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.

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Want to find a job you love?

Drive My Way matches drivers with jobs based on their qualifications and lifestyle preferences.

Find a Job Today

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. 

STAY UPDATED ON INDUSTRY TRENDS AND BEST PRACTICES

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

2019 brought several proposed changes to Hours of Service Rules for truckers. Since then, those proposed HOS changes have been in a long review process with community input. Some of those same rules have already been modified under March’s Emergency Declaration to meet changing demands during COVID-19. Whether you love the changes or hate them, most of the updates from the end of last year are here to stay. 

The Final Rulings

There are four main changes that were added to the new HOS rules. Ultimately, the goal of each update is to improve safety and offer drivers more flexibility. On June 1, 2020, the final Hours of Service rule updates were released. The new HOS Ruling will officially take effect on September 29, 2020. Until then, the current HOS regulations from the Emergency Declaration will stay in place. 

“30-minute break” Flexibility

Before

The 30-minute break has been hotly debated among drivers since it was first issued. The FMCSA added the rule to improve safety, but it can force drivers to stop at inconvenient times. The old rules stated that drivers had to take a 30-minute break after 8 hours on duty. That time had to be logged as sleeper berth or off-duty. Many drivers don’t love the 30-minute break, but the new rules do bring some improvements.

Now

Under the updated Hours of Service Rule, drivers are required to take a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving time. You can also now take your break as any combination of Off-Duty, Sleeper Berth, or On-Duty, Not Driving. It still has to be a continuous 30-minute break, but now there are more choices for how you can spend that time.

Split-Sleeper Berth

Before

We’ve voted this rule “Most Likely to Wish You Paid More Attention in Math Class.” The old version of the split-sleeper berth was pretty complicated. About Trucking does a good job explaining the details if you want the full picture. In a nutshell, drivers could split their sleeping time and were able to log driving time either before or after the break. Drivers then had to track how much time they had for the next shift and compare it to the 14-hour work shift clock. That might leave a driver with 5 hours of drive time available, but only 3 hours before hitting their maximum 14 hours. Ouch.

Now

Drivers can split their 10 off-duty hours into one period of 7+ hours in the sleeper berth and 2+ hours either off-duty or in the sleeper berth.

You can use that time for sleep or take advantage of the time to destress in other ways. Importantly, all breaks extend the 14-hour clock.

Whew. The mental math for hours just got easier. 

You may have seen the proposal for the “split-duty provision” aka the “14-hour pause” that was initially proposed. After hearing arguments on both sides, this update was ultimately not included in the final ruling due to safety concerns. 

Adverse Driving Conditions 

Before

Prior to the new Hours of Service rule, drivers were getting mixed messages about the policy for adverse driving conditions. Drivers could extend their drive time by up to 2 hours. That said, the 14-hour threshold was still a limiting factor. For example, even if your shipment got delayed due to unforeseen weather conditions and you were 30 minutes from delivering when you hit 14 hours, that’s where you had to stop. 

Now

Under the updated HOS rules, drivers can extend their drive time AND their 14-hour workday if needed. The extension can be no more than 2 hours but it gives drivers more flexibility in keeping their intended schedule. Even with the added time, pay close attention to road conditions and safety. If the weather gets really bad, make sure you know your rights as a driver.

Short Haul Exception

The Short Haul Exception applies only to CDL holders who run close to their home terminal AND do not run logbooks. If you don’t fit that description, this last update won’t affect you.

Before

The previous short haul rule stated that drivers who meet those criteria could drive a maximum of a 12-hour work shift and were limited to a radius of 100 miles from their terminal.

Now

The basic ideas behind the short haul exception have not changed. Instead, the time and radius maximums have been expanded. Drivers who meet the criteria of the short haul exception can now work 14 hours on-duty and with a radius of 150 miles. This rule won’t impact all drivers, but it may increase miles for anyone in this category.

STAY UPDATED ON INDUSTRY TRENDS AND BEST PRACTICES

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

Things to Know Before Becoming a Flatbed Driver

If you’re a truck driver looking for a challenge, some might say flatbed drivers have the most challenging jobs over the road. Others might even say it is the most dangerous trucking gig out there. But if you’re up for the adventure, flatbed trucking can be a great job. So, when thinking about becoming a flatbed truck driver, here are a few things to know before deciding.

1. Flatbed Driving: The Basics

Let’s start with the basics: to drive a flatbed truck, you need to have a CDL license. In most cases, that requires a Class A or B license. Once you have the license, companies hiring flatbed drivers typically prefer flatbed experience to get started, so finding a company that provides training would be helpful.

Flatbed drivers are in high demand and because of this, pay is typically more competitive than other driving jobs. The high demand for flatbed drivers is likely directly linked to the skills required to be a successful flatbed driver. Unlike dry van or reefer jobs, flatbed jobs often require more physical work to safely secure the loads with tarps.

Marian Kulostak Flatbed Driver

Marian Kulostak, Flatbed Driver

We talked to Marian Kulostak, a flatbed driver, and he shared his advice:

“Take your time, do it right the first time. Speed will come with experience. Ask questions, observe others, and then ask more questions!” shared Marian.

Learning how to become a successful flatbed driver takes time as well as experience on the job. Finding other drivers who are willing to help you learn and answer your questions is key to succeeding quicker.

2. Securing Your Cargo is Key

oversized flatbed load

Oversized Loads

While all flatbed drivers typically need to learn how to secure their load, hauling oversized freight requires even more skill. These flatbed drivers carry unusually shaped freight that does not fit inside the confines of a standard sized trailer. As such, these loads need plenty of support to keep them secure. Check out the handbook from the FMCSA to cover all of the topics of cargo securement.

Conestoga Trailers

Some flatbed drivers will have a conestoga trailer instead of a typical flatbed trailer. These trucks are unique and often make loading, unloading, and securing much more convenient for the driver as well as provide shelter for your freight without the need of manual tarping.

Weather Conditions

Brittney Mills Flatbed Driver

Brittney Mills, Flatbed Driver

Not only do the loads need to be secured, but flatbed drivers also need to make sure freight is protected from weather conditions. We talked to Brittney Mills, an experienced flatbed driver, and she shared her advice:

“Always check your securement. If you think you have enough straps or chains, add one or two more. You can never be too safe. Make sure your tarps are tight, loose tarps can cause it to rip or your load to get wet,” shared Brittney.

Securing freight during inclement weather not only protects the load, but it also protects other drivers on the road. Without this extra precaution, the tarps could fly up while driving, causing a major distraction and hazard to other drivers.

3. Additional Safety Tips

When it comes to loading, unloading, and securing, following specific safety tips is essential. It is highly recommended that drivers avoid attending to freight while on the side of the roadway. Taking time to secure loads while at a truck stop or in a parking lot will provide flatbed drivers with a much safer environment.

flatbed truck driverIn addition, wearing the right clothes as a flatbed driver is also key. Investing in shoes with a good, no-slip grip will be helpful, especially during rain or snow. Having something that covers your clothes can also be helpful, especially when loading and unloading freight that potentially has mud or other elements covering it.

Overall, flatbed drivers are one-of-a-kind and demand a very specific set of skills. Mastering these will not only allow drivers to flourish in the area, but also start to stand out from the crowd of other drivers.

EJ Stutzman is Hiring Flatbed Drivers

Find a Flatbed Truck Driving Job

Drive My Way has partnered with trucking companies nationwide who are actively hiring flatbed truck drivers for their open positions. Create a free driver profile to be matched to jobs that meet your needs.

Create Your Profile

per diem for truck drivers

The new per diem regulations were passed in December of 2017 and took effect for the next year’s tax season. Even though that was 4 years ago, there’s still a lot of confusion about changes in per diem for truck drivers. There’s a lot of information and mis-information out there, so we’re here to make it a little simpler.

The per diem rules are all about costs on the road and how you get paid back. You work hard to make a living, and every dollar counts. Make sure you understand per diem for truck drivers to keep money in your pocket. Whether you’ve never been clear on how per diem works or you want a refresh, this is for you

1. Definition

In a nutshell, per diem is money given for any place you stay overnight, meals, and other incidental expenses.

Literally, per diem means “per day,” and you can think of it as a set amount that you will be reimbursed for certain expenses per day. The updated per diem regulations come from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. 

2. How does Per Diem Actually Work?

Per diem is a form of reimbursement. If your company has a per diem allowance, you probably have to pay for meals on the road, and then they will reimburse you for that cost in your next paycheck. The money usually comes as a set amount or in proportion to the number of miles driven. Since you paid for those meals (or lodging, etc.) out of pocket, and your company is simply paying you back, that money is not considered taxable income. Good news for you! That distinction between per diem (which is a reimbursement) and income is important. It means that your adjusted gross income will be lower when it’s time to file taxes. And a lower adjusted gross income means that you will likely owe less in taxes or get a bigger refund. 

3. Impact for Company Drivers vs. Owner Operators

Company Drivers

income taxes

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, per diem for truck drivers has changed the most for company drivers. If you’re a company driver, you can no longer itemize deductions for your taxes. In other words, drivers cannot show all of the expenses that come from being on the road in the same way that you used to. Don’t worry though. You can often still receive per diem for the nights you’re away from home.

There are two ways the money you spend for your job comes back to you. First, most company drivers will make up a lot of that money by claiming the standard deduction, which doubled under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. For single tax filers, the standard deduction went from $6,300 to $12,000 and for couples filing jointly, it increased from $12,000 to $24,000. Second, some companies have increased their per diem wage. 

Here’s an example. If you get paid 55 cpm, and 45 cpm is a base wage and 10 cpm is considered per diem wage, that part of your income is not taxable. Now, if a company still pays 55 cpm, but 35 cpm is a base wage and 20 cpm is per diem wage, that would mean that 36% of your income would not be taxable.

A higher per diem wage means that your salary stays the same, but you will pay less in taxes. Companies should, however, be very careful to avoid wage recharacterization.

Owner Operators

Tax season for owner operators hasn’t changed as much in terms of per diem. Owner Operators can continue to claim per diem expenses more or less as usual. What is the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on owner operators? Actually, it’s a huge benefit. As an owner operator, you can continue claiming per diem and use the higher standard deduction rate. To do that, keep careful track of your work expenses. If you claim per diem for truck drivers in your taxes, you will need to individually list out, or itemize, all your costs. A little organization early on goes a long way when tax season rolls around.

4. So… Do Company Drivers get Per Diem Benefits?

trucking industry changesIn short, it depends on your company. If your company reimburses costs with a flat rate or a cpm increase in your salary, then yes—you are getting per diem benefits. If your company does not offer a flat rate or cpm increase for overnight stays, you can no longer claim those expenses as lost income on your taxes. You can claim the new standard deduction which is much higher and will help offset the money spent for food and lodging while on the road.

5. Eligibility 

Per diem programs can vary significantly by company. When you consider joining a new company, ask about their per diem policy. Our friend Leah Shaver, President & CEO of The National Transportation Institute (NTI), works closely with industry experts to track driver compensation, including per diem.

Leah shared, “[NTI’s] in-house research analysts and fleet executives collaborate to design, develop and deliver driver pay studies. One of those pay study subject matters is per diem and we find that many fleets offer this benefit in some form, either per day or per mile, some even on a percentage basis.”

Not all companies have a per diem plan, but these programs can be a benefit for both company drivers and owner operators. If there is a per diem program, find out whether you are eligible. This eligibility may be based on the number of miles you’ve driven, how long you’ve been with the company, or other similar criteria. Then, if you’re eligible, decide if joining the per diem program makes sense for you. 

6. When you get the money (Owner Operators)

Choosing to claim per diem for truck drivers as an owner operator can change when you will get the money for the costs of being on the road. 

Essentially: Do you pay for expenses and then get reimbursed in your next paycheck? Or Do you claim per diem in taxes (owner operators only) and get a bigger tax refund? If you participate in a company’s per diem program, you will be reimbursed throughout the year in your paychecks. If there is no per diem program or you choose to claim those expenses on your taxes, you will get a bigger tax return. At the end of the day, your take home pay (after all taxes) should be very similar.

Think of per diem as a decision of when to get the money and in what form, not of how much money you will get.

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Get Matched to CDL Jobs

Drive My Way matches drivers with jobs based on their qualifications and lifestyle preferences.

Find a Job Today

lease purchase programs

For many drivers, becoming an Owner Operator is the gold standard of the trucking industry. Lease Purchase programs can be a great way to move toward that goal, but they’re not for everyone. If you’re considering a lease purchase program, make sure you read the fine print. Details are everything. Here’s what you need to know.

What and When

First things first: a lease purchase program is a program that allows drivers to buy a truck through an established carrier. Remember, lease purchase programs are not the same as lease operator programs.

Trucker NaeNae & her dog Jake

We spoke to Trucker Nae Nae, a Lease Operator, and she explained, “Lease operator has no money down but you return the truck at the end of the contract. Lease purchase [are] usually 10-14k down, higher payment and [drivers] keep truck at end of contract.”

Lease Purchase programs can be a great stepping stone on the way to becoming an owner operator. Take time to get to know the pros and cons of lease purchase programs. Ultimately, that will help you make the choice that is right for you.

Pros of Lease Purchase Programs

Finances

If you’re looking for a way to end up with a truck of your own, but aren’t ready to buy a rig outright, lease purchase is a good option. You will own your truck at the end and will have smaller down payments compared to buying a truck directly. Trucker Nae Nae notes that drivers can expect down payments of $10,000-14,000. While not small, that’s much more affordable than buying a used truck outright at an average cost of just over $40,000!

Monthly payments for lease purchase programs typically range from $300-$1,200/month.

In addition, drivers don’t need to establish an individual line of credit because the lease purchase agreement is through a carrier.

Choose Your Own Truck

Lease Purchase programs are the first step to completely owning your trucking career! As you consider what tractor to purchase, decide what type of hauls you want. Choose the truck that fits the direction of your career as well as your personal equipment preferences.

As you narrow down your list of potential lease purchase companies, make sure your top choices have enough loads for you. It’s critical that you get enough miles to support yourself, so choose a program that can prove they have sufficient loads for you.

Build A Strong Reputation

As an owner operator, one of your most important assets will be your reputation. Carrying freight for a lease purchase company is a great way to build a reputation as a reliable carrier. Some companies allow drivers to contract for other companies while under the lease purchase agreement. Start building your list of connections while working under the lease purchase agreement. By the time you own your own truck, you can apply for contracts with confidence and a good name.

Permits

Getting your own truck on the road is so much more than buying a rig. For one thing, all trucks have a series of required permits. Lease purchase programs typically provide those permits for anyone in their program. It’s a great way to save yourself from jumping through a few extra hoops. In addition, getting your permits through a company will get you on the road a little faster.

Get the Perks

If your lease purchase program is full service, ask about service and maintenance benefits! Some companies will keep a maintenance account for you. They may fully or partially cover the cost of preventative maintenance, training, or performance reporting. Read the contract on maintenance costs and perks particularly closely. If the leasing company does not offer a full-service program, be very clear on who is responsible for maintenance. If you are responsible, CDL Life recommends setting aside 15-25% of each paycheck to offset the cost.

Cons of Lease Purchase Programs

Making It Add Up

When you start the lease purchase journey, income might feel like a big question mark. First of all, your pay is likely to fluctuate as you adjust to the new position. And, you’re now responsible for making payments on the new lease! A Truth About Trucking survey found that many drivers were promised more miles than they actually received. Make sure your contract clearly states how many miles you can expect, so you can be confident that it meets your needs.

Navigating Contracts

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all contract that companies use for lease purchase agreements. There can be some pretty big differences between carriers, so make sure you read the fine print. When possible, get a second opinion from an attorney or other legal professional. Repairs and maintenance are two of the biggest costs – review these sections with a fine-tooth comb. Before you sign, make sure you understand the contract inside out. If you’re not sure about something, ask questions. Only agree to the contract when you feel confident that you understand the agreement.

Common Red Flags

If the lease purchase contract seems off for any reason, get a second opinion. When you look at the contract, there are a few common red flags to watch for.

  1. Unreasonably high missed payment penalty
  2. The company is pushing you to make a decision quickly or they don’t want you to get a second opinion
  3. You’re not sure whether you’ll be able to get enough miles
  4. There is a balloon payment at the end of the contract that essentially requires you to stay on with the same company even if you can technically pursue other jobs.

If you review a contract with any of these red flags and the company seems unwilling to negotiate, step away. There are many lease purchase companies to choose from, and you are likely saving yourself from trouble down the road.

The Takeaway

Lease Purchase Programs are a great way to make the leap to becoming an owner operator. When you choose a company, get to know the details. Look for carriers that allow you the freedom to run as you see fit (not tied to a central dispatcher). Also, check load boards to make sure they will have ample freight for you.

As you consider lease purchase programs, don’t forget about the business side. Are you ready to run your own company? Make sure you feel confident with your bookkeeping, taxes (don’t forget the 2290 Highway Use Tax), and other necessary paperwork. Similarly, understand how your payment for the lease purchase is made. Have you done your research and talked with drivers who have successfully completed the lease purchase program? Listen for any hesitation they might have as well as positive reviews of the program.

Whether to pursue a lease purchase program is a big decision. Ultimately, it will impact you as well as your family, especially if you are a parent.

Trucker Nae Nae

Trucker Nae Nae

Trucker Nae Nae shares her experience with making the transition, “I wanted to make sure I like my new career choice without having to worry about ownership. Now I am ready. For any lease, you will work to cover your payments with less time at home. Really consider your family life before signing the contract. It will be fine. It could be financially difficult to get home monthly.”

At the end of the day, this is a very personal decision. Remember, if anything seems not quite right, don’t sign the contract yet. You can walk away from a bad deal. Know your priorities going in, and you’ll find a program that is a great fit for you!

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Find a Lease Purchase Job

Drive My Way matches drivers with jobs based on their qualifications and lifestyle preferences.

Get Started

Team driving is a great option to explore for some professional truck drivers. Having a partner to navigate thousands of miles of highways can be a real benefit to a single driver. Two sets of eyes, ears, and hands can make most jobs easier and runs completed faster. Sounds pretty great, right? But there’s also some aspects of team driving that might not be as great. So if you’re looking into becoming a team driver, you need to find out if team driving is right for you.

What is a Team Driver?

What is a team driver? Well, it’s pretty much exactly how it sounds: two professional drivers who work together, sharing miles in the same truck. Team drivers share the responsibilities equally, and while one sleeps, the other drives. This type of driving can be very beneficial for both new and seasoned drivers. Many companies prefer hiring teams as they can guarantee their customers faster delivery times, as teams have less downtime than a single driver.

Pros and Cons

The best thing to do when making a decision like this, is usually to weigh out the pros and cons. Create a list of all of the things that make team driving an attractive proposition. Someone to help with the work. The load keeps moving even when you’re sleeping. More runs completed faster, usually equals more money.

But the flip-side of that, is that there’s someone always with you—all day, every day. When you’re trying to sleep, you have to contend with all the normal road noise. And no matter what you get paid, it’s always going to be split right down the middle. There’s a lot more to consider, but these a few things to think about early in your decision making process.

Finding the Right Partner

Having the right partner is the most important part of team driving. You need to be compatible, share similar priorities, understand each others needs, and most importantly, you need to feel safe knowing they’re driving while you’re asleep. Many times, carriers can help successfully pair drivers for a team. But in many cases, team drivers come to the company already as a team. One of the most common types of driver teams is a married couple.

PJ and Mike Team Driving Couple

PJ and Mike

PJ and Mike, a USA Team Trucking Couple, have been team driving for years. They shared the following for anyone considering team truck driving:

“The insight we can give is that team driving is not for everyone. It’s a hard career. Most driving schools and companies don’t teach team drivers on how to work and drive together. So for most team drivers, there is a big learning curve. Team drivers need to learn each others’ driving strengths and weaknesses,” shared PJ and Mike.

Have you considered driving as part of team? Do you currently drive as part of a team? We’d love to hear your stories. Drop us a note on our Facebook page here.

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Find a Team Job Today

Drive My Way matches drivers with jobs based on their qualifications and lifestyle preferences.

Find a Team Job

cdl job change

Job changes are part of the natural evolution of a career. In the trucking industry, the turnover rate is high. Many drivers change jobs after only a year or two. Whether you’re new to the trucking industry, switching jobs after a layoff, or just looking for better employment, there are a few things to keep in mind for a CDL job change. 

1. Finding a New Job

The first question every driver has to answer when preparing for a CDL job change is, “Where do I find a new position?” Job boards are a tempting place to start, but they’re actually one of the least effective resources for finding a good job that fits your needs. Job boards are focused on quantity over quality. Drivers are matched with everything and anything (you’re probably not actually interested in that pizza delivery job when you’re an OTR driver).

Prioritize job resources that actually meet your professional qualifications and personal lifestyle preferences. Avoid job boards and choose better resources that will allow you to have a job AND a quality of life that you love.

Keep your ears open and ask other drivers which companies they love. Word of mouth is one of the best indicators of driver happiness in a job. Direct referrals from drivers are also a great option, and it might put a little money in someone’s pocket. If you want to expand your search, check out options like Drive My Way. We specifically match drivers with positions based on your skills, needs, and personal preferences. Don’t waste time on jobs that won’t be a good fit—apply only to the jobs that are a match for you.

2. Check the Boxes

As you prepare for a new job, there are a few housekeeping things to take care of. If you haven’t already, register for the FMCSA Clearinghouse. This allows future employers to easily complete the required pre-employment background check. If you are coming off a driving break, make sure all of your relevant endorsements are current. Obtaining an additional endorsement can also be a great way to boost your job prospects or earning potential. 

3. Transferring a CDL

A CDL license is valid for every state that drivers pass through, but your license does need to be issued from your state of residence. Even if you’re hauling freight in the same region, if you move to a new state, it’s time to head to the DMV. Typically drivers have 30-60 days from the time they move to a new state to complete a CDL transfer.

When you’re ready to transfer your CDL, here’s the list from Drive Big Trucks on what you need for the DMV.

  • Go to the DMV in a new state
  • Present proof of new address
  • Be prepared to retake part of the licensing exam and/or pay a licensing fee
  • Present a medical exam or certification to demonstrate your physical fitness
  • Complete a background/fingerprint check or drug test

Once you get the new license, the old one becomes invalid. It’s best to only carry your most current CDL license.

4. Preparation is the Best Strategy

As you prepare for a CDL job change, research the companies you’re interested in. Figure out what parts of a job are most important to you and figure out exactly how those aspects work.

When possible, make a point to talk with terminal managers, recruiters, and, most importantly, current drivers. Get the key details on home time, pay, hours, and any other elements that are important to you. 

5. Nailing the Interview

In the interview, your potential employer will likely ask questions that are about your license as well as about your experiences. Be clear and straightforward when answering questions about your endorsements, license, and work history. 

Some companies use a hiring practice called behavioral interviewing. This style of interviewing asks about how you have handled specific past situations. An example is, “Tell me about a time when you had to plan a complex route with multiple deliveries. What was the outcome and how did you handle it?”

When you answer this type of question, honestly consider your past successes and challenges. Use your experiences to highlight strengths and what you’ve learned from situations that didn’t go well. 

Once the interviewer has finished asking their questions, it’s your turn. Good jobs are a fit both for the company and for you as a driver. Know what you’re looking for, and use the interview to clarify any questions you have. 

6. Adventure and Anxiety

A CDL job change can be accompanied by a lot of internal (and often conflicting!) side effects. If you’re switching jobs for an exciting new opportunity, it might feel like a grand adventure. If you’re looking for a new job because of the current COVID-19 crisis or have been laid off for another reason, stress might feel like a constant companion. For drivers who have recently lost their job, our Displaced Driver Resources can help you navigate everything from health care to disability insurance and other unemployment resources. 

Regardless of why you’re switching jobs, there can be a lot of conflicting emotions. Excitement and anticipation for a new (and hopefully better!) job. Fear or anxiety about jumping into the unknown. 

Be sure to pursue companies that match both your professional qualifications and personal preferences. Then, you’ll have a lot to be excited about with a new position. New jobs often bring a work upgrade in some way whether that’s higher pay, more home time, or better company culture. As you prepare for your new position, hold on to the things that made you excited about the job in the first place.

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Register with Drive My Way

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

Create a Free Profile

3 Free Truck Driver Apps That Will Make Your Day Better

Technology can make life easier. And usually, if there is a problem in your life, odds are that an app has been created to help solve it. Trucker life is tough and stressful enough. So, finding any way to make your day easier is always welcomed. Here are 3 free truck driver apps that will make your day better. Or at least hopefully make your day run a little smoother!

1. Trucker Path

Trucker Path is a great app that virtually every trucker can use to get through their workday. It is often cited as the most frequently downloaded free truck driver apps out available. The app contains virtually everything you would need help with from general maps, parking info, truck stops locations, weigh station stops, and much more. Great for drivers of all experience levels, but most helpful when driving in unfamiliar areas where you don’t have a good lay of the land.

2. Weigh My Truck

An app that helps you get in and out of weigh stations faster is something every trucker needs. Weigh My Truck app does just that. Once you have an account setup, it automatically knows where you are, and your weigh history. So when you get to a weigh station, just drive onto the scale, pay and get an electronic weigh ticket sent right to your phone. You can still run into the register and pick up your paper copy but using the app will save you plenty of time at these stops.

3. iExit

Looking for a place to stop and take a break or a spot to stay overnight? The iExit app is really helpful for when you’re done driving and need a place to stop. This app lets you know what is coming up and then where the best place to stop once you pull off the interstate. It’s interconnected with a number of other apps like Yelp, which show user feedback on the points of interest on the map. So you can search for a specific type of restaurant or a place to sleep for the night if needed. It can even help you find the best gas prices in the area when you need to refuel.

Bonus Apps for COVID-19

During this time of change for many people lives, using technology to stay connected has made life easier. Finding new ways to keep in touch using technology helps. These apps can help you stay more grounded and feel connected to family and friends while driving over the road.

1. Zoom

Video calling is something that many people are using more frequently now than ever. Zoom is a great app for video conferencing when you want to talk to a few people at home, or up to 500 people across the country. Zoom has a free option, or a paid premium version available for download. Since March of 2020 when people really started to be quarantined in their homes, Zoom has seen over 300 million daily meeting participants, and is still growing. It’s the perfect app to use to host a virtual happy hour to stay connected to your friends and family.

free truck driver apps2. Sanvello or Headspace

Mental Health Apps like Sanvello or Headspace are perfect for people struggling with additional stress and anxiety lately. These free apps give helpful inspiration and techniques to help you manage stress, or even sleep better. The apps also give you access to support tools and resources that help you focus, reduce stress, and overall take better care of your mental health and be more mindful. They can also provide access to community resources where you can find and share conversations with others.

3. House Party

House Party is a great app to feel like you are at the “party” when you’re unable to actually be there in in person. Letting you “face-to-face” chat with up to 8 people at a time, House Party is a fantastic way to socialize from a distance. Move easily from room to room once you are logged-in, giving you an opportunity to check out different parties without much effort. Having the ability to play games with the kids, or the adults, is a fun way to pass the time while you’re away from home.

If you’ve already got a smartphone, and a good data plan, you’re ready to try out some of these apps. Or other apps we’ve featured in prior posts. We want to hear from you about apps you recommend. Tell us what other free truck driver apps you use to make your life easier. Post your suggestion on our Facebook page and share with your fellow drivers. You might even find a new app that will help you too!

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Looking for an app for CDL jobs?

Check out Drive My Way! We match you with a job based on personal preferences and qualifications.

Register for Free

Want to Get Your CDL License? Here's What to Know

Getting your Commerical Driving License (CDL) is a big deal. It’s an exciting step toward a career as a professional driver, and we hear from lots of veteran drivers that it’s the best job out there. Earning your CDL license isn’t an overnight process, but it’s worth it. Take the time to prepare yourself for each of the steps, and you’ll be on the road before you know it. Here are a few things you should know before you get started.

Types of CDL Licenses

There are three main types of commercial driving license: A, B, and C. They all allow you to operate large motor vehicles, but each is designed for a specific purpose. A CDL A license is considered the most universal because it allows you to also drive most CDL B and CDL C jobs. Here are the distinctions between each type of license

  • CDL A: Allows drivers to operate vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000 pounds with a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 pounds. This license lets you drive tractor-trailers (also known as semi-trucks, big rigs, etc.) as well as most Class B and Class C vehicles. 
  • CDL B: Permits drivers to operate a vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 pounds with a towed vehicle of less than 10,000 pounds. This license (sometimes with endorsements) allows you to drive most straight trucks, buses, box trucks, dump trucks, and most Class C vehicles. 
  • CDL C: Allows drivers to operate a commercial vehicle with a GVWR that is less than 26,000 pounds and transports hazardous materials or 16+ passengers. This license is typically used for passenger vans and small HazMat vehicles.

With any of these license types, you may need to supplement with endorsements. Not all trucking jobs require them, so consider what you’re interested in before you commit to adding them. The standard endorsements are (H) Hazardous Materials, (N) Tank Vehicles, (P) Passenger Vehicles, (S) School Buses, and (T) Double and Triple Trailers.

Eligibility

From a Federal perspective, the eligibility requirements to be a truck driver are pretty straight forward. If you can satisfy these requirements, you’re off to a good start.

  1. You must be 18+ for trucking in the same state (intrastate trucking)
  2. You must be 21+ for trucking between states (interstate trucking) or carrying hazardous materials
  3. Don’t have any criminal offenses on your record that disqualify you from earning your CDL

Once you’ve confirmed eligibility at a federal level, look into the specific requirements for the state that will be issuing the license. Every state is a little bit different, but there are several common things you will likely be asked for. 

  • Proof of ID
  • A release of your driving record for the past 10 years
  • Demonstration of medical health
  • Pass a written and skills test
  • A road test fee (usually $50 – $200)
  • Verification that you’ve completed a professional training course

You can only have a CDL License from one state at a time. If you move (or have another reason to transfer your license), make sure you review the CDL license requirements for your new state. 

Choosing a Driving School

Once you have decided what type of CDL License is right for you, it’s time to pick a driving school. There are pros and cons to all programs, so research carefully. Technically, you’re not required to get your license through a driving school and could self-study for your tests. That said, many companies will only hire if they see the driver has gone through a verified driving school. You can also get your license through a company-sponsored program. There are benefits and drawbacks to this, but it’s a good option for many drivers. We recommend that future drivers get their license through some type of verified program. 

As you look for programs, look for the following as signs of credibility: 

  • Is the school/program accredited? (Approved by the Department of Education)
  • Is the school program certified? (Approved by the Department of Transportation)
  • Is the school/program licensed? (The instructors and curriculum meet state guidelines)
  • Is the school/program listed with the Better Business Bureau? Use these ratings to compare programs
  • What’s included in the price of tuition? Quality programs usually offer all the necessary supplies, classroom and over-the-road training, and extra help if requested. 

If you can’t find answers to any of these questions, make sure you get in touch. The driving school or program should be able to answer any questions you have before you get started. Most programs have a similar curriculum and are a mix of classroom and on-the-road instruction. You can expect to cover things like operating a truck, use of electronic logs and other industry tools, and safety procedures among other essentials

Time and Cost

Getting a CDL License is an investment in your future. Like any training program, there is a cost in both time and money. The total cost varies by state, but you can expect to spend about $3,0000 – $7,000 on a training program. As a rule of thumb, the more training time required for your license type and endorsements, the higher the cost of the program. A full-time driving program usually takes around 7 weeks, though it can take longer. Deciding to obtain a CDL License is a big commitment, but it will pay for itself quickly through your new career.

Passing the Test

After you have completed a certified driving program, you must have your Commercial Learning Permit (CLP) for two weeks. Then, it’s time to take your CDL test.

The exam has written and practical components. For the written exam, the test is multiple choice and typically taken on a computer. An 80% passing rate is required for the written exam. For the road test, you must not have more than 30 points deducted from your score.

The examiners will be watching for your ability to maneuver the vehicle, your behavior during the test, and your ability to handle pressure or stressful situations. Reviewing your state CDL training manual and spending practice time in a rig are great ways to prepare. 

You passed! Time to get hired

Now that you have your CDL license, it’s time to start looking for a job. This might sound intimidating, but many driving schools offer resources and connections to their students. That’s a great place to start. You can also use driver-friendly platforms to search for jobs that match your lifestyle and job preferences. As you are offered opportunities, make sure the position is a good fit for you. Ask the recruiter the essential questions about pay, home time, operations, and equipment to get as much information on the job as possible. Soon enough, you’ll be ready to hit the road!

find-cdl-truck-driver-jobs

Find a CDL Driving Job

We match you with a job based on your personal preferences and qualifications.

Find a Job Today