Getting your CDL and starting a career as a tractor-trailer truck driver is an exciting thing.
It is the beginning of a whole new world of possibilities for you. It is also a critical step in your new career in trucking and the choices you make at the beginning will affect everything else that happens throughout your career for years to come.
Everything from your safety to how much money you make and how much time you have at home, and so many other things.
Get better training and better opportunities by choosing a better company to start your career with.
All trucking companies are NOT the same!
Some are indeed focused on training and safety – and make a serious effort to provide the best training they can for you when you are starting out. Most do not do this though – and they are focused more on exploiting new drivers who are not yet savvy enough about trucking to know any better.
They are the companies that will run you for thousands of miles and weeks (or even months!) for chump change calling it all training when it is really just a cheap team operation.
There are two particularly big red flags that help you tell the difference;
1. Your “Trainer” has six months or less actual solo driving experience
2. Your trainer is allowed/required to be in the sleeper berth at any time you are operating the truck
Learn the Right Questions to Ask
Before you just sign up with some random trucking company because they make all kinds of promises (many are VERY good at that!) you really need to do your own homework so that you know what you are about to get yourself into.
Then you can make more informed decisions – decisions that will more likely lead to better results for you.
So for starters, find out about their training program.
Ask them how much experience at a minimum – their trainers have.
Also, ask them how their trainers are selected and trained. Can any driver become a trainer just by asking or are they put through a selection and evaluation process?
Find out if they have a train the trainer program to teach their trainers standard (and safe) practices to then teach their trainees. Or are they just more by the seat of the pants and everybody does their own thing?
Of course, you need to find out how long the training is scheduled to take, in terms of weeks and or miles – and your pay during this time.
Be sure to ask about the possibility of changing trainers too. What happens if you get a trainer you really do not like and can not get along with? Can you request and get another trainer easily or not?
Even with a good company and a good training program – there can be times when personalities just don’t line up, and it will be far better for you if you can change trainers if that happens to you.
Company Size and Age is Not Always a Good Indicator
You would think that a large company that has been around for decades and has been training people for years through its own truck driver training programs would have a great program by now.
You would also be wrong.
There are some of the largest and most profitable trucking companies in America and in the world for that matter operating some of the worst training programs out there!
They need massive numbers of truck drivers on a continuous basis to fill the thousands of seats that are always available due to massive turnover rates in trucking.
So they continuously recruit drivers by the thousands – as thousands go out the back door, so comes their replacements eagerly through the front door.
That means they need hundreds of “Trainers” too…
So to get them they simply entice and sometimes pressure other rookie drivers to take on the role of a trainer by offering them more money to do so. Nothing wrong with a trainer making more money either – and they should! But when that carrot is used (along with pressure) to start training other drivers before developing their own skills and experience to a decent level of competency, that is where it gets dangerous.
Yet through desperation and pursuit of dollars – it continues to happen in mass even this very day.
The point is that YOU must be responsible for your own safety and your own choice of which company, to begin with. If you just leave it all up to a trucking company it is like playing the lottery – and your odds of just randomly getting a good solid and safe training program are not very good.
Want My Number One Recommendation of Which Trucking Company You Should Start With?
Select the contact button or send me an email with your full name, your phone number, and your email and I will give you all the details you need, along with my number one trucking company recommendation for you to start your trucking career with.
Building a solid foundation with good practices will help keep you safe – and everyone around you too.
Beyond that, it will lay the foundation on which you can build a rock-solid career that can take you wherever you want to go for years to come.
On the other hand – if you get started with a company that has a bad training program the habits you will develop there will become deeply engrained and will be with you for your career too, and sooner or later they will bite you bad.
You deserve better.