If you’re reading this article, you probably just earned your Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL. This means you’ve finished your courses, passes your driving tests, and you’re ready to dive head-first into the industry.
First of all, congratulations!
At this point in time, you’re probably at a spot where most new drivers find themselves — the “what now?” phase. Don’t worry – Whiteline has you covered. Here are three industry secrets for brand new CDL truck drivers.
Secret No. 1: The trucking industry is starving for drivers right now, so choose carefully
In most industries, jobs are hard to come by. If you get a job offer anywhere, it’s hard to reject it. The trucking industry tells a different story in the present day.
Right now, there’s a pretty severe driver shortage. According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the driver shortage currently sits at around 80,000. That number is expected to double by 2030.
For those reading this article, it’s great news — you’ll get your pick of the litter when it comes to the company you want to drive for. For trucking companies, it’s getting tough to find new drivers.
Secret No. 2: Trucking companies tend to have dishonest position/salary advertising
Okay, so you’ve got a few job offers — how do you know which one to choose?
For starters, this is not a decision to take lightly. While you can leave a company pretty easily, most have signing bonuses and other incentives that don’t kick in until you’ve been there for around a year.
This is also a decision that may not be what it appears to be on the surface. Look for a trucking job and you’ll immediately see salaries as high as $120,000. A salary figure that seems too high is almost always deceptive in some way.
They get you in the fine details.
When you look into the actual salary presented by companies, they require you to do more than you probably want. The “higher-paying” positions will have you taking nasty routes, working long days, and hitting tricky company-specific mileage goals. Sometimes these companies make it physically impossible to actually earn the salary that is being advertised.
Don’t undervalue yourself but remember one thing — almost any experienced truck driver will tell you to go with a company with a good culture that makes you feel at home. Salary is important but secondary.
Secret No. 3: You’re not stuck with your company
In more than a handful of industries, it’s easy to become pigeon-holed into a specific company. That company will promote you, give you pay raises, and give you comfortability in your spot.
This does, at least to an extent, hold true. Companies often give longevity bonuses and you’ll earn more as an experienced driver. Whiteline Express offers experienced drivers higher cent-per-mile rates and increases your earnings based on how long you’re at the company. That said, the industry standard usually involves company-hopping relatively frequently.
If you don’t get along with your dispatcher, aren’t getting the miles you want, or just don’t like the company culture, it’s not a big deal to pack up and find another company. According to Trucking.org, the turnover rate for truckers is a staggering 91%, meaning over nine of ten drivers leave their jobs in under a year.
If you’re not happy with your position, do not be afraid to leave.