An overview of your options and choices for
planning a class a trucking career ….
There is a lot to consider when you are planning a class a trucking career or furthering your cdl trucking career, depending on your level of experience.
Whether you are a student driver just beginning your cdl truck driving career, or you are an experienced driver looking for another opportunity, it’s important to weigh your options.
In order to weigh your options when planning your trucking career, you need to be informed. Being informed is key to deciding which options are best for you.
You will be faced with a number of decisions. For student drivers just starting out, trucking career decisions can be a bit overwhelming. For more experienced drivers who kind of ‘know the ropes’, decisions are of a different nature.
Additionally, the trucking industry is constantly changing and evolving, and at times is what we refer to as ‘unforgiving’. Which is another reason it’s important to be informed as much as you can.
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:
recent class a graduates
drivers needing a class a refresher course
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? We are talking about short-term, interim and long-term objectives.
We include interim objectives, because the trucking industry can, as we’ve already stated, sometimes be very unforgiving. You may find at some point that you have to take a brief step back before you can surge forward.
You may be asking yourself any one of a number of questions, such as:
what company offers me the best training or job opportunity
where do I want to be in my career 6-12 months from now
How and where do you start gathering the information you need to plan or manage your trucking career?
But before we begin offering suggestions, let’s discuss the DAC Report.
THE DAC REPORT
DAC stands for Drive-A-Check. Your DAC Report is a history of your employment in the trucking industry. It follows you from your first truck driving job until the last truck driving jobs.
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 every company you’ve been employed with.
For student drivers or recent graduates, this is something to be aware of but it’s not applicable until a driver has acquired some employment and road time with a company.
Unfortunately, drivers sometimes find 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.
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 by a driver who is either in training or orientation and has not yet been officially hired will go on that driver’s DAC Report.
Any negative information on a driver’s DAC Report may compromise a driver’s future job opportunities, but especially the failed drug test. This is when it’s often necessary to take a step back before moving forward.
The questions we listed above now brings you to a fundamental and important choice. Who is going to help you with these and other questions? Who is going be your mentor or advisor? Who is going to help you begin your career and help you manage your career? These are valid and good questions.
Generally, you have (2) choices: a company recruiter, or an independent class a truck driver 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
has limited job opportunities
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 experienced drivers with a minimum of 12 months
If you decide to do the research on your own, you will need to spend some 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.
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 particularly on their agenda. Their agenda is to fill company jobs.
An Independent Class A Trucking Recruiter
works with 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, others work with primarily students, and some work with a mix of drivers at all skill levels. TCA works with drivers at all skill levels, from the student applicant to the Owner Operator.
Working with a class a trucking recruiter can streamline your search considerably because typically, they are working with multiple companies. Therefore, the job pool is much larger and your job or training options are considerably better.
Trucking company policies change frequently; what was yesterday is not necessarily what is today. An experienced class a trucking recruiter is going to be up to date and current on company policies and underwriting guidelines industry-wide.
The Third Option
There is a third option available; the ease of going online and submitting your application to hundreds of companies simultaneously is very alluring. We call that ‘blitzing’. However, there are several reasons why this method is not a good idea.
One major 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 have been unsuccessful with this approach. They were never contacted by any company.
While ironically, this method generates numerous leads for most companies, it doesn’t present you, the applicant, in a very professional manner. Maybe that’s one reason companies aren’t in a big hurry to contact drivers who have used this approach.
AVOID COMPROMISING YOUR CDL TRUCK DRIVING CAREER …..
We talk with drivers frequently who worked with an in-house recruiter, went to work for 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 are either stuck in a bad situation for some time to come, or out of work; back where they started and looking for a trucking job, again. Trainees who have signed a contract often must pay back the company for the monies the company spent training them, which can be in the thousands of dollars.
We also hear from drivers who thought they had been hired by a company. They arrived at a training center or orientation location, only to be sent home days later because:
paperwork was not in order
background check was not complete
something required further investigation
the MVR disclosed a disqualifying violation
Often it turns out that something was discovered in the background check after the driver arrived that would have disqualified them from being hired had it been known earlier.
While trucking companies are usually diligent about disclosing that thorough background checks will be conducted on an applicant, and an MVR will be ordered, sometimes applicants simply don’t realize the extent and depth of a company’s investigation.
Unfortunately, under these circumstances, applicants usually have to pay their own way home. Also, this dismissal may affect future job opportunities.
More about the Independent Driver Recruiter Planning for your class a trucking career success
TRUCKING CAREERS OF AMERICA
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.
Our objective is to ensure that you are successful – not a statistic – and that your career journey go as smoothly as possible.
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 wants to get drivers to training or orientation
an independent trucking recruiter wants to build a clientele
The topic of a background investigation and the DAC Report (if applicable) is a topic discussed thoroughly with all applicants. It’s imperative that an applicant be truthful and disclose any type of violation that a company is going to find out through their background investigation.
Knowing in advance about a questionable or disqualifying event gives an independent driver recruiter the opportunity to get the necessary information and address it up front on the applicant’s behalf. The advantage to an applicant in a situation like this is that an independent trucking 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
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 astudent or recent graduate initially goes to work for can often impact a driver’s cdl truck driving career.
Since 2002 we have worked with thousands of drivers and positioned them to enjoy a successful career.We’ve learned which companies to avoid and which companies to work for, and are in tune with the industry’s ever-changing climate.
There is a lot of good, bad and ugly in the trucking industry and no matter what your level of experience is, you have to be careful with your decisions. Regretfully, there are many independent CDL training schools and trucking companies that should be avoided.
There Are (2) Types of Trucking Companies
those that hire only experienced drivers those that hire recent graduates and/or offer company sponsored CDL Class A training**
** There are many companies whose business model for class a students and recent graduates is to generate driver turnover because it is more cost effective. Some companies receive government subsidies based on the number of class a graduates they hire.
A high percentage of drivers don’t make it through their first year with these companies because they didn’t expect such hard work, low pay, little home time, lack of professional respect and questionable business practices. You should avoid these companies …
– Planning Your Class A Trucking Career – The BIG Picture
TOGETHER WE DESIGN YOUR CDL CLASS A CAREER PLAN
If you are serious about a long-term cdl class a driving career, it’s an advantage to have a professional, experienced expert who will:
guide you through your career options
help you plan your class a trucking career
be objective and unbiased while representing your best interests
guide you towards establishing or elevating a successful professional career
So, let’s discuss The BIG Picture .… how you’re going to arrive at what we call the ‘promised land’… what you need to do to go from being a first year ‘beginner’ with a company that only hires students and/or recent graduates to becoming a veteran driver who is hired by one of the more elite companies that hire only experienced CDL drivers.
Trucking Careers of America works with drivers to determine their short-term and long-term goals are. We discuss options with you and make recommendations, and together we design your career plan.
Before submitting your application to any company we ensure that all:
information is provided to that company
paperwork is in order
background checks are complete.
Depending on your CDL status and experience, we plan that you:
are always fully informed are prepared to begin training or orientation understand what to expect and what is expected of you acquire 12 months driving experience (preferred) will subsequently go to work with an ‘elite’ company **
** These companies often know their drivers by their first names and they place a high value on their drivers. They pay their drivers well, have an enviable choice of driving jobs; otr, regional, dedicated, even local jobs. They treat you with respect and as the professional that you are, and offer excellent and flexible home time. They are not motivated or interested in creating driver turnover.
The magic in this industry is to have a minimum of (1) year of class a driving experience and a clean record. However, in today’s industry climate, some companies are hiring experienced drivers with as little as 3 months driving experience. Others are hiring with as little as 6 months driving experience.
There is no way around it – you have to pay your dues to earn the right to move up the career ladder as an experienced CDL driver. No matter how hard it is, get that first year of driving experience behind you ! Then, as an experienced driver, a world of opportunities will be open to you…
A Good Motto To Apply When Planning
Your Class A Trucking Career. ..
“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
We hope this information has been valuable. It’s always good to have options, and you can make the decision between working with:
a professional class a trucking recruiter, or
a company recruiter whose experience is company-based
Did we mention that there is never – ever –
any charge for our services?