Jobs

You have passed your road test and now have a newly minted Class 1/AZ license. Now comes the fun, yet stressful task of finding a driving job with a good trucking company.

Before you start your schooling, you should compile a list of questions to ask potential trucking companies, as well as a list of things that you will need to have when it comes time to apply for a job.

Requirements

You will need to have a criminal search done which is no older than 30 days, some companies require a copy of your medical form although some will send you to a clinic of their choice for a company paid medical to be done. You will also need a copy of your driver’s abstract and a commercial driver’s abstract, both of which need to be issued within the past 30 days. If you are working for a cross border trucking company, you will need a passport until you are able to apply and get a Fast Card. You can apply for the card online through the U.S Department of Homeland Security website, wherein you will be required to supply your home address and employment history, both for the past five years. The card costs US $50. The process to get approved takes two to five business days. Once you are approved, you have thirty days to visit an enrollment center where you will be interviewed and fingerprinted. It will take another four to six weeks to receive your card after your interview has been done. To see the list of enrollment centers, it is best to visit the DHS website. You will also have to go on the said website to activate the card once you receive it.

Options to Choose From

As for the actual job search, there are many factors and options to choose from. Do you want to be home everyday? a couple times of week? or stay out for a week or more at a time? What kind of equipment do you want to haul? Do you want to work for a large company or a small one? Do you want to cross the border? Once you have decided what direction you want to go it will make your job search that much easier.

Research Potential Companies

Do some research on potential companies that you want to inquire about. If they have a Facebook page, visit it and ask questions about the company. There are also many online message boards where you can find out good and bad about a potential company. The best way to find out about a potential company is to ask their drivers, they will be able to give you the best insight and information about the company and how they treat their drivers and whether or not their recruiters say one thing to get you in the door only to find out that reality is something completely different.

Affiliations

Many schools also have affiliations with trucking companies. Those affiliations work great for both the school and the trucking company. The school can advertise to potential students that they have an affiliation with a certain company and that there is a potential job once you have your license and the school can get new drivers for their training programs without having to advertise for it. The majority of truck driving schools also offer lifetime job assistance training. It’s a great way to find companies that do hire new drivers that don’t have the experience and most of the time it ranges from small local trucking companies to the large companies that travel throughout North America.

Hurdles

There is one major hurdle to clear when starting out as a new driver, getting a trucking companies insurance company to cover you to drive. It’s much harder with some smaller companies as some of their insurance providers only cover them to hire a driver with a year or more of experience. There are some insurance companies that won’t cover a driver under 25. Many of the bigger carriers have insurance that will allow them to hire new drivers, as most of the big carriers have training programs for new drivers where they spend time being mentored by an experience driver before being sent out on their own in a truck.

truck driving

Questions to Ask a Potential Employer

Like I mentioned earlier, before you make contact with any company it is a good idea to make up a checklist of questions to ask a potential employer. The list of questions should look like this;

  1. What is the compensation like?
  2. Is it paid per mile and what is the per mile rate for starting out?
  3. How long do you stay at that rate?
  4. How do you get paid while your with a trainer?
  5. Are you paid per mile or is it a flat rate while training?
  6. How are layovers paid?
  7. Is every pick up and delivery paid?
  8. Do they pay border crossings?
  9. Do they pay by the Hub mile or practical mile? Majority of the companies pay practical miles.
  10. Is there a bonus for running into the Northeastern U.S?
  11. What is the average miles per week you can expect to get?
  12. How long has the company been in operation?
  13. How many trucks are in their fleet?
  14. Do they pay for Orientation?
  15. Do they cover the cost of a hotel for orientation?
  16. Is it forced dispatch? Most companies have forced dispatch with the exceptions of loads going into New York City.
  17. How long are you out with a trainer?
  18. 18. After my time with the trainer is done am I assigned my own truck or do I have to team with another new driver for six months? (There is a large company based in Ontario that requires new drivers to team for six months once they are done with their trainer)
  19. Does the company offer benefits?
  20. When do the benefits kick in? Most companies require you to work there three months before you qualify for benefits although there are some that will offer them on your first day.
  21. Do they cover out of province medical insurance?
  22. What is their hometime policy like?
  23. What types of equipment do they have? How old is the equipment? Do they trade out older equipment after a certain time period?
  24. How is equipment breakdowns handled? This will vary greatly from company to company.
  25. How is on the road expenses handled? (Tolls, Faxes, Scales, Bridge Crossings) Most smaller companies will give you a float of roughly $100 dollars to handle on the road expenses like that. Most trucking companies also have EZ Pass transponders to cover the majority of the toll roads in the US.
  26. Do they allow passengers/pets in the truck?
  27. Is the pay weekly/bi-weekly?
  28. Do they offer any type of safety bonus?
  29. What is their area of operation? Regional? or Long Distance?
  30. Do they have satellite dispatch or is it done through phone/email?
  31. Is there someone in Dispatch 24/7?
  32. Do they offer reimbursement for your personal calls made on your cellphone? There are some companies that do offer so much a month to cover business calls made on your cellphone?
  33. Do they offer a company phone? There are some companies that go this route as well.
  34. What is the percentage of loads that are drop and hook?
  35. What percentage of loads require to be hand bombed?
  36. Do the trucks have automatic or manual transmission?
  37. Does the driver get a choice of auto or manual transmission if the company has both?
  38. Does the company have Electronic logging devices in their trucks or do they still have paper logs?

There are more questions that you could come up with on your own, and during the interview with the recruiter you may come up with more questions when you start hearing some of the answers to your questions.

Finding a good trucking job may seem like an overwhelming experience, and at times it can be, but if the school you went to has job assistance resources use them, they can be a great tool for you to use when it comes to your job search. Some schools also bring in companies to talk to the students about potentially working for them. It’s a great time to get to know the recruiter and get information on the company and find out if they might be a good fit for you. It also gives the company a chance to get to know you and gives them an opportunity for them to get familiar with you in case you decide to work there once you have your full license. In some cases some trucking companies will go to a school and give conditional job offers to the students that qualify once they have their full license.

If you do your research ahead of time and ask lots of questions during the process you should have a successful job search with a reputable company.

Good Luck!