Podcast 19: You're Getting Career Advice From The Wrong People

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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Anyone new coming into the trucking industry will scan Youtube and Facebook for advice and insights into life on the road. It takes about 10 minutes to realize the Web is filled with thousands of horror stories about the trucking industry in general and of course about every major company on the planet.

You'll hear people claim you can't make good money in trucking or that there are no miles available. They'll claim their school is "setting them up for failure" or their company doesn't care about the safety and well-being of its drivers.

Well I'm here to tell you that you can make an excellent living in the trucking industry and you can get fair treatment from any of the major carriers out there. They all have excellent opportunities for new drivers whether you go through their paid CDL training programs or you go through private schooling.

So what's the deal with all of the haters and complainers out there? The sheer volume of complaints is pretty scary. They can't just be making all of this up, right? So what's the deal? Who should you believe?

Why do some of us love life as a truck driver and some of us hate it? Listen to this podcast and you'll understand why so many people are unhappy with their trucking career. You'll also learn the right approach to take toward your career if you want to make top pay and be treated like one of the Top Tier Drivers:

Podcast 19: You're Getting Career Advice From The Wrong People

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Old School's Comment
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Great stuff Brett!

I loved the part where you point out how the whiners are not really giving you a review of their company, or of trucking in general. They are giving you a review of their own poor performance. Wow, that stings! It is so true though.

Another great Podcast!

Brett Aquila's Comment
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It really is true. Ya know, that's obvious with something like sports. If a pro football player complains that he's sitting the bench all the time, his coach doesn't seem to pay much attention to him, and he's not making nearly the money that some of the other players are making then it's obvious to anyone that he's not as good as the other players. There are guys on the New England Patriots who fit into this category, and on every team for that matter.

Their situation doesn't mean that the Patriots suck or that being in the NFL is a lousy career. It just means that player is underperforming so he's unhappy with his situation. Ask Tom Brady what he thinks of the Patriots and life in the NFL. You'll get a competely different answer even though he's in the same league, playing for the same team, under the same coaching staff.

If people would make that connection between sports performance and trucking performance they would understand why there is such a wide variety of opinions on trucking.

Beyond that, though, trucking is a really tough lifestyle, especially for people who would prefer to spend more time at home. I think the commitment level between professional sports and professional driving is similar in that regard, though. If you want to do either of those professionally it normally goes beyond the requirements of a normal job and really becomes your lifestyle. Not very many people are interested in that level of commitment.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Unholychaos's Comment
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Brett, admittedly this is the first time I've listened to one of your podcasts, so please don't be offended by my next statement. Wow, that is definitely not how I pictured your voice sounding when I read your posts!

I would say any system that rewards people based upon their performance is a fair but unequal system. The best performers get the best pay and treatment while the underperformers make less money and get fewer perks. That's fair treatment, but it's certainly not equal treatment.

This is what makes this industry great in my opinion. If everyone were treated equally, top tier drivers and bottom tier drivers, then there would be absolutely no reason to strive to better ourselves in this industry. Recently, I was talking to one of the DBL's of my branch (my main DBL doesn't work on Mondays...) who informed me that I was #4 out of approximately 150 drivers in our branch based on scorecard performance (the thing we use to determine quarterly bonuses based on a few different metrics). My first inside reaction was, "Wow! I must be doing a good job!" My first spoken reaction was, "What did the 3 other drivers above me do better at?"

Being involved in band in high school, I learned early on that friendly competition is a great way to improve your own capabilities; I was 3rd chair of the trumpet section, I knew the 2 in front of me were better, but only marginally. The 3 of us were back n forth challenging each other for the next spot up. It didn't make a difference who was where as we all played the 1st trumpet part, it was mostly about striving to be the best. This is the same concept in trucking; striving to be better than who's higher ranked than you may not IMMEDIATELY pay out in terms of mileage, but improving your abilities AND showing your superiors your drive to improve, even when you appear to be doing great already.

It seems obvious to me that a company with thousands of brand new trucks must have enough freight to utilize those trucks efficiently. It also seems obvious to me that any company that has remained at an elite level for a long time must be very well managed.

My first ever encounter with Trucking Truth was when I was doing research on different companies. This site's trucking company reviews section really helped my decision in choosing Schneider as my first and, for the foreseeable future, only company (of course my uncle being a Schneider driver (O/O) helped as well). The metrics this site provided that helped the most were: number of trucks, number of trailers, average yearly miles, and average yearly revenue. Seeing those big numbers made me believe that this company will have a lot of freight, so I shouldn't have any problems getting work. Sure enough, after a few months of proving myself, I consistently get good miles, I'm bringing home a relatively good paycheck every week, and I have a great relationship with my DBLs.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

PJ's Comment
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Brett this was awesome👍👍 I love it. You break it down very simply for folks. I have been blessedin my short career and I owe it to the great advise I got right here from the very beginning. I hope and pray we as a collective family can pass that along to more and more new drivers.

Serenity's Comment
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I just got that in email and read it. I have been that person that scoured the internet and found horror story after horror story. These people make the trucking industry sound like a run down, trashy neighborhood filled with filthy people swearing at everyone while their cigarettes dangle out of their mouths. The way they tell it, it's a miracle that anything gets delivered anywhere at all because if they aren't fighting their own company, they're fighting each other. It made me think that going to a truck stop was about the last place I wanted to park and get some sleep.

I decided to just stick to this site, and Allie Knight or whatever her name is that did videos of her adventures in truck driving. Plus sometimes she taught things in her videos. I hope that more potential drivers find this site and stop giving an audience to the angry people because they can easily scare anyone off.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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If everyone were treated equally, top tier drivers and bottom tier drivers, then there would be absolutely no reason to strive to better ourselves in this industry.

Exactly! Not only that, but being paid by the amount of work you get done puts the drivers on the same page with the company. The more miles a driver turns and the more efficiently they utilize the truck the more money they make and the more money the company makes. You succeed together.

When a company pays by the hour you have a tug-of-war going on all the time. The employee wants to do as little as possible, therefore making the same money for doing less work. The boss always wants to get more out of the employee so they're paying the same money for more productivity. So you're at odds with each other.

I love the fact that companies pay by the mile. I knew right away that meant the company wanted to reward their hardest workers, which is what I always intend to be. The harder I work the more I'll make. Not only that, but the slackers also get what they deserve. No longer is the guy hiding from the boss taking a nap making the same money I'm making.

Brett this was awesome👍👍 I love it. You break it down very simply for folks.

Thanks PJ!

I decided to just stick to this site, and Allie Knight.....I hope that more potential drivers find this site and stop giving an audience to the angry people because they can easily scare anyone off.

Allie Knight was one of my favorites. She isn't trucking anymore, at least not at this point, but she could always return. Allie really showed that trucking can be a fun adventure if you approach it that way. I always loved trucking for the adventure that it was. It's a shame that all of the wrong people seem to flood social media with garbage. Trucking is a tough job, no question about it, but it can also be a fantastic adventure and a really good paying one at that if you understand what it takes to thrive in this industry.

Ride2BFree's Comment
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Hello, In one way it’s a performance base but then if one driver has 3 years experience and the other 12 years the guy with the 3 years will make less per mile then the more experience driver, why? If they do the same job with the same amount of miles?

I don’t know how was it when you started but my experience is that in the big companies many times the problem are with the planners. I had planners that did not know what they are doing with many never step in a truck before.

But the way to overcome it is to ask questions to find out what they see on their computers as far as Driver HOS and locations. When you know the info they have you can communicate with them to make sure they have the real info. In one company the planners did not see 34 reset unless you told them to switch to a different system.

It took me time to realize that trying to help them do their job they look at it as whining despite the fact that I was telling them I’m not complaining I’m just trying to help the system.

So, yep each company as it’s own way to do things. Don’t try to fix it or make them better just accept the loads deliver on time be safe and everything will be fine.

I love being a trucker.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
if one driver has 3 years experience and the other 12 years the guy with the 3 years will make less per mile then the more experience driver, why?

Generally speaking most companies top their pay out after a few years of experience, usually around 5 years or so. I agree, there's no real reason to pay someone more for experience after someone has been out there for several years. If a company is paying more for drivers with more experience after a certain number of years it's generally because they're getting an insurance discount based upon driver experience.

I think a person should be paid more if they perform better which is why I feel mileage pay is a fair way to pay drivers.

On top of that, most companies pay some sort of bonus pay for high mileage or great on time performance.

So, yep each company as it’s own way to do things.

This is very true, and it's exactly why I did a podcast that asks Why Stick With Your First Company One Full Year?

It really does take time to learn how your company works and learn how to make their system work for you. At most jobs outside of trucking you go into work, the boss drops a pile of work in front of you, and you do it. In trucking, you often have to lobby continuously for more miles. If you don't stay on top of dispatch your miles may slip from time to time. You have to keep after it and let them know you're always looking for as many miles as you can get.

Great performance and great communication are the keys to getting consistently high miles. Keep making every appointment on time and keep your dispatcher updated with your situation so they can plan ahead.

Dispatcher:

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

I'm bumping this in hopes that some of you will take the time to listen to this podcast. It's one of my favorites. It is jam packed with solid information that is designed to clear up much of the confusion that permeates and corrupts a new driver's understanding of this business and how to succeed in it.

There is so much misinformation that we expose ourselves to when starting this career, and this podcast cuts right through it logically and concisely. Almost every sentence is packed with powerful information that is seldom voiced in typical trucking conversations.

Please, if you're new in here, or just never took a few minutes to hear this thing, click on it and learn the secrets that will help you prosper out here.

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