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sprinter van driver jobs

What is a Sprinter Van?

While the phrase “Sprinter Van” has almost become interchangeable with “Cargo Van,” a Sprinter is actually the brand name for a van exclusively manufactured by Mercedes-Benz. Sprinter Vans have been around since the mid-90s in both cargo and passenger models, but have just recently skyrocketed in popularity. This is thanks to the trend of people downsizing by living in them along with Amazon using them as their go-to delivery vans over the past few years.  But, it’s not just the big box carriers like Amazon who are looking to fill these Sprinter Van Driver Jobs. Delivery companies all over the country are looking for drivers to complete the all-important “Final Mile” in the logistics chain. This gives prospective Sprinter Van Drivers a great amount of leverage in finding the right job for them.  

Like with every driving job, there’s pros and cons, and that’s definitely true with Sprinter Van jobs. If you’re thinking about making the jump into Sprinter Van driving, here’s what you need to know about this line of work. 

Pros 

No CDL Required

Maybe the biggest plus for people considering driving Sprinter Vans is that there’s no CDL requirement. Some states have a few additional requirements for delivery drivers, including proof of a clean driving record and the ability to pass a physical and drug test. Aside from that and passing any company training, there’s nothing stopping you from hitting the road. 

Part-Time Possibilities

You’ve probably heard of people who work on the weekends or during the holidays for Amazon as part-time delivery drivers. In addition to getting experience driving a large vehicle, working as a Sprinter Van Driver is also a great job for someone trying to make a little extra money on the side. 

Easier Path to Owner Operator

Another benefit to driving Sprinter Vans is that there’s a much easier path to becoming an Owner Operator than there is with a traditional semi-truck.  The starting MSRP for a new Sprinter Cargo Van is $36,000. Compare that to the average price for a commercial truck, which is anywhere from $130,000-$200,000 and you can see why so many people are looking to buy Sprinters instead.  

Home Time

While there are a few exceptions, most Sprinter Van Drivers can expect to be home every night. The shifts might be long, but you’ll still make it to your own bed at the end of each day, which can’t be said for all trucking jobs.  

Cons 

Tight Deadlines

You’ve probably heard already, but being a Sprinter Van driver can be a very stressful job. Drivers are expected to deliver close to 300 packages per shift. While some might enjoy this fast-paced environment, it definitely isn’t a role for everyone, especially drivers with physical limitations. 

Customer Service

Another element involved in Sprinter Van driving that may be overlooked is customer service. In addition to driving, you may be dealing with customers who can sometimes prove to be difficult. This won’t be a problem for some, but many drivers got into this line of work to avoid these types of interactions altogether.  

Physically Demanding

With Sprinter Van Driver jobs, it’s almost certain that you’ll be working with touch cargo. This may not be a huge deal for drivers unloading one or two big deliveries a day, but it’s a much different beast when you’re a Sprinter Van Driver. Delivering hundreds of packages and walking up and down driveways for 8+ hours a day makes this one of the most physically intensive jobs you can do in the logistics industry. On the flip side, if you’re looking for a job that will get you fit while you earn some money, look no further.  

If you’re a disciplined worker who doesn’t mindor even enjoysa bit of stress, Sprinter Van driving could be the right career path for you. It’s also a great job for those considering a career in trucking but want to try their hand at something smaller before going through the process of getting their CDL. And with the wide variety of jobs available in Sprinter Van Driving, there’s no doubt that you’ll find the job right for you. 

 

truck driving jobs for 18 year olds

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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.

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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!

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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

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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. 

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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

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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.

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commercial truck driving
Are you considering making the career switch to commercial truck driving? A CDL job is not just about the work for drivers who take pride in their profession. Driving is a lifestyle. It’s a commitment. It’s about feeling you belong and you’re valued. You decide if commercial truck driving is right for you. We’ll help you find the job that fits your skills, lifestyle, and personal preferences.

1. What Is It?

Commercial truck driving is any job where you are driving a commercial truck. While most people think of the 53’ semi-trucks that you see on the highway, commercial driving also includes school buses, garbage trucks, straight trucks, and more. Typically, commercial driving means hauling goods or people (in the case of passenger vehicles) from Point A to Point B. There are tons of different commercial driving jobs, and your day-to-day depends on your specialty and run type. 

2. Types of Jobs

Type of Run

The first distinction in trucking jobs is the type of run. Your type of run determines how far you typically drive from home and how many nights you spend on the road. Local drivers are usually home daily and stay in a relatively close geographic range. These drivers tend to spend more time on surface streets and do regular deliveries to customers. Over the Road or OTR drivers are the other end of the scale. These drivers are often on the road for several weeks at a time and may run loads from coast to coast and anywhere in between.

Regional drivers fall in between local and OTR drivers. They are usually home several times a week but also spend some nights on the road. Their geographic range might include several states in close proximity to their company’s home terminal. Last but not least, are dedicated trucking jobs. Dedicated drivers have a set route and deliver to the same customers on a consistent schedule. 

Type of Haul

cattle haulerThe second classification of commercial drivers is in type of haul. Depending on the type of goods you haul, you need a different type of truck. Many rookie drivers start with dry van or refrigerated (reefer) trucks because they are a good way to get experience without too many extra details to worry about. These are the 53’ box-shaped semi-trucks that are so common. Dry vans haul non-perishable goods, and reefer trucks carry loads that are temperature sensitive.

Tanker trucks haul liquid or dry bulk goods such as milk, sugar, or sand. Drivers need a Tanker endorsement to drive this type of truck, and there is an additional endorsement if you want to haul hazardous materials like chemicals or gasoline. Flatbed trucks haul a wide range of loads on trailers that are completely flat. Flatbed drivers often have to secure their loads with tarps and require some physical labor. There are also several types of specialty freight such as auto hauling, intermodal trucking, and livestock transport, but many of these jobs require a few years of experience. 

Type of Driver

two men in a truckThe final big decision to make is what kind of driver you want to be. As you can probably guess from the name, company drivers work exclusively for one company. Company drivers can work solo or in a team of two people. Starting as a company driver can be a good way to learn the ropes of a job without also having to run a business. It is also a good way to build your reputation as a good driver. 

Some drivers work as company drivers for their entire careers. Others choose to work for themselves. If you want to make your own decisions about when you are home, where you run, and what you haul, become an owner operator. These drivers run under their own authority, and they own their own equipment and negotiate for loads. Owner operators must be confident running a business as well as meeting all regulatory requirements.

Lease purchase drivers work with a company and put money down to start paying for their own truck. Lease purchase drivers work for one company, and at the end of the lease, these drivers will own their trucks. Programs that offer lease purchase are a good way for some drivers to work toward becoming an owner operator. 

3. Job Outlook

The job outlook for commercial truck driving is quite strong. There is a high demand for quality drivers, and there is a shortage of drivers available. Many companies are willing to hire new drivers, and drivers with a few years of experience and a clean record will be able to choose from top jobs that are a good fit for their skills and lifestyle.

One of the most important questions when you change jobs is the pay. Commercial driving can be quite well-paid. It all depends on your type of job. Typically OTR positions pull a higher wage than regional or local jobs, and NTI, the National Transportation Institute, anticipates that wages for all three will rise over the next 36 months. 

NTI anticipates that wages will rise for OTR, regional, and local jobs over the next 36 months.

Drivers can be paid in a variety of ways, so it’s important to look at total compensation when you compare job offers. To start, there are many types of truck driver pay. Some companies pay drivers by the mile, others by the hour, some by the load, and still others will pay with a salary. In addition to your base pay, company drivers frequently earn bonuses and have benefits included. These can add a significant amount of money to your bank account! Even beyond pay, consider things like home time as part of your compensation. If two companies pay the same wages but one gets you home more often, that might be a better fit for you, even though the money is the same. The bottom line is, look for a company that meets your needs and fits your lifestyle preferences.

4. How to Get Started

Once you decide that commercial truck driving is the career for you, the first step is to get your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). To be a professional truck driver, you need to be at least 18 years old. To drive interstate or hazmat routes, you must be at least 21. You will need a CDL A or CDL B. A CDL A license is the most universal because it also allows you to drive most CDL B and CDL C jobs. That said, it takes less time and money to earn a CDL B. Learn more about each license type and decide what is best for you. You will also need to consider whether to get any CDL endorsements for specialized loads such as hazmat or tanker. Once you have figured out what type of program you need, find a certified driving school where you can get started.

After you have your CDL, you are nearly ready to hit the road with your first job! As part of your CDL training, you will have completed your DOT physical fitness test.  Before you can officially hit the road, you will need to register with the FMCSA Clearinghouse. This database tracks positive drug and alcohol tests to identify unqualified drivers. As of January 2020, all drivers must be registered with the Clearinghouse for future employment. After that, the only thing left is to find your first job!

While the job search can be overwhelming, we’re here to help. Drive My Way partners with companies that are ready to hire new drivers and experienced pros alike! We’ll help you find a job that matches your skills and lifestyle preferences.

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trucking company closesThe past few years have been hard for many in the trucking industry, and several companies have closed with virtually no warning. Celadon Group, New England Motor Freight, and Falcon Transport made big headlines (along with several others), but countless smaller companies have also shut their doors without warning. There are countless reasons for the shutdown, but as a driver, if your trucking company closes suddenly, it’s a tough pill to swallow. Here’s what you need to know to navigate your next steps.

1. The Warning Signs

Warning signs don’t help if your company has already closed its doors, but sometimes you might be able to spot a few warning signs before a shutdown. When a trucking company closes, it’s usually because of financial strain. So, unsurprisingly, the warning signs are also usually about money. If you start noticing inconsistent freight or that vendors aren’t getting paid on time, start watching for other red flags. 

As a driver, you probably won’t be the first person to be notified of major business changes or shutdowns. Management may hear about pending shutdowns or other changes more quickly, so keep an eye on staffing changes. If you notice that your bosses start interviewing elsewhere, it might be time to ask why. Similarly, if your company starts eliminating job perks, it could be a sign that money is tight. Often companies try to save money by scrimping on the “extras.” 

truck at gas stationThe biggest red flags are also the most obvious. If your paycheck bounces, that’s a big sign that something isn’t right with your company. Along the same lines, if you’re fueling up and have a fuel card declined, that is a huge red flag, especially if your company can’t easily clear up the situation. Another sign of trouble on the horizon is filing for bankruptcy. While some companies do make a comeback after filing for bankruptcy, that’s often not the case. If your employer is making news headlines for filing for bankruptcy, that might mean your job has a limited lifespan. It’s a good time to start looking for other opportunities.

2. Immediate Steps to Take

Hindsight is 20/20, so sometimes the warning signs are only clear after your trucking company closes. If you are on the road and get blindsided with news about a company closure, there are a few important steps you can take. 

safe truck stopFirst and most importantly, stay level-headed. This is a stressful situation, and you probably have a lot of questions. As soon as you realize what has happened, find a safe place to stop. Then, read any communication from your employer carefully. Follow any final instructions they send you. These directions may indicate whether to finish your current delivery and where to leave your truck. You may still get paid for finishing your current route. If there are no final instructions from your employer, consider what is best for you in that situation and how you can move forward.

Once you have handled any immediate concerns, start planning your way home. Some companies, especially large ones, will help fund your way home. If you get stranded far from home and your company is unable to help, there are some support resources available to help. The St. Christopher’s Truckers Fund is one example. The Truckers Fund is a non-profit that helps truckers with financial assistance. Drivers can apply for aid, and they may be able to help support you and your family in difficult times. 

3. Planning Longer Term

displaced driver resourcesIf your trucking company closes, there is a lot to think about, and it can be overwhelming. Once you are safely home and have taken a moment to clear your head, start looking forward. In the short term, there are a few things to take care of. Drive My Way’s Displaced Driver Resources can walk you through the process of filing for unemployment if you choose. We also have details on how to make sure that your health care continues and disability insurance does not end.

If you have a rainy day fund, consider using some of it during this time. Times like job transitions are exactly what you’ve been saving for. 

Once you have resolved any immediate concerns, it’s time to start job searching. Especially after going through a company closing, you might have lingering frustration, hurt, or resentment toward trucking. That’s completely reasonable. When your trucking company closes, it can be quite a roller coaster. Prioritize mental and emotional health for your whole family. When you do start talking to recruiters for other jobs, it’s ok to explain your situation and ask tactful questions about company stability. Any recruiter worth their salt won’t see the past company closure as a poor reflection on your skills as a driver. When you’re looking for your next job, Drive My Way can help you find a company that fits your skills and lifestyle preferences. You’ll be back on the road in no time.

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Dump truck jobsDump truck jobs are great positions for drivers who want to stay close to home and are happy to be out rain or shine. Dump truck work includes a big range in type of load. Some drivers haul garbage, but others haul paving materials and construction supplies like dirt, gravel, sand, or coal. If you’re new to the dump truck world or are thinking about switching to become a dump truck driver, we have everything you need to find your first job.

1. How To Get Started With A Dump Truck

License and Certifications

As with most types of truck driving, one of the first steps for starting with a dump truck is licensing. Professional dump truck drivers need either a CDL A or CDL B license to get started. A CDL B license will take less time and has a lower cost, but a CDL A allows drivers to accept a greater range of jobs. Before signing up for a CDL licensing program, do a little research to decide which type of license is better for you. 

In addition to a CDL license, there are a few certifications that can be helpful for dump truck drivers. The Dump Truck Operations and Dump Truck Tailgate Removal and Installation CBT Certifications can make drivers more competitive as job candidates. Hazmat, Passenger, and Air Brakes endorsements can also benefit dump truck drivers. Each of these additional certifications opens up job possibilities and makes you a more competitive driver candidate. 

Types of Trucks

As you get started in dump truck driving, take some time to get to know the types of dump trucks. There are a lot of options here. The most common type of truck, a standard dump truck, is a truck chassis with a dump truck body on the frame. The back of the bed is hinged. Also, there is a hydraulic ram under the body that raises the bed to dump loads. We won’t get into all the details here, but there are many other types of trucks that drivers use for specific types of loads or in specific geographies. To see them all, check out this list

Job Details

While the work for dump truck jobs isn’t a light load, there are many benefits to hauling dump truck loads. Typically, dump truck work is local, so most drivers are home daily. For drivers with a family or who are tired of long nights on the road, this is a huge advantage of driving dump trucks. That said, drivers should be prepared to work rain or shine! Depending on where you live, there can be a wide range of weather conditions. As a dump truck driver, you’ll work in all of them. For drivers who are more social, dump truck jobs can be a great fit. Many drivers work with a lot of the same people consistently, so there is a sense of camaraderie on the job. 

2. Company Driver or Owner Operator? 

Company Driver

Dump truck driver Travis

Travis, Dump Truck Driver

A big decision to make if you are getting started in dump trucking is whether you want to be a company driver or an owner operator. If you’re new to the dump truck world, starting out as a company driver can help you get experience while having a steady job. We asked Travis, a dump truck driver from a small company in Southern Oregon, if he had any tips for new drivers.

“Just be confident in yourself as a driver. Take every bit of criticism and knowledge people want to pass down. Research and watch some videos on YouTube just to get some basic knowledge. Try and find a smaller company that will be more apt to help and give drivers a chance,” shared Travis.

Owner Operator

On the other hand, if you are ready to jump in as an owner operator, you will have more flexibility. You can decide what jobs fit your schedule and meet your financial needs. Before you start, make sure you are financially ready. The biggest costs for new dump truck owner operators are in equipment. You will need to decide what type of truck is best for you and will help you get the jobs you need. While a truck is typically the biggest upfront cost, make sure you also budget time and money for licensing and smaller costs like fuel and any technology you want in your truck. 

We spoke with Greg, an experienced owner operator for his company Greg Melendez Trucking, about how to find dump truck work.

“I started in ’99 and the one thing I learned was to NEVER turn down the first job and NEVER cancel due to a second job that might be better. Take the first job and work it and the person your working for will appreciate it, not like the guy that cancels thinking the second job offer is better cause most [of] the time it’s worse. Honesty goes a long way in this type of work. The more honest you are the more respect you’ll get in return,” shared Greg.

Becoming a dump truck owner operator is not cheap, but for some drivers, the payoffs in money and time are well worth it.

3. How to Find Work

Dump truck work

Photo from Dump Truck Driver, Travis

If you take the big step to become a dump truck driver, being able to find jobs is a lifeline! To start your search, use sites that partner with multiple employers. Drive My Way can save you endless hours of job searching by matching you with a company that fits your qualifications and personal preferences. 

If you start your job search in person, it’s all about connecting with the right people. Networking is the key to success. For local work, start with a drive! Keep an eye out for construction companies in your area that might need dump truck workers. Look for developments in your town and nearby and find out what company is paying for the work. Then, reach out to that company and see if they need extra trucks. If you want more information on a company before you reach out, go to safer.fmcsa.dot.gov and look at company snapshots. Enter the name or US DOT number to look at the fleet size and the driver number. If there are more trucks than drivers, that may mean they are looking for people to fill those jobs!

To expand your job search beyond what you find on a drive around town, start looking for construction zones. Then, find out which companies won those construction bids. For local work, contact your local government and find out what companies have contracts. Then, get in touch and ask if any of those companies are looking for sub-contractors. Dump truck owner operators can also bid on state construction contracts. However, these bids are often harder to win because many construction companies are looking for companies with multiple trucks. Start your search close to home, then make your circle bigger if needed.

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