drivers who like working with people and are happy to have a little variety in their day.

If you’re thinking about taking a job that uses a Moffett Forklift, that’s a great choice! Depending on the job, you may need to look into extra licensing, but being able to operate a forklift is a great skill to have. Moffett Forklifts make heavy lifting a breeze, and they don’t take too long to learn how to operate. If you’re still undecided, check out Moffett Forklift jobs in your area and see if they’re a good fit for you!

truck driver at loading dock

Find a Moffett Forklift Job

Drive My Way matches you with a CDL job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Create a Free Profile

buying a semi truck
Buying a semi truck is a big decision. What exactly are the most important criteria? Should you buy new or used? How can you know if it’s really a reliable vehicle? If you’re thinking about taking the leap to become an owner operator or you’re expanding your fleet, read this list before you buy your next truck.

1. Know Your Specifications and Preferences

The first step for serious semi truck buyers is to know your specifications. Consider what types of loads you want to haul, and find out exactly what your minimum specifications are. Then, don’t even look at trucks that don’t meet those specifications. If you’re not confident in the specifications you will need in your rig, find other drivers in similar roles. Ask them what has worked for them. Verify that the specifications that you’ve seen online are really enough to get the job done. 

Once you’ve met your minimum specifications for your haul type, it’s time to be realistic for yourself. Do you have any strong tractor preferences on vehicle type or features? While there may be some features you will ultimately sacrifice for cost, it’s important to know your personal “need-to-haves.” You’re going to spend a lot of time in this truck, so don’t waste your money on something you don’t love!

2. Decide New vs. Used

There are pros and cons to both new and used trucks. The choice between the two depends a lot on your needs and preferences as a driver

We spoke with Alessandra Szul, President of Flatbush Freight Express about buying new vs. used trucks, and she shared that their decision is based heavily on whether they are financing the truck.

“If we aren’t, we typically buy used trucks that have less than 300,000 miles on them (nothing older than 2016) and a flawless maintenance record. It allows us to scale more, hire more drivers, and still have very reliable units that we can easily own outright. If we were financing, we’d go with a new truck.”

Her bottom line? “We tend to find that in the tier of trucks we purchase, we have the same level of repairs and maintenance, new or used.” Ultimately, there are pros and cons to both paths. It’s important to choose the option that allows you to stay financially stable in the short and long term while meeting your goals.

New Trucks

A new truck is arguably a more reliable initial investment. Since you are the first owner, you know the vehicle’s history. The seller will give you detailed information on the vehicle before you decide whether to buy the truck. Also, new trucks won’t require significant replacement parts or maintenance for a while. They may also come with a factory warranty to see you through the first little while of truck ownership. If there is a factory warranty, make sure to read the fine print closely to know exactly what is and is not covered. The biggest downside of a new truck (and it’s no small thing) is cost. New trucks are considerably more expensive than used trucks. For some drivers, the peace of mind may be worth it, but many drivers look for a reliable used truck to reduce the cost. 

Used Trucks

new or used semi truck

The alternative to a new truck is a used truck. Used trucks are less expensive and can be a great option, but pay close attention to details when buying a semi truck. First and foremost, buy from a reputable source. Reputable dealerships should be able to show complete records for the dealer. Individual owner operators looking to sell a truck can also work well, but we recommend only buying from a trusted driver who you know well. In either case, it’s a good idea to talk to the truck’s previous drivers if possible. They know the truck better than anyone else.

When we asked Alessandra about her criteria for buying used trucks, she shared this advice:

If you’re going used, MAKE SURE you’re buying an extended warranty that INCLUDES critical components coverage. READ the warranties, so you’ll never have any surprises! Also, we recommend going with a certified pre-owned that used to be part of a huge corporate fleet. They usually take care of their vehicles really well and have great records. Ask what hasn’t been replaced, what has been replaced…”

She went on to say that, “The biggest tip, is to spend the extra money to get a 3rd party to do an independent inspection and ask for a copy of it. Don’t just take the dealer’s word for it, no matter how “big” of a dealer they are.” Spending a little extra for the peace of mind of a fair and honest inspection is well worth the cost. If you’re able to get a full vehicle history and the inspection comes back clean, you probably have a great rig on your hands at a fraction of the “new” price.

Test the Truck

Before you walk off the lot with a new semi truck, make sure you test the truck. You know what a good truck sounds like. Start the engine and do a thorough inspection as you look and listen for anything that seems out of order. Take the truck out for a test drive. Does it handle smoothly? Is there anything in the movement of the cab that could be a sign of trouble below?

Trucker Style Shawn

Trucker Style Shawn

We spoke with Trucker Style Shawn, a truck driver and now fleet owner, and he shared his advice for what to look at before buying a semi truck:

“Get an oil sample so you know you are getting a healthy motor. Look at the wiring…And last the little things like brakes, valves and ware items all add up, so take that into consideration before buying.”

Just as important as truck performance is comfort. Spend some time in the cab. Is it a good fit for you? Is it comfortable enough to spend thousands of hours in? Be honest with yourself about comfort. You might be able to compromise on some features if everything else looks good, but a truck that is not comfortable is not a good investment.

4. Know When to Walk Away, and Know When to Run

If you’re buying a semi truck, you might not buy the first (or even the 10th!) truck that you look at. Be patient. An investment this big is worth taking your time on. Do your research ahead of time, and create a list of your most important features, specifications, and your price range before you visit a vehicle. This list will keep your priorities front and center – an important thing when you’re tempted by a nice-looking vehicle that doesn’t meet your criteria. 

Trucker Style Shawn left us with this great advice:

“Make sure the truck is ready and able to be driven on the road without worries of failing a dot inspection. Remember your livelihood is dictated by the truck, if it isn’t healthy your pockets won’t be.”

At the end of the day, you have to choose the truck that’s right for you. Walk away from anything that doesn’t meet your needs. On the other hand, when you find a reliable rig that meets your needs and has a great history, you’re ready to buy! That’s a great truck.

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Find Owner Operator Jobs

We help owner operators match to companies that meet their professional qualifications and personal lifestyle preferences.

Find a Job Today

ready mix driver

There aren’t many jobs where you can say that you are literally building your community from the ground up. As a ready mix driver, that’s exactly what you’ll do. Ready mix drivers work with cement or concrete and spend most of their day outside. These drivers work with a wide variety of customers, and you can see the proof of their hard work in the buildings that form the heart of every community.

What is a Ready Mix Driver?

Marcus, Driver with PAHL Ready Mix Concrete

The main job of a ready mix driver is to deliver concrete or cement to a job site. That job site could be for a residential home or a commercial building depending on your company and the clients they serve. Ready mix drivers work in a wide range of employment situations. They may work for a concrete contractor, as an independent contractor, or as part of a concrete delivery service. In most cases, drivers will be responsible for loading and unloading, so this is a labor-intensive job, but don’t let that scare you away.

We spoke with Marcus, a Ready Mix driver with PAHL Ready Mix Concrete, and he shared this about why he loves his work:

“I firmly believe being a Ready Mix driver is the backbone of America. Not only due to the truck driving aspect of it but the way concrete contractors and our Ready Mix drivers get to Concrete the world.”

 Ready mix jobs can be a good fit for drivers who have experience as well as drivers just getting started in trucking. 

Job Requirements

To get started as a ready mix driver, you will need a license and experience. Ready mix drivers must have a CDL A or B license depending on the job. In addition, employers typically look for experience in similar jobs such as tanker and liquid hauling when possible. Experience with automotive maintenance is also a plus because ready mix trucks require more cleaning than many other types of trucks. 

Requirements for ready mix drivers don’t stop with driving experience and licensing. There are a few distinct personality traits that are very important for this haul type. Given the amount of labor required for loading and unloading, a high level of physical fitness is a must. Similarly, a strong work ethic is extremely important for ready mix drivers. Employers want drivers they can rely on who know how to overcome obstacles and will work hard to get the job done. 

Pros

Pay & Route

Ready mix jobs typically pay well. This is particularly true considering that many positions only ask for a CDL B license.  Many (but not all) ready mix jobs are paid hourly. If you’re looking to bring in some extra pay, ready mix jobs in the heavy season are a great way to do it. 

PAHL Ready Mix Truck

Marcus’s Ready Mix Truck

Ready Mix Driver Marcus also shared his perspective on his typical routine:

“Mixer drivers get to see it all, start to finish of big and small projects. Plus be outside hauling quality concrete to many different job locations and contractors. Mixer drivers get to haul something different to someone different on a daily basis.”

Ready mix jobs are a great mix of job consistency and new people and places to meet as you deliver loads.

Customer Interaction

If you’re a social driver, ready mix jobs might be perfect for you. Depending on your customers and routes, you may have a high level of customer interaction. As a result, strong customer service skills are a huge plus for ready mix drivers. Ready mix drivers will often return regularly to the same construction site, so drivers who can build lasting relationships with customers are extremely valuable.

Job Satisfaction

Trucking is about having pride in your ride. Ready mix driving is no different. In this job, drivers get the satisfaction of knowing that you helped build something. Before you came, there was nothing. When your work is done, you have created something that will have a lasting impact on your community. There aren’t many jobs that can truly say that.

Cons

Job Seasonality

The nature of concrete work means that ready mix jobs are highly seasonal. Depending on where you live and the weather conditions there, the length of the season varies. 

As ready mix driver Marcus puts it:

“[Mixers are] working together in all weather and worksite environments that’s thrown at them to accomplish the end result.”

At the day to day level, ready mix drivers have to be prepared to work outdoors in a range of weather conditions. 

Schedule

Ready mix drivers don’t sleep in. Most days will start early in the morning, so 6:00 AM start times are not out of the question. Most drivers get used to this routine pretty quickly, but if mornings aren’t your thing, ready mix work will be a challenge.

Job Physicality

ready mix truck unloadingFrom loading and unloading to cleaning the truck, ready mix drivers have to be in top physical shape. A lot of labor is required from these drivers. In addition to loading and unloading, ready mix drivers are responsible for cleaning and maintenance. Because concrete can harden in the trucks, drivers must carefully clean their truck at the end of every shift. On a good day, this might be primarily hose work, but tough concrete slabs might require drivers to chip away until the pieces come off. Ready mix drivers must be in top physical condition.

Finding Ready Mix Jobs

One of the best places to look for ready mix jobs is in your community. Most ready mix jobs are local work, so a drive around town or a call to ready mix companies in your area are great places to start. To find a job that is a great fit for your qualifications and personal lifestyle preferences, you can also check out Drive My Way. We match qualified drivers with companies that fit each driver’s specific priorities.

truck driver at loading dock

Find a Ready Mix Driving Job

Drive My Way matches you with a CDL job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Create a Free Profile

trucking insurance for owner operators

There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to trucking insurance for owner operators. You’ll have different insurance options available based on your haul type, range, level of experience, and driving record. Also, insurance requirements vary by state, so be sure to review your state’s regulations for your specific haul type and needs. We spoke with several trucking insurance experts, and they shared their top tips for choosing insurance as an owner operator.

What Types of Insurance Do Owner Operators Need?

The exact trucking insurance that you will need as an owner operator will vary. The best thing to do is talk to an insurance retailer that specializes in trucking insurance. They will be able to give you details on your specific situation. That said, here are a few basic insurance types to know:

Liability Insurance

Primary liability insurance covers damage to the tractor or trailer, and most owner operators need a minimum of $750,000 in coverage. That number will go up if you’re hauling hazmat or other riskier loads. Adding physical damage coverage to liability coverage can protect against potholes, weather conditions, and similar damage.

Cargo Coverage

Cargo coverage protects the goods that you haul. In the event of an accident, you need to know that the load you’re carrying is covered. Cargo coverage is specific to owner operators who are running under their own authority.

Non-Trucking-Liability (NTL) & Bobtail Coverage

If you are an owner operator who is running under a company’s authority, you will need NTL and Bobtail coverage. NTL covers drivers when they use their truck for non-businesses purposes such as a stop at the grocery store or an outing with friends. Bobtail policies also cover drivers who are returning from a deadhead load while still under dispatch.

David Zahm, Director of New Business at Robley Insurance

If you are partnering with a specific company, David Zahm, Director of New Business at Robley Insurance, encourages owner operators to do their research:

“I would encourage an owner operator to vet a company they’re going to work with. …Ask the trucking company directly, ‘I’d like to see a copy of your CAB report.’”

That information is powerful for drivers. You have to protect your own safety record, and a company with a poor CAB report is a huge red flag.

Passenger Accident Coverage

Passenger accident coverage provides insurance protection for guest passengers in your vehicle. While your passengers may not be part of the nuts and bolts of operating your truck, people are one of the most valuable assets in life. Passenger Accident Coverage helps give you peace of mind when you have someone else in the truck with you.

What Factors Affect Insurance Prices?

Trucking insurance for owner operators varies greatly. The level of insurance coverage that you need will affect pricing, but there are several other factors as well.

Joy LaFrance, Chief Underwriting Officer for One80 Intermediaries

CDL experience plays a big role in being approved for trucking insurance and pricing. According to One80 Intermediaries’ Chief Underwriting Officer, Joy LaFrance, underwriters want to see a minimum of 3 years of CDL experience and a CDL license in the state that you operate. Drivers with less than 3 years of experience may have a hard time finding insurance from a retailer that specializes in transportation. Underwriters and insurance retailers need evidence of a clean driving record and good business management.

One80 Intermediaries’ Chief Underwriting Officer, Joy LaFrance, noted:

“Preferred programs don’t typically take anyone that’s new in business less than 3 years unless they have 5 years prior experience. So the pricing for the first 2 to 3 years could be astronomical until they have proof that their loss history is good, that they are maintaining driver files, and that they are maintaining their vehicle.”

Jeff Ice, Transportation Practice Leader for Risk Strategies

Jeff Ice, the retired Transportation Practice Leader for Risk Strategies, confirmed:

“The only thing that really gives an underwriter some comfort as to what they’re going to insure is experience. So, if there’s no experience, yes there are places you can get insurance, but you’re going to pay the piper.”

An owner operator’s driving record is another factor. A good safety record is critical. Insurance carriers will look at inspection records, hours of service violations, driver fitness tests, logbook violations, and truck maintenance records among other things. They may also look for proper signage and safety features on your vehicle like fog lamps or deer guards.

A final determining factor on insurance price is down payment. If you are able to pay the insurance premium in full, insurance carriers may discount the total cost. The full lump sum is a big upfront cost, but it’s usually cheaper overall.

What Will Your Carrier Provide?

If you are an owner operator partnering with a single carrier or are a lease purchase driver, that carrier may offer insurance. If they do, read the fine print closely to decide whether it is the best option for you.

Ask questions to understand what is and is not covered. The insurance may not cover you while you are not operating under that company’s authority. That includes the time you may be working with other companies or traveling home when you are off duty. In addition, make sure that the carrier offers coverage levels that meet your specific insurance needs. Insufficient coverage will impact your eligibility to haul certain types of freight and can affect your bottom line. When asked about carrier insurance, Chief Underwriting Officer Joy LaFrance shared this:

“When they’re operating under the authority of someone else, what happens is, if [owner operators] leave and decide ‘I’m going to go on my own now,’ they have no history. So they basically are starting over. Unless I can get the data from that motor carrier, with all the claims, by driver, there’s no way to actually assess [owner operator] history.”

LaFrance added that when drivers use a carrier’s equipment and, “are only asked to get a non-trucking liability or bobtail liability, that does not count as primary insurance. We can’t use your non-trucking or bobtail liability for proof that you had no incidents.”

To decide if insurance through a carrier is right for you, think about your future goals. Will you keep expanding your business? Will you eventually run under your own authority and need a good insurance record? If so, you may do better with an insurance plan that is independent of any carriers so you can prove your record.

Where Can You Find Providers?

The best insurance retailers for owner operators specialize in transportation. A generalist won’t necessarily understand all the nuances that you need for the job. Shop around for both price and good coverage. If you are a new owner operator, you may have to rely on generalized national insurance carriers. When possible though, look for specific trucking insurance retailers.

Risk Strategies’ Jeff Ice offered this suggestion:

“As an owner operator just getting into the business, my first phone call would probably be to [OOIDA]. They would be able to turn you on to how to get your authority, do you need your own authority…[They] will be able to give you a lot of direction.”

One of the best ways to find a top trucking insurance policy is to ask owner operators! Find out where they get insurance and what they like or don’t like. There’s nothing better than a firsthand account, and other drivers aren’t trying to sell you on anything. An experienced owner operator is one of the best places to get suggestions.

Robley Insurance’s David Zahm left us with this advice for sustainable growth:

“You’ve got to start one [truck] at a time, and build slowly. … [If you try to grow too quickly,] you’ll end up with a distressed insurance company, and their rates are astronomical, which shrink your margins down…If somebody wants to run a trucking company the right way, then there’s a way to do it, and they have a chance to be very successful.”

Becoming an owner operator is an exciting step, and trucking insurance is a key part of that transition. Successful owner operators build slowly toward long-term goals and focus on sustainable growth. That’s an investment in yourself worth making.

truck driver at loading dock

Find an Owner Operator Job

Drive My Way matches you with a CDL job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Create a Free Profile

Best truck driving jobs
You have two job offers on the table. Which is one of the best truck driving jobs?

Job 1: ABC Trucking

ABC Trucking is hiring OTR drivers out of Wichita, KS. Drivers get 3 flex days off every 15 days and earn $0.45 CPM. Drivers average 2,500 miles per week. ABC Trucking offers full benefits that start immediately and a $1,500 retention bonus for drivers who stay at least 1 year. 

Job 2: Jack’s Trucking

Jack’s Trucking is hiring OTR drivers out of Wichita, KS. Drivers are home for 2 days every 2 weeks. Drivers earn $0.53 CPM and average 2,000 miles per week. Jack’s Trucking offers benefits starting after 90 days and they provide a $1000 sign-on bonus.

Which job would you take?

ABC Trucking offers a lower CPM, but more miles. In a year, a driver with ABC Trucking would earn $56,250 and benefits start immediately! On the other hand, Jack’s Trucking offers higher CPM, but fewer miles and benefits starting after 90 days. Typical annual pay would come to $53,000. Even beyond base pay, if you stay with your company for at least a year, ABC Trucking offers the higher bonus. Similarly, even though 3 flex days for every 15 on the road isn’t the most common format, 3 days off out of 15 is a better offer than 2 days off out of every 14. ABC Trucking offers higher total compensation.

The best truck driving jobs have a strong total compensation package. That includes direct and indirect forms of compensation. If you turn down a job because the CPM is a few cents lower than your expectations, you might be leaving money on the table! Consider the total compensation package before accepting a job offer. 

1. Direct Compensation

When you think of pay, many people are really talking about direct compensation. Direct compensation includes the pay that comes as dollars and cents. That said, it’s more than just your CPM or salary. Direct compensation also includes the money you earn from bonuses and savings programs. 

Base Pay

direct compensation

Base pay is the money you see in your paycheck. There are many different ways to get paid (CPM, salary, per load), but these base numbers don’t tell the whole story when it comes to compensation. Base pay also includes per diem if your company offers it. Even within base pay, it’s important to consider the bigger picture. If you’re paid in CPM, find out how many miles drivers average. Is there a minimum number of guaranteed miles? A high CPM rate does no good if you can’t get enough miles to pay the bills. 

Base pay makes up a large part of a total compensation package, but there are several other types of direct and indirect compensation to consider. 

Bonuses

Another common form of direct compensation is bonuses. Bonuses aren’t guaranteed money, but you’re likely to earn many in your time as a driver. Some of the most frequent bonuses offered are for recruitment, retention, referrals, performance, and safety. Some of the bonuses come upfront with no strings attached and others are dispersed over a period of time. In both cases, these bonuses make up a part of a total compensation package. 

Savings Programs

Savings programs are the third form of direct compensation.  For example, a 401k match from your company is a huge investment in your future! Even if you only put away a little money each year, your company will add to your savings. Not all companies offer 401k match programs, but any savings program will set you up for better finances down the road. 

2. Indirect Compensation

If you are reading CPMs and then deciding the pay is too low, you might be missing out! Base pay is important, but the highest base pay is not always the best job. Look for a job that gets you the pay you need AND compensates you in your time, benefits, and equipment. 

Home Time

indirect compensation

When you evaluate home time in a new job, there are three things to consider. The company is paying for your time, so this is part of your total compensation package. First, look at weekly home time. This will vary based on your run, but compared to similar positions, how do they stack up? Is the schedule consistent? Next, look at vacation time. If a company offers slightly lower CPM, but good, paid vacation, that could be a good offer. If you get paid vacation, that’s money you earn without rolling a single tire on the road. Finally, look at sick days.

Stay in the business long enough, and everyone will need to take a few sick days. Does your company offer paid sick days or do you have to take it out of other time off? These are all parts of your compensation that won’t show up if you only look at base pay.

Healthcare Benefits

Healthcare in the U.S. is expensive. The more your employer covers, the less your wallet takes a hit when you need medical care. Factor in whether your employer starts benefits right away or after a trial period. Similarly, does your employer offer any health and wellness benefits? Free gym memberships and smoking cessation programs are big health benefits that you won’t pay a dime for. 

If you think benefits aren’t much money compared to base salary, think again. On average, benefits cost the same as 31% of an employee’s salary. To put it in perspective, a driver who is paid a $50,000 base salary essentially earns $65,000 when benefits are included. For an $80,000 salary, the total compensation number jumps to $104,800. As a driver, you don’t see that money in your paycheck, but it would be a huge out-of-pocket cost if you were responsible for it. Medical benefits are a big part of total compensation.

Equipment

The equipment you drive is also a consideration for total compensation. Newer and well-maintained equipment keeps you moving and makes sure you get the miles you need. In any recruitment conversation, ask about the make, model, and year of the truck you would be driving. It’s also a good idea to ask about an EZ Pass and fuel card. Even cab perks such as radio and ride-along programs have value. None of these perks make up for terrible base pay, but they are worth considering as a part of total compensation. After you talk to a recruiter, make sure to do your own research too. Check the CSA scores of carriers to see how they prioritize safety and equipment maintenance, and make sure they measure up.

3. Company Culture

happy coworkersWhy are the most important things in life so hard to put a number on? There are no numbers to talk about the value of your family or pride in a job well done. Company culture is like that. Company culture isn’t part of total compensation, but the best truck driving jobs all have a good company culture. Drivers are respected and value for the critical work they do. That shows up in everything from pay to home time to how drivers and dispatchers interact. Find a company that respects your work and time, and you’ll find a job worth keeping. 

In her DriverReach interview, NTI’s Leah Shaver said it best:

“If you ask a professional driver, they will tell you pay is not the most important factor, respect is. Ask them to define how they could be shown more respect and they’ll list a number of variables related to their paycheck. Compensation is arm-in-arm with the most important factors at any job. It is the ‘handshake agreement’ that often leads a driver to accept a new position and encourages them to remain in with the company. If the pay, benefits, and company culture is there to support and engage the driver, they will stay focused and retained at their employer.”

When you look for your next CDL job, focus on total compensation and strong company culture. The best truck driving jobs have both. Those are the jobs that are worth your time.

truck driver at loading dock

Find a Truck Driving Job

Drive My Way matches you with a CDL job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Create a Free Profile