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concert trucking

What is Concert Trucking?

Concert trucking is a specialization in the trucking industry. It’s an OTR position where drivers haul stage and lighting equipment, instruments, and anything else needed for concerts and shows. Drivers will go on tour with bands or acts for a few months at a time to support an entire tour or a leg of it. Most tours will need a full team of drivers to work it, so as a concert trucker, you’ll be spending a lot of time with your fellow drivers.

We were able to speak with Cid, a CDL A Driver with Drive My Way client, Upstaging. Cid has been with the company since January of 2021. He shared what his day-to-day looks like, what he enjoys about being a concert trucker, and what it takes to do it.

“My average day starts with loading in around 6 am till 10 am, then I go to catering for breakfast or lunch, take a walk, sleep from 1pm to 9pm, load out and continue on to the next show,” shared Cid.

What Skills Does a Concert Trucker Need?

Concert trucking is a great and well-paying job, but there are a number of skills that a concert trucker needs to have to be successful.

The first is comfort with late night driving. While most OTR drivers have some experience with driving at night, for a concert trucker, it’s your bread and butter. That’s because right after a show wraps up, everything needs to get loaded on the trailers and hauled to the next stop. This means starting your route at 11 PM, midnight, or even 2 AM if a show goes that long.

“This is not your average trucking job. We work hard and have plenty of downtime. Each venue is different, and you’ll learn something new every day. You’ll need to adjust your sleep schedule, but once you’re on tour, you get into the rhythm (no pun intended). The camaraderie on these tours is like no other, we are truly one team,” shared Cid.

Leadership and organization are also needed skills as a concert trucker. In addition to driving, concert truckers (specifically Upstaging drivers) supervise the loading and unloading of equipment in and out of the trailers before and after the shows. These skills come into play when you’re on a time crunch trying to get a trailer loaded so you can hit the road and make it to the next destination on time.

When it comes to concert trucking, drivers need to make sure they’re getting into it for the right reasons. If you just want to meet musicians and hang out on the road, concert trucking isn’t the job for you. It’s fun and rewarding, but also takes a serious, dedicated and experienced driver to do it.

Benefits of Concert Trucking with Upstaging

concert trucking“Salary, plus per diem, plus hotel buyout are a few of the perks of working with Upstaging. They lead the industry in driver pay as well. Plus, being a part of a moving project is very satisfying. These shows can’t make the next destination without us,” shared Cid.

There’s a number of benefits to working as a concert trucker, specifically with Upstaging. Here are just a few of them.

Paid by the Day

No more adding miles and calculating things like detention. Upstaging drivers are paid by the day. In other words, if you’re out on a 3-month tour, you’re getting paid for every day of that tour, even days off.

Designated Truck Parking

Also, there’s no need to worry about truck parking as a concert trucker. You won’t need to be parking overnight at a lot, you’ll be parking in an arena or outdoor venue where spots will already be reserved for drivers.

No Touch Freight

Upstaging drivers don’t load and unload their trailers themselves. Instead, they supervise while the crew does it.

Team Atmosphere

Working as a concert trucker means working with a team. You’ll be forming bonds with other drivers and workers you’re on tour with, which is much different from your typical OTR position. Doing your part to put on a show that thousands of people will enjoy is definitely a perk, and one that Cid enjoys.

“When you’re transporting entertainment for thousands and thousands of fans, it’s nice to be part of team working together to achieve a perfect outcome,” shared Cid. 

Additional Benefits

There’s many more quality-of-life benefits to being an Upstaging driver, including:

  • New Tractor Trailers (None older than 4 years)
  • Built-in Fridge
  • Custom Designed Sleeper for Extra Space
  • Catered Meals
  • 28 days PTO per year
  • Schedule-based hotel allowance

Upstaging is Hiring Drivers Nationwide

Drive for the premier transportation company in entertainment and make over $100,000 Yearly!


Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of talk about driverless trucks and the impact they’ll have on the trucking industry. But, it’s important for drivers worried about their jobs to not give in to the sensationalist headlines. While driverless trucks are definitely the wave of the future, they won’t be replacing truck drivers in the foreseeable future. Here’s the basics on driverless trucks and why truck drivers will still be needed, no matter what.  

What is a Driverless Truck?

A driverless truck is any semi-truck that has at least some level of autonomy. SAE International, (formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers has laid out six levels of automation in regard to semi-trucks.   

Level 0 is no automation, and level 1 includes assisted steering and lane departure warnings. Level 5 is a fully automated truck that can drive itself, even in inclement weather without needing a driver. Most companies are introducing level 2-3 automation right now, with level 5 only happening in controlled demonstrations.  

Driverless trucks have been in development by dozens of companies over the last ten years. Big companies like Tesla and Waymo (Subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., the company that owns Google) have been developing self-driving technology for years. There’s also lesser-known tech companies like Plus, TuSimple and Embark that have already gotten billions of dollars in investor funding for their trucks. While there’s a lot of money going into driverless truck technology, drivers shouldn’t be worrying. 

What Do They Mean for Truck Drivers?

While it makes sense on the surface, it’s a common misconception that driverless trucks will put drivers out of jobs. Since most companies are only testing level 2-3 automation right now, the trucks aren’t doing everything themselves. And even when level 5 trucks are on the road, an experienced driver will still need to be in the truck at all times in case something goes wrong. 

That’s because truck drivers do more than just drive. A truck can’t load and unload freight or talk to customers and dispatch about the details of an order. This means that truck driver jobs will be more than safe for the foreseeable future.  

What’s the Future for Self-Driving Trucks?

As of right now, it’s full steam ahead for the companies investing time and resources in driverless technology. Some in the industry believe we’ll begin seeing driverless trucks as the norm in the next decade, but this estimate may be a little optimistic.  

Yes, the big players in driverless trucking are talking about implementing the technology, but it’s still a long way from happening on a large scale. The majority of trucking companies, especially smaller ones, don’t have the money to use this technology within their fleets anytime soon. But, even if and when that does happen, trained drivers will still be needed in the cab at all times. If you’re a truck driver, don’t spend time worrying about driverless trucks any time soon. 

two men in a truck

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What is the Vaccine Mandate?

In early November, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency order that starting in early January, all companies with 100 or more employees would be required to implement a vaccine mandate for all employees or do weekly testing for those who wish to remain unvaccinated. The announcement caused a stir in a lot of industries, especially trucking. Here’s all the latest news on OSHA’s recent announcement and how it will affect truck drivers.  

What’s the Latest News?

A similar mandate will be put into place by the Canadian government in early January. This will require U.S. drivers who go across the border to provide proof of vaccination before entering the country. The compliance date for U.S drivers entering Canada to be vaccinated is January 15th, 2022. While proponents of the mandate say it will help curb the number of people infected with the virus, opponents say it will add stress to an already stretched supply chain. 

cdl driving test

The Supreme Court held an emergency hearing on the subject on Friday, January 7. The court is deciding whether or not the executive branch has the authority to implement such an order. While we don’t know when the court will make a ruling, it’s likely that it will be sooner rather than later, due to the urgency of the issue.  Early reports indicate that the court is leaning towards blocking the mandate. 

The American Trucking Association, (ATA) had this to say about the mandate,  

“Based on survey data, we believe a vaccine mandate would fuel a surge in driver turnover and attrition, with fleets losing as much as 37% percent of their current driver workforce to retirement or smaller carriers not subject to the mandate.” 

How Will the Vaccine Mandate Affect Drivers?

The mandate states that any company with 100 or more employees will need to issue a vaccinate mandate or have employees tested weekly. There are a few exemptions to this rule that will affect truck drivers;

  • Employees who do not report to a workplace where other individuals are present 
  • Employees who work from home 
  • Employees who work exclusively outdoors  

OSHA had this to say about how the mandate will affect truck drivers specifically,

“There is no specific exemption from the standard’s requirements for truck drivers. However, paragraph (b)(3) provides that, even where the standard applies to a particular employer, its requirements do not apply to employees “who do not report to a workplace where other individuals such as coworkers or customers are present” or employees “who work exclusively outdoors.” Therefore, the requirements of the ETS do not apply to truck drivers who do not occupy vehicles with other individuals as part of their work duties. Additionally, the requirements of the ETS do not apply to truck drivers who encounter other individuals exclusively in outdoor environments. On the other hand, the requirements of the ETS apply to truck drivers who work in teams (e.g., two people in a truck cab) or who must routinely enter buildings where other people are present. However, de minimis use of indoor spaces where other individuals may be present (e.g., using a multi-stall bathroom, entering an administrative office only to drop off paperwork) does not preclude an employee from being covered by these exemptions, as long as time spent indoors is brief, or occurs exclusively in the employee’s home (e.g., a lunch break at home). OSHA will look at cumulative time spent indoors to determine whether that time is de minimis.”

While most company drivers will fall under these exemptions, this would not cover drivers who work in teams or drivers who need to go inside buildings regularly for trainings or orientation, but once again, it’s unclear how OSHA will treat these cases.  

How Will it Affect Employers?

Employers, just like drivers, will need to comply with the new regulation. Some in the industry worry that the mandate will give an unfair hiring advantage to companies who employ less than 100 people that don’t have to comply with the regulation. 

While this would be the first time the government has mandated vaccination for workers, many employers in the trucking industry have already been requiring vaccination for their drivers for some time now. This means that not much will change for them. 

As of right now, this story is still unfolding, and a lot could change between now and if and when the vaccine mandate goes into effect. That includes a possible Supreme Court ruling that would make OSHA’s emergency order unconstitutional. Make sure to look online regularly for updates to stay informed on how this will impact you or your company.  

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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.

truck driver at loading dock

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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

truck driver at loading dock

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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.

truck driver at loading dock

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