Sign Up Bonuses, Are They For Real?

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Vicki M.'s Comment
member avatar

As I peruse the sites of many trucking companies, I keep seeing these sign on bonuses. 5k, 10k , etc. I do understand that they are paid out over a period of time and also that as a new driver, I wouldn't be eligible. But now here's the question. You knew there would be one, right? First, are they for real (or basically unattainable with the hoops they make you jump through) AND even more important, are they common? One company that I am really looking at has a huge sign on bonus, and looks like a company that I might enjoy working for. They will hire straight out of CDL school, but have no company training. Would the better move be to go company training and after a year, go to this company and get the sign on bonus (assuming I don't like my first company, better pay yada yada) or just go to CDL school locally and go sign up with them? I am going to call the recruiter for said company, but I know what their job is. I just want to know for how long I'd be making the lowest CPM assuming I did a good job.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

As I peruse the sites of many trucking companies, I keep seeing these sign on bonuses. 5k, 10k , etc. I do understand that they are paid out over a period of time and also that as a new driver, I wouldn't be eligible. But now here's the question. You knew there would be one, right? First, are they for real (or basically unattainable with the hoops they make you jump through) AND even more important, are they common? One company that I am really looking at has a huge sign on bonus, and looks like a company that I might enjoy working for. They will hire straight out of CDL school, but have no company training. Would the better move be to go company training and after a year, go to this company and get the sign on bonus (assuming I don't like my first company, better pay yada yada) or just go to CDL school locally and go sign up with them? I am going to call the recruiter for said company, but I know what their job is. I just want to know for how long I'd be making the lowest CPM assuming I did a good job.

Read my next statement several times please:

CDL schools & company sponsored schools teach you ONLY enough to pass the skills test and get the CDL. The on the job training is where you learn to become a trucker.

Now read that one more time.

In no way shape or form will someone be prepared to go to a job like that with just CDL school.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Vicki, sign on bonuses are for real, but as you've realized they are usually paid to experienced drivers. They are paid out so much per month or something similar to that. They are a recruiting tool.

Would the better move be to go company training and after a year, go to this company and get the sign on bonus (assuming I don't like my first company, better pay yada yada) or just go to CDL school locally and go sign up with them?

I think for your first year you just need to ignore any of these allurements like sign-on bonuses. You need some good training, and you need to establish some good safe driving habits. There are precious few drivers who will make it through their rookie year without some sort of mishap. You need to start with a company who is well recognized for helping newbies get started in this challenging and rewarding career. If you start somewhere that is not accustomed to helping newbies get their start you may find yourself getting fired for some minor offense. Then it is really hard to find work. With less than a year of experience, and getting fired for an accident, many drivers have their career taken right out from underneath them. The safest bet is to follow your dream with one of the Paid CDL Training Programs.

I like to teach "best practices" to people. Those paid training courses are so beneficial to new drivers. You get in and out with little or no expense. You are guaranteed a job upon completion of your training. You have a company who will get behind you to help you succeed. They have an investment in you now and they like to see a return on their investments. That is what I would recommend.

You can think about moving on after a year if you want to, but don't do it just for a sign-on bonus. Do it to enhance your career. I've always said there would have to be a significant increase in my pay to get me to move jobs. I have only changed companies once in eight years. The motivation was simply because the opportunity was so great at the new job. I made the right move, but it was a tough choice for me. I have never regretted it, but I did give it considerable thought. There was no sign-on bonus, but there were a lot of additional benefits that appealed to me. There was a considerable increase in pay also.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

double-quotes-start.png

As I peruse the sites of many trucking companies, I keep seeing these sign on bonuses. 5k, 10k , etc. I do understand that they are paid out over a period of time and also that as a new driver, I wouldn't be eligible. But now here's the question. You knew there would be one, right? First, are they for real (or basically unattainable with the hoops they make you jump through) AND even more important, are they common? One company that I am really looking at has a huge sign on bonus, and looks like a company that I might enjoy working for. They will hire straight out of CDL school, but have no company training. Would the better move be to go company training and after a year, go to this company and get the sign on bonus (assuming I don't like my first company, better pay yada yada) or just go to CDL school locally and go sign up with them? I am going to call the recruiter for said company, but I know what their job is. I just want to know for how long I'd be making the lowest CPM assuming I did a good job.

double-quotes-end.png

Read my next statement several times please:

CDL schools & company sponsored schools teach you ONLY enough to pass the skills test and get the CDL. The on the job training is where you learn to become a trucker.

Now read that one more time.

In no way shape or form will someone be prepares to go to a job like that with jist CDL school.

Thanks, Kearsey, I do understand that. This company does offer new graduate training. I know that it's a LONGGG learning curve.

Vicki, sign on bonuses are for real, but as you've realized they are usually paid to experienced drivers. They are paid out so much per month or something similar to that. They are a recruiting tool.

I think for your first year you just need to ignore any of these allurements like sign-on bonuses. You need some good training, and you need to establish some good safe driving habits. There are precious few drivers who will make it through their rookie year without some sort of mishap. You need to start with a company who is well recognized for helping newbies get started in this challenging and rewarding career. If you start somewhere that is not accustomed to helping newbies get their start you may find yourself getting fired for some minor offense. Then it is really hard to find work. With less than a year of experience, and getting fired for an accident, many drivers have their career taken right out from underneath them. The safest bet is to follow your dream with one of the Paid CDL Training Programs.

I like to teach "best practices" to people. Those paid training courses are so beneficial to new drivers. You get in and out with little or no expense. You are guaranteed a job upon completion of your training. You have a company who will get behind you to help you succeed. They have an investment in you now and they like to see a return on their investments. That is what I would recommend.

You can think about moving on after a year if you want to, but don't do it just for a sign-on bonus. Do it to enhance your career. I've always said there would have to be a significant increase in my pay to get me to move jobs. I have only changed companies once in eight years. The motivation was simply because the opportunity was so great at the new job. I made the right move, but it was a tough choice for me. I have never regretted it, but I did give it considerable thought. There was no sign-on bonus, but there were a lot of additional benefits that appealed to me. There was a considerable increase in pay also.

Thanks Old School. I am not a job jumper. I have been at my current place of employment for 22 years. I've had 5 jobs in the last 32 years. I get comfortable where I am and I am not moving lol The insight of of the mishaps is definitely food for thought. I do understand that a large company can allocate costs of mishaps across the board much easier than a smaller fleet, therefore, less chance of being ran out and black balled. I would never jump jobs for a measly 10k. This particular company is near me, has a great rep and the pay is good after training. They also mostly run the I15 corridor, which is the areas and roads I know (and I might get home for lunch every now and again lol). But honestly, I am mostly just spitballing ideas right now and asking truckers :)

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

double-quotes-start.png

As I peruse the sites of many trucking companies, I keep seeing these sign on bonuses. 5k, 10k , etc. I do understand that they are paid out over a period of time and also that as a new driver, I wouldn't be eligible. But now here's the question. You knew there would be one, right? First, are they for real (or basically unattainable with the hoops they make you jump through) AND even more important, are they common? One company that I am really looking at has a huge sign on bonus, and looks like a company that I might enjoy working for. They will hire straight out of CDL school, but have no company training. Would the better move be to go company training and after a year, go to this company and get the sign on bonus (assuming I don't like my first company, better pay yada yada) or just go to CDL school locally and go sign up with them? I am going to call the recruiter for said company, but I know what their job is. I just want to know for how long I'd be making the lowest CPM assuming I did a good job.

double-quotes-end.png

Read my next statement several times please:

CDL schools & company sponsored schools teach you ONLY enough to pass the skills test and get the CDL. The on the job training is where you learn to become a trucker.

Now read that one more time.

In no way shape or form will someone be prepared to go to a job like that with just CDL school.

Sorry Kearsey, I guess I worded it wrong after rereading it. They do train right out of school, I meant they have no company school.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Seth N.'s Comment
member avatar

As I peruse the sites of many trucking companies, I keep seeing these sign on bonuses. 5k, 10k , etc. I do understand that they are paid out over a period of time and also that as a new driver, I wouldn't be eligible. But now here's the question. You knew there would be one, right? First, are they for real (or basically unattainable with the hoops they make you jump through) AND even more important, are they common? One company that I am really looking at has a huge sign on bonus, and looks like a company that I might enjoy working for. They will hire straight out of CDL school, but have no company training. Would the better move be to go company training and after a year, go to this company and get the sign on bonus (assuming I don't like my first company, better pay yada yada) or just go to CDL school locally and go sign up with them? I am going to call the recruiter for said company, but I know what their job is. I just want to know for how long I'd be making the lowest CPM assuming I did a good job.

Werner offers a $2500 sign on to new grads, it is paid over 90 days after orientation is done.. The only caveat is...its for the Dollar General account and is a very tough job as its 100% touch freight and also TIGHT manuevering. I continually read here and elsewhere that its a bad gig for a rookie straight out of school. It just wasnt worth it to me to risk it, especially with the DAC to worry about when i decide to move to another company. All that also takes into account that im used to tight manuevers in real parking lots while in CDL school while many arent(they made sure we could do more than textbook backing manuevers).

Now for my uncle, both companies he went to had large bonuses and always paid them out, along with referrals. My bestfriends dad started a new company every few years with big bonuses specifically to get them more often and has been trucking for almost 35 years now lol. But then again he ALWAYS MADE SURE that it was a good fit and good for his family!! He never took that for granted and used it to buy things he and they needed. And saved the rest!

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
But honestly, I am mostly just spitballing ideas right now and asking truckers :)

That is always good. That is how we learn. The problem with truckers is that we tend to give conflicting answers and advice to people. Hopefully you can discern the truth from error when you see it. I promise you we will always try to steer you in the direction that we think is the best for you.

Vicki M.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

As I peruse the sites of many trucking companies, I keep seeing these sign on bonuses. 5k, 10k , etc. I do understand that they are paid out over a period of time and also that as a new driver, I wouldn't be eligible. But now here's the question. You knew there would be one, right? First, are they for real (or basically unattainable with the hoops they make you jump through) AND even more important, are they common? One company that I am really looking at has a huge sign on bonus, and looks like a company that I might enjoy working for. They will hire straight out of CDL school, but have no company training. Would the better move be to go company training and after a year, go to this company and get the sign on bonus (assuming I don't like my first company, better pay yada yada) or just go to CDL school locally and go sign up with them? I am going to call the recruiter for said company, but I know what their job is. I just want to know for how long I'd be making the lowest CPM assuming I did a good job.

double-quotes-end.png

Werner offers a $2500 sign on to new grads, it is paid over 90 days after orientation is done.. The only caveat is...its for the Dollar General account and is a very tough job as its 100% touch freight and also TIGHT manuevering. I continually read here and elsewhere that its a bad gig for a rookie straight out of school. It just wasnt worth it to me to risk it, especially with the DAC to worry about when i decide to move to another company. All that also takes into account that im used to tight manuevers in real parking lots while in CDL school while many arent(they made sure we could do more than textbook backing manuevers).

Now for my uncle, both companies he went to had large bonuses and always paid them out, along with referrals. My bestfriends dad started a new company every few years with big bonuses specifically to get them more often and has been trucking for almost 35 years now lol. But then again he ALWAYS MADE SURE that it was a good fit and good for his family!! He never took that for granted and used it to buy things he and they needed. And saved the rest!

I'll be needing no touch freight. I am a middle aged woman and hate dollies :D

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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.

Vicki M.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

But honestly, I am mostly just spitballing ideas right now and asking truckers :)

double-quotes-end.png

That is always good. That is how we learn. The problem with truckers is that we tend to give conflicting answers and advice to people. Hopefully you can discern the truth from error when you see it. I promise you we will always try to steer you in the direction that we think is the best for you.

And I appreciate that! I have been posting and asking in a couple forums, and I honestly love all the conflicting advice. I like to make my mind up myself. But when you are looking at an industry you know crap about, it's always best to get all the input and do your research from there. That's how I learn anyway :)

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

I’ma huge skeptic when it comes to sign on bonuses. It’sa recruiting tool yes but I always have to ask why a companies driver retention is so bad that they’re offering thousands of dollars extra for a driver to last one year. I’m also aware that there are a gazillion answers regarding retention issues but it still leads me to believe that a company that has to make that type of offer probably isn’ta company I’d want to work for.

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