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How to Create a Career Path as a Truck Driver

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

Getting Started

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

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

Trucker Style Shawn

Trucker Style Shawn

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

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

Finding the Sweet Spot

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

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

Ending Your Time on the Road

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

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

Emily Ann Trucker Barbie

Emily Ann

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

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

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

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

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4 Tips for Nailing the Virtual Interview for a CDL Job

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

What is a Virtual Interview?

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

Preparation

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

1. Prepare Your Environment

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

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

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

2. Check Your Technology

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

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

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

3. Choose Your Clothing

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

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

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

4. Be Authentic

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

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

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

Is the Virtual Interview the New Normal?

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

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

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Terry Christofferson picks up the phone with an upbeat “Hello.” He’s calling from his sunny home just outside of Chico, California. There’s a cheery enthusiasm to his voice, but also the subtle depth of a man who knows hard work. Terry came to Drive My Way like many CDL licensed drivers—looking for a job and expressing interest in one of the many positions on our site.

Except, unlike most drivers, Terry already has a job. Just not in trucking. 

He’s a certified respiratory therapist in California, one of the first states that was reporting positive COVID-19 cases this spring. A respiratory therapist who wants to drive a semi-truck. At a time when medical professionals are desperately needed, Terry Christofferson wants to drive a semi-truck not instead of, but in addition to being a respiratory therapist. And Christofferson has the credentials to do it. Despite working a very secure job in the medical field, he made sure to maintain a CDL A license with Tanker, Hazmat, and Double/Triple endorsements for more than 30 years.

 

maintain a cdl license

Terry and his wife Sondra

Before He Became a Respiratory Therapist

Terry Christofferson grew up on a farm in a small town in North Dakota. Before he completed high school, he moved with his family to northern California. After graduating from high school, Terry started college to become a respiratory therapist. Education doesn’t come without a price tag, but Terry was no stranger to hard work. Life in a small town in the Great Plains is a strong and relentless teacher –  hard work, perseverance, and grit weave the fabric of each day and toughen the hands of the people who live there.

From growing up on a farm, Terry knew how to handle big machinery, so he accepted a position with Viking Freight working on their docks near his California home.

One afternoon, a supervisor asked him to back a semi-truck up to a loading dock. Terry could have driven most agricultural machinery blindfolded, but trucks were an entirely different story.  “Sure I can.” Terry confidently responded and jumped in the cab. One clean movement later, and the truck was up against the dock. His colleagues smirked appreciatively and laughed, “You obviously know how to drive a truck.” 

maintain a CDL licenseOnce a Truck Driver

His humble display of skilled maneuvering quickly upgraded Terry to a job hosteling for Viking Freight. Terry’s skills driving cargo around the freight yard impressed his managers, so he quickly moved up again. Even though he had only been with the company for a few years, Viking Freight sent him to driving school through their company to get his CDL A license to drive a tractor-trailer.

Terry continued driving for Viking Freight through college, and soon enough, Terry was a certified respiratory therapist with a full-time job. With the job security that accompanies the medical profession, many people might have let a truck driving license lapse. Terry wasn’t ready to do that.

“It’s just one of those things that you do… Then pretty soon, you kind of go, “Well I’ve been doing it for this long, I might as well keep going.”

I always thought, “You know, one of these days, I want to go back ‘cause I really miss working on the farm. I enjoy driving trucks… I’m going to go back and do it part-time.”

Always a Truck Driver

open road

Over the years, Terry happily accepted small driving jobs from time to time. Lending a hand here and there. An errand for a friend. He continued to maintain a CDL license. His work as a respiratory therapist remained steady, and his family was close, but every so often, the undeniable call of the open road would whisper.

“[My love of driving] is hard for me to explain. It’s just, it’s enjoyable. It brings back a lot of memories of growing up on the farm…especially if I’m driving in the agricultural industry… I enjoy driving a truck, you know, it’s not something that everybody could do…” 

Speeding down the road at 70mph while maneuvering 30 to 40 tons of truck with the precision of an engineer is no small feat. Most semi-trucks weigh 60,000 to 80,000 pounds, and as a truck driver, you have to be aware of not only your truck but also all of the (often unpredictable) drivers around you. Each time Terry finished a job for a friend, he was reminded of the exhilaration of driving a semi-truck. And each time, the thought crept in, “I should just a do a little bit more of this.”

maintain a CDL licenseDeciding to Maintain a CDL License

In the state of California, to maintain a CDL license (Commercial Driving License), drivers must submit a license application, driving history clearance, a knowledge test, a background check and fingerprinting, and a renewal fee. And so, year after year, momentum carried Terry to the doctor for the requisite physical. It led him to the DMV every two years to retake the tests for his endorsements, right on schedule. 

In time, a few decades and a few miles slipped by. One year, on his regular trip to the DMV, Terry thought it might be time to set aside his CDL license.

He asked the DMV staff, “Well what if I just, I don’t want to do it anymore? What would happen if I decided down the line to go back and get it?” The man’s one-line response settled his decision. “You would have to start from scratch.”

Terry renewed his license

Is truck driving a job or a way of life? Driving is certainly one way to pay the bills, but so is being a mechanic or practicing medicine or starting a business. For many drivers, especially those long haul truckers who drive OTR (Over The Road), the open road is ingrained in the core of their identity. It’s the freedom of open roads and a clear sky. The precision and finesse of mastering a vehicle with immense power and knowing how to handle it, just so. For Terry, each drive in a big rig is also personal. It’s a bond back to his childhood on a North Dakota farm. Agricultural work, in particular, has always connected him through years and miles to the small North Dakota town he once called home.

medical professionalsTwo Essential Professions

When 2020 started, cheerful New Year’s parties rang through the country. Blissfully unaware of the months to come, no one in the United States rang in the decade with even the shadow of a global pandemic. By March, COVID-19 was sweeping from the ports of the coasts to the center of the heartland leaving sickness and death as unwelcome guests in big cities and small towns alike. Storefronts stand empty and the number of Americans filing for unemployment applications steadily climbs. Millions of Americans are suddenly working from home, and we’ve become acutely aware of the essential professions that are keeping this country moving forward. 

Medical professionals and truck drivers are at the top of the list

Four years from now, Terry Christofferson will be happily retired and traveling the world with his wife. But before then, he wants to join his fellow drivers on the road. “Truck drivers are one of those backbones of society that are really being highlighted right now. Absolutely amazing. I mean, every truck driver out there right now should pat themselves on the back… And when I watch it, even though I’m not actually out there doing it with them right now, I still feel pride hearing that on the news.”

Time to Drive

For Terry, it’s time to hit the road. He’s not leaving his job as a respiratory therapist—instead, he’s planning to drive on his days off. After decades of working to maintain a CDL license with several endorsements, Terry is in conversation with a California freight company. In a perfect symmetry that calls back to his Great Plains childhood, he’s hoping to haul agricultural products.

As we wrap up the call, Terry tells me about his wife, children, and grandson. He has a daughter who is becoming a nurse and a son in the construction industry. It’s clear he couldn’t be prouder of them. Their chosen lines of work stand as a living testament to his own duality. Before we hang up, he reiterates his appreciation for all the drivers who are working and delivering essential goods during the COVID-19 crisis. 

“Definitely proud of all the truckers out there. It’s been awesome to listen to them getting interviewed in a profession that doesn’t get recognized enough. And it’s really nice to see them getting recognized.”

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CDL School
Thinking about becoming a professional truck driver? It’s a popular topic these days. The driver shortages are fueling rising pay and benefits for drivers. So it certainly makes driving a truck an incredibly attractive proposition for someone looking for a new career. And there’s plenty of opportunity for you to get started. But no matter the path you choose to get a CDL license, you need to learn to drive a truck first. Drivers can do this in a few different ways and enrolling in a CDL school is one of them. If you are thinking about taking that route, here are some pros and cons of earning your license through a CDL school.

The Pros

1. Turnkey Programs

By enrolling in a CDL school, you are opting to pay to get everything you need to pass the required exams. And basically learn everything you need to know about driving a truck. All in one place.

From providing the classroom instruction, parking lot practice, and on-the-road experience, schools really are the best turnkey program.

They are structured in a proven way to give you a great start to getting your CDL license. In just a few weeks, you could graduate and ready for your tests.

cdl schools2. Many Locations for CDL Schools

There are CDL school programs located in all 50 states. Depending on the type of school you’re looking to attend, you might find a more specialized program best suited to your needs a little further away than a more general program nearby.

If you’re looking to give yourself the best advantage getting into a new career, you need to be sure you’re selecting the best school for you.

And that might mean looking around to find the best fit for you. There’s plentiful training options available for you.

3. Accepted Everywhere

If you graduate from a program, that means you’ve got the required amount of training. And it’s likely that you’ll be ready to get your license and drive just about anywhere. You can get a license without going to school. However, it’s likely that you won’t find a driving job without graduating from a program. Many carriers aren’t interested in hiring those who don’t have the appropriate hours of qualified training and have insurance requirements that necessitate it. So graduating from a CDL school makes you a more attractive candidate to many carriers.

The Cons

1. Not a Requirement

Nowhere in the requirements for getting a CDL license does it say you must enroll and graduate from a CDL school. There are other options out there for inexperienced drivers. You can take private lessons or study and prepare for the exams on your own. There may be better options for a prospective driver’s schedule, and a full training program might not be the right things for everyone.

per diem for truck drivers2. Cost Prohibitive

Moving into a new career usually means stepping away from your old one. Or it might mean moving into a full-time job for the first time. If you need to pay to go to a specialized school for this new career, you will be paying for that. And also missing out on a paycheck in the meantime.

Tuition can cost many thousands of dollars up-front. So, for many people looking to learn to be a professional truck driver, enrolling in a CDL school might be cost prohibitive.

3. Time Consuming

Some CDL school programs might take months to complete. Not every prospective driver has the time to afford dedicating that much time away from working to going to school. On the other hand, some schools might have programs that are just 2 weeks to complete. Those programs probably aren’t the best choice to give you proper instruction preparing you for life on the road.

Time commitments can be a con for a new driver, being either too long or too short.

If you’ve made the decision to become a professional truck driver, going to CDL school is a great option to get you the training you need to get started. Once you’ve learned to drive and have your license, Drive My Way can help you find the best fit job for you.

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CDL B license
Considering getting a commercial driver’s license, also known as a CDL? There are 3 options when first starting: Class A CDL, Class B CDL or Class C CDL. Each type of license has its own training and testing procedures, and there are pros and cons to each. Depending on your career plans, any of these might be the right fit for you. Here we’re going to explore what you need to know when getting a Class B CDL License.

1. The basics of a Class B CDL

Though getting a Class A CDL endorsement may open up the most job opportunities for a driver, a Class B CDL licence can provide a driver with a great career. A Class B CDL is a restricted license as you are not allowed to drive large tractors that tow 10,000 pounds or more.

From the Federal Motor Carrier Association, “Any single vehicle which has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 11,794 or more kilograms (26,001 pounds or more). Or any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight that does not exceed  4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds).

2. What vehicles a CDL B driver can operate

With a Class B icense, a trucker can drive any vehicles endorsed for Class B or Class C. Some of these vehicles are:

  • Straight trucks
  • Large passenger buses (city buses, tourist buses, and school buses)
  • Segmented buses
  • Box trucks (including delivery trucks and furniture trucks)
  • Dump trucks with small trailers
  • Garbage trucks / Cement mixers
  • Tractor-trailers

3. Age requirements

For a Class B CDL, the driver age requirement in some states is only 18 years or older. In these cases, this is a great opportunity for a new driver to start earlier and gain valuable experience over the road. After only 3 short years, a CDL B driver can be ready to test for the CDL A license if they’re looking to driver bigger rigs, longer distances. Please check with your local state licensing board for the most specific information for your state.

4. Where can a Class B licensed trucker drive?

If you’re a driver looking to stay closer to home, the Class B CDL might be a great option for you. Running routes locally or regionally in the Class B vehicles, can be a good option. Drivers looking to be movers, delivery drivers, bus drivers, garbage truck drivers, etc. will all need a Class B CDL.

No matter what type of license and endorsements you pursue, the key is to make sure you’re matched with the best fit trucking job for you. If you’re a newly minted CDL driver looking for your first gig, or you’ve been driving for years, let Drive My Way help you get connected with the perfect job for you.

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Truck drivers are required to get a tanker endorsement (Type N or X) in order to haul large loads of liquid cargo.

N endorsement is required if you plan to haul 1,000 gallons+ of liquid or gas cargo.

X endorsement combines tanker endorsement with HAZMAT endorsement, allowing drivers to haul large quantities of liquid hazardous materials.

Getting this endorsement takes some extra time and money to complete the process. There is a written test that you must pass as part of the process. Drivers also need to gain the skills required to handle large volumes of liquid cargo. And of course, you already need to possess a CDL truck driver’s license. However, deciding to get a tanker endorsement along with your CDL license can be very beneficial. Here are 3 key reasons CDL truck drivers get a tanker endorsement.

More Opportunities

Companies that ship any type of large quantities of liquids or gasses, require drivers that have tanker endorsements. By going through the process to get this endorsement, truckers automatically make their applications more attractive than drivers that aren’t endorsed. This opens doors to jobs that require drivers to have a tanker endorsement. And gives those truckers an advantage when someone is scanning through job applications seeking tanker drivers.

More Money

Drivers with any additional skills and endorsements often find that they are paid more than drivers without additional endorsements. Driving a tanker requires additional safety skills due to the unstable nature of hauling liquids. Therefore, drivers with tanker endorsements many times are some of the highest paid truckers on the road. So, the payoff of seeing those paychecks increase certainly outweigh the up-front costs to pay for a tanker endorsement and training.

Required for Additional Endorsements

Getting a tanker endorsement sometimes requires the CDL truck driver also get a HAZMAT endorsement at the same time. Having this X endorsement even further separates a driver from other applicants when filling out a job application. Having tanker and HAZMAT can further highlight your application, and dedication to your career. And give those drivers access to some of the highest paying jobs.

Getting your tanker license can be very beneficial to any CDL truck driver. Regardless of what stage you are in your career. With a tanker endorsement the job pools is bigger, the pay is likely higher, and overall earning potential as a trucker increases.

If you’re looking for tanker truck driving jobs, complete your driver profile here, and be sure to include that you have that endorsement. We can match you to a great new job that best fits your lifestyle and driving preferences!

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Nicer weather usually means that road construction season is about switch into high gear. Though driving safely is always a best practice, there are some additional things to be aware of when it comes to driving in a construction zone. A little bit of extra care and planning when trucking through construction zones will ensure that you AND the road workers make it home safely. Here are 3 work zone safety tips to focus on this time of year.

1. Always Be Alert

Expect the Unexpected. Be alert for work zone signage along the side of the road, and the overhead digital signage as well. Watch for workers or flaggers helping to direct traffic. Be prepared for the changes in speed limits and lane closures. Give yourself plenty of time to react and keep an eye out for those that aren’t reacting correctly.

Using your height advantage to see signage and changing traffic patterns ahead gives you an advantage when it comes to work zone safety.

And be sure to stay alert if you drive the same routes daily. A long-term construction project might have daily lane shifts or different road closures.

2. Exercise Defensive Driving Skills

Apply the best driver training and experience here. Quick stops from other drivers ahead often lead to rear-end collisions. Using good defensive driving practices allow truckers to avoid accidents and have plenty of time to stop safely.

In construction zones it’s recommended to use extra caution to prevent accidents that most commonly occur due to road work.

Give a little bit of extra braking room to allow for late mergers or someone reacting poorly to changes in the road.

3. Plan in Advance

An ounce of prevention applies here. Plan routes and timing according to what your GPS app or travel websites indicates are the best. Many times this will be to avoid road work if possible. These often will be a little bit longer but will keep you moving and not stuck in traffic jams due to construction work. And everyone arrives safely at the end of the day.

U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration

U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, almost 30 percent of all work zone crashes involve large trucks.

The number of people killed in work zone crashes involving large trucks has been increasing. Over 1,000 fatalities and over 18,000 injuries have occurred during the last 5 years.

Work Zones might be temporary, and some might be multi-year projects in the same area. A one-day closure for minor repairs or lane painting and a 3-year interchange overhaul should demand the same amount of safety precautions from those using the roads. The construction team is out there working, sometimes around the clock, to keep the roads in good repair and improving for the future of all drivers. Be sure to continue to reference these work zone safety tips and “GIVE ‘EM A BRAKE” as the saying goes!

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5 Money Saving Tips for Truck Drivers

As a truck driver, your job is stressful. You spend long hours driving every day. You work hard and certainly look to maximize your earnings once they hit your bank account.

Here are 5 helpful tips for saving money as a truck driver.

1. Keep a Budget

The best way to keep track of your money, is to actually keep track of it somewhere. Use a fancy online program, a free smartphone app or just a good old-fashioned notebook. No matter which way you choose to do it, just make sure every dollar in and out is planned and tracked. Get started now if you haven’t already, and you can always adjust as you go.

  • Create a separate account just for driving to help streamline budgeting. Bonus, use a credit card that pays a reward on all purchases.
  • Pay all bills and taxes promptly to avoid penalties and late fees. Go paperless and use auto-pay options whenever possible.
  • Keep all receipts in a designated place to avoid losing them. Make it a habit to put receipts away as soon as you get them.

2. Be Efficient

This can go a long way to saving money as a truck driver. Planning the most efficient routes can save gas and money on tolls. Using your cruise-control consistently and effectively will save on gas consumption.

Cruise-control can also keep you from exceeding the speed limit and racking up unwanted tickets and speeding penalties. Keeping up with all maintenance on your truck can also be a great way to save money as a truck driver. Doing what you can to prevent breakdowns will help your bottom line.

3. Plan Well & Be Prepared

As much as possible, avoid buying things at truck stops or convenience stores. Food can be a BIG daily expense. If you can pack and bring food with you, you will eat healthier and save money daily. Plan your laundry out well, and you can save time and money by avoiding lines and costs of using coin operated machines.

Have a well-stocked first aid kit and personal care kit vs. having to buy these things on the road at convenience stores. Though emergencies do arise, everything you can buy at home instead of on the road will save money.

4. Participate in Loyalty Programs

If you do love a certain brand of coffee or slice of pizza on the go, join their loyalty program. It’s usually quite easy to sign-up for a loyalty card at restaurants, truck stops, gas stations and even hotels. Your purchases could turn into a future free cup of coffee, sub sandwich, a shower or even a night’s stay in a hotel as points accumulate. Additionally, ask any local restaurants, hotels or even insurance companies if they offer CDL discounts. Even a 5% savings a few times per year will help keep money in your bank account.

5. Use Free WiFi

Whenever possible, use free Wi-Fi when you’re stopped for a break, or for the night. Data plans on your phone can be expensive. Spending a lot of time away from home can help you blow through your monthly data allowance. Using free Wi-Fi at truck stops, restaurants, coffee stops to take care of things on your smartphone can shave off time against your monthly data and help avoid overage charges over time. Just look for a sign and ask for the password.

Some of these tips might seem obvious, but it can’t hurt to check and see if you’re really maximizing the savings that are available to you. Take a look at your last few trips and review your biggest expenses or where you were over budget. Tightening up on your trip preparation routines, personal efficiencies, and budgeting skills can turn into big savings at the end of the year.

If you’ve got some great tips for other truck drivers, please share them on our Facebook page here.

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Kyle’s career path took quite a few different turns before arriving in his current role as the Apprenticeship Program Leader for Veriha Trucking. Kyle, 33 was born in LaCrosse, WI. He spent his high school years in Alma Center, WI.

Military Service

Right after he finished high school, Kyle enlisted in the U.S. Army. His 5 years in the service, took him around the world. He went from Wisconsin, through Germany, to Iraq and finally to Fort Hood, TX. As a Combat Engineer he spent his time “doing a little bit of everything—from security, dismounted patrols, route clearance, building bases.”

After leaving the military, he dabbled in a career in the medical field as respiratory therapist, though ultimately it wasn’t the right fit for him. “I loved learning” he said but didn’t like working in the hospital environment at all. From there, he dug into a 5 year stint in the mining industry.

“Loading rail cars, moving trains, in the actual pit.  I had a blast.” But ultimately when the oil industry took a turn, he took that opportunity to move on and decided to learn how to drive a truck.

He “picked a company with good on-the-job training, that fit me and my family. I got my CDL in 2 weeks, got my own truck and away I went for the next year”. Kyle noted that being an over-the-road truck driver gave him a great opportunity to see more of the United States. Driving through Tennessee was a route that he really enjoyed. Up to that point, he said he’d been in more different countries than states.

Veriha Trucking: Opportunities to Grow

veriha truckingBeing away from home for long stretches no longer best fit his family’s needs, and he looked for a new job that kept him closer to home. He found an opening at Veriha Trucking as a Yard Spotter and joined the team there 2 years ago.

From the yard, he moved on to being a coach in the Safety Department, and then ultimately to his current role as the Apprenticeship Program Leader. He’s been with that program “as part of the startup, from inception to today”.

When asked about the Apprenticeship Program, he talks about how it’s “unlike anything else. Instead of learning on a range, we get people out hauling freight with an actual trainer. Giving them the clear picture of what it’s like to be a driver.”

Kyle talks about what he thinks differentiates their program from others. “The big difference is we’re invested in these people from the beginning.”

Once candidates are identified, successfully interviewed and pass all background checks, “people are hired from day one.” The program boasts “accelerated results from drivers. People are out there doing great work, much faster than expected. It’s really paying off for them. If it’s good for the driver, it’s generally good for the company.”

At Veriha Trucking, “everybody in the company is encouraged to do personal development. Book clubs, networking. Everyone is encouraged to better themselves.”

Kyle is married and has twin 5-year old children, a daughter and son, who keep him very busy. Currently, they enjoy residing in northeastern WI. In addition, in his free time, he enjoys fishing, hunting, and woodworking.

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Truck drivers have a tough job. Many long days driving on the road alone. Many long weeks away from home and family. This can sometimes lead to feelings of loneliness and stress.

A dog can help improve your physical, mental, and social well being.

If you’re seeking to increase your overall personal wellness, what can you do? First steps should be to look for ways to improve your physical, mental and/or social well being.

What better way to do all three than to bring your dog with you while you drive?

Truck driver Pete Kleckner and Snickers are practically inseparable both on and off the road. Source: Overdrive Online

Physical

Traveling with a dog gives you a great excuse to get out and walk around and get some exercise a few times each day.  When you make a pit stop, you can get out and take your pup for walk, throw a ball around with him or just enjoy some fresh air with your 4-legged buddy.

These walks and play time with your dog can add up to the daily steps you need to keep your heart healthy and your blood pressure well-managed.

Mental

Driving with any pet gives you instant company in the cab of the truck over the hours and miles with you every day. If the long hours by yourself make you feel lonely or even a little stir crazy, your dog can be just the ear you need to listen to you work out something that’s bothering you.

Or they just might lend that extra harmony needed when singing along to your favorite song on the radio.

Image via Pinterest

Social

Having your dog with you when you’re at a truck stop taking him for walk, makes for an easy conversation starter with other people. People love to talk about their dogs and ask about other people’s dogs. This ensures a few times each day you’ve got a built-in reason to strike up a conversation with someone, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Lastly, know that it’s not just all about you. Once you make the decision to bring your dog with you, there are resources to help ensure you’ve got all the tools to make your dog’s experience on the road comfortable and safe.

The time you spend with your dog every day, taking good care of them, and providing them with stimulation and exercise, makes for a great life for any dog! When you treat them like family or even like a best friend, you’ll certainly get back all the love in return.

truck driving with a dog

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