If you’re someone who loves the idea of your work environment being alongside some of the most scenic routes across the nation, trucking may be the perfect industry for you. By 2030, the predicted employment rate for truck drivers is expected to increase by 6% (bls.gov).
It’s a rewarding profession requiring skill, dedication, and a degree of independence. As a driver, it is important to also consider what you are looking for in an employer— and it’s okay to be choosy.
Life on the road can be adventurous and fulfilling, making it more than a job to many. So be sure your potential employer upholds the qualities you are looking for in a career. Here's some things to consider when choosing your employer.
Pay and Opportunities for Raises
Your salary, of course, is a crucial factor of any job to keep in mind. Truckers are typically paid per mile, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck drivers earned an average pay of $53,090, with the top 10 percent making $75,220. Also it may be beneficial to consider whether the company pays practical miles, or HHG miles (household goods, also known as short route miles).
Practical miles refer to routes that end up being more time-efficient for drivers and the company, but are usually a few miles longer than an HHG route. Whereas an HHG route consists of less mileage, but usually a longer drive time. Since drivers are paid per mile, a company that compensates for practical miles instead of HHG typically delivers a preferable paycheck. However, pay scales do vary depending on the carrier.
Going into any job offer, it is important to understand the base payment you want and will need. You may also want to ask about opportunities for raises if the situation is appropriate, along with when the company considers an employee eligible for a raise.
There are certain licenses and certifications you can check for to ensure the company you are looking into will be the best fit. Possible certifications a company can receive depend on the type of trucking the company provides, but most reputable carriers should at least have a valid USDOT number.
- A USDOT Number - A USDOT number is specific to and serves to identify the company when monitoring its safety information collected during audits, compliance reviews, and different inspections.
- An MC Number - An MC Number stands for a Motor Carrier number and is assigned to moving companies operating across state lines. Not all moving companies, however, will be required to have an MC number.
- AMSA Certified Mover - An AMSA Certified Mover is a ProMover certification that a moving company will qualify for after a thorough background check and reviews of their work history have been conducted and approved.
- AMSA Certified Van Line - An AMSA Certified Van Line is granted by the Federal Highway Administration to an interstate moving company to ensure it adheres to the AMSA Code of Conduct and its standards.
You may also wish to get a fellow driver’s perspective on the company. Looking into online reviews from past or current employees may provide helpful insight into the prospective job. Although reviews can be subjective, they still may be helpful and accurate when trying to get a sense of a company’s pros and cons.
It is also important to understand which benefits your employer offers. Take the benefits you need into consideration before accepting a position at a company. Many prospective drivers look for reliable health insurance, PTO, and the amount of sick days a carrier provides. Also, consider the amount of home time your position allows. Some carriers offer 401K benefits, but again, this depends on the company.
An additional perk some companies offer is tuition reimbursement as a result of the increased need for skilled drivers possessing a CDL-A. CDL training can be an investment, so having an employer who will back you financially can make a difference.
Commitment to Safety
As a driver, you are aware of your responsibilities when it comes to your own safety as well as that of drivers around you. You want to ensure that the company you choose is also committed to the safety of their drivers and adheres to OSHA and DOT regulations.
From ensuring drivers receive proper training to providing sufficient equipment, it is crucial to feel that your well-being is prioritized. You have the right to ask a company any questions that come to mind about policies and procedures that promote driver safety. You can also do your own research regarding a carrier’s federal safety scores at FMCSA's online Safety Measurement System.
Quality Home Time and PTO
Whether you’re OTR, local, or regional, having the chance to recharge and spend time with loved ones is important to any driver.
The amount of home time offered to you will depend on your job title and the carrier itself. You should understand home time policies before accepting any offers. Driving across the country, OTR truckers tend to experience less home time than regional or local drivers. Some carriers may require you to work holidays, especially if you are an OTR driver.
PTO is another factor to consider. Like home time policies, the amount of PTO you receive depends on the carrier you are with, along with the amount of time you have been employed for.
If the home time and PTO offered by the carrier sound like they would suit your lifestyle and needs, it can indicate you’ve found the right fit for you!
The freedom of being on the road makes a truck driving career refreshing and rewarding. Provided above are just some factors to consider when picking the carrier that is right for you. Search the companies on CDL Job Now.