An overview of options and choices
for planning a class a trucking career
Whether you are a student driver just beginning your cdl truck driving career, or an experienced cdl driver looking for another opportunity, you need to be informed and be able to weigh your options. When planning your trucking career, being informed is key to deciding which options are best for you.
The trucking industry is constantly changing and evolving. Although companies are always in need of truck drivers, the trucking industry is at times what we refer to as ‘unforgiving’. No matter what your level of experience is, it can be very beneficial to be informed as to what’s ahead.
You will be faced with a number of decisions. For student drivers just starting out, some of these decisions can be a bit overwhelming. For more experienced drivers who kind of ‘know the ropes’, decisions are of a different nature.
No matter where you are on the driver hierarchy, it’s always important to have a good grasp of what your next step should be, and how to go about getting there. This article is meant to benefit drivers at all levels of experience:
- student drivers
- recent class a graduates
- drivers needing a class a refresher course
- experienced drivers
WHERE DO YOU START?
How are you going to go about getting the information you need? How are you going to go about achieving your objectives? Are you clear about your objectives and goals?
We are talking about short-term, interim ad long-term objectives.
We include interim objectives, because the trucking industry, as we’ve already stated, can sometimes be very unforgiving. You may find at some point that you have to take a brief step back before you can surge forward. In a few moments you’ll understand how this can come about.
You may be asking yourself any one of a number of questions, such as:
- should I attend a cdl training school, or
- should I apply for company paid cdl training
- do I need a cdl class a refresher course
- or do I have enough experience to qualify as an experienced driver
- should I consider a Lease Purchase
- what company or companies offer me the best cdl training or the best opportunity
- where do I want to be in my trucking career 6-12 months from now
- how can I get a job with one of the elite trucking companies
How and where do you start gathering the information you need to plan or manage your cdl trucking career?
Before we begin offering suggestions, let’s discuss the very important DAC Report.
THE DAC REPORT
Most trucking companies obtain a DAC Report on an applicant with any driving history as part of their background investigation. Your DAC Report contains employment information about your class a trucking career and typically, includes every trucking company you’ve been employed by.
Typically, the DAC Report doesn’t come into play until a driver has acquired some driving experience and history with a company. However, there is one exception: a failed drug test. This is recorded on your DAC Report and is also cause for dismissal. A failed drug test applies to:
- student drivers entering or in training
- drivers in a class a refresher course
- recent graduates in orientation
- experienced drivers in orientation or on the job
Any negative information on the DAC Report may compromise a driver’s future trucking driving job opportunities. But especially a failed drug test. A failed drug usually results in not being eligible for hire by just about any trucking company. This is when it’s sometimes necessary to take a step back before moving forward.
Unfortunately, sometimes a driver finds it necessary to challenge or dispute a claim placed on their DAC Report by a trucking company. It’s not unheard of for a trucking company to abuse a driver’s DAC Report by posting unwarranted or incorrect information about a driver’s employment history.
We recommend that all drivers occasionally check their DAC Report for accuracy.
COMPANY RECRUITER OR INDEPENDENT
CLASS A TRUCKING RECRUITER?
The questions above bring you to some fundamental and important choices:
- who is going to help you with these and other decisions
- who is going to mentor or advise you
- who is going to help you begin your career and help you manage your career
These are valid questions. Generally, you have (2) options:
- a trucking company in-house recruiter
- an independent class a trucking recruiter
There are several significant differences between a trucking company recruiter and an independent class a trucking recruiter. Here are just a few:
A Trucking Company Recruiter
- represents only one company
- works for that company as an employee
- has limited job opportunities available
- may have a quota to fill
It’s important to note that not all trucking companies hire class a drivers at all levels of experience. Some hire only:
- drivers with a minimum of 12 months class a driving experiene
- Lease Purchase or Owner Operator drivers
- OTR drivers
- drivers with as little as 3-6 months class a driving experience
- a mix of drivers
If you plan to do the research on your own, you will need to spend considerable time sifting through information to find the company or companies to which you want to apply. And that can be a very time consuming project. Researching planning a class a trucking career will probably yield hundreds of results … and generate an awful lot of reading.
A trucking company recruiter is an employee and represents one company. Their responsibility is to recruit drivers to work for that company.Their primary focus is to get students or drivers to the company location for training or orientation.
Helping you to build or manage your cdl truck driving career is not prominent on their agenda. It’s simply not in their job description.
An Independent Class A Trucking Recruiter
- works with – not for – many trucking companies
- works for you
- has multiple truck driving job opportunities
- does not have a quota
An independent truck driver recruiter works with many companies. At Trucking Careers of America, we work with more than 40 trucking companies with a diversity of class a driving jobs available nationwide.
A class a trucking recruiter will work for you – and work with you – to help you prepare for the next level of your career. Your career development is on that recruiter’s agenda.
Not every class a trucking recruiter works with drivers at all skill levels. Some specialize in:
- placing experienced drivers only
- working primarily with students or recent grads
- working with a mix of drivers at all skill levels
Working with a class a trucking recruiter can streamline your search considerably. Typically, an independent trucking recruiter is working with multiple companies. Therefore, the job pool is much larger and your truck driving job or cdl training options are considerably better.
The Third Option
There is a third option available. The ease of going online and being able to submit your application to hundreds of companies simultaneously is very alluring. We call that ‘blitzing.’
We do not recommend this approach and there are several reasons why. But perhaps the biggest reason is … how can you expect a company to view your application seriously when you are taking an unprofessional and haphazard shortcut to finding a driving job?
In theory it sounds like a good idea, but you’d be surprised how often we hear from drivers who unsuccessfully tried this approach. They never heard from any one of the hundreds of trucking companies to which they ‘blitzed’ their application.
Ironically, this method generates numerous leads for many companies. But it doesn’t present you, the applicant looking for training or a truck driving job, in a very professional manner. In spite of the fact that trucking companies need truck drivers, this may be a big reason why a company isn’t in a big hurry to contact drivers who ‘blitzed’ their application.
AVOID COMPROMISING YOUR
CDL TRUCK DRIVING CAREER
We frequently talk with drivers who worked with an in-house recruiter, went to training or orientation with that company and then discovered what they had been told was not the reality. For student drivers, the legalities and obligations of paid cdl training can be confusing and complicated.
They ended up on the exit ramp instead of the entrance ramp.
They are either stuck in a bad situation for some time to come, or out of work. They are back where they started and looking again for credible training or another legitimate job opportunity. Trainees or recent graduates who leave after signing a contract find themselves having to pay back the company for the monies the company spent training them, which can be in the thousands of dollars.
And to make matters even worse, most trucking companies will not hire a driver who is still under contract with a previous company, even if the driver is no longer employed by that previous company.
We also frequently hear from drivers who thought they had been hired by a particular company. They arrived at a training center or orientation location only to be sent home days later because:
- their paperwork was not in order
- the background check was not complete
- something required further investigation
- the MVR disclosed a disqualifying violation
Trucking companies are very diligent about disclosing that thorough background checks will be conducted on an applicant, and an MVR will be ordered. Unfortunately, sometimes applicants simply don’t realize the extent and depth of a company’s investigation. And sometimes the company recruiter wasn’t as thorough as he or she should have been.
The end result is that something was discovered in the background check or the MVR after the driver arrived that would have disqualified them from being hired had it been discovered earlier.
To make matters even worse, often under these circumstances the driver has to pay his or her own way home. And more importantly, this dismissal may affect future job opportunities.
More about the
independent driver recruiter
Planning a class a
In general, it’s safe to say that applicants can expect excellent service, information and disclosure from an independent truck driver recruiter, primarily because of a major difference in perspective:
- a company recruiter works for the company
- a company recruiter wants to get applicants to training or orientation
- an independent trucking recruiter works for you
- an independent trucking recruiter wants to build a loyal clientele
It’s critical that an applicant be truthful about any event that could cause the driver to be disqualified by a company. When it comes to a possible disqualifying issue for a driver applicant, the independent driver recruiter has an advantage over the trucking company recruiter. The independent recruiter will know:
- which company(ies) will consider an applicant with a particular violation
- which company(ies) will NOT consider an applicant with a particular violation
Essentially, the independent class a recruiter will possibly have other options available and be able to advise the applicant on how to proceed.
And not to be overlooked is the importance of having all your paperwork and background investigations in order. An independent trucking recruiter is going to monitor all of that diligently.
There are (2) types of trucking companies
- companies which hire only experienced drivers on a selective basis
- companies which hire recent graduates and/or offer company sponsored CDL Class A training
- some offer class a refresher courses
- some also hire experienced drivers
There are a number of trucking companies whose business model for class a students and class a recent graduates is to continually create driver turnover. One reason is that it is more cost effective to operate on a turnover basis rather than driver retention.
Many of these companies are receiving government subsidies when hiring cdl class a student drivers and class a recent graduates. For them, it appears that re-hiring is more profitable than retention.
Unfortunately, drivers that work with trucking companies operating with this approach often don’t make it through their first year.
Why? Because they weren’t prepared for the probability of hard work, low pay, and little home time. And, they weren’t prepared for the possibility of a lack of professional respect and questionable business practices.
Not all trucking companies hiring class a students or class a graduates operate on a turnover basis. But generally, at this skill level, drivers should not expect high pay, generous home time, and other perks or benefits that the experienced driver will enjoy.
Your objective should be to advance your trucking career to the level of an experienced driver with a minimum of (1) year, preferably more, class a driving experience. At that point, you will be eligible for hire by an ‘elite trucking company’ and everything changes.
TRUCKING CAREERS OF AMERICA
Being a professional cdl class a trucker can be an exciting and rewarding career. However, it can also be difficult in that critical first year. The company a student or recent graduate initially goes to work for can often impact the survival of a driver’s trucking career.
Trucking Careers of America is a career planning and job placement company for class a drivers. We are independent driver recruiters and trucking career planners for drivers at all skill levels from student drivers to Owner Operators.
Our priority is to find you the job or training you are looking for with an eye towards career development.
Our objective is to ensure that you have every opportunity to be successful – not a statistic – and that your career journey go as smoothly as possible.
Since 2002 we have worked with thousands of drivers and positioned them to develop and enjoy a successful cdl class a trucking career. There is a lot of good, bad, ugly and uglier in the trucking industry.
You have to be careful with your career decisions. Regretfully, there are too many independent trucking companies and CDL training schools that should be avoided.
We work with every applicant on a one-on-one basis and:
- guide you through your career options
- represent your best interests
- are objective and unbiased
- help you establish a successful professional trucking career
- help you elevate your professional trucking career
At Trucking Careers of America, no matter what your skill level is, we look at The Big Picture. And that translates to what you need to do to be eligible for hire by one of the ‘elite companies’. The elite trucking companies hire only experienced class a drivers, pay well, know you by your first name, value your contribution to the company and give you the professional respect you deserve.
We work with you to prepare you for your short-term and long-term goals. We discuss options and make recommendations. Together, we design your carer plan.
Depending on your CDL status and experience, we plan that you:
are prepared to begin training or orientation
know what to expect
know what is expected of you
receive excellent training or orientation
work towards getting a minimum of 12 months class a experience
will ultimately be hired by one of the ‘elite companies’ ***
*** The magic in this industry is to have a minimum of 12 months driving experience and a clean record. Elite trucking companies pay their drivers well, offer generous home time and excellent benefits. They also have many driving job options available: OTR, Dedicated, Regional and Local.
When planning your class a trucking career or considering making a move, consulting with an independent cdl truck driver recruiter is always a good idea; it’s like getting a 1st, 2nd and 3rd opinion.
“A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it
and never makes that mistake again.
But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from
him how to avoid the mistake altogether.” (Roy H. Williams)
Contact us today by phone or email or click here to complete our easy online CDL Truck Driver Application. For mobile users, please click here for our Application.
Once we receive your application, we will contact you within 48 hours to answer all of your questions and discuss what is best for you.