How To Land The Best Truck Driving Jobs

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Tim H.'s Comment
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I have no interest in argueing any of Ryans posts. He his possibly way too smart for me. I can picture others here with their faces turning blue. I for one greatly appreciate the mentorship found on this forum and in just the VERY short time I've had behind the wheel I feel it is a privilege to have the chance to be a truck driver. But I will say this...Ryan you made a remark in another post "I feel like the forum is trying to rub it in". That is a clear indication of your emotional immaturity. It's not all about you.

Ryan R.'s Comment
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Tim,

That was a joke. I have absolutely no delusions this forum even remotely revolves around me. I am collecting quite a few enemies, however. :P

Ryan R.'s Comment
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I'm not trying to be some repulsive know it all. I look that way because I'm frustrated with people.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
It's as simple as working them as hard as they possibly can, while paying them as little as they possibly can. It doesn't require any great speculations beyond that.

Excellent. Now we have something concrete we can discuss.

So when you get started with a company you're going to know the wage they're going to pay you and you'll also know the schedule of pay raises, at least throughout your first year. And it's also very easy to either ask a company what their drivers are averaging per week for miles, or better yet you know that an experienced, top tier driver at a major company can expect to average around 3,000 miles per week.

Now a rookie normally isn't going to know how to manage their clock real efficiently in the beginning, they're going to get tired a little easier being overwhelmed by so much going on in the beginning, and they haven't proven themselves to dispatch yet. So normally we recommend that a rookie figure on averaging maybe 2,200 - 2,500 miles per week the first few months, and maybe after the 6 month mark or so you can expect to get to 3,000 miles per week if you've proven that you can handle that many miles safely and reliably, and the people in the offices like you enough to give you the miles.

And let me emphasize that truck drivers are not all treated equally by trucking companies, the same way as it is for athletes or authors or mathematicians or anyone else that has a job that's performance-based. The best performing drivers with the best attitudes are going to get far more miles and much better treatment than the lower tier drivers. That's why you hear so much complaining in this industry. The companies aren't screwing these guys who aren't performing, no more than a coach is screwing a player by making him sit on the bench while a better performer gets a bigger contract and more playing time.

If someone wants to play this game they will be given the opportunity to strap on a helmet and show what they can do. If you can't hack it then you're going to be sitting the bench while the better players are playing. You can cry til you're blue in the face but no one will care. You had your chance, you couldn't get it done like the next guy, so you make half the money and get half the playing time. That's the reality of it.

So they're handing out work, and money, based upon who is most likely to get the job done safely and efficiently, just like coaches play the best players and publishers print books by the best authors. That's not unfair. That's in fact perfectly fair. And regardless of anyone's opinion about it, that is how it works and that's not likely to change. I've been in trucking since '93 and it was like that long before I showed up, and will be like that long after I'm gone.

So If you perform, you get paid. If you don't, you get the leftover scraps if there are any after the bigs dogs have eaten. It's a harsh reality for a lot of people. But it is the reality in this industry and many others, and it's that reality that we're trying to help people understand so they can execute a strategy that's going to put them in the best position to get the most miles and the best treatment. The top performers are thrilled. They have it made. They're getting the most work done, which is obviously going to help keep the company profitable and successful, so the company relies on them heavily to haul the most important freight. It's really an obvious and super basic premise.

You also don't have to worry about companies pushing you to work illegally because they all have electronic logbooks. I came up through the paper logbook era and did the "running two logbooks" thing and all that. Nowadays people don't have to worry about that with the major carriers.

So there's really a decision you have to make at some point, and that is whether or not you're willing to be part of a team, and whether or not you're willing to go to the same lengths that your teammates are willing to go to in order to get the job done. Because in our experience your biggest concern should not be whether or not management is out to hurt you. Your biggest concern should be whether or not you have the work ethic and talent to perform at the level of your peers so when it comes time to hand out the miles you're one of the big dogs on the top of the list, not one of the bottom feeders hoping for some leftovers.

That's how it works in this industry. Many people hate it. Many people fail. Many, many people will tell you the entire industry is one big scam and everyone is out to get you. But as a top tier driver who was indeed willing and able to outperform the majority of my peers I've always loved this system and I've always thrived in it. But doesn't that make perfect sense? I'm fired up about competing. I love to compete. I've played sports my entire life and I still do a ton of things like rock climbing, hiking, snowboarding, and all kinds of other fun stuff that's challenging and risky. So when I figured out trucking was a huge competition, both with myself and between each other, I was totally onboard with it. Right up my alley.

If you could turn your paranoia toward your future peers, the top tier drivers who are trying to steal your miles, instead of toward the management who is simply dishing them out to the best performers, you'd have your eyes on the real competition - the other drivers within your company. That's who is going to steal your thunder. That's who is going to steal your paycheck. There's only so much freight to go around. You're not guaranteed your fair share. Know that going in. There will be winners, and there will be losers.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I'm not trying to be some repulsive know it all. I look that way because I'm frustrated with people.

As someone who has never been married, does not have any children, and has lived alone for the overwhelming majority of my adult life I can completely relate to your frustrations. I have always felt that left alone to my own devices I can be incredibly happy and successful at anything I set my mind to. I'm fiercely independent, and I'm a loner. Always have been.

In fact, I'm preparing now to make a move much deeper into the wild, heading soon to the Adirondacks to see if I can get lost in 9,375 square miles of mountain wilderness. And I'm quite confident I can.

So I hear what you're saying about being frustrated with people. But don't let yourself become jaded to the point that you consider everyone the enemy. There are indeed good people in this world too, some of which you'll need to be successful. Don't get so angry with some that you allow yourself to make enemies out of the good ones. You know, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

It may be difficult at times to know who is friend and who is enemy, but treating everyone like the enemy will only ensure that everyone is indeed your enemy. Then you have a really big problem because none of us, no matter how fiercely independent and capable we are, can get very far when we're always trying to swim upstream against everyone we come across.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Ryan R.'s Comment
member avatar

That's quite the essay you've written, Brett. I'm not going to reply to things I don't disagree with to try to make it a little more manageable. Infact, I'm going to have to remove some things I don't agree with because I'm hitting the character limit.

And let me emphasize that truck drivers are not all treated equally by trucking companies, the same way as it is for athletes or authors or mathematicians or anyone else that has a job that's performance-based. The bTest performing drivers with the best attitudes are going to get far more miles and much better treatment than the lower tier drivers. That's why you hear so much complaining in this industry. The companies aren't screwing these guys who aren't performing, no more than a coach is screwing a player by making him sit on the bench while a better performer gets a bigger contract and more playing time.

A driver can be typecasted as a lower performer with one company, switch companies and do quite well. This happened to me neighbor as I shared before. I'm all good with competition and performance based industries. I actually prefer it: unless it's as a dog, fighting over table scraps. The lowest paying job I ever had was building electronics for the military. I was building maybe 20k worth of equipment a day, and I was measurably best performer. When you're competing with your fellow peons like that, and not looking up at the table full of fat gluttons, you're all losing. It's like poor people robbing each other.

If someone wants to play this game they will be given the opportunity to strap on a helmet and show what they can do. If you can't hack it then you're going to be sitting the bench while the better players are playing. You can cry til you're blue in the face but no one will care. You had your chance, you couldn't get it done like the next guy, so you make half the money and get half the playing time. That's the reality of it.

Even the best players for certain companies aren't making that much. They're working their butts off, and probably being exploited by their own sense of competition. If you're dogs fighting over table scraps, Big or not, you're still a dog. I had to remove your next reference to this because of the character limit. You have a reiterating theme anyhow.

So they're handing out work, and money, based upon who is most likely to get the job done safely and efficiently, just like coaches play the best players and publishers print books by the best authors. That's not unfair. That's in fact perfectly fair. And regardless of anyone's opinion about it, that is how it works and that's not likely to change. I've been in trucking since '93 and it was like that long before I showed up, and will be like that long after I'm gone.

the industry is going to change completely in the coming years. Automated trucks are going to put America's most common profession out of order. I actually enjoy the idea of being one of the last truck drivers, and I certainly don't expect it to last my lifetime.

So there's really a decision you have to make at some point, and that is whether or not you're willing to be part of a team, and whether or not you're willing to go to the same lengths that your teammates are willing to go to in order to get the job done. Because in our experience your biggest concern should not be whether or not management is out to hurt you. Your biggest concern should be whether or not you have the work ethic and talent to perform at the level of your peers so when it comes time to hand out the miles you're one of the big dogs on the top of the list, not one of the bottom feeders hoping for some leftovers.

So far I've struggled to become a competent truck driver, but once I overcome that, I expect to be one of the top performers since I always have been in every job I've worked. Of course, this industry is going to be harder to be a top performer in for me, since sycophancy seems to be a part of getting the miles.

If you could turn your paranoia toward your future peers, the top tier drivers who are trying to steal your miles, instead of toward the management who is simply dishing them out to the best performers, you'd have your eyes on the real competition - the other drivers within your company. That's who is going to steal your thunder. That's who is going to steal your paycheck. There's only so much freight to go around. You're not guaranteed your fair share. Know that going in.

I liked wrestling a lot because I didn't have to rely on others screwing things up. Win or lose, it was because of myself. It seems to me the hours of service regulations greatly limit the ability for anyone to be a superstar. Anyway, I intend to push hard once I have the footing to do so, and under acceptable terms. Even the highest paid swift driver on glassdoor is making much less than the average UPS driver, for example. There are obvious differences in companies.

Ryan R.'s Comment
member avatar

Sadly, even after all of the pruning such that my replies don't correlated 100% to the quotes, I still couldn't fit it all. :P Anyway, I feel your speech was more motivational than giving any evidence of why success can be found at all companies. It was well written... just more trying to appeal to my nature than anything else?

You also don't have to worry about companies pushing you to work illegally because they all have electronic logbooks. I came up through the paper logbook era and did the "running two logbooks" thing and all that. Nowadays people don't have to worry about that with the major carriers.

They trained us to do paper logbooks, even. They seemed to think it was still relevant? They're just outdated?

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

Tim H.'s Comment
member avatar

We were trained to do paper logs too for the very logical reason they pointed out is that you must have with you at all times the previous 7 days and up to current change of duty status logged HOS. "What are you going to show if your e-log fails?" the instructor asks. Keeping a current paper log is something I intend to do and am glad they taught it.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Calkansan's Comment
member avatar

2 examples of big dog thinking; 1) last load 750 miles. PU weds 1200, deliver 1500 Friday. I call dm. Can I drop in yard and have local deliver so I can keep running? He replies, drop in yard by noon on thurs, deliver a local load (43 miles) and I will make sure you have a good load Friday. Ok, done. Thanks to my dm , I am on a 2100 mile run. I should finish week with 3100. 2) I bought pizza for my dm and had delivered. But instead of 1 pie, I ordered 5. Now all the dm's know my name and truck #. I have been driving for 2 1/2 years. My first year I made 48k. My goal was 35. I have learned the system and apply it to my advantage. My starter company is still the company I work for. It is a good fit for me. I can't imagine doing otr for another company. I'm curious, can anyone name a company that is not in business to make a profit. A worker can only be exploited if they allow it. I wish you the best of luck.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
LDRSHIP's Comment
member avatar

Unfortunately this post has devolved into something that hurts to read; however, Brett is right on the money. Those that perform get paid. Clear and simple. If your not getting miles you need to ask yourself: "What am I doing wrong? What can I do better?"

As everyone on this forum knows, I love the company I work for. As of right now, For as long as I am hauling Dry Van there is only 1 company I will for. You want to know when your company considers you a top performer? When you request hometime and the loads keeping coming in. When the company considers you too valuable to have sitting at home. I found out, the better I perform, the harder it is for me to get home on time. Not because my company wants to screw me. Because my company needs (wants) me to move freight. I was supposed to be home yesterday. I actually had to ask my DM if she forgot. Her response "No, the freight is just agreeing." Translation: Are you sure you can't just stay out?

I had to push the issue of getting home. I will only get a 34hr this weekend. They need me to deliver bright and early Monday morning. I am not mad. I take it as a compliment. My company wants me to move their freight.

Sorry for my rambling. To answer the post, the best company to work for? The answer is simple: The one where you have proven to them that you are valuable asset!

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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